Tuesday, April 3

Crockery, Casseroles and Cookbooks...A to Z through our kitchen

Having a kitchen of my own for nearly 30 years, I've collected an eclectic mix of, well, everything! There's very few items that I could ever need, even for a once-off dish or catering gig, in which I don't have the proper means to cook it or serve it. And many of these items come with so many memories.

In the foreground is a bean crock. I've actually only used it successfully once, for Christmas dinner this past year. The memories belong more to my mother. The bean crock came from Grannie, and Mom can remember beans for supper every Saturday night when she was a kid. Since Mom is, um, 20 years older than me, you can imagine how old this crock is.

With the bean crock are two bowls I received when Gramma passed away. Now, there's a very famous blogger who claims to channel Lucille Ball. Well, I do channel Lucille Wright - except I've never tried to make her banana pudding. While I use the larger bowl in the back for raising bread, I remember Gramma filling either of these bowls with banana pudding with a baked meringue crust. If the dinner was for a big holiday, Gramma used the large bowl. If it was "supper" preceded with a phone call saying "well, I just had a few things that needed to be cooked", she used the small bowl.

Out of all these casserole dishes, only three were purchased during my adult years. The small square in the foreground - great for a chicken pot pie just big enough for Harry and I - belonged to a set of Corelle dishes I needed for my post-divorce kitchen. The top two round casserole dishes on the back/right were purchased in 1983. Everything else came from Gramma's kitchen. They are all so sturdy and lend themselves to baking as well as serving when I feel the need to be proper and serve at the table. Which isn't very often.

I've culled my cookbook collection drastically over the last 18 months. With the dark corners and the strange early morning light, I could not get a proper picture. I have it whittled down to just about 100 cookbooks now. The ones that get the most use, not surprisingly, are some of the old, heritage cookbooks from Gramma's collection.

I have a few "celebrity" cookbooks that I turn to often. Cat Cora, Harry's dream girl, finds her way into our kitchen often with "Cooking from the Hip". I'm particularly fond of Justin Wilson, who was a celebrity cook long before the Food Network made everyone a celebrity. Mark Bittman's "The Minimalist Entertains" taught me that it was possible to serve guests without going overboard.

Of course, with the Lucy mantra of "We got plenty!", I hope I can be forgiven for always going overboard.

Is there an item in your kitchen that was passed from a previous generation? Or, do your children jokingly fight over who will get a certain item when you are no longer in need of it? I'd love to hear about!

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