Older and Better
My secret is out! In my kitchen, there are a select few pots and pans that I have had for many years that clearly show the wear and tear of years of cooking or my learning to cook efforts. They bear the scars of unattended flames, cooking blunders and I admit it - pure laziness of washing the pots and pans, but not desiring to use time, energy or elbow grease as my mom would call it to scour the outsides after I cooked. In the early days of cooking, just preparing the meal was a time consuming, daunting task – never mind scouring the pans afterward. The bottoms are burned nearly black and these few stainless steel pots and cast iron skillets are hidden in the cabinets closest to the stove. They are used all the time when I am cooking for my son or myself but rarely do those pots and pans see the light of day when the company is present, simply because I am embarrassed to bring them out. I bet you have a few of those too. It seems strange but I consider them my best cook wear because they have literally been “tried by fire”, forgive the cliché.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the money to throw pans away and I really don’t want to. They actually cook better than the new, less worn cook wear. They are more than just usable, some are older than my 17-year-old son and cooking with them is comfortable, kind of like that wholly pair of sweat pants, pajamas or the tattered and torn robe or pair of slippers you just can’t seem to part with (you know the one). The point is, they are old; they don’t look shiny and new, but they are valuable to me and…they still work.
Last week, my cook wear ordeal challenged me to have an interesting chat with my dad who I sometimes envision wearing a red cape and blue body tights with a big bold “D” for Dad on his chest. Daddy is somewhat of a superhero to me simply because he knows a little something about everything and this time was no exception. I questioned him about his vast collection of tools and the age of his oldest tool. When he told me, my mouth gaped open for at least ten minutes (maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it felt like that long) as I was shocked to find that he had working tools as old or older than me (I will keep the age thing to myself). He’d purchased them in the late 1960s from the ever-popular Sears & Roebuck nearly five decades ago – Wow! These tools were old and had seen their share of repairs, but he had kept them working, clean and maintained and… they still worked.
Okay, so back to my burned pots dilemma, and you ask, what do pots, pans, and tools have in common? I’m glad you asked. They are essential At Home items. Yes, they are old and it would seem that something shiny and new might work better…not so. Our culture tends to want to discard things and people who are older. We are only interested in the worth, dreams and goals of the young, yet as a society, we are living much longer. Let’s think about our old tools and pots and pans; just because they are older doesn’t mean they have forfeited their usefulness and in many cases, the older something is the more unique and rare it becomes. Sometimes older things become collector’s items and with age increase in value. Don’t let age, time or failure scars devalue you, your dreams or your goals. You may be older and a little more worn, but you are extremely valuable. Sometimes a little care, maintenance and use like with our tools and cook wear can increase your value. One great person once said, “Dreams don’t have an expiration date” and I say, “Neither do you until you take your last breath”.
Oh, I almost forgot, I refused to throw out my worn and burned pots and pans and found a product called C.L.R. that has become my new best cleaning friend. It cleans tubs, rust, and a myriad of other items and surfaces and after you read the directions I would invite you to try it. It is mostly sold in home improvement and hardware stores and you might try Wal-Mart. As an At-Home product…it works! Perhaps now my (and the ones you have too) old, burned pots and pans can come out of hiding!
“I don’t have all the answers, but I know the One who does”
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