Kitchie Ohh: Family

Boudoir photo of pin up model Miss Kitchie Ohh
Photo of Miss Kitchie Ohh courtesy of Regina Marie. Copyright 2022

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2022




I come from a large, close knit family. Dad is one of five, Mom is one of three. I have four siblings, four siblings-in-law, five nieces, four nephews, four aunts, plus their three spouses, two uncles, and seventeen cousins. Those cousins, and their uncounted partners, have forty children between them, and those forty have another seven between them, so far. And I still have one living grandparent; Mom’s dad is nearly a century old and still going strong.  Yes, I did just have to sketch out a family chart. I’m not even sure I remembered everyone, and the count is still nearly one hundred individuals….and growing. There have been more occasions than I can count when I asked “who is that, again?” at a family function. We are a lot of people, a lot of personality, a lot of fun, a lot of dysfunction at times, but mostly we are a lot of love. 

Growing up, my family was a bit of an oddity compared to those of my peers. Every evening we gathered around the table for dinner. Same time, same seats, prior permission needed to be absent. Dad was home from work before Mom, lending an additional level of strangeness by being the one who cooked most nights. Although many of our friends seemed confused or shocked that this happened every night -yes, even weekends- they rarely passed up the opportunity to join us when it came. 

The home in which I was raised seemed to have a magical kitchen, whatever meal came out of it was enough for everyone, even unexpected visitors, and there were often unexpected visitors. Invitations were standing. The door was always open. There was room for everyone. It took me some time to realize there was nothing particularly special about the kitchen, the ingredients of the meals, or the table at which we ate them. The magic was my family.

I have been using past tense as if these things are no longer true.  I assure you, they are, despite all of us kids leaving home and starting our own lives and families. Dinner is still on the table every evening. If you show up, announced or not, you will have a seat and a plate. Conversation will flow and any leftovers will be offered for you to take home. Any day, weekends and holidays included. 

For my family, food is love and recipes hold powerful memories. Cold weather? Feeling sad or sick? The best remedies can be found in a bowl of Gram’s crespelle – rolled crepes torn into chicken broth and topped with parmesan cheese; or Nan’s chicken pot pie – which anyone of  Pennsylvania Dutch heritage knows is not a pie at all but more a stew consisting of wide dumpling-like noodles, potatoes, onions and shredded chicken. Every time I make either of these comfort foods, I wonder what those old gals might think of my plant-based modifications and hope they approve. Then there’s the holidays. We can’t have Christmas without sugar and linzer cookies – which are my absolute favorite, by the way –  like we used to make with Mom, assembly line style, or New Year’s without Dad’s pork & sauerkraut and the oh-so-sweet “fruitcake” Gram used to make that isn’t actually cake, or even baked. It’s weird; don’t tell anyone I don’t really like it that much.  Finally,  we come to the “new” traditions and recipes; the things we try out that stick around and will turn into memories for future generations’ tables. I laugh as I type this thinking of how those future conversations will go with speculation as to how tres leches cakes and tikka masala became traditional recipes from a family of mostly Irish-Italian descent. No mystery, we just like good food!

Looking back, I recall sometimes feeling like my family was too much. Too loud, embarrassingly goofy, always there knowing everyone’s business. Sometimes I hated the inclusion of the entire extended group plus random tagalongs and complete strangers. I resented rarely having alone time or a secret. It’s only now that I see, and fully appreciate, just how much my family’s open and welcoming nature shaped the person I am today and how much a home-cooked meal can say without a single word. I am grateful that I was raised knowing how to share, or more accurately, never knowing that not sharing was even an option. If I’m hungry, I’ll be fed. If I need someone, I have several dozen to call on and several dozen more who will be there before I even ask. And if you know any of us, so do you. 

Family is not limited to genetic relations, but if you’re as lucky as me, the ones you’ve got are the ones you would choose anyway. 


boudoir photo of Miss Kitchie Ohh
Photo: Regina Marie, Copyright 2022


About The Columnist: 

Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits for over the last 20 years, currently with a food-related Philadelphia nonprofit. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then shes worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles.  She has been featured in -and on the covers of- multiple print and digital publications. Over the years she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for local Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn. 

In addition to her food insecurity-related work, she has also volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even on the events team of a local brewery, pre-pandemic.  

Youre just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is be both.” The model and the homemaker,  sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once.  


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