Grandma Rose’s Kitchen


Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


My brothers and I sit on the floor of our Great-Grandma Rose’s kitchen. It’s 1991 and I am ten years old, Jonathan is seven and Nathaniel is two. We are building with the blocks that live in a box conveniently located in Grandma’s kitchen, next to her treadle sewing machine and hand-crank washing machine. Grandma likes to do things the old-fashioned way.

Everyone is welcome in Grandma’s kitchen. Everyone. Our dad, mom, grandparents, aunts and uncles, even though they may have muddy boots, are all gathered around for coffee break. The dogs are here, too: Rusty the Golden Retriever and Bear the Newfie. Big, messy farm dogs, but Grandma welcomes them into her kitchen.

And of course, we’re here. My brothers, cousins, and I. Her great-grandchildren. We know exactly where Grandma keeps her seemingly endless supply of homemade Tollhouse cookies (in the fridge in summer, or in the drawer under the oven in winter). We know where she keeps the special glasses we can use for milk to go with our cookies. We like to play in her living room with the old camera or doll carriage, read her hand-stiched homemade books, pick out a new dress from the box under Grandma’s bed and change the old dolls, or look carefully at her collection of tiny figurines and snow globes. But when everyone is visiting in the kitchen, that’s where we are.

We draw on Grandma’s chalkboard, play with the homemade panda and his little chair or the quilted dog. But we especially love the wooden blocks. They’re not colorful, but they’re large and smoothe, and there are a lot of them. Today we build a tower: a big, tall tower, that repeatedly crashes to the floor after attempts to go even higher. The grown ups are talking, but we don’t listen, we’re engrossed in our engineering.

Almost too soon, coffee break is over and it’s time to get back to work on the farm. Grandma tells us not to worry about the dishes or the blocks, and we head back out into the cold with full bellies and contented hearts. After we leave, Grandma will pick up the toys, do the dishes and scrub muddy footprints off the floor on her hands and knees. She’s 94 years old, but she never complains about the mess we make. As the matriarch of our family, she knows what’s really important in life. She heads out for her daily brisk walk around the farm, checks on her garden, then returns home to bake more cookies and get ready for our visit tomorrow.

My Great-Grandmother Rose died at the age of 99 and a half, when I was in high school. I feel so fortunate to have known her for as long as I did and to have spent so much time in her kitchen. I miss her, but I will always have those memories. I want my kitchen to be like Grandma’s: warm, inviting, full of people, love, toys, good food, noise, fun and messes. I want to give these memories to my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


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Filed under Food, Fun Family Learning, Living from Scratch, parenting

38 Responses to Grandma Rose’s Kitchen

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  13. That is so touching and absolutely beautiful! I want to be like that, too, now. My grandma was the sweetest and a marvelous cook. I used to love to help her, and she was so patient with me.

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  15. Oh Abbie – I love the memories you’ve shared with us! Some of my own fondest memories of being with my grandma are in the kitchen – sharing late night root beer floats, helping her make a cherry crumble, watching her stir something on the stove. What a wonderful way to approach this topic :)

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  19. Greetings from Malaysia! Hopping in from the carnival!

    What a sweet loving post! That brought back memories of my grandma (she passed away in 2004 aged 89) and she was a great cook! I miss her cooking!

    ~ Jenny ( )

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  21. Oh, you almost made me cry! (The pregnancy hormones might be helping with that, too.)

    At my “Granny on the Hill’s” house in Arkansas (out of state, so we didn’t spend a lot of time there), I played with an old stuffed vinyl dog and she had a box of ceramic tiles that were SO great for play in the floor. We liked to set them up like dominoes in rows and knock them down. Strangely, when she passed I felt like I was mourning her home more than her. I hope that doesn’t sound awful.

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  23. Ah! What beautiful warm memories, what nourishment your lovely Granma must have provided you with physically and emotionally. Those early food memories are so important aren’t they…I loved coming home from long cold winter walks with my dad to the warm glow of my mother’s kithchen bursting with bakewell tarts and rock buns….

  24. I never knew my great-grandparents, but some of my best memories are from spending time with my extended family at my maternal grandmother’s house. My daughters are lucky enough to have three grandparents and four great-grandparents, so I hope they grow with fond memories of spending time with in their presence.
    What a lovely post.

  25. That is a very heartwarming story. Many blessings to your Grandma for such a long life! I would love for my kitchen to be of such great memories when I have grandchildren.


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  27. Liz

    i feel honored to have know her too Abbie, she was such a wonderful lady! What a wonderfully written post. I miss Rusty and Bear (I will never forget the 1 foot of drool that was always hanging from his mouth)!! What awesome memories you have, and now you can pass them along to Joshua.

  28. Ana

    This is so sweet! Memories like this are so important to cherish and help create. I never knew my great-grandparents, but I’m trying to make sure that Niko is able to spend as much time as possible with his (whom he adores, and likewise the converse).

    Thank you for sharing! : )

  29. This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful, colourful picture you paint. It’s just lovely.

    That’s exactly how I want my kitchen to be. :)

  30. It brought tears to my eyes too! Not only is it a beautiful picture you painted, but the fact that that is such a strong memory and resonates with you even today is so cool.

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  32. Sigh.. I’d like to visit that kitchen now, too! Such a beautiful legacy she left!

  33. Abbie, this is the nicest tribute to Great-Grandma Rose!!! You have captured the love and warmth of her kitchen perfectly! It made me cry and even Dad got teary-eyed! Just beautiful; thanks for sharing!

    You, your brothers, and cousins have very beautiful memories of Great-Grandma Rose’s kitchen: the wonderful family togetherness, the delicious treats, the block towers, the dogs, everything! I’ll never forget Grandma’s patience as she pulled each of her delicate figurines out of her “secretary” cabinet, one at a time, for you to admire and hold, when you were just a toddler. She was a wonderful grandma to all and she touched so many lives. We all have quilts, baby receiving blankets, and patchwork dogs to remember her with, everyday. She is a grandma to live up to!

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