Last evening I spent half an hour looking for my corkscrew. I was sure I had one, a old-fashioned wooden model, and judging from all that I found in my kitchen while I wasn’t finding the corkscrew, I haven’t thrown out a utensil or appliance of any kind since I moved into this house in 1976.
Understand that I rarely cook. I’m actually a perfectly competent cook, or I was when I had someone else to cook for. But I’ve lived alone, except for pets who prefer their dinner straight out of the can, for eleven years. I’ve pretty much gotten out of the habit of using anything but the microwave and, once in a while, the glass cooktop. The wall oven hasn’t worked in years.
I have in my kitchen four toasters. One lives on the sink, where I use it once a week or so. The other three are in various cupboards, and I have no idea (a) why I replaced them or (b) why I kept them. I have two blenders, and I haven’t blended a thing in years–I think we had them mainly for mixing exotic drinks involving fruit and rum. There’s a toaster oven, too, and various small baking tins that fit inside it. All these hide in a cabinet that I rarely open, along with several dog dishes and accessories. I haven’t had a dog in about four years.
In the bottom of the pantry, along with one of the toasters and a couple of gallons of very old water, is a coffeemaker that hasn’t been used since Jack drank his last cup some eleven years ago. In another cupboard I spotted a very large electric frying pan and an electric wok. I’m pretty sure there are a couple of full-size crockpots somewhere; I know there is a small, never-been-used one in a dish cupboard. I bought that because it was so cute. Maybe this winter I’ll get around to buying a very small pot roast to cook in it.
Above the defunct wall oven is a cupboard where I keep the paper towels. It also contains a few back-up dish towels, half a dozen forgotten paper cups, and the last unused Sham-wow. Way in the back I spotted three thermos jugs and an authentic metal saltine cracker tin, left from a long-ago career doing archeological surveys (ditto the shovels in the garage and two Marshalltown trowels in my gardening tools, but that’s a whole different inventory). Under the oven I found a whistling tea kettle (I don’t drink tea, either) and a couple of folding Sterno stoves, probably left from some long-ago hurricane adventure.
The cupboard under the cooktop is full of pots and pans. The Corning Ware pots and casseroles were mostly wedding presents. I was married in 1969. There’s a large collection of frying pans with non-stick coatings in various states of deterioration. The only one I use in an Orgreenic pan I bought last year (I love it–it cooks evenly, the handle really does stay cool, and it’s easy to clean, although the food’s never gonna slide out the way it does on the TV commercials). Somewhere back there is a pot big enough to deep-fry a turkey in, not that I would ever dream of doing such a thing, and a couple of those blue enamel roasting pans.
Looking for the corkscrew, I pulled a cardboard box out of one cupboard and found enough knives to open a butcher shop. Where did they come from? Why are they still there? Along with at least four rice cookers of varying designs, a stack of wooden cutting boards (I only use plastic–much easier to clean), and the ice cube bucket and soda can holder from a refrigerator that died five years ago.
This mess is not entirely my fault (although I have no one else to blame for not throwing it out). Jack was a good cook, although like many men he saved his efforts for special occasions, when he would used half the contents of the kitchen preparing his feasts, and when my mother came to live with us she brought a lot of kitchen goodies along (which is why I have two sets of silverware and three of dishes).
I really need to shovel out the kitchen cupboards. And the garage. And my clothes closets–I’m running low on hangers. I wonder if I can rent a small dumpster for a couple of months. Or leave milk and cookies out for the trash men.
But I did eventually solve the corkscrew problem. No, I still haven’t found the old one. I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond for a new one. Fortunately while I was there enjoying the wall of kitchen and bar goodies (the place is a toy store!), I also bought a wine bottle stopper, because I broke the cork when I used the new corkscrew tonight to open the bottle I bought Friday. The wine is delicious.