My grandmother’s cheerful kitchen was the model of elegant simplicity. High-ceilinged, 10-by-12 feet, the room was certainly not large, but it felt bright and airy with its yellow walls and tall windows framed with ruffled organdy curtains that filtered the sun. Furnishings were spare, and the enamel-topped kitchen table was used for food preparation and family dining.
On warm days, Grandma would throw open the windows and open the back door to let the afternoon breezes drift through the screens. Even with the big cast iron stove stoked with coal to bake bread on a July afternoon, the room seemed comfortable. Grandma grew all her own fruits and vegetables just steps from the kitchen door; the produce was beautiful and flavorful, thanks to her green thumb and her own backyard compost heap. Her thrifty ways demanded natural cleaning ingredients lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, salt, and the mildest of soaps.
My grandmother's choices influence my own vision of a natural kitchen. From her, I have learned that kitchens are where we nourish our five senses, and those of our families and friends. This is where we honor life’s basics: the fruits of the earth, the fire in the stove, fresh air, and clean water. Thoughtful use of these elements can make a natural wonder of any kitchen, great or small. So it is fitting that we construct our kitchens of materials that offer the same concordance with nature.
Check out the Sept/Oct 2000 issue of Natural Home for more on green kitchens, including:
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