Thursday, November 15, 2012

Worthless Treasure

 Does your kitchen contain things that you love in an unreasonable way? Sentimental signs like this tile, are a silly tribute to my family's love of pickles. My kitchen is full of things like this. Things that I will never want to part with and that no one else will likely think of as valuable.
Like bowls that are sturdy and useful. I know without thinking exactly how much they hold. 
A can opener, a long ago gift, that I have used endlessly. 
 This potato ricer is absolutely necessary for lefse making. It also mashes potatoes without adding any ingredients. That means the hot potatoes will be thirsty for melted butter or gravy. I love riced potatoes. I even like seeing this thing, bulky and in the way, when I open the cupboard door.
We have favorite tools. 
Like this beautiful orange cutting board that fits in my dishwasher perfectly and has a rim to catch juice from whatever I cut. It has been with me since my wedding shower and I know who gave it to me. The knife reminds me of my sister. It is nearly new and reminds me of my sister, but I won't tell you why.
I am a compulsive saver of jar rings. 
They hold muffin papers up when all the batter doesn't fit in the muffin tin. 
I save tops from parmesan cheese containers and fit them on jars. 
They work for sprinkling, cinnamon-sugar, dried herbs and other things I keep in jars.  
I have tattered, stained, marked up cookbooks which I would be lost without. But my favorite worthless item is an old broken whisk that was my Grandma Signa's. She used it to make gravy and, once in a while, so do I. Grandma is the one who told me:
"If you have to do a job, don't think about whether or not you like it."
She told me this about weeding the garden, a job I learned to enjoy.
"When you don't know what to do, just do the next thing."
She told me this when I was upset and what she was really saying was this: 
Don't think ahead right now, just put one foot in front of the other and get through this day. 
This is perhaps the wisest advice that I remember from my childhood. It has gotten me through many tough days. 
 I imagine that she hit this whisk against the side of a frying pan and broke it. She was famous for that. She would have been trying to get the last drops of gravy off the tool and back into the pan. The edges of her bowls were chipped from her tapping spoons and beaters rather than patiently scraping them clean. Grandpa must have tried to solder the break on one side, only to have it crack on the other side. More gravy, I imagine.
I have to be careful when I stir gravy with this whisk, but when I use it, I can see my Grandma's hands.
It helps get me started on the weeks of food and fun ahead in GriggsDakota.

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