Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday in Julie's Kitchen



The photo above is my kitchen, but I don't want to tell you about my kitchen today. I want to reminisce about Saturday in my Mom's house when I was growing up.
Saturdays were rigidly set as to Mom's order of things and 'Saturday work'  followed the same routine week after week, year after year!
Most Mennonite homes would have been much the same.

Saturday was always a preparation day with Sunday in mind.

The house needed to be cleaned.. top to bottom.
Everything that could be, was dusted  including the baseboards.  I remember the baseboards being one of my first chores as a child  and I remember crawling around on my hands and knees making sure they were all free of dust and every other week washed.
Floors were scrubbed , and every other Saturday were also waxed and polished.
Everything was tidied and put away.
Beds were stripped and changed, every other week, ready for Monday wash day.


Mom always baked white buns as well as pies, cakes, cookies or squares.  As I got older I was allowed to bake cakes or cookies but I never made or participated in baking the bread or buns.
The noon meal for Sunday  was prepared on Saturday  so that when we came home from church,  lunch would be ready.  It was either soup or a cold meal such as potato salad and cold meat.  
Living on a small farm ensured there was always lots of meat -- our own beef, pork and chicken  -- and  vegetables either fresh  from Mom's large garden or canned. The shelves in my  Mom's well stocked basement pantry were filled with jars of jam,  fruit, vegetables,  a variety of pickles and sauerkraut.  
The baking was a must because you never knew who would be coming over on Sunday afternoon and would of course stay for Faspa -- a light meal of buns, meat, jam, pickles and baked desserts.
It was accepted  that Sunday afternoon everyone was free to just hop in the family car and arrive at family or friends' homes uninvited, yet assured of their welcome.  Somehow, it wasn't too often that you arrived at someone's house and found that they had gone visiting somewhere else!  
Faspa was always served  between 4 and 4:30 to make sure everyone could get to the evening church service on time.

One of my Saturday jobs was to polish the shoes.   I gathered up everyone's Sunday shoes and lined them up - six pairs.   I so remember the  white liquid shoe polish that was used on summer  shoes.  It had a particular smell and came in a bottle with a wand attached to the lid that was used to 'paint' the shoes.    Paste was wiped onto the dark leather shoes with a rag and then polished to a shine.

Saturday was  weekly bath night and girls/women's  hair  put up in rollers or pin curls.
Saturday night was late night shopping in town and you could always tell which women were going to church the next morning because they would have their hair in rollers under a scarf.

I no longer hold to this rigid schedule of 'Saturday work' , but I do remember the feeling of security it gave me.  It was something that remained predictable and constant throughout my growing up years and gave me a feeling of  'all's right with my world'.

 *

24 comments:

  1. Interesting how we grew up in different parts of the country and a decade and half apart in age, yet your story is so similar and familiar to me. I don't have that same hold to that structured Saturday ritual now either.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That certainly took me down memory lane! I like how the rigid schedule of Saturday work gave you a sense of security. I can still smell the baking in my mother's kitchen and hear the clatter of the pots and pans late into the night as she prepared for Sunday dinners. This is a wonderful analogy of how we should live our lives and prepare for the unexpected arrival of our Lord and Saviour!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My growing-up years in Leamington were exactly like you described them ... including zweiback and lemon meringue pie --- life was, and still is, good!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I, too, remember the dusting of baseboards. Sometimes, taking a bit longer than I should have to do a little day dreaming!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am loving these snippets into each of your kitchens' - keep on!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It was the same at our house except my mom baked bread everyday and i learned to bake bread at the age of 8. Nothing was measured in a measuring cup or measuring spoon. I poured the salt in my hand to measure and eyed the amount of shortening . I just added flour till the dough felt right. It was always very good. Now I need a measuring cup and spoons.
    JB

    ReplyDelete
  7. I grew up in a Mennonite home in Kansas and our Saturdays were the same as you described. How fun that the traditions were the same, no matter where you lived!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Absolutely, almost to the letter, describes my years at home in central Illinois. Such loving, warm memories. So many things are different for me now as I live a content (for the most part!) life in Goshen, IN.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My goodness another Phyllis .. in Saskatchewan ,, and lived excatly the same (I tho helped with doing outdoor chores also (no need for excersie equipment back then we had ritual chores feeding cattle milking etc etc ..
    and wouldn't it be nice to be living the same ,,, not having Sports the( New Religion as now )
    We lived the organic way ,,, as it now is the NEW THING ,,

    Oh the good life (I'll add choir pratise Saturday night's and yes with roller's in our hair to be ready for Sunday church )

