Hello there friends, and Happy Tasha Tuesday! This week’s post was written by my lovely friend and Tasha Tudor lover, Winnie. She lives in sunny Florida, but she still enjoys the homespun ambiance of New England that Tasha so deftly created. Please enjoy this post from Winnie, and leave her a comment!
In 1991, we had to renovate a 1960 ranch house kitchen that had literally fallen apart. At the time, I had been exploring the country look with antiques and I used that to renovate and create a farm kitchen look.
As a young child, we visited my grandparents who lived on an old farm in Indiana. It had no indoor plumbing and still used a big black wood burning stove and a well to bring water to the house. That kitchen is what I remember most, and when I first read Tasha’s book, Heirloom Crafts(1995), I realized from her photos, that my Grandmother’s kitchen looked very similar. I had been enjoying Tasha’s children’s stories with my girls over the years, but by 1995 they were teens and now I was searching for more inspiration from Tasha that I could embrace. Enter the “winter kitchen” as she often called it.
By 1995, the renovations had long been completed and while there was some resemblance to a farm kitchen, it was the 1990s after all, and in suburbia Florida, there are not many homes with wood burning stoves!! With Tasha’s new book, I longed for my kitchen to look the same. How impractical was that thought process???
What I decided to do was to look for little things that I could do that helped re-create the same feel in the one place of the house I seemed to spend the most time. So, I added a copper tea kettle, a crock, using aprons, but mostly finding joy in making foods from scratch the old fashioned way. Eventually, I found a small antique stove to place in the kitchen as a sort of reminder of the winter kitchen and as a place to decorate for the seasons.
Seventeen years later, what have I learned? I was not able to have a reproduction of Tasha’s kitchen in my ranch 1960s home, but that is not the legacy of Tasha Tudor either. What I think Tasha was sharing with all of us in her books and life was how to appreciate the quality and intrinsic value of doing things as they were originally done in the 19th century.
It seems to me that she wanted authenticity in her life instead of an ever increasing cheap throw away lifestyle. When we look to simplicity in both lifestyle and in what we consume, we find timeless and rewarding experiences in tea with friends, beautiful cut flowers from our gardens on the kitchen table,and healthy and delicious foods prepared from time honored recipes and ingredients. Satisfaction comes from feeling good about our choices and staying connected to those things in our own lives worth preserving. Tasha was right on about this connection of the present to the past.
So, whether our “winter kitchen” has a gas, electric, or wood burning stove, a simple loaf of homemade bread baking in the oven fills the home with that unmistakable smell of HOME and security. It draws us to the kitchen to see when we will enjoy a slice.
I believe Tasha would say to us, tea is at 4pm so be sure to be on time!