The kitchen’s having a makeover, but one thing stays: the trestle table.

We’ve put up with this mid-20th century disaster for several years now, and decided that “retro” is only fun as long as you don’t have to cook in it. Evidently kitchen designers of the 1950s and ’60s figured that now that women had labor-saving appliances, they didn’t want help in the kitchen. The only way to get assistance on a big holiday dinner is to number the tasks, and tell the helpers to draw a number and wait for their turn at the counters.

At first we wanted to add a few feet to the size of the room, but when we found out how much that would cost, we down-scaled. Instead, we’ll rearrange the space we have, turn some useless décor shelves at the end of the room into cupboards, and replace the countertops, flooring and some of the appliances.

The first thing we’re going to do is haul out all the pots, pans and baking utensils from the cupboards. This shouldn’t be hard, since they’re so crammed in that they fall out every time you open a cupboard door. We’ll probably discard about a third of the contents, and may see we don’t really need as many new cupboards as we thought.

When we first moved in, I tried to minimalize and ended up saving most of the favorite utensils. This time I’ll be more ruthless. I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t need all that fancy baking stuff. Maybe. I almost got rid of some of it once, and then along came a grandson and great-grandson, and fresh inspiration. I’ll still need to bake miniature cupcakes, and cakes formed like cartoon characters, and Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles. Some stuff might go, though. It’s been awhile since I used the clay chicken-baker, and the rice cooker and the bamboo steamer.

To be honest, some of those utensils were kept only out of nostalgia. I have memories of one kid’s favorite dish always being cooked in that particular pan, or the pre-payday tuna casserole in that chipped Pyrex dish with “Scofield” printed on the bottom in nail polish to identify it at potlucks. The battered muffin tin Mom gave me is an ugly eyesore, but it stays. She only had two of them, but she gave me one of her “gem pans” as she called them, swearing nothing would ever stick in them.

The Fiesta-ware dishes have to stay. They’re my husband’s favorite. Every time a new color comes out, we have to get a place setting. We now have more dishes than we do guests to eat on them, but all that color brightens the spirit as well as the kitchen.

Our co-owner daughter will be slinging hash in this facility for a lot longer than I will, so she’s in charge of the renovation. She lined up the contractors, got the estimates and brought home samples for us to choose from. We’ll put up our half of the cost, but the rest of the burden is on her shoulders, thank heavens. The older I get, the less patient I am with disruption in plans, shattered deadlines and wavering price quotes. In return, she gets to style it in her taste.

This could be interesting. Luanne’s style is crisp, modern, functional. Mine is warm, country, cozy. The cafe curtains I sewed will be replaced by fiber blinds. The matching table runner and placemats will be banished to yard sale territory with all those pots and pans, to be replaced by, probably, nothing. Minimalism is the new keyword. But the table those country cuties graced stays right where it is.

That was our first point of negotiations: Dad’s table stays in the kitchen! Luanne readily agreed, because she also loves the table, and the tradition surrounding it.

Russ built it from materials discarded when the old Franklin Junior High gym was torn down. It’s a work of art: a trestle table with a long bench on each side and a short bench on each end. It took him a long time, but it was worth the wait.

It replaced the chrome dinette set that is now described as retro, and fit perfectly in the big country kitchen on the farm. Oh, the family dinners that were eaten around that table: the homemade soup while the wind whistled around the eaves; the taco salad while a summer breeze drifted in the window over the sink. The kids completed school projects there, and Christmas cookies filled the surface as they were divided up into holiday packets.

There seemed to be no room for the table in the cottage that came before this house, so it stayed on the roofed patio until it began to show weather-pocking. Then we hauled it inside for a gift-wrapping and sewing table.

When we toured this house, I immediately saw the beloved table at the end of the kitchen. Russ refinished its weathered surface, I sewed the table runner and placemats, and it has ruled the kitchen ever since.

Thank heaven it stays!

• Donna Scofield is a freelance writer whose articles, columns and short fiction stories have appeared in numerous national and regional magazines. The longtime Yakima resident is retired after working as a secretary and office manager in Yakima School District elementary schools. Her email is