When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.
is for kitchen tools.
|Most of these tools came from my great-grandmother|
Mary Frances Jollett Davis
This basket of antique kitchen tools has been a faithful member of my kitchen décor for many years. Sometime in the 1980s my grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan asked me to select items that I would like to inherit from her. My reply was not to get the most expensive or valuable pieces but the everyday. Of course, I received both, but these kitchen tools, most of which came from my great-grandmother Mary Frances Jollett Davis, are among my favorite things. These tools conjure up images of “woman’s work” and what my great-grandmother’s everyday life was like.
Potato mashers - I believe the red one was my mother’s. In my mind’s eye I can see my mother at the stove mashing potatoes with a red-handled masher.
Meat tenderizer? - I am only guessing. It’s a solid hunk of wood, heavy too.
Rolling pin and pastry cutter -
I cannot remember the last time I saw “rolling pin” or “pastry cutter” on any bride’s gift registry. I own both and actually use them. I can picture Mary Frances right now combining the flour and shortening with her pastry cutter, chilling the dough, patting it into a proper circle, and dusting it with flour before rolling out a perfect crust. Judging by recipes penciled on scraps of paper and backs of envelopes, Mary Frances must have preferred creamy, pudding-like pies whereas I’m a fruit pie girl.
Other tools -
I guess these tongs carried ice although most had a stationary handle whereas the chain makes this handle flexible. Maybe it was used for hay bales.
The scale was likely from my great-grandfather’s store.
The lifter is from a Majestic wood-burning stove. It was used to lift the stove plates that covered the holes in the range top. With this simple tool, Mary Frances could lift the plate to stoke the fire or stir the ashes with the flat end. Not very glamorous or particularly valuable, but certainly it was important to keep it handy and not let it get lost.
When Barry and I married, we moved into a basement apartment in Violetta’s apartment building. Just off the kitchen was an enclosed backdoor entrance plus a storage room. That is where I found dozens of old blue Ball jars, still filled with the harvests from MANY years past.
I asked Violetta about them, and she was surprised. She said, “Well, they must be Momma’s jars. You can have ‘em.” Of course, the gross part was cleaning them. It was 1973, and Mary Frances had died in 1950, so the contents were at least 23 years old, if not older. Ever since then I have used those jars as canisters.
I never knew my great-grandmother, but I rather like having this connection to her.
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.