Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In the kitchen

We have an old portable hand mixer that, like many of our kitchen implements, belonged to Michael's parents. When they died he inherited the avocado-green blender, the Pyrex glass measuring cup, the aluminum colander, the Bundt cake pan. And many other items, some that we use every day, others that inhabit only the darkest reaches of our cupboards.

I love the hand mixer. It is a three-speed 1970s model in white and a mustard gold that was called "Harvest." (Close kin to "Avocado.") Whenever I use it, which is surprisingly often for someone who is not very domestic, I think about Michael's mother, whom I never met. By all accounts she was strong, opinionated, and funny. I think we would have liked each other. I imagine her standing in her kitchen in Long Island, blending cake batter or beating eggs, thinking her private thoughts as the mixer's little motor hums away and the steel beaters whirl around.

My mother had an identical hand mixer when I was growing up; I remember licking batter off the beaters. We also had a Pyrex glass measuring cup and an aluminum colander. When I use these things I feel connected to my past. I am reminded of my childhood, and a time when even an ordinary kitchen appliance seemed imbued with possibilities.


smartz said...

Beautiful reflection. With the trajectory of changes today, it's hard to imagine future generations having such tender memories.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Tai

I have a 1970s bamix that I bought at jumble sale in London for 20p. I just used it to whiz up some mushroom soup, a task which it undertook with dignity and aplomb despite its great age. It's true, you don't get that kind of loyalty from the new generation of appliances.

Your word verification is disturp - how did you know I was coming?



Tai said...

Pants, it's the damn truth, they just don't make 'em like they used to. The '70s may have been tragic for fashion, but it was the Golden Age for mixers.

Smartz, I don't have know if future generations will have any memories at all. Their appliances will be "smart" but the people who use them will be as dumb as posts.

maccandace said...

Our harvest gold refrigerator, which was already in our older house when we moved in 15 years ago, just recently croaked. Oddly, after we went and ordered a new one that would come in 2 weeks, the harvest gold one started working again but we had it carted off anyway. I felt kinda sad...It had to be 30-40 years old.

Tai said...

Poor desperate refrigerator. It must have summoned all its energy for that one last gasp.