Elizabeth Willis Barrett………….February 2022

One thing I love about our new kitchen is that instead of cupboards, we have drawers.  Not on the top, of course.  That would be a bit awkward trying to open drawers above one’s head.  But most of the bottom sections are drawers.  No more dropping to the knees to find the cheese grater or the middle saucepan lid.  There is a drawer for everything:  silverware, Ziplock bags, plastic food containers that somehow end up with either more bottoms or more lids and have to be rematched often.  There is a drawer for dish towels and spatulas, and pans and lids and bakeware and potholders and aprons and even a drawer for the garbage—regular and recyclable.  

Then there are the miscellaneous drawers.  They hold pens and markers and keys and dog collars and hammers and screw drivers and letter openers and paper clips and whatever else doesn’t have a place at the moment.  They quickly get overcrowded and un-shutable.  They constantly need sifting through and organizing which doesn’t get done nearly often enough.  

I remember some kitchen drawers growing up that make me happy thinking about them.  One was my mom’s sewing drawer.  It was over by the yellow formica fold out kitchen table so you could sit at a yellow padded chrome kitchen chair to look through it.  It held a large round tin full of a great assortment of buttons.  If you were ever missing a button, you would most likely find a near match in that tin—if you could get the lid off.  I’m sure there were needles and thread in the drawer, too.  And probably some elastic and maybe a measuring tape and scissors.

Mom wasn’t much of a sewer.  (How do you write sewer without it sounding like “sooer?”  Perhaps a better word is seamstress!)  She was a secretary at the Arizona State Senate and really loved her work so sewing wasn’t high on her to-do list.   She did make me a skirt once, though.   I can still see it in my mind—a plaid skirt in reds.  I loved it!  And I loved her for the undoubtedly agonizing hours she spent making it!

Another memorable drawer at my growing-up house was the bread drawer.  In it were loaves of Mom’s home made whole wheat bread.  No Sara Lee white sticky bread for us.

The other kitchen drawer endeared to me was the recipe drawer.   It was over by the sink where you couldn’t sit down to look through it.  Whenever Mom found a recipe in a newspaper or received one from a friend or a women’s event it went in that drawer.  There was no order to it—just miscellaneous recipes on various cards and papers all thrown in there together.  If you wanted the recipe for Candied Popcorn or Cherry Cheesecake or Mom’s famous Date Nut Cookies, you had to shuffle through that drawer.  

I’d like to have that drawer in front of me right now.  I’d organize it into neat categories and put each set in a Zip Lock bag.  In the organizing process I’d read through precious names of friends and events that had shared those recipes and I’d remember with fondness the flavors of my childhood. 

Drawers—another self-reminder that I had it pretty good growing up!