Friday, April 1, 2005

remembering Grandma

I was thinking about my maternal grandmother this morning (I don't suppose a day goes by that I don't think of her), and got to picturing her kitchen in my mind.  I realized there were two unique things about her kitchen table that I don't remember seeing anywhere else.  I'm wondering of anybody else recalls relatives using these customs, long ago.  Perhaps these were customs my grandma learned from her mother, sort of a throwback to an earlier time.

The first thing was the spoon-holder; a heavy, clear-glass dish where all the teaspoons were kept.  Grandma had a silverware drawer in a cupboard for all other eating utensils, but the spoons were in this container.  When she would set the table, she only put knives and forks down by the plates; if you wanted a spoon, you reached to the center of the table and got it yourself.

The other thing I recall so well is how Grandma kept a cloth over the things that were always left in the center of her table:  the spoon-dish, the salt and pepper shakers, the sugar-bowl, and napkins in a napkin-holder; sometimes there'd be a jar of jam there, too, I think.  Now I can see the practical reason for this, because she lived on a farm, and even though she had screens on the doors and windows, there was considerable traffic in and out; after all, when nature called, it meant a trip to the outhouse (we called it the toilet, though).  Anyhow, flies were bound to make their way inside.  And the cloth, of course, kept them from crawling on the stuff that was left on the table.

Anybody have memories of such things?

 

 

8 comments:

rb3987 said...

Donna , I also remember this from my Maternal Grand Mother. Things exactly as you have described. My Paternal Grand Mother died in child birth when My Dad was born so I never knew her , but do remember her Sisters and they also had this same arangement in their Kitchen. I am in Kentucky so I guess it was a rather wide spread practice at the time.

csandhollow said...

My mama used to do that with the cloth too.

simwarford said...

Yes, believe it or not, I do! My maternal grandmother used a spooner; and covered the table with a second cloth. Not only were the usual condiments left on the table; a lot of the food from midday "dinner" was left to eat at "supper" in the evening. She had a refrigerator, but it was very small, and milk, eggs, etc. (and a bottle of Mogen David she used only in one particular recipe) were kept in there. Amazing! None of us died from food poisoning! She did, however, have indoor plumbing, and lived in town, but it was a small, Ozark town, and in the early '70's, outhouses weren't all that uncommon. I don't know what happened to her spooner, but I have my paternal grandmother's. I've used it as a vase for years. Maybe I'll start keeping it on the table--with spoons in it!

ksquester said...

Yes, they are called "spooners" and I know people who collect them. They came in all different kinds of patterns of pressed glass. I also remember people keeping their food out (not refrigerating it) until the next meal. It's a wonder we all didn't die from that one!   Anne

ryanagi said...

Interesting! I haven't thought about stuff like this in ages. My grandma is the last one I ever remember seeing use a salt cellar (a little dish with a teenie tiny spoon just for salt) or a matching pitcher, sugar and creamer set. She always put milk in the pitcher, cream in the creamer, and sugar in the sugar bowl on the breakfast table. She had a special dish for jelly and jam too...and special spreaders. She's the last one in the family I recall using water goblets on the dinner table too. I think the trend is toward being more informal. She was always a very formal lady. She even had a crumb wisk and tray for brushing crumbs off the table cloth between courses. Heh. I used to love being in charge of crumbs when I was little.

madcobug said...

I remember that my grandmother did put a cloth on the table to cover what was left from the dinner to supper as we always called it. It sure is a wonder we didn't get food poisoning. Helen

tendernoggle said...

My grandma and my mama had a cloth on the stuff in the middle of the table. And it seems like I can recall the spoons in the middle of granny's table!
Carlene

bnanajm said...

At our house, we never kept spoons on the table, but I do remember aunts doing so at there house.  My grandmother lived with her daughter so it was done there.  The other g'mom passed away when I was very young.  Being from the mid-west, mid-day meals were 'dinner' and evening meals were 'supper' and were that till I moved away when I was 26.  I was very surprised to see how the rest of the country lived and had their own customs.  Many memories here Mosie.

Bnana