We possess many valuable family heirlooms none of which my daughter wants to take with her to university. For instance there’s the pan with the missing handle. The small bowl with a big chip in it from too many turns through the dishwasher. And the collander with the arm hanging off. They may look like ‘junk’ to the untrained eye but they are actually the treasured items of her childhood she has turned her nose up at.
Just because I can’t recall the cherished memory of her playing the upturned pan like a drum on the kitchen floor when she was a toddler doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Just like I can’t remember what I had for breakfast. Or the word for the thing that’s attached to the outside of the house that carries away excess water*. You know, the thing!
What really hurts is that I won’t be able to palm these items off onto her and buy brand new replacements for ourselves. Some may unfairly accuse me of being cheap or miserly. Someone like Phil. I would rather describe it as recycling. I am thinking of the future generations. Yes, a one handled pan that is heavy and hot enough to sear exposed human flesh could be described as dangerous. I prefer to call it vintage.
It was when I suggested our daughter take some of our Ikea cutlery with her that I became aware that I had stumbled on an invisible domestic tripwire. Phil bristled in defence of her favourite knives and forks. Firstly, they are from Habitat, not Ikea. (I know I’m in trouble when there are multiple counts on which I’m wrong.) Secondly, they were a wedding present. Yeah, I had definitely put my foot in it.
The Habitat bit is true but the wedding present bit is up for debate. Neither of us can quite remember if they were a gift or not. It was twenty-five years ago so there is no hope of me recollecting their provenance. I’m still struggling with the word for the thing that’s attached to the outside of the house that carries away excess water*.
Whenever I cook meals I tend to avoid the Habitat cutlery despite them ‘looking nice’. They may be attractive but they are infuriatingly impractical. The handles thicken towards the ends making them absurdly unbalanced. Place a fork in a bowl of pasta filled with a red staining sauce and it immediately tips out with the force of an elephant somersaulting on to one end of a see-saw. It’s true, they are stylish. Just don’t ever use them while wearing a white shirt and eating spaghetti hoops (I like to dress up for a fancy dinner).
No. The cutlery is staying. My daughter will have all new gear. Her sparkling kitchen will resemble one from a show home. Or the Ikea catalogue. Whereas our kitchen will continue looking…vintage.
The time the knives and forks will pass onto the next generation is after we have passed on. They are quality tableware, they will definitely outlive us. Unless, one day in the future I finally snap. Peering down at my chest to see I’m wearing tomato soup for dinner, I’ll explode from my chair, shake my fists in the air and roar a rash ultimatum.
“It’s me or the sodding Habitat spoons!”
It’ll be a win-win for Phil.
Help me offest the cost of buying brand new kitchenware by purchasing my book. The royalties might eventually stretch to a set of napkin holders if I’m lucky. Kerry and the Knight of the Forest available from all good bookshops. The thumbnails are up at my gumroad and I posted the script on my patreon.
Speaking of patreon, tomorrow’s story tackles the exciting world of Star Wars collectibles.
*The word I was looking for was guttering.