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Thoughts Around Kitchen Tables

Have you ever thought about the way we sometimes use rooms in our homes in slightly different ways than their designers envisioned? Take a kitchen, for example: it is primarily designed as a place to store, prepare, and serve food. It’s also where we clean up after cooking. But really, an eat-in kitchen is the command center and heart of our home.

My mother’s kitchen table, typical for the 1960s, had a green Formica top and chrome plated legs. She covered the chairs with matching vinyl. The chair’s vinyl coverings were considered attractive at the time, but man they stuck to your legs when it was hot. Sitting at the kitchen table, I did my homework under her watchful eye as she prepared supper. Afterwards she would cut material for my new dress and later set up her sewing machine there. At this table, I also learned to count money as she counted her tips and set aside money for bills in envelopes. After I grew up and moved away, Momma and I would drink coffee and “catch up” around the kitchen table.

I’ve had a variety of kitchen tables over the years. Much like me, in my childhood, my children did their homework at the kitchen table. Over supper, we reconnected after busy days filled with work and the children's extracurricular activities. On the weekends or on snowbound days, we played board games around the same table. When I made my children’s clothes, my sewing machine sat on the kitchen table. In the days of writing checks, I gathered my bills and paid them while sitting at the kitchen table.

My children are all in their own homes now, there’s no need to fit our family of six around a kitchen table. My current kitchen table is actually an island. The butcher block top is easily cleaned, and its white base matches my cabinets. The island was the perfect solution for us, more storage and a casual place for my husband and me to eat. It’s where I do arts and crafts with my grandchildren. It’s the gathering place when everyone visits. My daughter and I have coffee there much like Momma and I did.

Around all these tables: plans were made, lessons learned, and things created. The kitchen table was truly the command center of a home. Now I pay bills online and I have a sewing room which doubles as a bedroom when my grandchildren visit. I write on a laptop which sits at a small desk in my den. Still, the connecting space is my kitchen island; my husband and I catch up over supper; my children and grandchildren hang out while I cook. So while the command center aspect has been somewhat diluted, my kitchen is still the heart of my home.

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