Kitchen Tableness

Kitchen tables have huge significance in my life. They have tended to be at the absolute heart of life no matter where I have lived.

They were a real place of family gathering and routine when I was a kid and setting the table, eating at it, doing homework there, chatting, laughing, debating, listening to the radio news were all inherently associated with it. There were also the baking sessions that had the kitchen table at their centre – from me ‘helping’ Mother to roll out pastry, make gingerbread men, stir the Christmas cake mixture, lick the gooey spoons and beaters ….

Or, the pair of us shelling peas or topping and tailing blackcurrants or gooseberries for jam or me getting jam pots organized, the kitchen table held it all together.

So many late nights later on, sitting at the kitchen table in our designated chairs discussing grown-up stuff and drinking endless cups of tea.

Nowadays, the kitchen table has become more and more my domain, especially in the early mornings when I sit here having breakfast, listening to the radio, blogging, doing crosswords, talking to Puppy Stan who lies underneath it, looking out the kitchen window, past the pot plants to the ever-changing tall trees in the garden, the birds flying about and the mesmerizing sky.

Our kitchen tables have always been fruit-laden and wordy, creative places that play host to mugs at all hours of the day and night. They have seen all the lists, recipes, newspapers, daily post, messy homework, tears of every emotion – joy, sorrow, frustration, onion cutting …

A kitchen table needs to be solid and soothing to shoulder all this.

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

20 thoughts on “Kitchen Tableness”

  1. We use our kitchen with its table more than the dining room (used for Thanksgiving meals) which has become a catch all for folding the laundry( too chilly down in the cellar) in the Winter. .The kitchen table was our gathering place to share stories while having tea/coffee along with a dessert ..All our meals are here in the kitchen unless I feel like having a change then the dining room will be used. It has a view of the living room (parlor) and the TV, so at football season one can watch and enjoy the meal at the same time…Board games were usually played on the dining room table..while crafts were done on the kitchen table …Today our kitchen and dining room is much emptier because our children have left the nest and we see them occasionally usually at Christmas…not like it use to be…

    1. Isn’t it quite fascinating how the role the kitchen table plays differs from house to house but it seems to play a very important role in all of them and also to evolve over time. Interesting about the crafts and the board games.

  2. Oddly, I’ve never used the kitchen table as a place to eat, but it’s always been a place to gather, talk, play games, write, and be thoughtful. My table now belonged to my aunt, who passed it down to me, with lots of little dings and scribbles on its surface. It’s lived a long life in my family. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    1. We’re the same. I am really the only one of us three who eats at the kitchen table now. It’s a far cry from family gatherings of my childhood family.
      It must be lovely to have such a special table that belonged to your aunt.

  3. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a formal dining room. The kitchen table was everything. So many good memories like you mentioned. With six of her 10 kids at home, the kitchen was always where mom was, and if we wanted to spend time with her, the kitchen table was the perfect venue. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  4. Great post! I was fortunate to acquire my parents’ kitchen table when they moved to an assisted living facility. The set is all wood and my Mom cared for it as if it was one of her children, so despite its age, there’s not a single scratch or scuff on it. Each time we sit at it, I feel the many memories of sitting around this table with my siblings and parents. 😊

  5. Oh! The memories you brought back to me Jean 💜.

    The kitchen table.
    Tip tap, tip tap you run your nails down me
    Elbows dig in me while reading setting your mind free.
    Cratchy claws, drooling maws purr stretching legs, tummy rub, yawning jaws.
    You have sat upon me you have spat upon me you have fought over me then cleaned me up and then eaten you your tea on me!
    You have hidden under me covered me with drapes and made a camp out of me. You have used me as bed and excited the girl you wed and seen your first born’s head emerge while she lay screaming on me!
    I’ve been scrubbed to an inch of my life I have witnessed trouble tears and strife. I did once have a life out side of this room I was tall and I was stunning when in Spring I was in bloom. I spread my roots and lifted my branches up into the sky so I could touch the moon.
    Summer nights and Autumn days I have weathered, I have listened to laughter and heard choirs voices sing in praise of the Lord and his ways. I have seen the seasons come and go watched the farmer sow his seeds and seen the crops grow.
    Now I am trapped within this house yet I really do not mind I have been a watcher of life seen the generations, children, family ,
    auntie, uncle, grandma husband, wife. So as you gather round me for your chat over coffee in your kitchens, in your houses or your flats. Underneath me children and dogs, on me books food shopping and cats.
    Treat me right and I shall last
    Into your future from your past.
    I always have such tales to tell
    I’ve been with you through heaven and hell!
    So treat me wrong or treat me right
    I shall just sit here and watch you day and night!!
    © willowdot21

  6. I’ve never lived anywhere with a kitchen table in all my years. I guess they are very Irish with typically large families and open living areas. In my childhood home in Birmingham our house was small enough but the front room – half of downstairs – was a virtual forbidden zone and kept for best.

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