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the bardsey kitchen

April 5, 2011

A great post on The Kitchn caught my attention today. It’s a feature on Lisa Zador, who has (beautifully) turned her kitchen into an homage to her mother.

This resonates with me for several reasons. For one thing, as I’ve said before, you’ll find it much easier to be creative when you’re surrounded by things that inspire you. But on a more personal level, I instantly thought of my own favorite kitchen, the one I’d love to model some day when I have the space (and the freedom to redecorate). It’s Grandma Joyce’s: large and inviting, busy but organized. The setting for many childhood memories.

This is where I’ll get into the meat (or fruit) of this blog. Grandma Joyce and Grandpa Don lived in a gorgeous home on an apple orchard for…I want to say 30 years. Close to it, at least. They built it themselves, and they made it their own. I don’t know if I’ll ever find any setting as serene as that property on Apple Tree Lane (yes, seriously, Apple Tree Lane. Sounds like a nursery rhyme, doesn’t it?) I think of Grandma’s kitchen in that house, and I picture her yellow ceramic jars with big, yellow apple-shaped knobs on the lids. And her apple-shaped glass bowls (you can see them in this photo) she’d use for all kinds of occasions. Needless to say, apples are very symbolic in my family.

Now, people often see this blog title and ask “who’s / what’s Bardsey?” I’ve avoided answering so far. It did take me a while to come up with the right name. It couldn’t be too cooking-related, or too knitting-related. I didn’t want my own name in it. Or Grandma Joyce’s. I didn’t want any awful puns. (I did come up with a few, and ew.) I wanted it to be a subtle tribute to my unique, beautiful, Welsh grandmother, who inspires all of these projects. So I immersed myself in words, phrases, themes, and names that remind me of her, and muddled through it for a few days. And then, there it was: the Bardsey Island Apple, “the rarest fruit in the world,” found only on one tiny island in Wales.

It may be a while until I have a more permanent space to decorate, and even longer until it’s as impressive as Lisa Zador’s. But I can start my Bardsey Kitchen now and pay homage to Grandma in whatever way I can. Perhaps by baking something with apples and butterscotch. And sugar. And butter. Stay tuned.

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