19 AND COUNTING

On Monday, I woke up at my usual 7:00 a.m., trudged into the bathroom, combed my hair, noticing just a little more gray showing, brushed my teeth, noticing just a little less shine, washed my face, noticing a few more wrinkles around my eyes, and bent down to pick up my hair clip, noticing a little more ache in my back, and put on my shoes, noticing just a little more swell in my feet. Just another morning, like every other  morning.  But somehow, for some reason, this day felt different.

It wasn’t until much later that afternoon, that I realized that what I was feeling was time, time gone by, not by minutes, or hours or days, but by years. 19 to be exact.  In the blink of an eye, 19 years had just evaporated! Anne’s Kitchen TAble had entered it’s 19th year in July, 2018. Just like that.

I can remember so clearly, the first day we opened our first location in Elkins Park.  We were so full of dreams and hopes.  We were going to be a big success, not realizing how hard it is to even stay in business, yet be successful.  There were so many lessons to learn, so many mistakes to make, so many ideas that didn’t work. We hung on by the tips of our fingers, watching the bills pile up and the customers not show.  We moved to another location and waited for a miracle, my parents chipping in to keep us going. It was scary times, but something just kept me going. then we were told they were knocking down our place.

We moved again to Glenside in 2004. One year, two years…five years…10 years…and now. I still have dreams and hopes, but the years have changed them. They are no longer about me, so much, but of the continuation of what we have done, of the entity of Annes Kitchen TAble.  There will come a time when I won’t be at the helm, but perhaps someone else with a dream, with high hopes will come along  and be able to look in the mirror after 19 years and see the wrinkles and gray, and feel the ache in their back for having the best time of their lives.  I don’t regret one moment.

 

UPS AND DOWNS

Anne’s Kitchen TAble has had it’s ups and downs, but there’s one thing I know.  I will  protect it,  love it, and see it to the end.  It’s coming up on 19 years.  I  was 49  when I took the risk of opening up this entity, which has grown along with me, which has seen the best and the worst of my life.  It has brought some of the best people into my world and some who hopefully took away a little bit of my caring in spite of momentary disagreements. The restaurant world is mean, but that’s not me, so the struggle was extra hard for me.  There were moments when I should have be harsh sooner, or less caring quicker, but that’s not me.  IN a world where forgiveness and  understanding is rare, Here I stand, sometimes feeling quite alone.  But that’s ok.  I will always be there for the people that I love.  I have never walked away from my loved ones.  We all live with demons, skeletons in the closet, secrets.  No one escapes that.  So we live our lives as best we can, and when we falter, we hope that the people who matter will be there to pick us up and point us back in the right direction.

I’m not afraid of the future.  You are only as strong as your obstacles are high.

 

THE HOLIDAYS

THE HOLIDAYS

Things feel different this year holiday season.  Perhaps it’s the loss of my mother, although, for the last few years, she wasn’t much aware of holidays and always seemed to think it was someone’s birthday!.. which made for some fun and laughter at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  “Why are we eating Turkey on my birthday?, she would ask.  “I hate turkey.  I prefer a corned beef sandwich”.

So many of the young people who have worked for me over the years have moved on in their lives, and new young people have taken their places.  I miss the fluidity, the humor, the closeness that bound us every day.  We laughed hard and worked hard.  We were family.  And now, I have a new family, trying to figure out how to recreate what was with what is now.

For Thanksgiving there will be three of us.  Josh, Tom and myself, and Christmas will be the same.  My other son lives on another planet, called Canada, and all the way over on the other side too, and I am sure, by next year, Josh will be off to his new planet somewhere, and then there will be two.  Perhaps it is time to start to explore the possibilities of two, and redefine what the holiday mean for us.
I am not sad, or disappointed.  I am hopeful and full of anticipation.  And maybe Thanksgiving will be a Corned Beef Sandwich from now on and Christmas will be a trip to another planet.

I WISH ALL OF YOU THE BEST OF HOLIDAYS, IN WHATEVER WAY YOU DO IT, WITH WHOEVER YOU DO IT WITH, AND WHERE EVER YOU GO…

 

A CHANGE ON SUNDAYS

I’m a big “go our for Sunday Breakfast” kind of girl.  I want someone to pour me coffee (actually, I drink decaf, but don’t tell), ask me how my weekend is going, and then bring me a Lox and Bagel, or my favorite eggs over medium with scrapple, or, if its’ later in the day, I may opt for a Corned Beef special.  I want someone else to clear the table, do the dishes, and send me off feeling satiated and ready to take a lovely walk in the wood, do my laundry, or read a book.

