Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Home: Keeping it Personal

One night last week, Jeff said our landlord called to say they were ready to start showing the house to new renters.  He could just as well said, "We are going to torch the new house and start over."  REE-diculous.  We give new meaning to "in transition".  I have officially run out of hiding places and the worst of that is that I don't care anymore.  The count down is on for sure.  However, this newsflash of "showing the house" seems more like a joke.  I took it upon myself to call the landlord and assured him he did NOT want to show the house right now.  It would not be beneficial for him and his projected monthly income.  I used this project as an example.

We have a tarp over our dining room table right now--where we eat every meal--- working on an old door we picked up on, you guessed it, CL-- that's "Craig's List" for all you amateurs.  This particular CL date was in Highland Park where we picked up our new-to-us dining room table that Jeff stripped down and refinished.  We picked up the old door for our pantry later that night.

I am all about making things personal but not at the expense of my home looking like an antique store.  I love antique stores, but I don't want to live in one.  I know people find unique pantry doors and I looked for a while but never found anything that was in our budget that I just loved.  When we found this very normal window paned door for sale at the right price, I wanted it.  I thought of several options to make the door unique but the idea that won out was to decoupage family recipes onto the window panes.  I need to say--- JEFF IS NOT CRAFTY.  He is HANDY, but on this particular project....... I've been impressed with his .......ummmm...... craftiness.  He's making this one happen with my paint collection, his wood stain and his sander.

Let me remind you.  I grew up in South Georgia.... in a very small town.  Everyone knows who cooks what and you wouldn't dare show up at a potluck with "so and so's" cake.  You just don't.  Make it for your family but don't try to pass it off somewhere in town as "yours".  No-no.  Delectables are referred to as "Mrs. Ann's pecan pie", "Joyce's Caramel Cake", "Mrs. Bowers' Italian Cream Cake", or "Miss Denise's Chocolate Cake". The list is longer than Main Street but you get what I am saying.

I come from good cooks.  Both of my grandmothers were good cooks.  They never pitted an avocado or cooked with coconut milk but they could put out a spread like no other-- and whip up a batch a "soft boil stage" chocolate icing with their eyes closed.  My parents got it honest but they can do both types of food-- good plain food or good fancy food.  My daddy had a house built on their property dedicated to hospitality {plus lots of mounted things that used to be alive} complete with inside kitchen AND a porch kitchen--the porch one for the dirty work-- frying, cleaning game and such---with open space for plenty of folding tables and chairs to sit around to enjoy a delicious meal and good company.  Many memories for so many families have been made at the "pond house" and you can't beat the cooking anywhere.

I specifically asked Mom for "growing up" favorites-- Texas Straw Hats, Snowtime Barbeque Ring {fancy name for meatloaf}, Chicken Cacciatore, Caramel Icing, Lemon Pie, Pecan Pie {probably Mrs. Ann's recipe but my Daddy likes the pecans whole, not chopped}, her amazing grilled chicken marinade, peppered nuts {pecans, of course} and last but not least, her Whipping Cream Pound Cake.  Oh my goodness.  Weighing in with a cup of whipping cream, 2 sticks of butter, 3 cups of sugar and SIX eggs, why, oh why, do I lather it in butter and toast it?  Amazing.

Jeff's parents grew up the same-- in the South-- being raised on good cooking and delicious baked things.  I see names written on Mrs. Sanders' recipes too-- who was known for making a certain dish.  The first time I had a meal with Jeff's family, it all felt very familiar and all tasted so delicious.  Jeff's sister, Tricia, a wonderful cook too, saw how important it was to preserve all of this goodness and had many of the family recipes typed into a booklet which she gave to everyone.  I use it very often and am grateful to have Aunt Ruby's Tea Cake recipe and Jeff's Mom's oatmeal cookie recipe.

I wanted the memory of all this yum- and hard work over many years-  on my pantry door, in their handwriting if at all possible so I emailed a few special ladies and asked for  a few of their original recipes or handwritten recipes.  I made copies and got to work.  I have not finished but here is a sampling.

Each pane will look something like this-- without the wrinkles and the bubbles I hope.  I am not a professional decoupage-er-- but I might be once this is finished!

I am a homemaker and great food for my family is a huge part of making a home.  So many good times and special memories are made while passing the dishes the around, savoring the familiar tastes, anticipating a favorite meal and the best thing that happens?  The conversation that weaves the whole experience together.  It just might be my strongest memory in my family of origin.  We typically ate late so it wasn't that unusual for us to still be talking around the table well after 9 o'clock.  But the talking- hearing about each other's day, who was dating with who, what we were going to do that weekend, what crazy customer Daddy had that day, how the team looked for Friday night-- that was crazy special and the food brought us together and gave us space for just that.  {Thank you, Mom and Dad, for making that happen.  I know it wasn't easy, but it sure was fun.}  With Julia and Brighton in 6th and 4th grade, our meal times aren't there yet.  But it's the vision.  A safe spot, enjoyable company, time to connect and delicious food.

I'll have one of those, please.


Alyssa said...

I'll have one serving (or more) of every one of those recipes you mentioned! I love this idea for a pantry door! I'm thinking someone has way more creativity than she gives herself credit for! Pinterest has nothing on YOU!

Sarah said...

I'm amazed you are doing this! You are my hero! And it's going to look fab!

TJ Wilson said...

cannot wait to see this - love your creativity. and Jeff's craftiness!!