Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In My Grandmother's Kitchen

I'm reading a new cookbook, At My Grandmother's Knee, Recipes and Memories Handed Down by Women in the South by Faye Porter. I just started reading so I'm not ready to review yet. But, just thinking about the theme of the book makes me think back to my own childhood and the time I spent in my Grandmother's kitchen.

She was my Great-Grandmother, my daddy's grandmother. She and Granddaddy lived behind us, and since both of my parents worked, I spent most of my days with my grandparents before I started school. It's safe to say that she spoiled me and allowed me to do things that my parents would never have tolerated. Most of my antics took place in her kitchen, and very little of them had to do with eating.

When I was three, I climbed up on the kitchen table to plunder in some grocery bags that had just entered the house. A few minutes later, I layed crumpled on the floor with a broken arm. Curiousity doesn't kill the cat, but it does break its limb.

Around the same age, Curious Kim decided that she liked the taste of baby aspirins. So, when Grandmother's back was turned, I climbed up on the kitchen counter, opened the medicine cabinet, and ate an entire bottle of aspirins. This lead to an unfortunate episode of having my stomach pumped. Fortunately, my young memory of the actual pumping has been erased, although I clearly remember sitting at the drug store counter next to the doctor's office eating a bowl of strawberry ice cream. The doctor had given me a little money for my trouble and sent me there for a treat! The mercy of selective memory...

Thanks to Sesame Street, I learned to spell at an early age. And, my writing skills were just as advanced. With a green marker, I walked around Grandmother's house and wrote the word "open" on anything that had a hinge. The irony is that my younger son does the same thing, but he writes it on paper and tapes it all over the house. He, too, is quite the Sharpie fan. But, for some reason, it's just not as funny now as it was when I did it...

And, finally, I can't tell you the number of hours I sat at my Grandmother's kitchen table studying her Sears Christmas catalog, a notepad at my side. Still too young to read, I was able to copy the item numbers from the catalog to my pad. Oh, how I excited I was to think that someday I would be applying make-up to the life-size Barbie head. My order would be arriving soon after I got it mailed. Grandmother would indulge me by allowing me to seal the order in an envelope and to take the envelope to the mailbox for the carrier to pick up. Surprisingly, the items never arrived...Oh, I have known disappointment from an early age!

I never went to kindergarten - too busy for that nonsense! But, I started the first grade when I was five. And, though she would have never admitted it, I'm sure my Grandmother breathed a sigh of relief on my first day of school!

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