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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Fond Kitchen Memories

I close my eyes and can recall in vivid detail every kitchen we have had since being newlyweds. That's no small feat considering including this kitchen and not including the RV kitchen the count is 15. I can easily tell stories about each kitchen as well. Our first kitchen was a very small kitchenette suitable for boiling water and making toast. Our second kitchen was a small eat in with my signature dish being a hamburg based casserole. I discovered my new husband did not like peas as he picked out every pea from that casserole. Our third kitchen, a small U-shape apartment kitchen, was where I learned to make chili and almost gave up after a small flash fire. It's where I perfected our Sunday dinner of shake & bake chicken, mashed potatoes and frozen corn. An elderly neighbour gave us cherries so I learned to make cherry pies aka cherry soup. Our first baby survived my adventures in making baby food in that kitchen where I learned that babies turn into green volcanos if fed blended up brussel sprouts. Our fourth kitchen was a small apartment kitchen with cream walls that we added two huge racing stripes in bright orange and brown. It was a rather daring look, quite uncharacteristic for us and something we have never attempted again. A lot of good food came out of that kitchen. The fifth kitchen was a big farm kitchen with little counter space, crooked floor and my very own wringer washer that seemed to go all the time for diapers. Our sixth kitchen signified our coming of age with a spiffy new microwave oven. The kitchen was a pale green somewhat fitting to how we felt after eating my first attempt at duck al orange.

Then we made the big move across a few provinces to the seventh kitchen. It was the official cookie kitchen with a seemingly endless plate of cookies always on the counter. Our kids played with the neighbour kids in the adjoining dining area while the neighbourhood women and I enjoyed endless pots of coffee during the morning. Our eighth kitchen was a small apartment kitchen for only a couple of months. I was expecting so we did a lot of home cooking and a fair amount of entertaining. The kitchen was always busy.

Making our way back to our home province our nineth kitchen was a small apartment kitchen, a temporary one of one month until our tenth kitchen. It was a small eat in kitchen with buit-in appliance and our very first purchased refrigerator. My husband's aunt gave us dozens of ears of corn so we sat on the front porch husking them then my MIL came over to show us how to freeze them. That same year she taught me how to can relish, make spaghetti sauce from scratch and several more of my husband's family favourites. We finially made the leap into home ownership with our eleventh kichen. Joining our very own fridge was a gorgeous circa 1950 about 40-inch stove with warming oven. It was a real beauty! We welcomed our youngest and last child to our family there. The signature dish from that kitchen was quiche and it has remained a family favourite. That kitchen saw a dramatic increase in canning and freezing. We bought an old chest freezer to store our first quarter of cow and have been buying meat that way ever since. We also bought our first dishwasher, a used portable that cost us $50 but with a houseful of kids it was very much appreciated. Our twelveth kitchen was a real beauty. It was a large eat-in kitchen in a turn of the century home we renovated. By renovating I mean renovating - all new electricial, new plumbing, new kitchen, siding, roofing and so much more. That kitchen was the hub of the house. We kept our fridge, replaced the stove with a brand new stove (actually brand new!), added a second freezer and replaced our old freezer with one generously given to us. The kitchen was always filled with our kids and their friends. Opening onto a deck to the pool it was our entertainment area always overflowing with people. During the summer when the pool was open our friends gathered so the kitchen was always busy. During the winter we put in an ice rink and our friend gathered. Shortly after moving into that home we bought a large travel trailer. I discovered the cooking shows which brought about a lot of interesting cooking. The kids did their homework at the kitchen table and after they went to bed I spent many and hour doing my homework. Home cooking was a daily activity and canning as often as possible even though I was a full time student. Between the two kitchens there was a lot of good food, good times and some not so good times but all of them very precious memories. After several years we tired of the turn of the century home aka virtual money pit so moved onto our thirteenth kitchen. It was a smaller L-shaped kitchen where we splurged on ceramic tile flooring. I painted the cupboards white with matching white walls trimmed with a muted pink, blue and silver border. The floor was a mottled blue ceramic and pulled from that was the matching blue for the countertop. It was that house we learned you can indeed paint laminate countertops. That kitchen saw us become empty nesters as well. We began experimenting with more gourmet foods but the staple of the kitchen was always homestyle cooking. Moving to our fourteenth in a cottage turned into year round living on the water allowed us to be whimsical in decor. We painted the kitchen pink! It was during this time that this blog came to be hence the pink that remains part of this blog's design. Onto this our fifteenth kitchen where we have enjoyed doing a small renovation while watching the amazing water view. Despite the small size of this kitchen it is a real workhorse. The focus remains on home style cooking combined with a touch of gourmet experimenting. Such memories are a testimony as to how our kitchen regardless where it has been is the centre and heart of our home. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for the sixteenth and seventeeth kitchens.

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