One of the pictures in my kitchen is a big framed poster called ‘An Irish Dresser’ and it’s a picture taken in an old Irish kitchen, of the dresser, or sideboard, which held everything from a needle to an anchor! This picture is typical of rural Irish life in the 50s, or early 60s, and everything in it has some significance.
At this time, cooking was done on an open fire, on a range or on a paraffin cooker; in any case, the work was very hard, with the cleaning and lighting of the fire often taking place before first light, and with no labour saving devices anywhere, or even thought of. Water was heated in the same way, over the open fire. There was no television, and those who had radios powered them by means of batteries. Light came from oil lamps and candles. and water was drawn from a well, or a pump, and in our house that job fell to me when I was old enough to carry a bucket without spilling half the contents on the way to the house!
This is an overall view of the dresser:
It is made of a dark wood, nicely carved, there are 4 open shelves, with 3 drawers underneath, and then some closed shelves at the bottom, and you will see from the open door, that this is where pots and pans were kept. The bottom open shelf holds a weighing scales with brass weights, a jug of kitchen utensils, fresh bread and fresh eggs (probably newly laid) an almost burnt out candle, a few bottles of beer, a radio, an iron, a teapot and a tray, and an oil lamp.
The other shelves hold such an assortment of household bits and pieces- knitting, the alarm clock, pictures, more teapots, postcards from America (that was where most Irish people emigrated to, some of them never to see home again), a bottle of cherry brandy brought back from Spain, photographs, the ‘good’ china teaset which was only brought out for special visitors, such as the local priest, a big bunch of keys, rosary beads, holy pictures, a picture of the Pope, a St. Bridgids Cross, which is made of rushes, and is said to protect a house from fire…. this was a very Catholic country, and religion meant everything to the Irish people 50 years ago.
So much stuff – the kind of things one might find in an antique shop today.
I also have in my kitchen some framed photos of a spice market in Uganda, showing bags of chillies and spices in one photo, and limes, lemons and passion fruit in another photo, such colour and variety, and one can only imagine the different aromas everywhere in the market.
I wonder, in 50 year’s time, will my grand-children write about my kitchen as I have done right now?
Linked to Begorrathon 2015