Gigi's Blog » Tales of the Mortician's Wife

Working In the Kitchen

 

“If parents wish their daughters to grow up with good domestic habits,
they should have, as one means of securing this result, a neat and cheerful kitchen.”
-Harriet Beecher Stowe, The American Woman’s Home

 

 

Chillier days always means more time in the kitchen! This is a blessing.

Do you love your kitchen? I do. I love to be in my kitchen, sitting in the rocking chair with the baby, waiting for the homemade bread dough to rise, listening to the sound of the cuckoo clock ticking away faithfully on the wall, seeing jars of home canned goods lined up on the counter, ready for The Provision Room … it is a joy to work in my kitchen! Even though it can be {smile} frustrating and take twice as long as when I complete a task myself, I try to involve the girls and give them a task in the kitchen.

Our kitchen was not always enjoyable or lovely. First off, I did not know how to cook when I was a newly wed, nor bake! I remember a dear friend coming over to show me what a mixer could accomplish and bringing her whisk with her. She could only shake her head and laugh at my lack of skill.ย  Since then, I have had to learn how to cook and bake from scratch – indeed, having a large family leaves no time for NOT knowing how to cook! Now, we eat healthy homemade meals every night. I’m not saying this be prideful, but to encourage anyone who perhaps is in the same position. Suddenly, your a mother, a manager of a household, and you are responsible for the health and well being of your little people, not to mention your husband. It is a task that cannot be taken lightly!

It certainly helps to make your kitchen a cheerful place in which to do your work. You will be spending a lot of time in your kitchen – surround yourself with a cheerful, happy environment. Perhaps you could play some uplifting hymns, have flowers in the windowsill that bring your favorite color on dreary November days, light a lovely candle and start some bread dough early in the morning to fill your kitchen with that delicious smell no one can resist.

When we moved into this home, the kitchen needed a lot of work. In fact, I was told by someone who saw this home when we first purchased it that the kitchen was beyond help and completely ugly.


Indeed, it was ugly – but I could see past the too-bright yellow bumblebee paint, the black tiled walls, the cheap, dirty cupboards …I could picture a large family table, open shelves, my family Hoosier, perhaps even an old fashioned sink or stove … I was excited to see it all come together.

I am grateful for the room in our kitchen. Our previous kitchen was tiny – quite small for a regular family, not to mention a growing family! It always seemed dark to me, even though it had a good size window and a light paint color.


The kitchen in our new home, however, was well lit and could fit a large family table. It fit my hoosier – which was my great grandmother’s – perfectly. We did have to change everything around, however – the location of the sink and the stove, rip out the cupboards, install new ones, create a pantry and build shelves and paint – but it was worth it! It is always wonderful to enjoy a little home diy-project. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

This week in the kitchen, the girls made a bath of apple cider from some second apples that we purchased at a Farmer’s stand. I made and canned applesauce, while the girls helped with apple pie filling and apple butter from three bushels of apples. We left a few bushels outside as the weather was turning cool (I felt like our basement was not cold enough to keep the apples) but it snowed the first snowfall last night, turning our apples soft. Oh dear – this means more canning as I had hoped to keep those apples over winter for eating. What a shame! Now I am on the hunt for more apples to store in our cold cellar.

 

We read a sweet book together “A Cranberry Thanksgiving” –ย  we then made the cranberry bread from the recipe posted at the back of the book. It was delicious!

 

 

Then, it was time for cinnamon buns … my favorite! It always amazes me how the smell of cinnamon buns baking represents such a cozy feeling …

 

The kitchen should be the heart of a home – filled with the pleasing aromas of good humble food, the sounds of family talk and the swirl of warm memories. It does not need to be fancy or costly. Almost everything in our kitchen is used, found on kijiji or given to us. My childhood pastor blessed us with our family table. It is just the right size – I was so grateful! After renovations, while we were putting our kitchen cupboards together, we realized the cupboard doors for underneath the sink was missing. My smart mother suggested we sew up a lovely curtain to cover the hole – what a wonderful idea! She sewed a sweet little curtain out of floral fabric and promptly hung it over the gaping hole. What a perfect fit! Since then, another dear friend has kindly sewn me a little curtain to alternate while one is being washed. My mother in law gave me the cupboard at the end of the kitchen, which holds all my medicinal and herbal remedies. All our wooden highchairs were found at garage sales or thrift stores.ย  The braided rug was used and purchased for a small amount compared to a brand new rug.

