Kitchen Memories

The prompt I chose for today’s Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop is:

3.) Write about your favorite place to eat when you were a child.

Growing up in a rural area in the 1950’s/1960’s, eating out was a very rare occurence. The first time I actually remember eating at a restaurant was probably when I was around twelve years old.  I was on a day trip to Williamsburg with my aunt and my grandmother.

Eating out was a luxury that was unheard of around our house. So, I must say that my favorite place to eat as a child was: in our kitchen.

Our kitchen table was the formica and chrome type. Because the room was fairly small, the table was pushed against a wall. There was a window, looking out on a screen porch, beside the table. Since it was usually just my Mom and me at the table (my dad died when I was an infant), only two of the four chairs were used regularly.

Both my sisters were married by the time I was four. So when they visited with their families, we’d pull the table away from the wall, round up extra chairs, and everyone would squeeze close together for the meal. There were times that we may have had as many as eight people crowded around a table meant for four.

Summertime meals were mostly vegetables that Mom grew in her little garden: corn, green beans snaps, green garden peas, fried squash with onions, cabbage, potatoes.  Dinner was served in the middle of the day, and supper was at night.

Sunday dinners seemed to always be fried chicken, mashed creamed potatoes and peas. Sometimes Mom would have fish, which I didn’t care for, but I loved the (homemade) cole slaw and fried “lacy” cornbread patties she always served with it. Pork chops were an occasional meal, as was spaghetti. Since my nieces and nephews visited quite a bit, we always wanted hot dogs or hamburgers and french fries. And Mom didn’t buy the frozen ones: she peeled and cut up her own potatoes.

Thanksgiving always meant turkey and Mom’s delicious dressing. She never stuffed the turkey with it, but baked it in a HUGE pyrex dish. It was so good, I remember eating cold leftovers, right from the fridge.

image from

By the time I was twelve, I had three nieces and three nephews. So there were many meals around that old table. Lots of spills, probably a few arguments among us kids, but looking back, it’s mostly the good times I remember.
But, as I was writing this post, I realized how sad I am that I don’t have a single picture taken in that kitchen.
Mama’s Losin’ It

28 responses to “Kitchen Memories

  1. Oh the memories of eating at the kitchen table. Food just tasted better in the kitchen with the smells coming from the stove and the family all together.

  2. Hmmm…home fried potatoes. I’m sure what your mama prepared was better than any restaurant. Great post.

  3. BUT you did eat fish at our house but probably don’t remember!!! Remember that HUGE dictionary that the smallest niece or nephew sat on to reach the table?! Wonderful memories…

  4. Dianna, I love this post. We had the same type of kitchen table and I think our mom’s were cooking the same types of food called by the same names for dinner and supper:) What wonderful memories!!

  5. Wonderful memory-evoking post. I think many of us had that same formica table. And I’m so glad to know you call the noon time meal DINNER and the night time meal SUPPER. That still throws off hubbs who calls it lunch and dinner, respectively.

    mmmm snaps 🙂 MJ

  6. Lovely memories…..I always enjoyed eating in our kitchen too instead of the dining room. Dad expected us to “sit up straight” and eat everything on our plate when we were in the dining room – the rules relaxed a bit in the kitchen! 🙂


  7. The pictures are forever etched in your mind as wonderful memories that you can share . 🙂

  8. I think the best memories are the ones made at home. I loved hiding under my aunt’s table as a child, listening to the adults talk as they prepared dinner. It’s something I’ll never forget (and hope that I’m creating similar memories for my kids).

  9. We also only ate “out” once or twice a year but my favorite meals were on our summer vacations to Rehoboth Beach, DE at my grandparents tiny cottage. We ate everything we caught! We fished, crabbed and dug for clams almost every day. We bought our beach cottage to “pay if forward” and occasionally, cooking and sharing what we catch!

  10. I’d always love being in the kitchen as well. We did everything in there from eating, schoolwork, and playing games. We still get together every week and play games around the table. Even Bugaboo loves to sit around and watch us. I hope he will have some of the same great memories as me!

  11. That all sounds like yummy food & arounf the Kitchen Table is the best place to be with family…eating out is “nic” but nothing can beat the comfort and security of our own kitchens! GREAT POST!

  12. ditto for me, we could not aford to eat out but mom’s kitchen was the best place in town to eat!!

  13. Great one! And it’s really cool to know that the dictionary I walk past every day was the one used for the nieces & nephews! I’ll be eating at the kitchen table tonight – no dictionary needed 😉

  14. Dianna, these are priceless memories! They brought back my memories of our tiny kitchen and the good, simple food Mama cooked. Thanks!!

  15. Dianna sounds nice this afternoon-take me back to those days. I remember eating two Hostess Chocolate cupcakes and a glass of Tang every morning for breakfast before school on a table similar to the one you have pictured. Mom gave up fighting with me about breakfast 🙂 Your Sunday dinners sound wonderful and special. I still love Sundays, the best day of the week because of the food and family together. CH and I were just talking about how sad it is that we have hardly any pictures of waaaaaaaaaay back. My family just were not picture takers of the every day stuff. Maybe we need to think about that and no matter how insignificant it seems we should snap a picture just for the memory.

  16. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I have any pictures of my old kitchen either. But it was the same kind of table – and spaghetti and meatballs was my favorite. It’s still what I go for when I need some comfort food.

  17. Your mom’s kitchen table sounds like a wonderful place for meals and memories. As a kid I ate almost every dinner on a square green formica table in our kitchen…but the table had a little drawer built in, where I would put food that I didn’t want to eat. My mom would find the food days later in that drawer, all dried up!

  18. Lovely recollection, Dianna. The table you have pictured is almost exactly the same as the one still sitting in my parents’ kitchen. That table was purchased about 1958 in Virginia. My parents took it with them when my father was stationed in two other places. They retired to Florida–and brought the table. Unfortunately, the table now sits alone, as both of my parents are in an assisted living facility. That table has lots of history carved (literally) into its formica top! There is a multitude of scratches and cuts from knives in the yellow top. Thanks for making me think about it.

  19. The only time we ate “out” was the annual family reunion. Enjoyed reading your great kitchen memory. That was the best dressing, baked in the oven.

  20. Love this – I can picture you all squeezed in together – such a wonderful memory.

  21. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    Grandmother Matthews and Uncle had a table just like that but it was yellow. I can not for the life of me remember what kind of table Momma had. I loved your blog!!

  22. If only they had digital cameras back then

  23. What beautiful memories, and unique in that your nieces and nephews were closer in age to you than your own siblings. See you again next week. 🙂

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