Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Discovering Stories Behind Culinary Memorabilia

Salt shakers, mixing bowls, egg beaters. refrigerator dishes, rollingpins, spice tins, and juicers may seem rather ordinary kitchen items. However, it’s usually not a monetary value that’s important (althoughthis could be there), but the memories they evoke.

Sometimes you'll come across these items in an antique shop, auction, ora book on collectibles. Or you may be cleaning out a home when a parent must move to a smaller abode. Immediately they'll bring back memories of family occasions....dining,cooking, gift giving....which can be humorous, nostalgic, or bittersweet.

Green Jadite

When I came across a green Jadite salt shaker my mom had saved, I recalled this set we'd used throughout my childhood. These were round, about five inches high with an metal screw top. Raised ridges decorated the lower half of each shaker. The glass was an opaque milky green.

We used them every day and didn't value them as we did the gold coloredglass ones my grandparents received as a 50th Wedding Anniversary gift .Those were kept for "company."

However, when I saw the Jadite shaker it brought back memories of meals around the farmhouse kitchen table. I wondered where to find a matching pepper shaker and discovered one in an antique shop. Then I became curious to learn more about these items and found they probably were made by the Jeannette Glass Company.

I also discovered there were many other Jadite items for kitchen use...other shapes of shakers, canisters, juicers, butter dishes, refrigerator dishes, mixing bowls, match holders, and pitchers. The same designs were made in other colors. While attractive, they don't evoke the memories the Jadite does.

Green Mixing Bowls

I received a set of Fire-King green ribbed mixing bowls as a wedding shower gift 49 years ago. Although actually rather plain to look at, they served in our kitchen for years.

One by one, they got broken and now we're using more modern ware. However, when I see these bowls in shops or books of collectibles, I recall that wedding shower of kitchen gifts my aunt and future mother-in-law planned. They took me completely by surprise.

Collecting Memories

As I look through antique shops (a pasttime my daughter and I enjoy) and books on collectibles, I come across other items we used in our home orthose of friends. Some of these I collect for our home today as part of our culinary heritage. Others I include in my memory writing and scrapbooking.

Not that we're going to live in the past, but pull from it joys and lessons learned we can pass along to future generations.

Memories Among the Recipes

CHICKEN DIVAN is a dish my family enjoys. My daughter mentioned not long ago that someone had asked her for the recipe.

Cook 2 small or one large package broccoli spears until just tender.Either cook 4 whole chicken breasts or use the equivalent of leftover cooked chicken cut into pieces. Lay broccoli in a 9 x 13-inch bakingdish. Lay chicken over broccoli.

Mix together 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can cream of chicken soup,1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 small can mushroom pieces. Pour over chicken and broccoli.

Bake at 350 degrees F. about 45 minutes, until heated through and bubbly.(For lower calorie meal, use low fat soups, cheese, and sour cream.)

(c)2004 Mary Emma Allen

(I encourage my readers to record their memories for their family heritage. I also teach classes in "Writing Your Family Stories" and "Scrapbooking.")

1 comment:

Cyndi L said...

I have a set of antique wooden kitchen implements which I use and treasure :-)