Remembering Grandma's kitchens
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My grandmother was short -- shorter than 5 feet -- and chubby. She always wore what people in the 1930s and '40s called a house dress. Her gray hair was always pulled up and rolled into a bun. And when she was cooking, which seemed like all the time, she wore an apron over her house dress.
She cooked in both the upstairs and the basement kitchens. She made the various types of pasta on a long table in the upstairs kitchen.
To get to the basement kitchen, which she used primarily for canning, from the upstairs kitchen, she had to walk through a doorway that led to narrow cement steps. There also was a basement entry.
The basement was dark and cold and had three sections. One section had shelves along the length of the walls. That's where my grandmother kept her jars of sauces and jams. My cousin Elaine told me that she also canned pears, peaches and cherries. The pears came from the tree my grandfather planted near the chicken coop. The peaches and cherries came from relatives who lived a few houses away up Glass Run Road. In that part of the basement, too, was the wine press.
In another section was a big round table piled with tomatoes from my grandparents' garden. My cousins and I, ranging in age from 3 to 15 or 16, would sneak into the basement and grab some of the tomatoes, then go outside and sit on the wall and eat them. I'll never forget how good they tasted, especially with the salt we stole from the upstairs kitchen.
The downstairs kitchen (basically a stove and some pots and pans) and the laundry were in the third section of the basement. I remember a huge green-and-white enamel stove with curved legs and a long wooden table that looked like a work bench.
First Published January 10, 2013 12:00 am