Monday, December 21, 2009

Now Is The Time On Sprockets When We Cook

I have this thing with magnolias. Don’t know why, or where it came from, but I just adore them, and I’m not really a tree guy. Or a plant guy, for that matter. A couple of years ago a curly maple we had in the front died, so there was an open spot, and I drove way the hell down to this nursery I found on the Internet to get a Sweet Bay Magnolia for the front yard. It’s still tiny, but getting there. At the moment it looks like a couple of dead branches sticking out of the snow, but when the spring rolls around and the leaves come out, it’s the first thing I notice when I walk out the door. Every leaf is a thick deep green with a muted blue underbelly, perfectly oval, and defies the wind while the leaves of our other trees flutter helplessly. It blossoms on it’s own schedule, symmetrical and creamy white, with a delicate scent I can pick up before our house is even in view. On perfect summer days, even though our porch is slowly disintegrating and I routinely forget to mow the lawn, having it there makes our house majestic. Which, as you might have guessed, is where my wife and I differ. We agree on lots of things, disagree on plenty too, but are pretty much on the same page. I’ve never really talked to her about the tree, but I imagine she would give me the same look as I do when she insists on making the bed. Never quite understood the point of that…
Point being, I also love a good pan. I have accumulated a lot of them, and like all good things in my life, most have a back story. I have crepe pans from Cordon Bleu and Dehillerin, a frying pan Sara and I bought in Montepulciano, Havard from an estate sale in California, nickel plated copper from Morocco, and on and on. A month or so ago I bought some heavy copper pans made in the 1800s, well used, beat up, and re-tinned at least once judging by the tin slop on the sides. The sauce pan has jagged dovetail marks on the bottom, the Windsor has hammered initials on the side, both are slightly misshapen and crumpled on the edges from over a century of being banged with spoons, and both are exquisite. Having good pans wouldn’t do too much for me without being able to cook in them though, and once I had them I let them hang quietly on the rack for a while while I mulled over my options. Since they are deliciously heavy and spectacular, I needed to re-tin them so I could use them because there was copper showing on the inside. Didn’t just want to. Needed to. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. The biggest problem was, now that I had them, I didn’t want to send them to just anyone… so I emailed, called, and read reviews and chat boards of every place that re-tinned copper I could find. Finally, I called Rocky Mountain Retinning in Colorado and talked to Dieter. I knew. I knew in the way you can tell if someone will be a good babysitter or not. I knew he would take care of them.
This morning, while I was sitting down at the dining room table, sore from shoveling two feet of snow and lamenting the fact that Lily is stuck at home with strep three days before Christmas, they came. In the same box I packed them into three weeks ago, they came. When I pulled them out, they were ice cold and perfect. Still dented and misshapen, but heavy and full of potential energy, like they came back to life.

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