When mama’s in the kitchen

making biscuits, cake, or bread,

or even simple cookies,

I mind each word she says;


We both put on our aprons

that mama sewed herself,

she sends me to the pantry

to fetch things from the shelf.


From the well I tote in water,

and eggs from the chicken coop,

I fetch kindling from the woodpile,

Mama says we’ll make some soup.


She kills a hen no longer laying,

with a quick twist of its neck,

And sets me to plucking out the feathers,

I am good at this, by heck,


From the garden mama fetches

parsley, carrots and beans,

from the cellar pa brings taters,

the finest ones he’s seen.


When the chicken’s cooking

in a big pot on the stove,

ma sets to mixing things

to make bread, several loaves,


She bakes bread in a roasting pan,

It rises light and brown,

and with a bit of butter,

a crust is mighty fine.


By suppertime we’re eating,

hot chicken soup and bread,

and with a glass of cold milk,

You know that you’ve been fed.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted June 6, 2010,

Updated in An American Childhood

September 2, 2018


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