Resurrecting the Kitchen Table

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Our vintage oak kitchen table and 4 matching chairs – all in great shape – are for sale on CraigsList.  The set has been up on that site for weeks.  It’s not expensive – yet no one seems to want it.

Our table is just the right size for a family of four.  If you want an intimate little dinner party, you can add the two leaves and comfortably seat eight.

The fact that no one seems to want the set makes me a little sad – or maybe nostalgic.  Nostalgic for by-gone times when families would need that table to all sit down for dinner and maybe even for breakfast.  And the family would talk and the family would listen.  And they would enjoy home-cooked food.  And I get nostalgic remembering casual little dinner parties while acknowledging how infrequent they are now.

Andy too gets nostalgic when he thinks back to his childhood days around his family’s kitchen table, but his nostalgia isn’t always about the food.

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Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the U.S.

The current Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo, the first Native American to hold that position, wrote a poem about kitchen tables back in 1994.  I wonder if she would write the same thoughts today.

Joy Harjo Poem Box

I hope Harjo’s lovely poem inspires you to sit longer at the table.

P.S:  At the same time as I was writing this blog, the table finally sold.  The new owners have 5-year-old twins.  We so hope the table will be a spot where they learn “what it means to be human,” that it will be “a house in the rain,” and that they enjoy “the gifts of earth” at it.

And here’s a simple family-pleasing home-cooked meal for 4-8 at that special spot.  It will give the cooks ample time and energy to enjoy their food –  and to visit.

Baked Penne and Maybe Sausage Pasta

Add some spinach to it, as suggested in the recipe notes.  Substitute mushrooms and zucchini for the sausage if you want to go meatless.  Both elders and young’uns will love it.

Greek (or Maybe Italian) Chopped Salad

You can make this super-quick by omitting a couple of ingredients.  No red bell pepper? Too lazy to dice celery?  Don’t like parsley?  Omit them all – and it will still be a great salad.

Super Simple Shortbread

Instead of serving the shortbread with fresh fruit – if there’s no great fruit to be had, try this Orange Curd recipe from my Baton Rouge friend Katie.  It’s SOoooooo good.


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Orange Curd – aka Orange Butter Filling – used as a filling and frosting for a cake

Orange Curd

This comes from an old Softasilk recipe – and was called Orange Butter Filling – after all, “curd” isn’t a real appealing word.  So don’t hesitate to fill and frost a layer cake with it, as well as use it as a sauce for shortbread and/or with strawberries.

  • 1 c sugar
  • 4 1/2 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 c water
  • 4 beaten egg yolks
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 T grated orange rind

Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan.  Stir in the orange juice and water.  Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.   Very (very) gradually stir half of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks.  Then add the remaining hot mixture.   Boil everything 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and orange rind.  Cool.

Stored in the refrigerator, the curd will keep for at least a week.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.



  1. Pingback: Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Did Your Garden Grow? | Big Little Meals

  2. sara says:

    But did she REALLY give birth on a table? 🙂 That’s what I want to know. And I would like a slice of that cake. I will say my family is the only one I’ve ever met that ate breakfast around the table every day. I definitely grew up spoiled! Or tortured. Depends on what time of life you would have asked me.


  3. Carolyn Hall says:

    We have a set just like that in our basement. (But not in such good condition.) It belonged to our next door neighbor who, when we met him, was “95-and-a-half years old.” I feel sentimental about it even though we never used it as a family table. We use the it to extend our dining room table when necessary.


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