As I searched through the house for items to sell at my garage sale, I pulled out an old frying pan. It is scarred and pitted, with a long black wooden handle. As I held it in my hands, I could almost hear the bacon sizzling; I remembered the hundreds of times I slowly stirred scrambled eggs or dropped zucchini pancakes into hot olive oil. No, this pan is a keeper.
Fortunately, my husband's family places great value in preserving family belongings, so through the years I have amassed a small collection of club aluminum which was used by my mother-in-law and her mother-in-law. I have large, heavy soup pots, and a hefty roasting pan. The rolling pin I have used for over forty years is another family "heirloom."
I would not trade these for the most expensive cookware on the market now. Often I walk through the housewares section and covet the beautiful pots and pans on display, but they cannot compare to the treasures I have in my own kitchen. My old pans, with their well-seasoned surfaces, are perfect for slowly simmering soups, stews and spaghetti sauce. The handles of my old wooden rolling pin seem molded to my hands -- perfect for rolling out pie or cookie dough.
There are also precious memories associated with these old faithfuls. I remember Sunday dinners at my in-laws' home. Such delicious aromas coming from the kitchen, the large roasting pan keeping the sauce and meatballs warm on the stove. Memories of the annual clambake, with the large soup pots holding clams in the middle of the long picnic tables at camp as we savored the chicken, sausage, potatoes, corn and coleslaw.
Kitchens now are large and sleek, and the cookware is lovely to behold. But, my heart is drawn back to my mother-in-law's small kitchen where most of the prep work was done on her kitchen table -- no fancy granite countertop or six-burner stainless steel stove. The utensils she used were well-worn, her pans old and sturdy. But, there was warmth in that kitchen, and love, and abundant, delicious food.
Thank you Mom -- for the pots & pans, the recipes, and the love. They are irreplaceable.