I wanted to share how impressed I am with a couple of everyday kitchen items used in England. Here in America, unless you were very privileged, meals were eaten with pretty basic pieces. My mother actually only used the “special” pieces for holidays and special occasions, and these were really only bowls and platters. Growing up in the 50s and 60s in America we had Melmac and metal cups.
Years and years ago my mother in-law, Jean, who you will remember from my first trip to England, brought me back an egg coddler and a toast rack. I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with them at the time.
I thought the toast rack really wouldn’t do, I mean, wouldn’t the toast get cold before you ate it? I didn’t use it because of that reason until I actually went to England and saw that they were used all over the place. Let’s face it, toast starts cooling off the second it comes out of the toaster. This is just a nice way to set it on the table when you’re having a family breakfast, and the toast doesn’t get all soggy.
I like poached eggs, but wasn’t sure how to use this fancy new device. Jean told me she thought you just buttered it, cracked in an egg or two, and then lower it into boiling water for about 5 minutes. I tried it and the egg wasn’t cooked all the way, it actually took about 15 minutes before the white was fully cooked. I kind of just put it on a shelf and didn’t use it for years. Now that we have Google, I took down the egg coddler and tried it again. You can put all kinds of things in it, like mushrooms or other veggies and of course cheese. It does take a bit longer to cook than that funny little Teflon egg poacher. It’s a lot healthier though than cooking in Teflon. I’ve also learned to appreciate little niceties like these since I’ve gotten older. Like having a beautifully set table and using the dishes and special bowls and platters that you own all the time. What are we saving them for? When my mother died I got a few of her fancy dishes that were literally up in the top cupboard and only seen on Thanksgiving and Christmas, maybe Easter if we were lucky. I use them all the time and I really love that. I always tell my daughters “now, this belonged to your Grammy” or “this was your Dad’s Grandmother’s” I want them to feel that sense of family and continuity, but also that this is your life, make it special everyday!
I know a few people that think I’m a little weird to use something so totally out of the norm here. Someone asked me once “do you actually use your teapots? You’re the only person I’ve ever met that makes tea in a teapot”!
I’ve found that you can go to another place in the world and really fall in love with it. Bringing some little ritual back to work into your life makes you feel a part of it even when you’re so far away, and I think that’s nice.