Her kitchen was as well-equipped as any professional chef’s and as we attempt to clear it out, we are constantly finding mysterious gadgets and implements. I’m sad that she’s not here to ask about them, and that many will find themselves on the shelves of the local Goodwill store. But despite my own limited kitchen space, there are a few objects that I have squirreled away because I enjoy the daily reminders of her.
The first item I grabbed, early in the process, was an old, wooden coffee grinder. She used it to grind peppercorns instead of coffee, filling a small wooden drawer with coarsely ground pepper. She was very proud of her ingenuity in using the mill for something other than its intended purpose, and I always enjoyed the way she peppered steaks a few hours before cooking them. I keep the mill right next to my stove and use it (and think of her) every day.
She had not one but three mortars and pestles. Each of them weighs more than it ought to, and one of them seemed to have been hand fashioned out of some heavy metal. I chose one, despite the fact that I’m not really sure what I would need to mortar or pestle. I suppose I could use it to muddle mint for mojitos. For now, it sits on my bay windowsill, too heavy for even the clumsy cat to knock over.
And my most recent find was a silver toast rack. It’s small and dainty and, to me, looks very English. Like something you’d use alongside fine china, tea and clotted cream. I’ll probably never use with my middle-age, carb-starved lifestyle, but I keep it in a frequently-used kitchen cabinet so I get to look at it every day.
She’s almost been gone long enough that these treasures don’t make me sad, but are happy reminders of a woman who was, among many other wonderful and interesting things, an amazing chef.