The kitchen holds a lot of memories in our lives. From the time our parents nested us a home, mother and father had cooked or dined with the family in the kitchen.

The walls of the kitchen have many stories to tell and memories to keep. If only it could talk about the memories from the heating stove, the clay jar of water, the plates, the sink, the table, and all the meals.

Truly, the kitchen is a cherished place.

When I was younger, I remember my two widowed aunts tidying up the kitchen. They lived in the province with their brother, my widowed grandfather. When we visited them, we ate in their simple kitchen built with bamboo floors. They came wearing traditional Filipino dresses. They looked so beautiful for me (in their old age and single blessedness), and the kitchen smelled like fresh flowers.

The other kitchen I can remember is the kitchen of my grandmother in a far remote place, along the Pacific Ocean. My grandmother’s kitchen is a big kitchen built of wood. Imagine how old houses looked. There was firewood, big cooking utensils, as if they’re always serving 100 people everyday. There were sacks of rice piled on top of the other. Chickens were roaming in the backyard, down the back kitchen door.

I don’t know why I can always remember kitchens, even when I go to other homes, in different places. I love that kitchen part of the house.

Many people say “The kitchen and the toilet are very important rooms in the house. They must be kept clean and orderly at all times.”

Now, I have my own kitchen where I raised my kids. And as they’re grown ups, I like to work and write here.

When I read Afred Kazin’s “The Kitchen,” it delighted me by what Kazin saw in the life of her mother. He focused on the kitchen room as the largest room and the center of the house. It was in the kitchen where his mother worked all day long as home dressmaker and where they ate all meals.

He writes: “The kitchen gave a special character to our lives; my mother’s character. All the memories of that kitchen were the memories of my mother.”

In his essay, Alfred Kazin remembers how her mother said, “How sad it is! It grips me!” though after a while, her mother has drawn him one single line of sentence, “Alfred, see how beautiful!”

Rose Flores Martinez


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free lance writer

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