Thursday, October 21, 2010

Man, What a Pan!

I go to my curses cupboard (that huge corner cupboard that's under the counter where I store the pots and pans, the one where you can't get what you want from the back of the lower shelf without your top half clear inside the cupboard and you bottom half sticking out; a more clever soul than I would have installed a lazy susan) and pull out one of my two favorite pans.  They are the copper bottom, quart size Revere Ware saucepans that my parents got for a wedding gift, 62 years ago.  Of the set, I believe these two pans are the only living survivors.  The larger pans got used up long ago.

I pull out my pan and catch just a whiff of a familiar smell.  It's frozen peas from my childhood, boiling over onto the burner.  This pan was not designed to hold enough vegetables for a family of seven.

I shake the smell out of my head, and a sense of anticipation rises up in me.  I'm lying on the couch, a school girl on a sick day, basking in my mother's loving care.  She touches my warm head with her cool hand, and I lie back, at peace.  Lunch time is approaching, and I hear the little pan settle onto the formica countertop and the can opener, mounted on the side of the cupboard beside the sink, grasps hold of  a can.  I know what it is...I know what it is!  It's cream of chicken soup, and soon Mom will bring me a bowl filled with soup, bread pieces soaking in it.  Warm, soft, delicious, it goes down effortlessly.  I'm too sick to go to school, but not too sick to polish off the entire can of soup by myself!   Mom's care and cream of chicken soup -- now that's comfort!

But today it's poached eggs I want.  I didn't have too many sick days as a kid, but on such a day, when everyone else had left for school or work and I was the lone child at home I would sometimes get treated to poached eggs -- two perfectly shaped, firm but not hard eggs on a piece of milk toast.  Someone once asked me how long to cook the eggs.  "Until the toast pops up" was all I knew to tell her.  She was suspicious, but I knew my answer to be accurate.

No one in my family has developed a love for poached eggs.  But I still get out my Revere Ware and crack my egg into the nearly-boiling water, cook it until the bread pops up, pour on a little milk, add the egg, and savor one of my favorite childhood memories.

The little pans don't sit quite flat, and there's only one lid between them.  The copper is dull, the stainless steel no longer shines.  Mom has suggested that I throw them away.  Why would I want to do that?

If we should ever have a house fire, I intend to crawl into the curses cupboard and save my favorite pans.

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