If I Were a Kitchen

If I were a kitchen,
I’d want an old-fashioned woman
at my counters – rolling dough
canning pickles, chutney, jam,
homemade pasta sauce,
and every Sunday, a roast.
She’d wear her sweat like a saint,
ignore her aching back –
one practiced hand feeding
her Carnation baby, while
other children flocked to Formica,
hot flesh sticking to vinyl
as they picked at fresh made
sweet buns, the pot on the stove
perpetually simmering.

Or give me modern efficiency –
ninjas and presses, air fryers
and induction cookers –
let the children belly up
to the breakfast bar, chomp
on veggies and humus, while
cook totes baby in a sling,
and preps bone broth,
strains of Baby Einstein
emitting from a propped up iPad,
while a cellphone vibrates
on granite, and the Keurig
spits out Starbucks Pike.

Just don’t abandon me,
piles of unopened mail,
or tossed aside receipts
company for coffee rings
on my counters.
Please don’t litter my surfaces
with rotting takeout containers, or
dishes caked with processed cheese –
don’t leave my stainless steel sinks
stained, spoiled food reeking
in the refrigerator, traces
of late night mishaps curdling
on the floor; absence of familiar
sounds declaring my presence invalid.

(Rewrite of a rewrite. Image my own)

Published by


Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

65 thoughts on “If I Were a Kitchen”

  1. Loved this poem! I have always thought of the kitchen as the heart of the home, the place where so many important conversations take place. The kitchen nurtures both the body and the soul. When my mother passed away this past January, everyone wanted her recipes, and we shared her many cookbooks. She was a wonderful cook!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! Sharing recipes is a wonderful thing. So many holidays are marked by a special food. We always have rice pudding at Christmas in celebration of our Nordic roots. Of course, we use Mom’s recipe every time!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, how I love this poem, VJ! The first stanza brings fond memories of my childhood. Unfortunately, my cooking skills can’t compare to my mother’s, however, I make an honest effort. My hubby is a great cook but a messy one so I am the cleanup crew, which I don’t mind. It’s nice to hear your voice. It adds much meaning to the poem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Eugi. The first kitchen was definitely torn from childhood, the second from my daughters. I’m in between, and like you am happy to clean up when my messy husband cooks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. VJ, this poem is wonderful! Three versions from a kitchen’s point of view – and it sounds like three versions of the poem as well. I never worked in a kitchen like either of the first two versions, but your imagery was so compelling that I could visualize myself in either. Just a delightful read.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Call me old-fashioned, but if I were a kitchen, I would loath and detest anyone who just threw plastic packages around. I’ve cooked twice a day every day since forever, and for seven people for a large chunk of that forever. Cooking means going to the market a couple of times a week, taking raw ingredients and preparing them, peeling slicing, cooking. I’ve never understood what people do in kitchens otherwise.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fantastic “snapshots” – what a contrast! Yet underlying both: Mom-in-kitchen. And she needs to find time to “be there” even though she’s called to be lots of other places in these modern times … your point that out nicely, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Jazz. I actually caught myself and changed “mom” to “cook” to break the stereotype. Either way, a happy home has someone heating up the kitchen.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Outstanding work, VJ, as you do. The first stanza reminded me of my southern born and raised grandmother. She could whip up a meal for dozens in no time. I enjoy cooking and don’t plan on abandoning my kitchen. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

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