The Best Room Ever

Okay, I need everyone to pay attention because what I’m about to tell you may be the single most important argument to ever be made in the history of debate…

The kitchen is the best room in any house. Period.

Now I know I’ve started a frenzy among all the “man cave,” “she shed,” “bedroom” loving people, but I hereby stick to my claim that the kitchen is the best room in any house ever.

Think about it! The kitchen really is the focal point for all the activity inside any house or dwelling. It’s where all the action takes place. Sure, the living room sees a lot of feet shuffling through and a lot of butts on furniture but the entertainment is mostly derived from the television. All the *real* action is happening inside the kitchen.

I’ll break it down for you because I’m not leaving until I’ve convinced every single one of you that I’m right… Okay, granted, you could close this blog at any time so I guess I can’t really enforce that… so… I’ll just let it go and continue with making my point… hopefully you’ll stick around.

Let me start with a little background –

Growing up, we would visit my grandparents every summer. Both sets of grandparents, as loyal readers already know, lived in rural West Virginia, my parents’ old stomping ground. My maternal grandparents (Grandma Mooney and company!) had a pseudo-living/sitting room set up where the dining room should have been – but it was more of an extension of the kitchen. It’s just how the old farm-house was made. The first floor was just one big room basically, with the kitchen proper to the right and the dining room/sitting room to the left – no walls in between and close enough that you could fling a coffee cup from the sitting room and hit my grandmother in the head as she made breakfast (not that I would suggest doing that, however, if you wanted to live past the first serving of eggs). The centerpiece of the sitting room was a huge, round dining table made out of solid wood that I remember always had a green gingham vinyl, felt-backed tablecloth in place.

If you ever peeked in the windows, you would find everyone sitting around that table, playing cards, chattering up a storm, eating fried eggs, or watching the smallest t.v. I think I’ve ever seen. I’m not even sure it was in color. It got maybe three channels. There was a living room in the house – but it was on the second floor. And I never once saw anyone up there, except for me when I was playing house. No, being near the kitchen was the place to be.

In my childhood home, there is a family room and my parents are quite happy there whenever they’re watching t.v. But when company comes – including my grownup self – we sit at the kitchen table, coffee cups in hand, hopefully potato soup (if I’m lucky) or some other gastronomical treat from my mother’s massive repertoire in front of us, and talk the day away.

Like my parents, a great-aunt (Grandma Mooney’s daughter) of mine moved from West Virginia to the concrete jungle of the city, Baltimore to be exact. My parents eventually opted for a more suburban route, but my aunt and her family stayed in the city. My aunt kept her country ways though and sure enough, life took place in the kitchen. Visiting her every Sunday saw us sitting around the kitchen table, eating homemade crab cakes, polish sausage, and drinking coffee or sweet tea.

Now, speaking of kitchens, West Virginia women know how to cook. Between my great-grandmother, my grandmothers, my mother, and my great-aunt…these ladies took comfort food to a whole new level. So who wouldn’t want to hang out in the kitchen and be a taste-tester or gobble up the so-called rejects of whatever meal they were preparing? Or if you were brave, sneak something off a serving plate before it made its way out to the table?

But there is more to it than food, so much more. For me the heart of the house is the kitchen. We’re a family in the kitchen. Good news, bad news, shared joys and sorrows – all happened in the kitchen. Oh, we had food, we’re a family that loves food, but in the kitchens of my childhood, we also had camaraderie – we shared laughter and gossip, tears and heart to heart talks. Life was lived in the kitchen. Still is, in so many ways.

So, for those of you trying to make it work in that cramped two-bedroom apartment the size of a photo-booth, and especially those of you with lots of room to spread out (you know who you are…you can go a full day and not see another member of your household or family) – here’s a piece of advice for whatever it’s worth.

Hang out in the kitchen. Maybe cook dinner together every once in a while, or throw together some snacks and play cards or a board game at the table – whip up something awesome, and I’m not just talking food.

17 thoughts on “The Best Room Ever

  1. I’ll confess I skipped over parts of this blog – you’re preaching to the converted here. In 2012 we completely refurbished our kitchen and with careful design we made sure three could work together in there without getting in each other’s way. My wife and I live alone now that our kids have flown the coup, but we enjoy cooking together and now we can both be in there even when we have a few guests around as there is enough room to seat them at the island counter. It really is the heart of our home.

  2. back home you only really need one door and that was usually the back door into the kitchen. the front door was almost always reserved for special guests and what not. ugh! why would you want to come thru that door? that meant you had to walk thru the house so you could get to the kitchen table to sit down.

  3. I didn’t have to read past the first paragraph, I totally agree. Although my childhood was mostly spent escaping from the table to avoid the arguments, still that table in the kitchen was where family life, such as it was, mostly went on. And now in my open concept home the table is where company hangs out, ignoring the sofas a few feet away.
    By the way, we have rural West Virginia, and Baltimore in common also. I grew in DC to age 12, with my Grandpa living in Baltimore where we visited the weekends he didn’t come down to us on the train. I went to summer camp in West Virginia, and many years later worked near Beckley to make the money to travel west to what became my permanent home in NM. Had many a good country meal around WV tables.

    • My parents are from two little towns, if you can even call them that, not far from Beckley. Small world! I’m so sorry for the troubles you had when you were young — I’m glad you have the home you deserve now, surrounded by good people.

  4. nice post! i would have to agree with you, whether it be the dining room which in and of itself is an extension of the kitchen, it most definitely is the heart of any house!

  5. Regarding your final comment about being in a house where you don’t even see one another all day – one thing I’ve heard repeatedly from astronauts returning from the ISS is how big it is inside compared to all previous spacecraft. 32,333 cubic feet, compartmentalized, with the crew off on their own assignments and experiments and tasks all day long. Even with a crew of six they can go all day with only seeing one or two of the rest of the crew – except for meal times. Part of the normal routine is to always eat breakfast and dinner together, all six of them, Russians, Americans, Japanese, European, whatever. They get together either in the American segment kitchen or in the Russian segment kitchen and eat together.

    See, you could be designing spacecraft with your theories as well!

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