I have always been obsessed with kitchens. Even before I was let loose chopping and stirring and rolling and most importantly, pouring water. I think it comes from having grown up in a house with a tiny kitchen. As my mother would put it, there was ‘barely room to swing a cat’. There really wasn’t. But it didn’t matter, I still loved spending time in it, helping my parents by creating more mess than might have been strictly necessary. I used to dream of larger kitchens, not so much for a good sized area to swing cats in, but for the floor space to add a table. I did grow up watching the Walton’s after all.
And now as a mother myself with three sons I have a kitchen of my own. And it is the hub of the home. I remember coming to view the house a few years ago and the previous owner saying she didn’t spend much time in other parts of the house. We have carried on this tradition. My kitchen probably looks a bit multi purpose from first glance. There’s a book shelf full of all the cook books I hopefully purchase, but never cook from (just me?!) hidden in part by various objects of art created by the boys.
There’s a double oven of which one is almost never used. (I seem to favour the right hand oven, not sure what the left hand oven has done to upset me). There’s a bowl of sea monkeys who seem to often be doing unmentionable things to each other. The less said about that the better. There’s a craft trolley, precariously balanced with glue and pens and stickers and paints and clay. There’s a fridge covered with party invites, yet more artwork, magnets, school letters and the odd photo. There’s a permanent fixture of a washing stand. The radio is always on, Radio 6 or 4 depending on the levels of tiredness and intellectual capability.
There have been so many moments here in my kitchen. Little memories of the fabric of family life that are meaningful and smile inducing. More happens here than anywhere else. It’s our gathering place; our happy place if you will. Magnet Kitchens are celebrating family moments in the kitchen and so asked me to share mine. There were too many to tell you about, so I have whittled it down to my top 5:
- Lawrence taking his first steps
Back in the summer of 2015, when we had not long been living in this house (just short of a month maybe), I had a shoot here for some recipe videos. It was a busy day, with home economists under a gazebo in the garden, chopping veggies and preparing pies and the like. The camera men were in and out of the house, depositing kit. And the production team sat at the table in my kitchen to discuss the recipe films and what we wanted to achieve. In the middle of all this hustle and bustle, little Laurie, who had just turned 1, was crawling on the floor. Suddenly, as if it were no big deal at all he rose up and walked across the kitchen to retrieve his train. No one other than he and I knew this was a special moment. He turned to me, smiling, and I clapped. He waddled off as if it were no big deal at all.
- Pancake Sundays
Sunday mornings are pancake day every week in our house. I can rarely muster the energy (or the stamina to deal with the mess) to make pancakes with the boys of a weekday morning but Sundays are more relaxed time wise. They measure the flour, the eggs and the milk, whisk away and then we get flipping. Max is a purist who prefers his pancakes plain whereas his brothers are big maple syrup fans. There is nothing but nothing which will cause everyone to be dressed and ready quick smart but the promise of pancakes. (In fact, any promise of baking, cooking and creating things to eat).
- Crafting afternoons
I was a child-crafter and I appear to have passed the gene on to at least two of my boys. Crafting is big in our house and the kitchen is the only place to do it. First off we spread newspaper on whatever surface we are working on (could be a kitchen counter, could be the table, could even be the floor) then we wheel out the trolley, and we’re off. The only limit is our imagination. We’ve made clay pots and snakes, cardboard box space ships, glitter covered card treasure chests, Christmas tree baubles and festive paper chains, hand print painted masterpieces and gluey matchstick towers. If we can think it, we make it.
- Planning the Christmas menu
Christmas is big in our house. Well, my name is ridiculously festive after all, so being a scrooge just isn’t on the agenda. The event that causes the most excitement (other than Christmas morning of course) is the planning and writing of the Christmas menu. We all sit around the kitchen table and make a long list of all the food we love to eat at Christmas, then we start to divide it into starters, mains and puddings. The eldest two boys write the menu and little Laurie helps to decorate it. It’s later photocopied and placed at every setting for Christmas lunch. It sounds like a small thing to do, but it really signifies that the festive season has started in our house.
Now if my boys were writing this they would not include this last weekly moment in their top 5. Every week the boys complete their homework in the kitchen. There’s space for books and iPads and pens and pencils. Laurie can be kept happy with some Playdoh ‘homework’ of this own and I can supervise everyone without too much stress. It’s regular, it’s mundane, it’s necessary and often it’s an uphill struggle, but as time is passing by so fast, and each child slowly needs me less with each passing year, I try and remember that they won’t always want or need my help with homework. That’s certainly not meant to sound twee; homework is not always fun. But their glee when they get it right and their enjoyment at reporting back on their spelling test results after working so hard, is such an innocent joy. (‘Statistician’ anyone? I am sure spellings were way easier when I was at school).
This post is supported by Magnet Kitchens. You can share your own kitchen memories at http://competition.magnet.co.uk/ for the chance to win a new Magnet kitchen. You can follow Magnet Kitchens on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/magnetkitchens or on twitter @MagnetUK or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/magnetkitchensuk/
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