For many of us who love to cook, our kitchen tools hold stories for many years. Some of those tools…utensils, pots, pans, and cookbooks come and go as we come and go ourselves to different houses and places, moving into and through different phases (and crazes) of our lives experimenting with the new along the way. One thing that stays the same probably is that no matter where we go, we most likely always have a “kitchen”…either our own or someone else’s and the things we use in that room can be very personal and important in the success of our creative culinary efforts.
I remember my very first cookbook given to me by a college friend at my wedding shower: A hardbound copy of Betty Crocker’s “Dinner for Two”, which at that time sounded very romantic…visions of long, lingering dinners by candlelight with my new husband. (Well the book had a picture of a table set for two with flowers and candles and very easy and basic recipes taking little time to prepare as it was assumed that the kitchen time had to be divided between itself and that other important newly-wed room). That book served us well for the first year or so, making me feel very accomplished and grown-up. (I married quite young..)
I just looked up that cookbook this morning on Amazon. It seems that it has increased in value over the years as one can order a used copy for $41.36 and a NEW copy (they still print it? Copywrite 1964) for $992.28! And that .28 doesn’t go towards the shipping! Do people still give that as a wedding shower gift????
How many sets of “the perfect”pots and pans have come and gone? Blenders, food processors, toaster ovens, potholders of different patterns, towels and wipers, sets of dishes, crockpots of various sizes, innumerable Tupperware pieces (many with missing lids), wine stoppers with the artsy top decoration broken off, fizzle makers, wooden spoons, glass measuring cups with chips…? They have come and gone and been replaced and the cooking goes on.
Except… Except for each long-time, long-term cook, there are one to several kitchen tools that can NEVER be replaced! A culinary tool or utensil that has been with us from the beginning. A kitchen companion hat has been with us through all our travels..the different houses and kitchens and life situations ongoing… one without which we could quite possibly never cook another meal again successfully.
It, for us, has the patina and magic of the years, the familiar feel and unique shape that has been used in all kinds of situations and which is irreplaceable for our creations and the comfort of familiarity that is necessary for our grounding!
Sounds silly? Once is a great while over the years panic set in when for one of those crazy un known reasons, my special utensil disappeared…diving deep into a drawer hidden by other less saavy tools. I would feel myself go white…WHERE IS MY SPATULA??????
Not just any spatula. THIS spatula that has been with me from the beginning, a wedding gift as part of a set of cooking utensils from our friend Mike Corn. The rest of the set has gone…but this…THIS spatula has always been with me and it is special. The weight of it, the feel of it, the sturdiness of it and most importantly the unique and unusual slight tilt to the blade of it that allowed me to work certain flips and stirring in the pot that other ordinary totally straight edge spatulas wouldn’t do.
Spatulas are very different from each other. How often I have been SO frustrated when visiting others and needing a spatula for something I would be cooking as a guest, I would be fighting with a soft and floppy blade or a thick plastic blade that pushed food around the pan rather than slide under to pick it up or flip it over. “I can’t cook with this thing!!” I would groan. “I should have packed and brought MY SPATULA with me!!”, but never thought about it, packing eye makup, slippers and my vitamins instead.
Well, this is a cooking blog and our cooking is FILLED with the nourishing ingredients of MEMORIES, making the act of preparing food very personal and intimate. No recipe today, but I invite you to think about the treasured utensils that have been with you forever and which help you to create your best culinary magic. Thank them for their good service!
My special spatula has been with me for 46 years now, can you believe. I would be lost without it. The friend, Mike, who gave it has passed on many years ago..but I wouldlove to have him know that his gift is still here and treasured.
What is your favorite cooking utensil?
Christine, the Cook