Cooking On A Budget: Attachments, Emotions and Food

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Attachments, Emotions and Food

When I was trying to think of what to write I began to think about my past and looked around my kitchen for some inspiration. So I took some pictures of  "things" I had; but they are not just "things". They are remembrances from a time when my mother was still living and breathing.  She's been gone now for 23 years and it is hard to imagine it really has been that many years. And it is even harder to believe that it was much longer before that that I remember Mr. Peanut in her kitchen.
Planters Peanut Grinder circa 1800's

This can was not a decoration back then. It actually got used quite often - especially at holiday cookie making time.  As kids, part of our task in helping to make Christmas cookies was to grind the nuts. It took a while to do and I can recall that my hand became somewhat sore. Thank God we now have food processors that give us ground nuts in seconds!  I am glad that when we were going through some items we wanted as a remembrance of our mother that I chose this one.  Being in the kitchen with my mother and my sister making Christmas cookies is a fond food memory for me.  We still have her cookie recipes and I still make some of them to this day.

These two little China Dolls that take residence in my kitchen hutch are another piece of  the past.  My mother's friend had a young son that had gone into the service and on one of his leaves back to the states, he brought back these two little China Dolls and a Tea Set. He was young and had a very big crush on Mom! I am not sure but I believe the Tea Set was not used other than a decoration in our homes we lived in when I was growing up.  The last I saw of the Tea Set it was in a box in the basement of the home my step dad lived in. I don't know what happened to it. I can only surmise it was sold in a tag sale and has become someone elses' treasure.

This last piece of memorabilia is special and mostly has never been used by my mother or myself other than for keepsake purpose. It is part of her collection of Blue Willow. Although at some point in its' history it would have been used and had a real purpose on someones dinner table. I do have some divided Blue Willow plates that came from her days in the restaurant business and they do get used almost daily.  I have been lucky enough to have found a few items to round out the collection - not all of it is pictured here.
When I look at this I think about and imagine this dinnerware being part of someone's dining table. Perhaps they belonged to an owner of a bed and breakfast way way back in time.  Was the platter used for sliced venison or a chicken from the back yard? Did the owner of the Inn serve up some sort of stew in the covered casserole and biscuits in the dish? And would the evening coffee be poured from the pot?
These pieces are a piece of history. They are the legacy of a good home cook that most likely worked from sunup till sundown and then finally sat down to share a meal with either family or guests that took up residence for perhaps a night or two.
I am glad that I have this collection of Blue Willow China because it is a tangible piece of my mother.  It was something of hers that she enjoyed collecting. I am also glad to have it because it represents a part of history that I can pass along to my children.  It will become their tangible to a grandmother and mother that loved them dearly. Maybe, just maybe, the collection will serve as a reminder that in the kitchens (mine and my mother's) was a place where the smell of good home cooking was created.
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