Congratulations to b.e.stack our Kitchen Story Contest Winner.
b.e. won $500 for her very creative letter to the editor from a home built in 1920 complaining about a magazine article minimizing the importance of the kitchen!
Janice O’Brien gets honorable mention, and a small award, for her look back at a 1955 kitchen in her sentimental story 40 Clinton Avenue.
Thanks to everyone else that entered our contest. I enjoyed reading all of the stories and we are sending a small thankyou to everyone that entered.
Our contest was judged by my sister Alison Bullock, a short story writer herself. Alison’s quirky stories always resonate with me. All stories were judged by Alison, without input from me, and after I removed all identifiable information on the authors. At the bottom of the page is a photo of Alison, and a link to one of her stories.
Enjoy b.e.stack’s story below:
A Letter to the Editor
Editor A. Mill
Reader Feedback Department
Brick and Mortar Weekly
1 Print Lane
Times, NR 11111
To the Editor,
Like most of the homes in my neighborhood, I have always loved reading Brick and Mortar Weekly. As an older house, it helps keep me up to date with the latest trends (“New Season, New Shingles”) while also delivering in-depth reporting on important topics (“Take a Peek: Hidden Hardwood Floors”). But I must say, I was very disappointed with your recent article in the House Health and Wellness section, “Is Your Heart in the Right Place?” This article tries to convince readers that the living room is the new heart of the home, in part because “modern living is now more versatile.”
Now, I know that times change, and people want some different things out of homes these days (don’t get me started on Wi-Fi). But that doesn’t change our basic functions. And it certainly can’t change the essential, vital work of the kitchen. After all, people are still fundamentally the same as when I was built.
I’m just shy of my centennial you see, and over the years have sheltered five generations of people inside my walls. I’m older than spaceflight, girl scout cookies, and sliced bread. I’ve protected my families through hurricanes and snowpocalypses. I have stood sentinel, guarding life as it came into the world and as it departed.
My earliest memory revolves around my own kitchen. An older couple, my first family, sorted through moving boxes to find their pots and pans. As they moved around the room, they filled the space with their laughter as they fumbled with unfamiliar gadgets. On that chilly autumn night, they made the first of many dinners they would have with me. And we all turned over a new page in the book of our lives, together.
We have all played host to so many such memories. Surely, we have noticed how central the kitchen is to the life of our families!
Fellow houses, is there a home among you whose kitchen doesn’t nourish the very bodies of the people who live with you? Isn’t it your kitchen that carefully stores the food and provides the space to cook the meals that power them through their days?
To those who support the idea of the living room as the heart of the home – yes, I concede that the word “living” is in the name. However, do you notice what isn’t in that room? Food. People can watch television all they want (and they do!), but at some point, they must eat. So, I ask, how can you live if you can’t eat? Yes, yes, I know people can eat in the living room, but where do you think the food comes from?
The article also argued that “the kitchen’s role is now more narrowly defined.” Narrowly defined! Why, in just the last few years alone my kitchen has played host to a dozen birthday parties, nine impromptu Saturday night dance parties, three I-told-you-not-to-wait-to-the-last-minute science projects, and one funeral (rest in peace, Mittens).
You’re still not convinced? Well then, what else is a heart?
“The central or innermost part of something,” says the dictionary on one of my shelves. “A synonym for ‘love’,” the thesaurus tells me.
Look inside yourself and think about your own kitchen.
Do you feel it?
There is a force that draws people into our kitchens. It’s not just the heat that warms us and our families, as the glow of the kitchen seeps out into other rooms. It’s in the smell of brewing coffee, or a baking oven during the holidays. People are pulled into the kitchen like it’s the sun in the gravitational center of their daily orbits. There is magic in the kitchen, where feelings are poured into recipes and nostalgia nests in mugs and plates. These four walls confine more than just a room, in the same way that an important conversation takes place in the space between words.
The kitchen is where a grandmother teaches her granddaughter how to make dumplings, passing down lessons in resilience and strength. It’s where a couple learns their adoption paperwork has been approved while washing dishes, and so their new family begins to take shape while the pots and pans dry. Inside a kitchen, best friends who live far apart stay up all night in the glow of twinkling lights to reminisce about their year and grow even closer together.
Here, even the crumbs contain memories.
So, from the top of my roof to the bottom of my basement, I know that the kitchen is my heart, and the true heart of any home.
Blue House (née Grey House, Black Shutters)
Third on the Left
Built in 1920
Congratulations again b.e.stack. And I agree with Blue House. That in a kitchen . . .
“even the crumbs contain memories.”