I tend to hold onto things. I’m sentimental to a fault, the keeper of ticket stubs, school play programs, and birthday cards. I prefer the old to the new, the bits that speak of family history, the pieces imbued with love from those who handed them down to me. I’m also a tinkerer who married a tinkerer. We like to fix things, salvage, upcycle, and stretch out the life of what we own.
Above all, I like to keep everything I hold onto in order. But the past few months have reminded me that we’re not in control of very much – not our losses or our gains. Sometimes, the best we can do is to just accept things as they are, to welcome change and embrace the new.
Let me fill you in on what’s been happening:
First, Things Began To Disappear
We were leaving a wedding when I realized that a costume brooch I inherited from my great aunt had fallen off the vintage clutch to which I pinned it more than a decade ago. Though in vain, I searched beneath the table, on the dance floor, in the bathroom. I loved the brooch mostly because of its imperfections, like the missing rhinestones that reminded me how much my great aunt adored me despite my failings.
At home a week later, I lost one of my pearl earrings, a simple pair I liked to wear every day. Not long after, I misplaced one of a second pair of pearls, the nicer set, a gift from my husband. Now I’m left with two single earrings that don’t match. Since earrings are one of my few adornments, I began wearing a faux pair I bought for $5 on a table near Penn Station back in 2004.
I turned over a glass in the cabinet, which is what my grandmother would have done. I also recited the Rabbi Meir Baal Haness blessing for lost objects and put something in the pushka. Now I’m hoping the earrings will turn up when I clean for that holiday starting with a P.
Next, Things Began To Break.
I was making coffee one morning when a mug fell out of the cabinet. It landed hard on my favorite plate, shattering it to pieces. I’d found that plate on the clearance shelf at Anthropologie and took immediately to its misshapenness, red color, and bold blue floral design. Plus, it looked like something from another era and it was the perfect size for the small servings I’m trying to eat. Alas, there was no gluing it back together.
Then my rubber rain boots cracked on the bottom and there was no fixing those. My favorite reading glasses, the tortoiseshell ones from the bookstore, broke next. Lastly, my Kitchen Aid blew out while mixing a batch of challah dough.
I Had To Buy a New Dough Mixer.
I’ve been baking challah for almost 15 years. I came to it begrudgingly, but fell head over heels with every step of the process. I love the aroma of proofing yeast, the kneading, the braiding, and the blessing one recites on the dough. Another perk is that my family likes the taste of the end product.
While all of that is true, I would never have kept it up without my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. But a Kitchen Aid, at least the newer ones (I hear the old ones are real workhorses and that doesn’t surprise me), is not designed for the repeated beating of weekly challah baking. Mine had already spent two expensive stints in a Kitchen Aid hospital. After it broke this time, I knew I needed a sturdier machine.
When we were down to the last few challahs in the freezer, I did my research and invested in a Swedish-made Ankarsrum Attendent. It was love at first sight. This past Sunday, I baked a few inaugural batches of challah. Order has been restored to my kitchen, though I’m still hoping those earrings will turn up, wherever they went missing.
Isn’t this beautiful?
These Things Recently Happened In My Kitchen, Too.
I made a decision a few years ago not to buy any more cookbooks. Instead, I get most of my new recipes online, printing out the keepers and storing them in a three-ring binder. But I was delighted when my friend Sherri surprised me with Unforgettable, Emily Kaiser Thelin’s stunning new volume, for my birthday. Part biography, part cookbook, part love story with food, the book shines a light on the life of Paula Wolfert, the maven of Mediterranean cuisine, who is losing her memory to dementia. There’s one recipe I have my eye on making soon, but for now, I’m just enjoying the story.
And here’s a recent essay of mine, set mostly in my kitchen Stealing Time From The Cosmos. I hope you’ll read and enjoy, even if you yourself are not an early riser.
Tell me, what are you up to lately in your own kitchen? Leave a message in the comments.