Kitchen Memories

Posted January 18, 2016 by jimhigley


I have an abundance of happy childhood memories.

That makes me a pretty lucky guy.

They’re mostly simple memories (although – full disclosure – I still vividly remember my first trip to Disneyland. Big life events do have their place!). But beyond the Magic Kingdom – when it was still a rather new travel destination – my head is full of the simple, simple things.

Climbing trees. Building a club house. Box car derbies in the neighborhood. The kind of things you don’t hear about all that often today. One would think I’m a 90-year-old.

But I’m not. I just have a very good memory. From a very simple town. In the middle of cornfields.

Many of those childhood memories took place in our kitchen. In the days when kitchens were the unglamorous workhorses in the family home. Functional. Sturdy. Ours was small. But for all of our kitchen’s simplicity, it was overflowing with the most important ingredient: it had a heart.

If I was looking for my mom, the first place I’d look would be the kitchen.

And 90% of the time I’d find her there. Cooking. Baking. And usually singing along with the radio. Covered often with flour.

Our kitchen is where I’d sit – every morning of my youth – and start each day with breakfast. My brothers and I sat in birth order – which made me (son #5) relegated to the far, end of the table. Siberia.

But I was still at the table. And while I was the runt of the litter, I was part of the family.

My mom - enjoying a rare quiet moment in her kitchen!

My mom – enjoying a rare quiet moment in her kitchen!

I often think about those days – now that I’m a parent.

I think about those days as I prepare yet one more breakfast, pack one more lunch bag, or boil one more pot of water for a basic dish of pasta and parmesan cheese for my youngest.

I think about it when I’m caught in the business of daily rituals. And the sometimes mundaneness of what it feels like to care for the people I love.

Then I remember.

That tucked within the simple daily acts of love – and care – reside the memories my own children will recall.

And that gives meaning to my every day.



I had the fun job of hanging out in the Whirlpool booth at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. What did I see there? A bunch of things that I think my mom (and dad!) would have loved.  All in the spirit of saving precious time for family memories.

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I stalked this refrigerator. Many times.

The new Whirlpool® Smart French Door Refrigerator is genius. And it’s designed to use space more efficiently with a unique shelving system that acts and looks more like a pantry (allowing the refrigerator to store 30% more goodies for the family).  This beauty has shelves that slide and grow. It has special compartments for pizza (and kid treats). And lighting – integrated into the shelving – makes everything easy to see. Favorite find!

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This is brilliant. I wish I would have thought of this myself! Your laundry machine stays full of detergent just like your car keeps full of gasoline! With Whirlpool’s Load & Go™ system, families can fill their washer with a month’s worth of detergent – and then forget it. Automatic dispensing ensures each load gets the right amount of detergent, giving clothing precise fabric care. Sign. Me. Up.

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My parent’s were both super charitable – helping people out in the simplest of ways. I like to think it rubbed off on me. Maybe that’s why I like Whirlpool’s Connect to Care program. How’s it work? Well, through a simple app – you can opt to donate a small amount – like a dime or a quarter – to Habitat for Humanity – everytime you do a load of laundry. I love this because it adds value to one of those everyday simple tasks. And it’s a great way to teach kids that caring for others extends well beyond our family.

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Our laundry room – when I was growing up – wasn’t a laundry room at all. It was a wall in the dark, far corner of our basement. Why was it there? Because that’s where the venting to the exterior wall was. Oh, how my mom would have loved this new closet depth washer/dryer combo. The dryer doesn’t need exterior venting. With cool technology – a heatpump somehow turns the moisture into hot air. I don’t understand it – but it makes for a great solution for putting a washer/ dryer in a typically hard-to-locate spot. And the closet depth of this pair – makes it easy to fit in a closet. Do you hear that apartment dwellers? 🙂

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My mom would have liked Echo G.

Thanks Whirlpool , for sponsoring this story as part of my my CES series. Check out the CES section of their website to see what they’re planning for the kitchen of the future. #EveryDayCare