Sunday, June 18, 2006

Shelf Awareness

Spent the weekend working on kitchen re-organization. I'm still in the process of taking everything out of my cupboards. I'm sorting and disposing of outdated foods and tools. I'm putting fresh shelf paper in the drawers and on the shelves. Then I'm moving everything around so it will theoretically be easier to find. This was my grandmother's spring ritual. My mother always took care of this every other Autumn in preparation for the holiday baking season. This is the first time I've messed with my cupboards in the last five years. Needless to say it is going to take me a week to do what they were able to take care of in just two days.

The most difficult part for me will be putting my old dishes in the garage. I adore my Wedgwood china. Unfortunately over the last 20 years or so, many pieces have become worn or chipped or broken and this pattern is no longer for sale to the American market. I expect someday when we go abroad, I will buy a new set and have it sent back, but for the time being the price to order it overseas is just too high for everyday wear. So last year I bought cheap replacements and boxed up most the pieces that were still good and shoved it under my dish cupboard. Now it's time to pack it up entirely and banish it to the the garage for an indefinite period. If I had any sense, I'd auction it off on e-bay and use the procedes to buy all new. I'm afraid when it comes to china, I'm all sentiment and no sense.

For me china is all about continuity, family history, special occasions, hospitality and the comforts of home. In all I think I have something like 8 different china sets. Each pattern, each piece brings me back to a special time or person or place. They are my photographs evoking all the pleasant aromas and flavours and laughter and love of my everyday life.

Tomorrow I'll put away my wedding china. I'll wrap up the bowls I served Spouse his very first taste of homemade chicken pot pie from and remember the glory of having my new husband declare me "the world's greatest cook". I'll box up the egg cups the Bear dipped his little toast 'soldiers' in before heading out to march up the steps of his school bus for those early kindergarten days. I'll wipe back a tear as I store away the teacups Bunny served her dolls chamomile tea from not so many years ago.

Someday I suppose my kitchen may be a modern model of efficiency, but for today I'm happy to be able to say there's fresh shelf paper under my clutter. I think Grandmother would understand.