We started our Sunday brunch thinking that we could bring some excitement to Glenside with an upscale menu, locally grown, and a little different than the diner fare.  I’m beginning to realize that here in Glenside, folks want what we do best,  Soups, sandwiches, salads and good service.  So, here’s what we do with Sunday.  Starting on Sunday, October, 14th, we are opening up at 11 a.m. until 3 pm. and we are going to do simple breakfast and our tried and true daily menu, along with our delicious soups of the day, and maybe we will throw in some kind of fun Brunchy special.

So, come on over, make yourselves at home and  we will be doing what we do best!!

FOOD IS ART

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that cooking is a skill that you learn, like road paving, or computer programming, brain surgery.  Cooking is an art form.  It comes from a deep down need to express oneself intimately, to share oneself’s inner vision of beauty through the use of  all the senses. Some artists use paint, or pastels, or charcoal. Some artists write music, some artists dance their creativity.

My sister is an artist.  She drew this when she was in sixth grade.  That’s her and me.  I’m the cute one.

IMG_1934.jpg

My father was a musician with the Philadelphia Orchestra for 25 years. Here is a statue of him done by an artist friend of my parents.

IMG_1935.jpgI could never draw like my sister, or play an instrument like my dad, But I did know how to make people happy through food.  What better way to offer yourself to others, than be creating something that smells amazing , looks fabulous, awakens your taste buds, and then you get to eat it.  Sorry Candy (that’s my sister), but you can’t eat your drawing and you can’t munch on that statue.

Food is essential. Love is essential. Creativity is essential. I put those things all together and then offer it to you on a plate.  And it’s a lot cheaper than a Picasso.

TO MY MOTHER

On August 18th, 2017, my mother, Yvette Arian, passed away.  It was a surprise to everyone except me, I guess.  She was healthy all her life, never broke or sprained anything, had all of her beautiful teeth and hair, and had the greatest sense of humor. She and my dad were married almost 68 years when he died at 88, and my mother tried to go one with her life, but, as time went on, she lost pretty much all of her friends, and was a starting to lose much of her memory.  My mother was a very organized, meticulous person, a librarian and teacher for most of her working years and not being in control of her thoughts was tearing her apart.  She told me that “living was ruining her life”, and was not happy about making it to 95 years old.
About a month or so ago, she started telling her dearest friend that she wasn’t going to be here much longer.  She tried to give away some of her belongings and she told me that the only thing that was keeping her around was me.

In the early morning of August 11, the staff where she lived found her on the floor of the bathroom.  She had had a massive stroke. IN the hospital that morning, I leaned over and told her that she didn’t have to worry anymore, that she had figured out a way to depart and that I would be there to keep her company.  She grabbed my hand and tried to smile.  My mother died in an organized and meticulous way.  I would not have expected anything less from her.

I have always been proud of my mother, but never as much as I was as I watched her face her death with such class.  She set a very high bar for me.  I hope I can make her proud.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AKT

 

As of August 1,  Anne’s Kitchen Table will be entering it’s 18th year of existing.  I guess that means we have finally reached grownup status. I think back to when I turned 18, and, frankly, I was anything but an adult. I had already flunked out of college twice (one being Montgomery County Community College, I may be the only person to ever do so), ran away to California to be a flower child (which I did, with a not very good outcome), and had been fired from Lit Brother’s Bargain Basement department , for not following directions.  I also trashed my dad’s 1964 Peugeot’s transmission by driving it in second gear at 60 miles an hour for four hours, and collected 30 parking tickets in Conshohocken, Pa. This is only what I can remember.

I’m hoping that Anne’s Kitchen TAble does not follow in it’s owners footsteps!.  I’m thinking that restaurant years should be more like cat or dog years: maybe every year of staying open should be like two people years.  That would make us actually more like 36.

Of course, then I think back to when I was 36…

I don’t know if we will ever stop growing.  I hope not.  This place I call Anne’s Kitchen TAble has been my child, as much as both of my children have been. I gave birth to it, I nurtured it, I have had sleepless nights over it, I have felt pride and I have felt disappointment over it.  I have tried to show it the best way to  make it in this very confusing and complicated world.  It is, to me a living thing, and all living things need love and care and support.

In return, Anne’s Kitchen TAble has given back so much more than I could ever have hoped for.  I have met so many amazing people, who have worked for me and who have been customers and who have become life long friends.  It has enabled my husband and I to provide for our ourselves and our children. It has given us as sense of worth and acknowledgment.  It has taught me that I am creative and strong, and a fun person!

And so, Happy Birthday, Anne’s Kitchen Table. I hope  you have many more.