Crowded kitchen becomes family gathering place

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Lily, Jay, Michele, Ally and Charlie Freimark before finding themselves in a crowded kitchen. Photo by Pat Joubert.

By Lily Freimark

All five Freimarks are back under the same roof and it is not always easy. Especially in the kitchen.

A typical night consists of Michele Freimark, my mother, in the process of making dinner; Jay Freimark, my father, bringing home groceries and trying to put them away; Ally, my sister, over my mother’s shoulder, trying to catch some cooking tips; and Charlie, my brother, snacking right before it’s time to eat.

“All I want is for one night where I can cook without the kitchen being so crowded.  I love you all, but sometimes I need my space!” said Michele.

Night after night, around 6 o’clock, is when the chaos starts.

That’s about the time we all take a break from our work-at-home lives – my mom, who has been working around the house all day; my dad, coming home from eight hours at the office; my sister, a high school senior; my brother, a high school junior; and me, a Miami sophomore back from Oxford – and gravitate to the kitchen in our Cincinnati house.

Everyone is hungry then quickly annoyed and frustrated with one another.

“The best is when I am making dinner and one or two of you guys complain about what I am making,” my mother said, sarcastically.

Charlie is usually the king of complainers.  Most nights of the week, he will either roll his eyes, make a comment or just straight up not eat what my mother makes.

“I usually just go to Chick-fil-A because I never get sick of it and it’s always good,” Charlie said.

After dinner can also become difficult for my family. While my dad starts the dishes, my mom and I pick at the leftovers, Ally starts in on dessert and Charlie dumps Chick-fil-A trash on the counter.  

“It is helpful when you guys put the dishes in the dishwasher when you’re finished with dinner. There’s always someone though who can never seem to do it,” my dad said, directing his comment at my 16-year-old brother.  

At times, Ally and I want to bake later in the night. A baking session provides a little calm during this stressful time and takes up some time before we go to bed. But baking can also produce more stress. My mom and brother tend to come into the kitchen and pick at the batter or icing, while my dad has to make sure our baked goods are cooked long enough.

“I just want to be able to bake without people telling me what to do,” Ally said. “It annoys me, but I guess I also like having company in the kitchen.”

Even though time in the kitchen can get a little overwhelming, it has become our family gathering place.

Or as my mother said, “I love having you all back at home at the same time.  It makes me feel so lucky.”

Lily Freimark is a Miami sophomore majoring in strategic communication and sports leadership and management.