Category Archives: KITCHENS KNOWN

Kitchens I Have Known and Loved: Pine View

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Saturday, 16 June 2018

My second year of college, I moved off campus with my best friends, The Rockets.

We were anxious to escape the lowly freshman scene at the campus dorms, but we’d waited ’til last minute to find a new place. Luckily, Pine View still had openings.

I don’t think I went with the other girls to look at the apartment, but I’d been there before, since we’d known some guys who lived there our freshman year.

We’d lost two of our freshman roommates by this time. Nancy decided to move home to California, and Traci found new roommates.

So it was Anita, Julie, Lori, and me, and we picked up our friend Lynette, who lived in the apartment next door. We all went home for summer vacation, to work and spend time with our families, and then returned to Provo in the fall.

Pine View was located on a very busy street called University Avenue, and with our third-floor apartment facing the street, you could perch on the end of the couch and snoop through the living room’s large picture window, out over the road, watching the cars, and more importantly, checking to see exactly when your favorite people were coming home from classes.

It was a large apartment with three bedrooms, and we now had TWO bathrooms, which was especially great when we were all trying to get ready for church on Sunday mornings, last-minute, after a late Saturday night, dancing at The Palace.

When you first entered the apartment, there was a large kitchen to the right, open to the living room on the left. In our kitchen, we had a sink and fridge and harvest gold stove. I don’t remember having a microwave, and we didn’t have a dishwasher, either.

In the kitchen was a door which led to a utility closet where the vacuum was housed. It was always breaking down, but Anita was unexpectedly good at fixing it.

We called our linoleum kitchen floor Puke Chunk, because of the random pattern of different-colored…well, chunks. I wish I had a photo to show you!

The picture you see above, of the skinny, sweat-panted girls, is the group of Rockets we assembled, year two. Minus me, because I’m taking the picture, of course.

Freshman year I’d splurged at University Mall, and bought a great camera, a Nikon point-and-shoot. I still remember it cost $50, and that put a huge dent in my food budget, but it’s a decision I’ll never regret.

Oh, how I love my cameras.

We lived in sweat pants that year. I’m pretty sure we didn’t get away with wearing them to class, but the second we got home, off came the uncomfortable pants with zippers, and on went the sweats.

Anyways, this particular night you see in the photo above, in October 1986, we’d invited a group of guys over for dinner. There were five of us and five of them.

We didn’t have enough room for everyone at our table, which normally seated six, so we borrowed the kitchen table from the apartment across the hall, and pushed it together with our own kitchen table.

We also borrowed four of their chairs. Look at the colorful array of yellow, orange, and black! I wish I could remember what we ate that night, but I didn’t write it down in my journal this time.

I chuckle to myself now, looking at the photo, seeing the motley assortment of mismatched cups and plates. But really, what apartment of college students has service for ten, anyways? No one I know.

I remember, sometimes we stored things in that space up above the cabinets. One time at Halloween, we all went to a fast-food joint and got kids meals, then saved our plastic pumpkin buckets and put them up there, as a Halloween decoration.

I also remember another time when there was a row of Lori’s coveted jars of Bear Lake raspberries stored up above the cabinets, tantalizing and tempting and tormenting us.

Her mother canned them, and we loved when she opened up a jar of raspberries! We sat down at the kitchen table and ate them straight from the bottle, right down to every last drop of the sweet sweet syrup.

I don’t remember doing too much cooking for myself in this kitchen. I lived on Lynn Wilson bean-and-cheese burritos, Honey Nut Cheerios, and canned soup. No wonder I was so skinny back then!

We had many happy times in this apartment, when it was the five of us.

It was in this kitchen, on 6 January 1987, where I met the young man who would later become my husband, when he arrived to go dancing with us, along with our mutual friend, Wendell.

I still remember what I was wearing: a white t-shirt with a V of fringe, blue stonewashed jeans, and white boots with fringe, which I’d borrowed from Lynette and crammed my feet into. (She wore a half-size smaller than I did.)

He was wearing a purple henley shirt, jeans, and red high-top sneakers…

We had a lot of fun in this apartment, doing crazy stuff like standing on the furniture and dancing, ordering pepperoni pizza from Dominos and splitting the cost, and watching Adam Curry’s MTV countdown every day (I think it was on at 4 pm).

