I’m in the midst of writing my masters thesis right now. It’s a rambling collection of essays about one of my great loves, cooking paraphernalia. I’ve always been attracted to the tools of cooking, even before I was allowed to turn the stove on by myself. When I was seven, my grandmother gave me a little baking kit for kids, that including a mini rolling pin, a toaster oven-sized cookie sheet, several small tart pans and a full-sized wooden spoon. I carried that wooden spoon with me everywhere, always begging my mom to let me stir whatever was on the stove with it. Occasionally she let me, as long as I let her scrub it with the rough side of the sponge first. I still have the spoon, it’s now one of many in the crock in the kitchen.
When I was 20-years-old, I came to Philly for a semester in the big city. It was a break from dorm living and the responsibility of being an RA. I rented an apartment in Queen Village with two other girls from my program and we set about creating a little temporary home for ourselves in that two-bedroom apartment (I slept in the dining room). Just around that time, my cousin Angie was giving up her house at the shore and needed to find a home for much of the kitchen equipment that had stocked the house. Much of what I acquired from her then was once a part of my great-aunt Doris’s kitchen collection. It was all old, scarred and carried (figurative) layers of food memory. I was in heaven. I kept nearly everything she gave me, shipping it back out to Oregon when my semester in Philly was up and then sending it back out to Philadelphia a year and a half later when I moved here for good. Nearly everyday now, in the course of cooking my meals, I use something that once belonged to Aunt Doris. I never fail to be pleased by that.