Sunday, 18 January 2015

Whiskers on Roses and Raindrops on Kittens......






..............bright copper kettles have recently fallen by the wayside as I've had an experience in the Non-Ferrous Metals Sales business (but that's another story). Warm woollen mittens are good, especially in this weather. But, Sound of Music reference apart, these really are a few of my favourite things.

In assembling them I am impressed by two aspects of the small collection, first that there are several very sharp things, and secondly that my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother would have no difficulty at all in identifying and using all but one of them.

The bread-board is something of real significance. Its carved motto of Give us This Day our Daily Bread has been cut and scrubbed into almost invisibility by countless hands, yet still does its simple task beautifully. I use it several times a day, and never fail to think of all those, known and unknown, who have also used it. I can still see it sitting in the kitchen of my grandmother's house, and on the marble slab of the pantry in my childhood home. In both places it was associated with a large and dangerous bread saw, which I was absolutely not allowed to touch. So I did, of course, on many furtive occasions, once testing the serrated blade against the rim of the bread board. The mark I made is still there, and still provides a frisson of guilt. I was not caught doing it, but I remember it almost daily.

There's so much to be said for plain wood in a kitchen and in a garden. The citrus squeezer does a perfect job and even sorts out the pips. The small wooden spoon is exactly right for my hand, also for balancing in a saucepan or on the edge of a bowl without falling into or out of it. The wooden handled knife, with sharp point and serrated edge actually lives in my gardening tool store and is a brilliant weapon against dandelion roots, and for all those invasive little plants that creep between the paving stones. Old cutlery often makes perfect gardening tools.

There's a wooden handled bradawl there, which I couldn't manage without. It bodges neat holes for all sorts of purposes, some of which may be the wrong purposes but, well, it works for me. Then there are the really sharp blades, the new secateurs and the razor-like sewing scissors, items of great satisfaction. There are few things better than a simple implement that does exactly what it is meant to do, especially when it does not use any sort of fossil fuel.
The metal tools are very satisfying, too. I really enjoy that little grater intended for parmesan cheese, and the small whisk gets the lumps out of any sauce you can think of. Very simple, but they both work as they should and take up no storage space at all.

The blue plastic tool is something else I couldn't manage without. My mother, grandmother and great- grandmother would not have wanted it anyway because they had no need to release a metal lid with a vacuum seal on a glass jar. Well, perhaps my mother may have done, but she had my father around. The blue plastic vacuum release thingy is probably a bit of a weak-wristed widow speciality. The alternative technique of opening a tightly sealed jar can involve trapping it between a door and its frame, and I have evidence of that malpractice, too.
However, if you need one, or a brush for cleaning button mushrooms, or anything else of that ilk, try here.

11 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

All extremely practical it seems to me! It has set me wondering what my favourite things are.

Relatively Retiring said...

Jenny:I missed out my collection of pens, just because they are so very special and so very personal. I could easily become a bit neurotic about the threat of losing any one of them.
I look forward to seeing your special things.

Zhoen said...

Did not know what the citrus squeezer was, although I've seen them before. A puzzle solved.

Cutting the cutting board, ah the sins of childhood. So rarely did I get away with my misdeeds, I was always rather proud of the ones no one found out.

A good knife is a treasure.

Marigold Jam said...

I have many of those too and the old ones are usually the best since they just do what they are meant to and not a whole host of other things one never needs. As always a brilliant post.

Elephant's Child said...

Oh the memories. And the similarities.
I love the way that those favourite tools feel 'right' in your hands. We have several wooden spoons but given my druthers I only use one for just that reason. It was already old when my father gave it to me. It has burns and stains which I cannot remove. And does its job perfectly.

Jee said...

My favourite small wooden spoon cracked and fell apart recently. All the others inthe drawer feel rough and new and set my teeth on edge. I do still use a paintbrush that was my father's - I hear his voice everytime I use it.g

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: it's interesting that you were proud of getting away with the odd misdeed. I think I was (and still am) uneasy, waiting for the fall-out!

Marigold: thank you. There's a lot to be said for simplicity!

E.C. and Jee: oh yes, it's the feel. Impossible to define, but there's instant recognition. I can pick out my spoon with my eyes closed. Sorry yours has died, Jee. It will take years to get another one right, but little F. will appreciate it in the future.

Joy said...

I recognized all including the blue plastic tool as I work in a kitchen store and everyone swears by them. Never heard of popping open a tight metal lid with the door trick.

Relatively Retiring said...

Joy:just as well - it ruins the door frame! Much better to use the blue plastic job.

gz said...

(O)

Isabelle said...

Ah yes, all very useful. And durable!