Country Kitchen: Summer-The Time of the Child

Country Kitchen: Summer-The Time of the Child

By Mary Emma Allen

As I'm surrounded by grandchildren, grand nieces, and their friends this summer, I realize that summer is a "time of the child." I sit at my laptop, writing articles and stories while children ask me questions...and become a source of inspiration.

Watching the children, participating in some of their activities, taking them to the library and going on walks, reminds me of my childhood on the farm and that of my daughter and her cousins. These are the years for children to form bonds with their siblings and cousins and create memories they'll share with their children.

Building Club Houses

Are children really so different from those of years ago if we let them use their imaginations and creativity? My grandchildren make club houses from scrap lumber, a discarded shower curtain, and fallen branches, just as my brothers, sister and I did.

Here youngsters can while away time reading, eating a picnic lunch, playing games, playing house, or simply chatting. ItÂ’s a world away from the television, video games, and the computer.

Wonder with Your Children

Make summer your "time of the child", too - a time to wonder, to explore, to enjoy, to see your world through the eyes of your children or grandchildren.

Even if itÂ’s only a hour after work and supper, devote this as family time. My parents were busy with farming and housework in the days before many modern conveniences.

However, somehow, after dark, after the long day of planting or harvesting, we sat on the front porch or lawn. While Mother and Father rested, we children watched the fireflies and scurried around the yard trying to catch them.

Sometimes Grandmother was visiting and joined us. We talked about the dayÂ’s work, upcoming events, the Sunday school picnic, the vegetables we'd exhibit at the county fair, the latest 4-H project.

By simply taking this time as a family after the chores were done, my parents created memories I pass along to my daughter and grandchildren.

Take the Time

Step on cracks in the sidewalk, watch ants scurrying around their hills, listen to the birdsÂ’ cheery songs in the early morning, sniff flowers in the garden and pick a few to brighten indoors, laugh at a puppyÂ’s antics, enjoy the simple things in life which children call to our attention. Enjoy these simple pleasures with your children and brighten your days of summer. For this is a time for discovery and a time to form memories for later years...memories which bind the family together.

Cooking Together

Cooking together can be fun, too.

PEANUT BUTTER & TOMATO SANDWICHES - This simple recipe was a favorite lunch sandwich my husband and his brothers made when they were youngsters. Jim still often prepares it for his lunch. Although this sounds like a strange combination, I learned that itÂ’s quite tasty.

Spread bread slices (wheat, white, or rye bread) with mayonnaise and peanut butter. Top with sliced tomatoes, cucumber if desired, and lettuce. My husband often adds a slice of cheese. He also likes to accompany his with a dill pickle instead of putting cucumber slices on the sandwich.

(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

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