Have you ever had a particular kitchen tool that you used over and over only to have it wear out or break? I recently ran into just such a situation with a colander.
Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t just any colander, it was the one that my parents gave to me as a gift (along with a set of pots and pans) when I first moved into an apartment at the end of my undergraduate years in college. The set of pots and pans wore out long ago, but I had held onto this plastic colander for over 20 years. Every time I used it, memories of my Mom teaching me how to cook came back.
I recently finished reading a very good book about an historic period in the evolution of American cuisine called Provence, 1970. In the Afterword, the author wrote a passage that resounded with my nostalgic thoughts:
“…when I make something she made for me, or with me, I feel her presence–not in any literal or even ghostly way, but in the form of an atmospheric shift, an emotional warmth. It is striking how cooking binds us to the past, and to the people we love, even when they’re gone.”
Now the colander is gone, but I can still recall those memories whenever I use any of the cast iron skillets that she gave me before she died.