Yes, fall cleaning is almost done. I have finished the pantry and the closets with the help of my friend, Debbie. Can’t do it alone anymore — too old. Saving the hardest job for last. The kitchen.

As I look over the room where so much real living goes on, I think, “Mother never had these doo-dads. Never used this and that, and still her meals were fantastic!” My thoughts are often filled with memories of her kitchen. Her love to cook, bake, entertain in that popular room.

But how could she? No refrigerator with an ice machine for cold water. The Dutch drawer freezer under the refrigerator — they were not even heard of. We did have an ice machine and ice man who stopped once a week. Chipped off a large ice block. Carried it in the kitchen back door, giving the perishable food a shock treatment. And we kids got ice chips to lick on.

She did have an electric stove which was kept spotless. Oh no — not oven cleaner. Just a lot of elbow grease and Old Dutch cleanser. Cut up cloth rags to wipe it dry. A thing called paper towels were just too expensive to buy to waste on the stove. Now if you look on the grocery shelves today, paper towels are again a costly luxury.

And of course there were no fancy gadgets to cut, clean and chop food with. There are just a few that make my life easier.

The breadmaker works like a miracle. Measure ingredients, pour in mixing area, turn on when done mixing ingredients, flip switch to bake. Oh the aroma that floats through the house. When done, remove bread, place on cooling towel. Even though the crust was never quite as crusty and brown as the Old Dutch oven method, it is still good — especially as the butter melts through it.

The electric mixer, large or small. Dear mom always wanted me to hand beat the egg whites stiff for angel food cake. It took about 20 minutes and a stiff, sore wrist. This causes the egg whites to be shiny, standing in peaks. Ready for the flour, egg yolks, etc. Oven hot — bake and then eat.

The microwave: a true invention that is a gift straight from heaven. Potato baked in 9 minutes, coffee heated in seconds, popcorn popped in a time less than cutting it off the cob. Wow!

Then there’s the Ninja — a know-it-all, do-everything chopper/grinder. Now I have made potato pancakes for at least 65 years of my married life. And if you are married to a Lithuanian, it is the nutritious health food of life. Anything made with a potato is. I can give you the recipe, but first you have to make yourself lvoe sour cream over and around the almighty potato. Each recipe states: Grate potatoes. Of course in a hurry so far I’ve lost finger skin, fingernails and such while grating.

But not anymore. We have the Ninja. I’ve almost lost a finger or two putting the chopper together. But no grating. It is great invention. A time saver.

So many other gadgets that dear mom never had. And I find my daughters’ kitchens displaying things I don’t have or need to clean. This is the true story of any woman’s life.

Well this ends my fall house cleaning. Thanks for being with me. Dear friend, whatever you buy and bring home, no matter how much you need and find room for it, no matter how well it works, the pride of your life, it still has to be cleaned.

Have a great Thanksgiving! And remember that after that meal, you can still use your dishwasher.

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