There were always visitors coming and going, and I’m sure we made a LOT of noise, blaring old-school rap and heavy metal tunes. In retrospect, I feel a bit sorry for our neighbors.

But it was the best of times.

We lived in this apartment for two school years, including one summer, up until we forgot to renew our lease in time, and they rented the place to another set of girls. Then we had to move downstairs, to another apartment, and pretty much overnight.

Why in the world the office didn’t just rent the downstairs apartment to the new girls, I’ll never know, and I’m pretty sure we didn’t even think to ask.

We just hauled our stuff down the stairs, and set up housekeeping in the new apartment. But that’s another blog, for another day.

[RECOMMENDED LINKS]
To read more about Bear Lake raspberries:

 

Kitchens I Have Known and Loved: Wells Hall

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Friday, 11 May 2018

It was at Wells Hall where we girls, The Rockets, first learned what it was like to be on our own, without our moms, and to be starving students.

Wells Hall was our freshman dorm when we attended college at Brigham Young University, and we had our own kitchen, instead of eating at a dining hall, as many college students seem to do.

Our building was named after Emmeline Wells, a women’s rights pioneer, was made of brown bricks, and was two stories high, with large lobby windows looking to the south, on the very eastern edge of campus.

Our apartment had three bedrooms, one antiquated bathroom, a narrow, tunnel-like hallway, and a kitchen which doubled as a living room. Each floor had a large lobby where you could hang out in big groups, but we always preferred our own cozy kitchen.

Everyone always ends up in the kitchen, right?

Continue reading

Kitchens I Have Known and Loved: The V House

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Friday, 13 April 2018

Food is memories.
Hassan Kadam, The Hundred-Foot Journey

It’s hard for me to write about this kitchen, now my mother is no longer puttering around in it.

This is the downstairs kitchen at the V House. Even though the place has been in our family for 50 years now, we were still calling it by the previous owners’ last name, to distinguish it from the other houses my parents used to have.

Finally, 1 1/2 years ago, when I moved here, to the upstairs loft, I decided to rename it the V House. My father’s first name starts with V, and so does mine, so why not? Plus, the people who built it, a German family, their last name starts with V.

Growing up, I always thought this kitchen was…not so great. The counters were a yellow-and-white Formica, and the walls a kind of strange-colored tile. Is it salmon? Or coral? I’m not quite sure, but I’m leaning towards coral. And to make matters worse, the tile was trimmed at the top with a deep purple tile, I’ll call it eggplant.

Continue reading

Kitchens I Have Known and Loved: Anatevka

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Sunday, 11 March 2018

The kitchen really is the castle itself.
This is where we spend our happiest moments
and where we find the joy of being a family.
~Mario Batali

This is the first kitchen I remember, in our old colonial house called Anatevka…

The picture above was taken by my mom, Carol, when she photographically documented the house, sometime before it was torn down in 2002. So, what you see in this photo is quite an emptyish kitchen, one not being used at the time of the photograph. That’s why it’s so clean and uncluttered.

My family moved from Anatevka after I finished fourth grade, so I don’t have many memories of the kitchen, really. I do remember, though, it had a built-in spice cabinet, and also, a pantry off the kitchen, which we never used because it was in pretty bad shape. I seem to remember there once being a box of Moon Pies in there…Strange, what we remember, all those years later.

In my memory, this kitchen was not particularly cheerful, since it had only one small window, facing north, over the sink. Whoever was washing dishes at that dark brown sink would’ve had a view right over to the V house, where I live now.

The stove was to the left of the sink, but I don’t remember what kind it was, and the fridge was located in the kitchen corner closest to the bathroom, with no cabinets or counters around it.

The white door you see on the right side of the photo was a swinging one, and led into a rather gloomy bedroom, with a north-facing window.

There was also a door on the right, leading to a mudroom-type porch, which then led to a cement pad with easy steps, and then out to the horseshoe-shaped driveway. Right where Grandma Sweetie, the maple tree I love so much, where she sheds her golden leaves.

Continue reading