11 June 2009

Cookware

Yes, it's true. I fantasise about having top of the line cookware, and using all the fancy tools of the trade. I'd have a giant kitchen, with a six burner range, and perfect, heavy cookware, calibrated to handle the high heat of the burners. I'd have a huge cutting board. So huge that I don't have to stabilise it or steady it with my little rubber mats that I use under my current ones.

And then I stop and think for a moment. It would be swell to have all those things, but they wouldn't be quite the same. I remember the day that I walked up and down Manhattan, on the hunt for cookware that I could easily afford. I found a wok, and a giant stew pot, and another pot or three. They all cost less than $10, and were light enough for me to carry back to work, and then onwards to home.

Home. I didn't think I'd ever call it that, when it's just me and my husband, but there it is.

I remember trawling the shelves of all the stores to find good sturdy knives to cook with. Then, all that time I saved and scrimped to have enough money to buy that giant granite mortar and pestle. Then, I found that really inexpensive cast iron skillet, and fell in love. And THEN there was that one day that I was in a thrift store, and I saw a carbon stainless steel wok, that had never been used, marked at $5. I was silently thrilled as I paid. It even came with a lid!

When I really think about the cookware that I covet, I'd have to say that my mother's beat up old wok calls to my heart much more strongly than the fancy ones that are on the store shelves and cost what I pay in rent every month. I treasure my little cast iron skillet far more than any amount of $300 cast iron enamel cookware from the expensive department stores. My wok, that I seasoned all by myself, with my own two hands, that cooked all those countless meals for the love of my life, and all the friends that have passed through our home and life, is far more precious ot me than that six burner range.

And of course, there's my beautiful mortar and pestle. He's ever faithful, and ready to do any amount of work that I ask him to do. He's a dear friend whom I've grown to care for more than I ever could a fancy marble number displayed at a cookware store.

I guess I don't want more than what I have. I love my cookware, because I worked for it, and in it, and with it. The sweat of my brow paid for it, and that same sweat created lovely dishes for the people that I care about the most.

Furthermore, I know every tiny bit of my cookware. I am quite used to their little bumps and dings and imperfections, and I love them anyway.

It's nice to know that what I have is far more worthwhile than any amount of money (although, if someone is looking to give me money, I wouldn't reject it by any means). I have the love of my friends and family, and that matters to me. So if you see or hear me talking endlessly about fancy tools and the rest, understand that it's exactly that: fancies that I dream of. For me, the reality is far more satisfying.