Old and new memories are savored in League City kitchen
Suzanne Dues has always loved antiques.
“I had many pieces of antique furniture in my former home, so when I built a smaller house in League City in 2015, I knew I wanted my kitchen to be reflective of that,” she said.
For her kitchen, which she describes as homey and inviting, Dues chose warm colors, so as not to contrast with her collection of vintage items.
“I have splashes of color in the form of decorative plates above the kitchen cabinets to offset their dark stain and the walnut flooring,” she said. “But the most treasured item up there is a 1900s cast-iron, hand-cranked, table-mount vegetable slicer that belonged to my dad.”
Another treasure is the blue and white vase she bought while visiting Prague 20 years ago.
Dues was adamant that her kitchen be functional, and she particularly likes its triangular shape, she said.
“It’s easy to maneuver in this small space,” she said. “I can turn around and be close to all the appliances, and I’m just mere steps away from the dining room.”
Her five-burner gas stove, oven, microwave and dishwasher are by Whirlpool, and the refrigerator is an LG. The white granite countertops and honeycomb porcelain backsplash add a light component.
Tired of stainless steel, Dues opted to go with a Blanco diamond granite composite double-bowl sink with a bronze single-handle faucet.
The dining room’s antique china cabinet houses a part of her mother’s 125-piece milk glass collection. Below is her grandmother’s floral, gold-rimmed tea set made in Japan, and her mother’s 12-piece crystal stemware.
“I used to serve shrimp cocktail in the stemmed glasses when I had my boyfriend over during high school,” Dues said.
An antique high chair that’s been in the Dues family for decades is nearby as is a North Electric Company oak wall telephone that was in Dues’ mother’s house when she was growing up.
Calling herself a minimalist cook, Dues praises the culinary skills of her grandmother, who could whip up a mean chicken spaghetti, she said.
“I prefer to fire up the backyard grill and blacken a chicken or fix dishes that don’t require a lot of time,” she said.
Another time-saver is growing blackberries on her backyard fence, then freezing them so there’s always an abundance of fresh berries.
An old pie safe in the front bedroom houses more of the milk glass collection, an original Seeburg Selectomatic jukebox, which plays 100 78 rpm records, is in the garage, and an authentic player piano with 189 music rolls, which belonged to Dues’ aunt is in the office.
“My dad built a grandfather clock from a kit, and that piece is in my living room, but I can see it really well from the kitchen,” she said. “He was part of Darby’s Rangers and one of the first soldiers to embark on the beaches of Normandy during World War II.”
She grew up in Dickinson and attended Dickinson High School with Rudy Dues, who she eventually married. Rudy Dues, now deceased, was the love of her life, she said.
Now retired from a long career in banking, Dues appreciates time spent with family — especially her two daughters and five grandchildren — and friends, she said.
A sign in her kitchen is a testament to the homey and inviting atmosphere she has created:
“Kitchen — A gathering place for friends and family. A place where memories are homemade and seasoned with love.”
Dues gravitates back to the china cabinet and remembers a glass whiskey decanter that was her father’s. She holds it up to the light and smiles.
“I don’t do a lot of cooking, but I do love my kitchen and all the memories that it houses,” she said. “That’s the most important part.”
Gadgets Dues can’t do without: Garlic press, mini Teflon skillet, Calphalon Classic saucepan with straining lid
Must have spices: Lemon pepper, ground turmeric and ground cumin
Hot Crab Dip
Dues’ favorite go-to party food
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
2 packages Philadelphia cream cheese
1 stick of real butter
Dash Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tabasco sauce
In saucepan melt butter, then add and melt cream cheese.
Add crabmeat, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce.
Serve warm in chafing dish with crackers. Triscuit brand works well.