Friday, November 21, 2014

Reflections from my small kitchen..

Something about the onset of winter has me baking and cooking in the kitchen. I love to cook but I love it even more when the wind is blowing and it is rainy or snowing out. It just makes me feel all snug and cozy and warm. 

I have to tell you too, I have the world's smallest kitchen. Seriously. It is a very small counter and the kitchen can fit two people in it at once, if they squeeze tight. But it doesn't stop me. And it didn't stop my grandma either. This kitchen may be small, but it produced our family's Thanksgiving dinner every year when I was kid, forever and ever. My grandma made it all too~ turkey, mashed potatoes, green veggies, pies of all kinds, and my very favorite, Yorkshire Pudding. Just thinking about that Yorkshire Pudding brings tears to my eyes, with missing her. It was always made last, and we all anxiously awaited its arrival at the table, fresh from the oven. My uncle and I are both end piece lovers, and I remember being very little and hoping that when it made its way to me, there was an end piece left. 

So now, when I bake in the very same kitchen, I think of my grandma, and I feel so connected to her and those family holidays.

One thing I made recently is this Challah bread.

 Raspberry-Sea Salt Challah from Girl Versus Dough

She made hers with fig as well, but I don't care for fig so I left it out. It turned out so good! The process for me was messy and slow going ~ it took me five hours as I am not an experienced challah maker at all! But the end results were pretty and tasty, and I was pretty darn proud of myself. I think my grandma would have been too. 

I've also been churning out my own version of Spicy Vegetable soup by the potful, and assorted pastas, including the Pioneer Woman's Mac and Cheese. I love that stuff and could eat it every day! My husband was even hit by the baking bug, and made the most delicious Madeline's, so light and lemony, that I enjoyed one morning for breakfast. 

Of course, I am looking forward to Thanksgiving as well. I plan to make Nantucket Cranberry Pie, which I made last year, and it seemed like people liked it. 

Baking pie was a specialty of my grandma's. She always made her own pie crust by hand, and I loved to sneak the scraps of dough to eat. People say there isn't a difference between homemade and frozen crust, but maybe that is because they haven't had quality homemade crust, like my grandma used to make. 

Food is memory, is sensory. Food is family, and love. I think of all those memories of my grandma, of baking shortbread with my mother, of baking now in my little kitchen that has seen so many meals, the kitchen I will bake in for my own child one day soon, and there is something soothing and wonderful about it all. 


  1. Your post is so well-written and sentimental that I was misting up while reading it! You are so lucky to live in the house where your grandma lived and cooked in her little kitchen. So many memories you can pass along to your baby.
    I envy you your yeast bread baking, which I just can't do myself. I prefer cooking to baking because I don't have to be precise and I can change things up and it turns out okay. But your Challah bread, yum, so tasty looking! I've only had egg Challah from a bakery. Enjoy your baking in your nice little kitchen while the weather outside is storming!

    1. Aw thanks Rita. I was feeling pretty sentimental this morning, thinking about different things. This kitchen might be little, but it has served many people!

      I am not good at dessert baking~ that eludes me. Bread though, I can do. :) There is something so homey about it to me. I think it works for me because I love it so much that I am willing to give it the time it needs, where with desserts, like cakes, cookies, cupcakes, I am maybe more rushed and impatient.

      Thanks Rita! I don't know what I am making next, but I am looking forward to it!

  2. I like bread baking too though I don't do it too much. Time to bake rolls for Thanksgiving!

    1. I love it, but it really takes so much time, that I don't do it as often as I want either. Rolls for Thanksgiving! Yum!!

  3. Everything looks and sounds wonderful! Happy Thanksgiving!


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