By Ashley Allgood
I love my home but have always been a bit frustrated with our tiny kitchen. I hardly have any counter space and my main area of preparing meals had always been on our stove top, which is flat. My only other choice was on top of the counter directly over the dishwasher, and that wasn’t very comfortable or convenient either. I often complained mentally about the lack of space as I prepared meals; it frustrated me for years.
One day while watching “Little House on the Prairie” with my kids I noticed something that changed my thinking. Ma was sitting at the kitchen table with Carrie next to her. They were both peeling potatoes. It was such a simple scene but I felt like slapping my forehead with my hand. Ma had no counter space at all, so she used her kitchen table! Why didn’t I ever think of that? Our kitchen table has a lot of space, the kids can easily reach it, and I can sit down while I fix supper!
As I continued watching the show I realized that most women of the past have not had the luxury of a kitchen with ample counter space. The main room in the home was often just one room, and it was a multipurpose room at that: a living room, dining room, and kitchen in one. My grandmothers both had tiny kitchens and were able to create many great meals in there. My mother-in-law’s current kitchen is smaller than mine, and she often makes a feast for our whole family!
We used our kitchen table for homeschooling, so why not use it as extra space to prepare meals and let the kids help out? I always encouraged my kids to help me with household chores but often wanted them out of the kitchen while I was cooking. First off, (when they were young) I thought it could be dangerous, and, truthfully, I often got annoyed when they’d drag a chair up next to me and climbed into it. I worried they’d fall … and that chair just took up too much space in my tiny kitchen.
My kids still remember the day I sat them down at the kitchen table with potatoes and peelers and taught them how to peel the potato skins into a bowl. Every day after that they would beg to help out, and they seemed to think it was a great game! I taught them how to read a recipe and set out ingredients to be used. I taught them to grate cheese, measure ingredients, and other simple things.
Admittedly, all of this took a lot of time and patience. I had to remind myself that even though they made messes and preparing the meal took twice as long, this was all worth it. There were a few days, of course, when I really needed to be done quickly and then I couldn’t let them help, but most days I made the effort to include them.
While I still occasionally complain to myself about our tiny kitchen, I’ve seen the fruits of it as well. We’ve made some great memories sitting around our kitchen table and preparing the meal together. My children are older now and they know how to cook.
So if you are suffering from the “Tiny Kitchen Blues” try using your kitchen table to make it seem just a little bigger. You can even imagine Ma Ingalls sitting next to you.
Ashley Allgood is a Christian wife married twenty-two years to Michael. They have three children ages 20, 16, and 15. They live in Georgia where they homeschool their children. Ashley is a distributor for Young Living oils and has always loved writing and storytelling. Read her blog, Thoughts Of Faith at http://mythoughtsoffaith.blogspot.com/.