Reminiscing about the good old days spent with Grandma Flood brings a smile and a warm “fuzzy” feeling. Many fond childhood memories were made on that eighty-acre farm near Highlandville, Missouri. A time when water was drawn from a cistern, the garden was tilled with a horse-drawn plow, and fruits and vegetables were stored for winter months in a root cellar.
Kathy and I especially looked forward to helping Grandma in the kitchen. It was a magical place for two young girls who couldn’t wait to help Grandma make a hearty meal. We felt very important whether cracking an egg, punching down dough, or peeling carrots. But first things first; we had to get our aprons! We stood holding the strings out to our sides and waited as Grandma cinched them on. Grandma had aprons of every size and type—long ones, medium ones, short ones, ones for everyday wear and ones for Sunday best and company; a complete apron wardrobe! The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath. Since she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses, and they used less material. Not only that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
Back then, Grandma’s house didn’t have electricity or modern heating. Food was cooked on a cast iron wood-burning stove. Over five feet high and almost three and a half feet wide, it was the centerpiece of the kitchen. The stove had an oven, a warming oven, a solid copper water reservoir with a tap, firebox, and a large cooktop surface with six lids. We learned to cook on this stove, as did our mother and aunts before us.