This kitchen has seen a lot. It’s been through a semi-major renovation when we moved in (new tile counters, paint, linoleum floor, stove, hood, dishwasher and refrigerator), as well as little upgrades here and there over the years (paint, new fridge and dishwasher, FLOR carpet tiles). It has weathered myriad mishaps, misuse, and mistreatment. It has been the setting for business meetings, cooking lessons, canning parties, and tears.
This kitchen is the scene of approximately 4,600 loads of dishes, 4,000 dinners, and 360 batches of cookies. I sliced off the outside of my right pinkie finger in this very place, necessitating a trip to the ER, 6 stitches, and an unusable hand for a week. I have baked children’s birthday cakes, made soup for sick friends, and roasted 15 Thanksgiving turkeys. My canning kettle has perched precariously on the gas burners, boiling away with jars of pickles, lemon curd, jams, jellies, onion marmalade. I have churned out pounds and pounds of homemade sausage on these counters.
My children learned to cook in this kitchen. I have tested an untold number of recipes for my blog and food column here. This kitchen has nourished our family, our friends, our co-workers. It has been a welcome hangout for friends of all ages. Its life is coming to an end, never to look the same again.
For the most part I will not miss it. But there is one very special piece of this place that will pain me to lose. I’ve already confessed to a friend that I will shed tears upon its removal. It is our chalkboard. This 4x6 foot chalkboard has been the communications center of our household for 15 years. Phone messages, reminders, shopping lists, To Do lists, funny drawings—this board has seen it all. Every holiday it is decorated with a festive message. Every party we’ve ever had yielded funny bon mots from our guests, which could get downright X-rated after a night of serious debauchery. My new kitchen will not have a wall to accommodate the chalkboard and so we must sadly bid it adieu. In fact, last night I asked Brilliant Daughter to write a farewell message on behalf of the family.
And so we say goodbye. I will gladly take the sledgehammer and knock out the first cabinet and then go back to my temporary office in the guest room and get to work, while my busy bees make short work of the existing kitchen. In less than a month everything will be brand new, and I will start making new memories in a new kitchen.