Mama and the kitchen, went hand-in-hand, I’d say;

There’s where you always found her, almost any time of day,

She’d be kneading dough or stirring up a pot of ham ‘n’ beans,

Or maybe washing up a bowl of fresh-picked dandelion greens

she might be baking cookies, or chopping apples to make pies,

Or making doughnuts  that might have inside some kind of small surprise;

She could be drying fresh-picked parsley or the tops of celery leaves,

we would welcome them in winter when the garden patch would freeze;

Or she might be drying noodles on the backs of kitchen chairs,

or fixing to can ripe fruits such as apples, plums, and pears.

In the morning  you could smell the coffee boiling in a pot,

along with fried potatoes and a slice of ham cooked hot,

then mama would get busy baking bread or shelling beans,

And send me to the garden to collect the freshest greens;

We butchered hogs late in the fall, though papa did the most,

but mama made the sausages of which she’d proudly boast;

No one around could make a sausage quite as good as she,

And she cooked down the strained-out lard, as white as it could be,

the pantry shelves were lined with jars with food that we could savor,

the cellar filled and overflowing with the fruits of mama’s labors;

Living on a country farm was hard and rough at best

and it took someone like mama to stand up to the test;

throughout my life I saw her there, always in the kitchen,

And you never knew what next mama might be fixing.


My mama died as she had lived, her apron still tied on her;

we found her on the kitchen floor, coffee beans spilled all around her.

SANDY’S FOODNOTE:  fyi – the mama in this poem is actually based on my paternal grandmother; she was the one always busy in the kitchen and it was  she who dried noodles on the backs of kitchen chairs. I remember that well. She had sour cooking apple trees out back from which she made the most delicious strudels. In the fall, grandma & grandpa had a hog to butcher (I have no idea where it came from; my sister Becky remembered how the men made sausages down in the cellar; it was a good thing I never saw any of that; I would have become a vegetarian for all of my life. my grandpa also had a crop of grape vines and made his own grape wine.. I’ll have to nag my brother Jim for other memories; he is the only other sibling older than me and all the aunts and uncles are gone, now. – sls

Originally posted June 28, 2010

Updated September 21, 2018AN

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