Thursday, November 3, 2016

Out With The Frying Pan

Around 1974, I went with a friend to visit her great-aunt and great-uncle in Lockport, New York. We polished silver for them and were then served a huge meal, a rare treat in those years (the home-cooked meal, not the silver polishing).

The couple had been married more than 50 years. After lunch, she wouldn't let us help with the dishes. He cleared the table and got to work at the sink. I was impressed with this liberated couple and said so. He laughed and she explained:

"Our first night as husband and wife, I cooked a nice dinner. He ate, went into the front parlour, lit up his pipe, and opened the newspaper. So, I threw everything, even our new wedding China, out the kitchen window into the driveway."

"I've done the dishes ever since," he laughed.

PART OF A WEDDING GIFT TO MY PARENTS, 1947.

The Dowager Duchess
The night before my mother's apartment was emptied in late August, San Geraldo cooked our "last supper." My parents had received a set of pots and pans as a wedding gift. Over the years, most of them developed bell-shaped bottoms that did not sit flat on any surface. Last year, my mother told me she hated those pots and pans.

"They were cheap and I never liked them," she said.

"So, why didn't you just replace them?" I asked.

"I didn't want to insult [the person who gave them to her] and by the time she died [only a few years ago], I thought, 'What's the point? I never cook anymore anyway.' "

A Dream Come True
My fantasy ever since I met my friend's aunt and uncle has been to finish a meal and simply throw everything away instead of washing up.

So, after our last supper, I cleared the table and washed the dishes (they were part of a very nice set, after all). However, I took the three dirty pans (and only those three pans) and threw them down the compactor chute. (Throwing them out the 16th-floor kitchen window could have been deadly.)

The Dowager Duchess would have liked that.

LENOX CHINA DISH GIVEN BY THE SAME PERSON IN THE EARLY '70s.
THE DUCHESS REGULARLY COMPLAINED, "I HATE LENOX!" BUT DISPLAYED IT FOR 40+ YEARS.
(IT WAS ONLY MEANT TO SERVE CORN AND COULD HAVE BEEN PUT AWAY SOMEWHERE.)

24 comments:

  1. I still have my mothers jam pan...one of the few things I kept from her

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    Replies
    1. John:
      We kept plenty of things from my mother... just no pans.

      Delete
  2. Your dream DID come true, Mitch!
    Wasn't it funny how that generation was so obsessed with not overtly wanting to offend.....anyone? Keeping things forEVER 'out in the open'!!
    I am wondering if our parents were looking for the gifts they gave people at their friend's homes?

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    1. Jim:
      I used to be that way, but then we had to do so much major down-sizing. Now, I just don't want anyone to even buy us anything!

      Delete
  3. Now I'm wondering what my kids consider my "keepsakes"? I've used the same set of pots and pans for over 55 years (I bought them myself and still like them) But I've gone through too many skillets to keep track of. Your mother was a very kind person to consider her friends feelings for all those long years... I'd probably have said the Lenox dish got broken. (I would not have said that it got broken by one of my kids ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Sharon:
      My mother also had a set of fine China given to my parents by a group of good friends for their 25th anniversary in 1972. She hated THAT, too, used it once, and we gave it away in August!

      Delete
  4. So much to learn from and admire about our parents' generation.

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  5. I know the feeling all too well! I do a dishwasher which is nice, but I still do my pans, skillets and pots by hand. Their expensive stainless steel and unfortunately need to be hand washed, but boy do they cook beautifully.

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    1. mistress maddie:
      We have mostly Calphalon and, ironically, the starter set was purchased for us by my mother.

      Delete
  6. Haaa!
    I don't think that I could have thrown them out dirty. I would have had to wash them first LOL

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    Replies
    1. I was thinking the same thing

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    2. Travel:
      Try it sometime. It made me so happy.

      Delete
  7. I love that story. So did you keep the Lennox corn dish?

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    Replies
    1. Cheapchick:
      Nope. No Lenox corn dish. No space to display it!

      Delete
  8. I remember how painful it was when Mrs. Chatterbox's parents passed and we had all of their things to go through and get rid of. I still have this unpleasant task to deal with when my mother passes.

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    1. Stephen:
      I really had no trouble with it. But Jerry and I had already made very difficult decisions of our own when we downsized to move here. And although we didn't keep a lot of things, we DID ship to Spain more than we thought we would.

      Delete
  9. yes, did you keep the lenox? I bet the duchess cheered as the pans went down the compactor!

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    1. anne marie:
      Definitely did NOT keep the Lenox. Not my style either. I do imagine my mother laughing as I tossed the pas down the compactor chute and also hemming and hawing about whether or not I should have just washed it and donated it.

      Delete
  10. I still have and treasure the cast iron frying pan that belonged to the grandmother of my (now long dead) best friend. The grandmother had died and no one in the family wanted that frying pan so my friend gave it to me. They don't make pans like that any more! I find it rather sad that people find themselves burdened by gifts that are (supposedly, anyway!) meant to bring pleasure. I pass those burdens on to someone who can appreciate them more than I can. That way I can feel smug and unburdened! ;-) Not quite as exhilarating as throwing it all the window, though.

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    1. Wilma:
      I like your attitude. I used to feel obligated to keep and even display gifts I didn't like. I don't do that anymore.

      Delete
  11. I have force myself to keep what I want, use what I keep, and toss the rest. Having not always lived in abundance, it is difficult to toss out something that is functional - even if I don't like it or don't use it.

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    Replies
    1. Travel:
      I now make a point of giving away to friends and neighbors or donating anything that I don't need, like, or want. I used to also have a problem tossing things.

      Delete

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