 

Right now, roast duck is cooking on the tove, alongside some maple carrots and garlic-butter mashed potatoes. Earlier today, we baked two loave of spelt bread, two loaves of banana bread and a dozen cookies.

What plans do you have for your kitchen this week?

 

P.S.

Yesterday morning, before my husband went to work, I made a batch of elderberry syrup for him. He is not feeling well and is coughing non-stop. I made a second batch from the same berries this afternoon and made some for our neighbours. If you have never made elderberry syrup or used elderberries for health, it is something that is worth researching and readingย  about. Elderberries are very healthy and incredibly good for your body, especially during the winter months. We have since made three more batches as the little ones needed that immune boost, as well.

 

 

November 18, 2017 - 7:29 am

Gigi - Thank you, Rebecca! The tin tile was locally made. We were pleased to find it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have fun with your renos! Wahoo! Oh, and I LOVE my cookstove!

November 18, 2017 - 6:28 am

Rebecca - Oh my goodness I LOVE your kitchen! And that tin behind the wood cookstove! It’s so perfect!!!! I’m excited to update my kitchen in the near-ish future (maybe another year or so?) and I dream of installing a wood cook stove!

November 16, 2017 - 8:23 pm

Monica - Thanks so much! Iโ€™m anxious to try it!

November 16, 2017 - 4:13 pm

Gigi - Hello Monica, thank you for your kind words. Yes, I use it with spelt flour. It’s basically 5-6 cups of flour, 2 cups of warm water with 4 tsp. of yeast. Salt added as needed/desired. You can change it to be however you want – add sugar, honey, oil, or just leave it with the flour/salt/water. It is a handy basic bread recipe. I often add cheese, too. I use it for cinnamon buns, French bread and rolls. When shaping, it makes two loaves. Of course, you can double, triple, etc. the recipe but I prefer fresh baked bread over frozen. ๐Ÿ™‚

November 16, 2017 - 1:21 pm

Monica - Also, the bread recipe that is linked in your blog post, do you use spelt for that and if so are the measurements the same? I recently ordered some spelt berries and have enjoyed cooking with spelt flour. I haven’t tried bread with it, tho. Thanks!

November 16, 2017 - 1:16 pm

Monica - I found your blog a few weeks ago and it has been so inspiring! Thank you for it! We have six children, live on a farm, and I love to bake. ๐Ÿ™‚ Your kitchen is lovely! Thanks so much for sharing.:)

November 16, 2017 - 6:13 am

Gigi - I have only ever bought mine online. Herbie’s Herbs in Toronto carries them!

November 16, 2017 - 4:06 am

Megan newbury - Hi Gillian…I wanted to make some elderberry syrup but cannot find the berries in town…any hints where to get them?

November 15, 2017 - 9:13 am

Sue - Oh what a nice suprise…ive been so looking forward to seeing how you “make it all happen” in your kitchen! I LOVE our humble kitchen also which we renovated ourselves years ago when we bought our home.
Thank you for such an inspiring post to see all the wonderful creations that come from the heart of your home!!

November 14, 2017 - 6:51 pm

Sarah - Your kitchen is beautiful! I really liked the quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe, it is so true. My mom is a terrific cook, as was my grandma and great-grandma! Cooking has always been an expression of love in our family. My great-grandma didn’t have much, but she was always baking pies and cookies to give her children and grandchildren. The kitchen has always been the heart of the home for me. Tonight’s dinner was broccoli quiche and canned tomatoes. ๐Ÿ™‚

November 14, 2017 - 6:51 pm

Katy - Such a lovely post! Indeed, the kitchen is the central hub of a home! Ours is in the center of our home actually! When we built an addition onto our house we did so off the back door off the kitchen….so now our kitchen is right in the middle! :o)

I too have a curtain under my kitchen sink! Yours looks lovely! ๐Ÿ™‚ We still need to redo our kitchen one day (Lord willing) but we have made it work for the 16 + years we have lived here…making it our own over time! I would love to make some *big* changes….but alas, money and time do not allow it and honestly, I will be content if we never change it. Our kitchen is full of delightful memories and love. ๐Ÿ™‚

I always enjoy your posts! So glad I found your blog a while back! THanks for sharing!

Warmly,
Katy

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