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Kitchen world

Lead Summary

HCP columnist

A kitchen is defined as a place where food is prepared and cooked, but I believe – and we all really know – that a kitchen can be so very much more.

Her daughter had called ahead to let her know that we would be stopping by. We stood on the back kitchen step as I knocked on the old wooden door. I could hear a soft voice on the other side telling me to come on in.

We stepped inside quickly, trying to keep out the cold evening air, but I could feel that some of the chill still slipped in beside us. And there we were, standing inside her kitchen – her world.

A plate of just-baked cookies sat on the table before us. Their warm scent filled the air. From her wheelchair, she gave us a tour of her kitchen home. A warm bed was set up in one corner, covered with a handmade, patchwork quilt. An easy chair was next to the table, and there was room for her to wheel herself about from cook stove to chair to bed.

She explained that she no longer used the rest of the old farmhouse, and that this one high-ceilinged room was all that she really needed. This was the home where she had always lived, where she had raised her children and watched after her grandchildren, and where her great-grandchildren now came to visit.

She showed us the windows where she could look out across her farm fields and told us about all of her family who lived just down the road, over this way and that, and just across the way over on the other side of the road.

The pride in her voice told us that this was not only her home, but her family’s corner of the county, her family’s corner of the whole wide world.

We told her of our city life and how we had left it behind for the beauty of the country that had always been her home. We talked of what we had learned over the past 11 years. How we had learned to grow a large garden, gather free-range chicken eggs, keep bees and boil down maple sap into syrup – things that we were still learning – and things that had always been a part of her life.

She offered us some cookies, and we promised to return as we left her warmth and walked back outside into the chill evening air. And then this morning, when I woke up and looked out the cabin window at the season’s first snow, I thought of her, in her warm kitchen world, looking out across the frost-covered fields to her daughter’s house, smiling as she began her kitchen world day.

Perhaps she would bake some more cookies for her great-grandchildren. Perhaps she would listen to the radio or visit with family who happened to stop by, but no matter what, her kitchen world would be warm and secure, and she would be surrounded by loving family, and her familiar farm fields.

I look out the cabin’s kitchen window and see the chickens hovering by their coop, tentatively taking turns as they venture out into the first snow.

First one and then another dashes out and across the white field to the goat yard, and as I stand by the window, I cannot help but smile. I imagine that their chicken feet must be ever so cold, but I am toasty warm filled with thoughts of this holiday season of warm food prepared in warm 
kitchens filled with family and friends.

I smile, knowing without a doubt that a kitchen can be so much more than its definition of a place where food is prepared and cooked. I know without a doubt that every kitchen has the ability to be its own very special corner of the world.

Christine Tailer is an attorney who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at

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