Family Tales

Ahhhh….. the tales that live in the silverware drawer!  From the original flatware with which we started our marriage, steady and still a favorite all these years later; odd pieces that were added when we went through a serious soup phase and didn’t have enough spoons.  Odd forks are mixed in, too because you can never too many forks!  Some have special uses, like the best one to mash yolks for deviled eggs, and the best to pierce meat to tenderize it.

Grandma spoons 2Through many pot-luck dinners, more pieces have been added by people forgetting them here and never claiming them.  There are the “Grandma spoons” that all the kids wanted when Grandma passed on.  A Grandma spoon is a large silver spoon with the edge worn away from all Grandma’s years of cooking and stirring.  Something to keep her near.

kids flatwareIn the back are baby spoons from the years of young children in the house.  Today they work as serving spoons for condiments and olives – just enough use to justify holding on to them.

The small ladle we always needed came along when my mother-in-law died.  I can’t even see it without remembering her, missing her.

There’s the butter knife that’s stamped “University of Michigan Residence Hall”…….  no, I didn’t swipe it, a friend did.  And when I got home from the U, it was tucked in one of my boxes.  Incriminating evidence for a lifetime of laughs.

A bottle opener of some heft formerly belonged to my mom and then to my brother.  It is not just a bottle opener (not much use for those these days), but a legitimized hammer to keep in your kitchen.  It can smack frozen foods apart and break up ice.  Sometimes the weight of it just feels good in your hand.

Also nestled in the silverware drawer is a collection of sharp knives.  When I got married, one of the treasures passed along to me was the family’s famed “7-inch French chef’s knife.”  Those words were a well-worn phrase in our house, and always said together.  I remember my mom cautioning my brother not to startle her when she had a “7-inch French chef’s knife” in her hand, and other times the phrase was worked into conversation as a joke.

One day, as Mom ran the garbage disposal, the vibration shook the knife into the sink and it headed right into the drain.  It was a panicked few seconds as Mom realized the knife had fallen, and then stopped herself from the instinct to grab for it.  She would have been grabbing the blade as the knife twirled in the disposal, handle down.  She shut off the disposal and retrieved the knife.  The wooden handle got chewed up a little, but otherwise the knife was undamaged – and so was she.  The handle still reminds us that sometimes you have to check your immediate reactions to things.

KnifeSeveral years after the knife became mine, I was busy in the kitchen and happened to look over at that knife.  Something wasn’t right.  Then I realized what it was.  I laughed one of those “I’ll be damned!” laughs as I went and got a ruler.  Our family’s beloved “7-inch French chef’s knife” of the last 30 years only measures 6 inches!

So many stories and memories packed in a family silverware drawer.  Go and check your own silverware drawer, I’m sure you’ll find as many.



(c) 2019, J. Cools

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