I am a lucky girl. That is because I have been able to accumulate some very nice kitchen appliances. I have a large Cuisinart food processor and a nice KitchenAid mixer with some great attachments. I have a decent set of knives. I use these things nearly every day.
I also have a lot of cookware and baking pans that are well used as you can see from most of my cooking posts.
I am frugal, by nature, so I am not prone to replacing perfectly good items even if they do look a little shabby and well used.
Some items that I have, however, are very old. Many items came to me when someone died, or when someone cleaned out their kitchen and didn’t want something anymore.
When I use many of these things, I think about those who used them before me. It’s like having a special connection. Cooking, to me, is an emotional experience. I love the stories that attach themselves to the foods that we make and share with friends and family. It’s not just the product, it’s the process.
So, I have cookbooks that include notes in the columns – notes written by others who prepared something before me. I get a glimpse into someone else’s mind as they remark on how good the recipe is or what adjustments they made to it.
We were friends with an older couple. When she became too ill to cook, her husband would prepare the recipes from her cookbooks based on her notes. Notes that said, “Ed likes this” for instance. She was sad that she could no longer take care of her husband, but I told her that her notes were doing it for her. She is in heaven now, but I believe that she is still with him and her children through the loving notes left behind in her cookbooks and on her recipe cards.
I have acquired a few items that are older than I am. My sister and brother-in-law gave me the set of Christmas dishes that his parents owned and used while he was growing up. They have both gone to heaven, too, but I think about them every time I open the cabinet where I have them stored.
My hubby’s grandma’s canning pot. My best guess is that this is over 80 years old. The outside looks brand new, but inside you find the signs of years of use. I never have to guess how much water to add because the water lines are permanently etched along the sides of the pot.
I do not own this canning pot. My mother-in-law lent it to me – a few years ago. I use it when I make jams and jellies. I used it a few weeks ago when I made candied jalapeños and jalapeño jelly. It still has a small, yellowed label with my hubby’s grandmother’s name on it. When I see this in my pantry or when I use it, I think of his grandma.
I think about how we used to take the older kids to visit her in the nursing home. She already had dementia by that time and never really knew who we were although she always seemed to remember my hubby and would ask him about his work.
We would always bring angel food cake – that was her favorite. My mother-in-law would tenderly feed her pieces of angel food cake with pink icing on it.
Hubby’s grandma died right before Thanksgiving in 1987. It was a very cold Thanksgiving weekend when she was buried. Our middle child, who was 15 months old at the time, said, “Good-bye Grandma Happel” as her casket was lowered into the ground. I think the tears froze to our faces that day.
My sister-in-law gave me these a few weeks ago.
My sister-in-law occasionally goes to estate sales and auctions. She always buys a “lot” of something or another. She then has great fun going through the treasures. Recently, she acquired a “lot” that included a set of three Matjer tourtières qualité professionelle (made in France) and a complete 36-piece set of vintage Mörmått tartlet tins (made in Sweden) which she gave to me. Matjer is still in business, but as best as I can figure the Swedish tartlet tins were sold in the 1950s through a Better Homes and Gardens promotion.
Coffret de trois tourtières.
The Matjer tourtières or quiche tins look like they have never been used and included a paper disc with recipes written in French and English.
French Pastry Tin Moulds.
I’ve been having great fun researching these pieces as well as the recipes included in them. Some conversions to modern-day ingredients and methods have been required. I made the French Onion Tart which was wonderful – like a sweet onion quiche. My hubby even liked it, and he’s not a big fan of onions.
I’ll share the recipe next week, but in the meantime, I’m also enjoying imagining the kitchen where these pieces lived for so many years.
I love my newer, modern-day appliances, but I also love researching vintage recipes and using older pieces of cookware, too.
Reminds me of the lines of poetry we would sing in Girl Scouts:
Make new friends, but keep the old;
One is silver, and the other gold.