04 April 2016

C is for Clutter

A to Z Home Blog
Clutter.  The very sight of the word conjures up images of gigantic piles of boxes, little knickknacks everywhere sitting on many tables, shelves piled with books.  Mustn’t forget the blankets and pillows setting on top of the furniture. And what does this have to do with cooking or food?  When one walks into the kitchen and sees organized clutter.

How does one organize clutter?  Well, in a typical Anishinabe home, there’s the visiting area, the coffee area, the cooking area and the sewing area.  Nowhere in the kitchen does one eat.  And most homes don’t even have a dining area.  As such.  If one is lucky enough to have a dining room, then it becomes a sewing area, or a laundry area, even if it’s miles away from the washer and dryer, if one is lucky enough to have these.

The living room must always be set up so that when family comes, there’s room for wall to wall bodies, thus furniture is usually arranged along the walls.  And blankets and pillows are among the easiest to move which is why they’re piled on top of the furniture.  Or one can sit on them when one is eating.

For some reason, most Indian families gather around in an area completely away from the kitchen to eat.  Not sure why this is.  I’ve contemplated this.  Perhaps someday, I’ll figure it out.  Til then, I guess we’ll continue to eat in a living room piled with the paraphernalia associated with the large family most of us are lucky enough to have.  There is no such thing as a nuclear family amongst Indians.

Methinks, this may be why there is such a clutter of stuff all over one’s house.  If one manages to have a house that looks like it came from a magazine picture, then one dasn’t open the closets, specially if they’re those tiny ones that are usually the only kind that come in the houses that are built on reservations.

And in the kitchen, well, that is the domain of the current cook and bottle washer.  I say the current, cause it usually comes down to the best cook currently in residence.  And that cook should also know how to make fry bread.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, fry bread is currently blamed for a lot of the ills of the Indian community.  However, it’s the amount of starches that one consumes, especially when combined with the processed sugar present in the current diet.  These two combined with the lack of physical exercise, well, one can’t blame the cook is all I say.

The kitchen becomes cluttered as the kitchen is arranged, rearranged, rearranged again according to the current cook’s wishes.  If the current best cook in the house is the same height as the resident cook, well, then no problem.  However, if they are differing heights, well, then it becomes a source of frustration when things can’t be reached in a timely manner.  Cause most cooks also don’t pull out everything needed before they start to cook.

And clean up?  Remember when I talked about the problem of the assigned chores?  Well, it continues into adulthood.  After everyone’s done visiting and goes home, well, the resident cook has to reorganize the kitchen.  Again.

Thus, constant clutter, as visiting is in a state of flux amongst Indians.


  1. That would be frustrating. My kids are constantly rearranging my kitchen and it makes me want to tear my hair out.

    C is for Cheese

    1. I'm the second shortest in the family. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Mildred,

    You write the most fascinating stories and in places you make me laugh because I can picture exactly what you're describing.

    I totally agree, if you have a picture perfect house, don't open the closets.

    And I love fry bread. I think everything in moderation is okay.



  3. Thanks for these glimpses into your life. The details paint a vivid picture.
    A to Z Challenge


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