In every home, the kitchen is the stand alone favorite spot to be in. It is the gathering place of all the hustle and bustle in the family home. The center of the kitchen is the almighty ‘kitchen table’. Other than a place for eating, it is a hotspot for family game night, homework, kids crafts and activities like carving out those Halloween pumpkins. It shows wear throughout the years with marked stains, or crayons and paint that seems to never come off… *sigh*.
With a DIY attitude, a wonderful idea can be to create your own Family Kitchen Table. This can be a project to start with being a couple as a 5th year anniversary (wood) or as a family to get the kids involved. Using wood from reclaimed to new varieties (birch, walnut, maple, etc.), you can create a center for your family. Visit Ana White for many DIY table plans to suit your style and handyman skills.
Rose Hayden-Smith has wonderful memories about kitchen tables. I hope she inspires you to either build a strong and sturdy table for your family or find one that speaks to you and keep for generations.
“In our home near Philadelphia, I remember my older sister sitting at the table in the spacious kitchen, trying to cajole me to eat more before we went to church. I was served the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten at that very table. It was at this table where my brother once committed the serious transgression of launching scrambled eggs at my sister, using his fork as the springboard. (This happened exactly once.) A few years later, in the San Fernando Valley, close by some citrus orchards where the California State University campus now stands, I recall eating wonderful meals at our new home, which featured a formal dining room, where my parents proudly used the plastic fruit I’d bought them as a gift as the table’s centerpiece. During the Vietnam War, when we lived on Edwards Air Force Base, our “kitchen table” was frequently a dining tray or the coffee table, as our family – like thousands of others – watched nightly television reports about the growing conflict.”
“I remember my Grandmother Eloise’s elegantly appointed dining room table in Clinton, Mississippi, where we always drank heavily sugared iced tea from the tallest glasses I’d ever seen, being certain to clink the ice with long handled silver spoons. My grandmother’s was the most modern kitchen I’d ever seen, and she dressed up for every meal. Only a few miles away, in Jackson, we took supper with my other grandparents, RJ and Pauline, at their small formica kitchen table in a modest home on a quiet tree-lined street. These grandparents, raised in a rural community, fed us homegrown sliced tomatoes, stewed okra, skillet cornbread, fish caught by my grandfather and bowls of steaming hot (and spicy!) gumbo.”
“I also remember the dinette set in my family’s small camping trailer, where my dad prepared and fed his kids Kraft Mac & Cheese and tuna fish. (Different food generation, but great dad!). It was also the table where we played board games and cards by lantern light, watching the Firefall at Yosemite Park. After dinner, games and a soothing cup of hot chocolate, the dinette set was folded down and became the bed I slept on.”
“When my husband and I got our first apartment in Northern California, we went to a used furniture store and bought a tiny bowed kitchen table. It was constructed of particleboard and covered with faux wood laminate, all that we could afford. We used it for years. It was where we prepared our budget-wise home cooked meals every night, clipped coupons and prepared for graduate exams.”
“When we bought our home in Southern California, we found ourselves with more space, but little cash to furnish it. While visiting a second-hand store in downtown Ventura, we fell in love with a large, heavy table. It was a little dinged up, was missing the leaves, but clearly had been loved by a large family. It featured an extra set of legs in the middle of the table, meant to support it at its grand length when fully extended. We paid what was for us a small fortune to purchase the table, and got friends to help us move it. We had no chairs, so a friend gave us four turn-of-the-(last)-century chairs salvaged from the U.S. Maritime Commission Office in Long Beach. They don’t match the table or each other, but we’ve never cared and have kept them for 27 years. They are simply marvelous.”
“We live in a small home, so our table serves as both kitchen and dining room table, just a foot or so from the counter and the stove. While a smaller table might make more sense, I’d never let this one go. We refinished it several years ago, and it turns out that it’s quite an unusual and valuable table, worth many, many times what we paid for it.”
“It’s certainly priceless to me, mostly because it has anchored our family in this house. As the child of movable tables and movable feasts, I’ve found its constant presence uniquely reassuring.”
“It’s where we’ve prepared food and school projects and where I do much of my work and writing. It’s where I wrote most of my book. It’s where I sat my daughter and bandaged her first skinned knee. It’s where the three of us shared breakfast together every morning. Where we’ve hosted birthday and holiday celebrations, team parties, young adult gatherings, study groups, committee meetings and card games (all involving good food and good people). It’s where we’ve had important family discussions, shared memories and laughed. It’s where my husband reads the sports page, where I fume over the editorial page, and where my daughter and I craft, and just sit and talk. It’s where I bring out my grandmother’s china, and marvel at the passage of time: the little girl in her kitchen fifty years ago is now a grown woman with an adult child of her own. The table is sited between two windows three feet from our side fence, where honeysuckle grows lush and fragrant, and where the poinsettia transplanted from our neighbor’s yard 25 years ago blooms brightly.”
“The kitchen table hosts ever-changing coverings. A tablecloth given to us by friends after their trip to Guatemala. Another one made by my sister, with matching napkins. An antique lace cloth I found in a small store near home. On very special occasions, we let the wood speak for itself.”
“I don’t know the history of the table before it joined our family, but it has claimed a central place in our family’s history.”