Country Kitchen: Memories Around the Kitchen Table

Country Kitchen: Memories Around the Kitchen Table

By Mary Emma Allen

So many family happenings take place around the dining table, leaving us with memories which shape our lives. My family wonders why I collect these family tables and enjoy them as three generations gather around for meals, to do homework, chat over a cup of tea, or work on crafts and projects.

Many of my "Country Columns" are written there as I set up my notebook computer at the table while grandchildren and grand nieces play around me.

Dining Tables in Your Life

Think of the kitchen or dining tables of your childhood, early married years, and later days when more than one generation gathered there. These may be tables you have in your possession now or simply ones you recall in memory. I never thought tables would be something to collect, to use in my home today.

But as my parents and my husbandÂ’s left their homes for smaller abodes or residency in assisted living homes, the large dining tables were among the possessions they couldnÂ’t take with them.

Between my daughter and myself, we have three kitchen tables - one from my childhood and two from my husbandÂ’s. Once when asked to write a note to her grandparents about her favorite visits at their farm, my daughter mentioned gathering in the kitchen around the large table. How enjoyable that she now has that table, which sheÂ’ll use in her home. The memories of her grandparentsÂ’ kitchen will be carried forth to her children and rituals from her childhood may be experienced throughout the years.

Our Current Table

The dining table we use in our multi-generational household was the special one my mother-in-law purchased when she finally could have a more formal dining room after children were grown. This trestle table was one she dreamed of for she enjoyed as she entertained family and friends. I recall her pleasure in obtaining different table cloths and placemats for this table, decorating it for various festive occasions, and entertaining as she hadnÂ’t been able when children were small.

Since we have a dining area large enough for it, and a family large enough to use it, the table became ours when Mom moved to a retirement home. Now her great grandchildren gather round for meals and activities. We call it Grandma G-GÂ’s table and recall the fun times in her home, highlighted by a 90th surprise birthday party. Family and friends gathered at this table and others set up inside and out the house.

Memories of My Childhood

The table from my childhood is well worn and needs much refinishing.

"Why donÂ’t you throw it out?" IÂ’m asked.

"It holds too many memories," I answer. "WeÂ’ll find time to refinish it and someday I or grandchildren will use it."

Do you have table in your life which tells a story...whether from long ago or more recent years? Jot down or record these memories for future generations and insure your family heritage will survive.

Mary Emma's Recipe

AUNTIEÂ’S OMELET was a dish my aunt served at the kitchen table in their farmhouse, usually for supper. Separate 3 eggs; beat yolks and add 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper, 1/2 cup milk, adding the milk alternately with the flour so mixture isnÂ’t lumpy. Beat whites until stiff and fold into yolk mixture. Cook 7 minutes in greased skillet with cover. Add 1/4 cup grated cheese about one minute before removing omelet from stove.

(C) 2002 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has been writing her "Cooking Column" for newspapers and online publications for 30 years and has compiled a family cookbook. SheÂ’s currently compiling a cookbook/story book, "Tales From a Country Kitchen." Visit her web site for more cooking articles. Contact her at

The Country Kitchen Series

Window to the World

Mud Season Means Spring!

Memories at the Kitchen Table

The Pioneer Kitchen


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