New and Old

Unpacking in a new place is so much fun. There are more boxes to open and goodies to unwrap than on Christmas morning. The process is even more fun when you packed said boxes yourself several years ago and have not seen the contents since.

I had a few of those to open after Lee and I moved into an apartment in San Francisco last weekend. I also had several boxes of goodies from my grandmother’s kitchen. I packed those last week at my dad’s house after sorting through my grandmother’s things in his basement.

When she moved out of her home and into a small apartment, my grandmother got rid of many things from her kitchen and brought the rest to her new place. There was a logic to what she kept. I remember her showing me a tarnished aspic pan, explaining what an aspic was, and telling me about a recipe for one that she thought I’d like. She also pointed out her funny handleless mugs. They were old ironstone cups, she said, and she liked their everyday utilitarian feel. I found the aspic pan and the cups among my grandmothers things along with much, much more.

I know I’ve mentioned my grandmother here before. Helen was an ice show skater, choreographer, and aspiring chef. For her third career, she started a catering business that grew from her kitchen into it’s own bustling building. Helen’s home cooking had southern roots in her Texas childhood and worldly influences from her extensive ice show travels.


When Lee and I decided to move to the bay area, I knew I could outfit my new kitchen largely from my grandmother’s things. I wasn’t sure what all she’d kept but it had to be good, whatever it was. Unpacking her boxes turned out to be part archaeological venture, part Christmas morning. I ooohed and ahhhhed over everything I unwrapped as my dad explained the history behind whatever it was. Some things were mysterious, like this metal stand that I remember being in her kitchen. What is it for? Where did it come from?


I did a little dance when I pulled this out of a box. I’ve always wanted an espresso maker! Although I’d never seen it before, apparently Helen had a classic Italian stovetop model that she knew was worth keeping.


This ice cream scoop brought another grin to my face. I love ice cream and the only way to scoop it is with a hefty, solid scoop like this one. The metal is cool in my hand and the grip is perfect for digging into icy, creamy goodness.

There is much, much more but I’m saving some goodies for later : )
I think I’ll do a series of posts on artifacts from my grandmother’s kitchen as well as recipes from her GIGANTIC file. Lets look at it as culinary heritage, both familial and cultural.


Filed under inspiration and musings

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