St. Martha’s Apron Strings – Part 1, Tending the Kitchen

So much of our lives center around the kitchen and the family table – birthday celebrations, First Communion feasts, family announcements. It is here that my children enjoy re-living the exciting parts of their day with dad. The kitchen should be a lovely room in the house – cheery and enjoyable to be in.

There is so much involved in keeping a lovely and smoothly running kitchen. The kitchen must be well laid out, with the necessary tools at arms reach. Countertops should be kept as free of clutter as possible. A kitchen should be well lit, preferably with as much natural light as possible. If possible, a vase of wildflowers should be set out to bring an element of beauty into a room that out of necessity must be overwhelmingly practical. My mom had the greatest idea recently, and I intend to incorporate it into our days soon: a kitchen day! On this day you could clean out the fridge, note any items needing to be replenished on the next trip to the store, give everything a thorough wipe down, prepare any mixes you make from scratch (taco, chili,) work on your menus, and any other kitchen maintenance. I think it would set the week up in good stead if a day is devoted to weekly maintenance and refreshing the kitchen.

Now…the details of how I will set out to accomplish the transfer of kitchen skills (and in some cases how I will acquire much needed skills myself):

The backbone of our study will include many selections from:
Tea and Cake with the Saints: A Catholic Young Lady’s Introduction to Hospitality and the Home Arts

I’ll be supplementing with:
The Mary Frances Cook Book: Adventures Among the Kitchen People
Look and Cook: A Cookbook for Children

and possibly these:
Betty Crocker’s Cooking Basics: Learning to Cook with Confidence
The Absolute Beginners Cookbook
The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook
The Louisa May Alcott Cookbook
Fannie in the Kitchen: The Whole Story from Soup to Nuts of How Fannie Farmer Invented Recipes with Precise Measurements

So much of learning to work in the kitchen is done at mother’s side. The following skills are essential to a young lady’s education in the kitchen:

  • Setting a lovely table
  • How to clean the kitchen and the value and importance of setting up a kitchen day during the week
  • Planning a meal from start to finish
  • Setting up a menu for a week
  • Planning a grocery list from that menu
  • Stocking and Tending the Pantry – to include tips on how to organize the pantry and how different types of food should be stored. Example: whole grains vs. bleached/white grains
  • Cabinet organization
  • Maintaining and organizing a spice and seasoning rack
  • Measuring technique
  • How to make bread – with and without a machine
  • Mis En Place – french for “put in place” is the practice of starting any kitchen project in a tidy kitchen with all necessary ingredients measured and set out neatly on the counter.
  • Meat Handling and Safety
  • The many ways to cook an egg
  • Nutrition and building a healthy meal
  • Cooking techniques – explanation of and purpose for:
    • baking
    • steaming
    • grilling
    • sauteeing
    • boiling
    • poaching
    • roasting
    • deglazing
    • braising
    • brining
    • use of the slow cooker
  • Baking safety and how-to:
    • preheating the oven
    • greasing a pan

I may add other topics to be covered at a later date. Let me know if you have any suggestions, or if I missed something glaring! May your time spent in the kitchen with your daughters be fruitful and always a delight.

HT: Colleen and many of the other ladies at 4Real and the Home Economics thread for some of the above suggestions! 🙂

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  1. I love this idea. a lot of time and thought went into your curriculum choices. YOur Montessori environment is beautiful, too.But I don’t like your tracker on the side bar. I kind of like to be in the shadows. It feels kind of creepy to see all the places I’ve clicked to and back from if you know what I mean.KL

  2. Kathryn,I’m so sorry to have bothered you about the tracker. It was actually a gift to my dh who wondered who was looking at my blog. I really don’t look at it, but he really enjoys seeing who has been here. I’m considering your thoughts on this. I don’t know what I’ll do about the tracker.Prayerfully considering…

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