Why are some things more precious than others? Why am I willing to go through cheap peeler after cheap peeler tossing them nonchalantly when they are dull and rusted but I wouldn’t part with my cheap-o chef’s knife or my father’s cutting board and would at least considering risking harm to rescue that chunk of wood from a grease fire?
Rhetorical questions. It isn’t about how much they cost. It’s about the sentiment attached to them. Dad rummaged around in his knife drawer when I was leaving for college and produced that knife for me to take on my journey. He made the cutting board in his shop class in high school in the early 1950s and cleaned hundreds if not thousands of fish on it, ones caught in this lake and in the Great Lakes surrounding our former home in Michigan. It even has notches on the sides as markers for the really big ones.
I wonder if I didn’t cook, if that wasn’t my peculiar passion if I would still care as much about these things and hold them so closely to my heart. Would I have more affection for the allen wrenches and jury rigged tools that could have been my legacy if I’d been born with printer’s ink in my blood instead of visions of chefdom in my head? Interesting to ponder, but not really knowable.
It does make me wonder if my own child will inherit this love of a dying art. If so, what pieces of my batterie de cuisine will he treasure and worry over? Will it be the big purple mixing bowl that I bought at a junk shop for $1.00 in which I make the batter or dough for nearly everything I bake? Or my, by then, beat up and abused chef’s knife? Or the cherrywood box filled with handwritten recipes? Or it will be something that seems insignificant to me but looms large in his image of me in the kitchen?
Or heaven forfend, will he not care about the kitchen at all? Will all these things I have gathered to me be just junk in a box somewhere? It’s possible, but it’ll make me have to haunt his ass.