Childhood Kitchen Duties

mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
2003/06/27 22:59:44
We have talked about the things that we learned from our Mothers in the Kitchen...But What did you HAVE to do in the way of chores in that busy place.
I had certain chores, some of which expanded as I grew up (older). Some were a daily task shared with my sister..others were more specialized.
Sister and I alternated on the setting and clearing of the table, and washing and drying the dishes.
I did not have to go to the market with my mother, but did frequently, and I was the one who hauled in the groceries when we got home (most of the time).
I rinsed out the glass milk bottles, put them in the metal carrier and made sure they were on the front porch the night before the milkman came by.
I colored the margarine...This was in the days when it was in a flexible one lb plastic bag, with a colored dye button on the front-middle. I has to 'pop' the button by using pressure on the button while it was in the bag, then knead the margarine until the yellow color was evenly distributed.
I made the birthday cakes in the family from the time I was 10 or so...but Mother decorated them...I was too sloppy for that special task.
In those days we had an incinerator in the back yard..we burned all our 'burnable' trash, but cans and garbage had to go out on the curb once a week for the collectors to take away. My tasks to sort and burn.. No wonder I like using a grill..It is an example of the Laws of Natural Progression <G>
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Childhood Kitchen Duties 2003/06/28 00:04:15
I used to go to the grocery with mom, where she taught me how to get value for my dollar & what made a vegetable acceptable & how to look for marbling in the beef (what was sad was she'd turn that beef into shoe leather every time) My main jobs in the kitchen were setting the table & doing the dishes. I actually used to really get into making the pots shine. We had Revere pots & I would clean the copper bottoms. Then one day I decided to make this one pan that wasn't Revere shine too. I scrubbed & scrubbed until I had all the black stuff that was on it cleaned off. I though my mom would be happy. Needless to say it was her cast iron pan, It took her quite a while to get it seasoned right again.
RE: Childhood Kitchen Duties 2003/06/28 01:44:55
I think at one time or the other I did everything in the kitchen. While visiting my Grandfather he kept my Chores to a minimum. He said I was like a bull in a China Cabinet. I was and still am a little clumsy.
RE: Childhood Kitchen Duties 2003/06/28 03:25:04
Starting out, I was the designated table setter/dish dryer/coffeepot assembler. I grew up in a home where both my parents were having affairs; Mom was carrying on with Juan Valdez and his donkey, and my dad was seeing Mrs. Olsen several times a day, so putting the coffeepots together and priming them for the next batch of heart restarter was my gig once I was old enough to count the scoops of coffee.

Over time, it evolved into what I had in HS and when I spent a couple of years living next door post-college and career, which is that I did some/most of the grocery shopping and ended up cooking a couple of nights a week. We all worked or went to school full-time, and i had sports most of the year, but whoever showed up at home first was on the hook to get dinner started.

Fire Safety Admin
RE: Childhood Kitchen Duties 2003/06/28 05:33:31
My dad worked with Alcoa and had a small hobby farm and mom taught school. Dad was good at delegating chores such as cultivating the garden, hoeing the garden, weeding the garden, mowing the yard and taking care of beef and dairy herd which consisted of two animals. I also did the harvesting of the garden. At the time I hated it, but it taught me a lot.

Mom also delegated. I set the table and cleaned up which mean't doing the dishes. I had to clean the windows one a month. In addition I also had paper route which I biked 5 miles daily, 7 days a week. I made $3.50 weekly. It was not much, but it was more than anyone else had. I was seven years old at this time.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Childhood Kitchen Duties 2003/06/28 06:39:31
I had many kitchen chores but two stand out as my favorites:

My mother was known for her very thin and crispy butter cookies. My job was to brush the cut out cookies with beaten egg white and then decorate them with finely chopped walnuts or cinnamon or with my choice from a palette of colored sugar sprinkles in Pyrex custard cups. Hearts would be red, bells yellow with a raisin clapper, and some just got a babyspoonful of multicolored “happy birthdays” (which was what we used to call the multicolored nonpareils). A true artist at work...

Then, when I was about 7, one evening my Dad came home with a wonderful surprise and I became the Queen of the Chop-O-Matic. I wanted to take egg salad sandwiches to lunch every day just so I could chop up the eggs in that wonderful machine...and anything else I could get my little hands on. I would even make house calls and proudly go over and chop for our less fortunate neighbors who hadn’t yet succumbed to TV marketing. Guess I should have put Ron Popeil as my greatest childhood cooking influence.

Filet Mignon
RE: Childhood Kitchen Duties 2003/06/28 20:07:47
We had to help out with household chores all over the house, but as for the kitchen, my sister and I had to wash the dishes every night. (Took turns rotating washing and drying.) I remember when automatic dishwashers became popular, I would often ask, "Why don't we get a dishwasher?" Of course, the answer was, "We have TWO dishwashers. You and your sister."
RE: Childhood Kitchen Duties 2003/06/28 23:42:39
My older sister & I shared kitchen duties, but I remember ALWAYS getting stuck w/ the LAST one -- sweeping the floor -- because her best friend had a knack for calling just about that time EVERY night! We had a wrought iron w/ glass top table and matching upholstered chairs that each weighed a TON! I had to move every one out from under the table to sweep, then put them back and sweep around the entire set. Even so, when my mother moved to a house where the table was too wide for the eating area, I begged her to keep it for me. She kept it in the basement for twenty-some years, then after she sold the house, my sister stored it at her house until I got my own apartment, where it currently serves as my dining room table. Alas, it will go back into storage in a few weeks until CheeseWit and I find a home with a kitchen big enough to accommodate it... AND the heavy chairs, with new upholstery... {sigh...}
Filet Mignon
RE: Childhood Kitchen Duties 2003/06/29 01:11:15
I did the typical kid duties, clearing and setting the table, chopping, measuring out baking ingredients, etc. It definitely wasn't my job to do the dishes. One night as my mom was washing dishes, my dad suggested that since I was going into high school, maybe it was about time I took over that job. She fixed him with a steely gaze and said, "She'll be cleaning up after a man for the rest of her life. Why make her start now?" I'll never forget it.