The heart of your new home

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015

You can tell a lot about a woman from what she hauls around in her car. Vice grips. Piano lesson books. Twenty-five pounds of shrimp. (Which is a very bad idea, by the way.)

Right now in my ride there happens to be a box of wedding invitations in the floorboard. They are ecru, I believe, with embossed black lettering, and they are joined by a box of Kleenex somewhere under the passenger seat. This matrimonial business is emotional stuff.

That’s why it’s good to know we have friends out there who are staying focused on the important things, like filling Daughter No. 1’s new kitchen with the necessary paraphernalia to feed her man. It’s also why, with shower season in full swing for her and a dozen other area young ladies, I decided to compile a list of items they’ll need in order to properly stock the most important room in a house.

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So here it is, my “Top Ten Things No Bride’s Kitchen Should Be Without”:

1. A Bell’s Best cookbook

My yellowed version came courtesy of a wedding shower at my husband’s home church in Mendenhall 28 years ago. It’s my go-to culinary resource, complete with cake batter-splattered, dog-eared pages like 118, which contains the dinner rolls my kids cut their cuspids on.

2. A deviled-egg dish

It’s just like the caller said of the cut-crystal version I scored at an auction in Hazlehurst last year – no Southern lady is complete without one.

3. A grocery list

Electronic versions may be the new thing, but nothing beats a well-organized printable list that all family members can access. The best ones reflect the layout of your local pit stop, which means less time in the store and more time at the stove.

4. A freezer full of sausage, bacon, hamburger, chicken, pork, etc.

Men love meat. I may be generalizing, but it’s true. Feed your husband’s inner carnivore, and you’ll be applauded. Feed him salad and, well, let’s just say you’ve been warned.

5. A crock pot

It may take you a while to realize its value, but once your life gets really hectic, you’ll come to appreciate the beauty of walking into your house after being away for hours and catching a whiff of Hawaiian Chicken, ready and waiting.

6. Mason jars

These will come in handy for housing everything from that homemade vinaigrette you like so much, to the remains of last night’s chicken soup, to a centerpiece bouquet of wildflowers.

7. A junk drawer

This is where you will put all the kitchen gadgets you thought you needed but rarely will use, like meat thermometers, garlic presses, corkscrews and nutcrackers. It’s also where you’ll put rubber bands, coupons and sundries (a nice name for junk) unless you make a very concerted effort not to.

8. Butter

Go real, and you won’t go wrong. This adage applies to most everything in life, but especially to butter. Thanks to a Porches cooking class, I learned this after years of margarine consumption and never looked back.

9. An apron

Wearing one of these (a cute one, of course) will help you get your game on. Nothing says “Serious Cook” like an apron.

10. You

None of the toasters, mixers, Bundt pans or measuring cups that you registered will amount to much if you don’t use them. Learn to like being in your kitchen. It’s the heart of the home, so make it beat.

Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at