As Mother’s Day approaches, I wonder how many folks out there have kitchen utensils, gadgets, appliances, what-have-you that is a family heirloom? Do you? If so, what is it and do you use it or just store it as a keepsake?
Happy foggy Monday to you all. At least we had a gorgeous day on Sunday to get outside and tinker in the garden. I cleaned up my herb garden and now have three trash bags full of rosemary from my monstrous rosemary bush. I’m going to donate a bunch of it to the RAM house – did you know they’d take donations of fresh herbs? Kitchen manager Linda Cannon said she’ll dry them and store them for future use. I can’t think of a better use for my monstrous rosemary bush.
I got a neat cookbook the other day called “Sweet Home” by Rebecca Miller Ffrench. It includes a chapter about preserving family recipes. Here are her tips:
1. “Get your hands dirty and get digging.” she advises going into basements, attics and other storage spaces to look for recipe boxes, books, cookbooks and letters that might contain recipes.
2. “Keep your eyes out for baking accoutrements.” Look in cupboards, closets and storage spaces for forgotten accoutrements. Some examples she lists are shortbread molds, pudding molds, cookie cutters, cake stands, cookie jars, pizzelle irons, krumkaker presses, rosette irons, bundt pans and silver spoons. Even though most of these items are not worth much money (at least, that’s what I heard on Antiques Roadshow), they are priceless when it comes to family meaning.
3. Take pictures of food, relatives cooking, their gardens, kitchens, holiday spreads, etc.
4. Do not fight over things. Be generous about sharing equipment and recipes. I’ll bet we’ve all seen the worst that can happen when elderly relatives pass away and their descendants get into a snatching and fighting match over the stuff they want. The author advises that if one everyone wants the pizzelle iron, for example, the family designate one person as the keeper of the iron but plan an annual get-together to make pizzelles. And copy and share recipes, for goodness sake. Don’t steal the recipe box when nobody is looking and then claim you don’t know what happened to it.
Additional ideas: Ask a lot of questions while the loved one is still living; copy, protect and store those recipes; produce a video DVD of the relative making a recipe; record a live interview; design an accordion fold-out how-to album; make a magnetic recipe board using a cookie sheet; print a vintage recipe on a tea towel or apron at zazzle.com; start a family recipe blog; write a cookbook.
You all know I’m a big proponent of family recipe history, so I love all of these ideas. But at the moment I am particularly interested in the kitchen appliances and gadgets. I know I have a few objects, including my grandmother’s old aluminum fudge pot and a couple of her aprons, which are too tiny and fragile for me to even think about wearing. Still, they are treasured items.