    ReplyDelete
  10. That is exactly what we did when we lived in Altona Manitoba. My job was always waxing and polishing the floors. I sure tried to get out of it but never managed :). For Sunday Faspa we had buns which we covered in jam, dipped in hot coffee and then put on a plate and added some whipping cream! Sounds weird I know! Often we just had buns, jam, cottage cheese and canned fruit. We are all so far apart yet so close.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I lived in Brazil and we had the same schedule! It was my job to line up and polish the shoes outside or on the patio. I don't remember baseboard dusting, but baking buns, Platz and chocolate meringue pie and cooking a meal for Sunday was what my mom did.
    Today ... well I'm going to pick up my ten-year-old granddaugher and watch the second episode of Anne of Green Gables. Maybe we should make a Platz after that.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is a fun walk down memory lane. My job was to dust...everything and then later it became my job to clean the bathroom. My mom must have stripped beds on Monday mornings because that is when she did the laundry.
    We never left the house on Saturdays at all. I do recall begging to come to your house and enjoying the fruits of your Saturday work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww... I'm glad we could share some of our childhood memories although you came into childhood when I was about to leave it! The reason we changed beds on Sat. was so that we would have clean beds to lay our 'Saturday-bathed' clean bodies into! smile...
      Interesting how Mondaywashday was almost one word, wasn't it? Ohh.. what changes washer/dryers made in our orderly lives.

      Delete
  13. Although our Saturdays weren't as set in concrete as yours, the pattern of the day was much the same. My mom worked during the week so we had to help on Saturdays. I had to dust and hated it- often sneaking away to read a book. My sister did the vacuuming. Mom made zwieback most weeks, did the laundry and sewed for my sister and I. As I got older I was in charge of the Saturday baking - always a pie, a cake, 2 kinds of bars and cookies. And yes, there was company most Sunday afternoons and church morning and evening. This post sure brings back memories.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I was chuckling reading this, as our Saturdays were so similar. We were not Mennonites, but Dutch/Canadian Catholic. I so remember the unfairness of the girls having to make the boys' beds as well as our own; we too had to vacuum, dust the baseboards whether or not they needed it, and polish white and dark shoes. My sister and I often would get a little 'secret' reading in upstairs. I think Mom knew it though. And although she did not bake bread or buns, there were cakes and cookies baked on Saturdays, and baths at the end of the day. On Sunday,we often would have vistors after lunch, or go visiting, and then be back at the farm for afternoon milking.
    Lots of good childhood memories. Dairymary

    ReplyDelete
  15. this made me smile. as children, our cousins and us made plans on how to escape this saturday tradition, as the three sisters who lived on the same country road in the same tiny communtiy, all had the same issue. we had a name for it which in low german, which i cannot spell. in english the direct translation would be "yell day". because of the horrors of saturday cleaning, lol, when i became a housewife and mother i cleaned on friday. haha. in my teens i would beg my father to take my mom to town for supper on saturday. while they were gone i would go into high gear and clean the entire house. to this day i am more than happy to clean, alone. On a completely different note. i am on pinterest, and i wonder if you could make ur recipes etc. available for us to "pin it"? Diane Neufeld. dneufeld10@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. My upbringing was very similar. In fact, I've been thinking a lot about my mom's clean house today, as we plan her funeral. She passed away 2 days ago. I think we had the cleanest house in the neighbourhood. Thank you very much for writing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dear Anonymous... I'm so sorry for your loss.. I know you will miss her the rest of your life! I pray that your memories will comfort you and I pray that you will also know the comfort of the Lord! I will pray for you and your family.

      Delete
    2. Thank you very much.

      Delete
  17. for years I thought I was the only person in the whole wide world who had to dust baseboards, and then I grew up ,our house routine was much the same and not Mennonite. To the person who just lost your Mother I hope your memories provide you comfort.

    ReplyDelete
  18. My memories of Saturday/Sunday are very similar to yours!, I grew up in a Dutch Immigrant family, and we pretty much did the same things as your Mom would do. I do sort of the same things today, almost 50 yrs later. Making sure the house is cleaned, having Soup prepared, and baking done.
    Loved the memories! thankyou for sharing that!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Haha, yup, that was like our Saturday's as well. Awhile ago I wrote about Sundays (http://oasisofone.blogspot.ca/2011/04/sawdust-knacksot-and-faspa.html) and I still get many 'hits' on that blog. I think I will link to this blog from there as well.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh, my, this brings back so many memories of my Saturdays growing up on a farm in Central Illinois. I haven't thought of white shoe polish in years, but your mention of it immediately brought back that unique odor!

    ReplyDelete