Monday 1 February 2010

The Drawer

From time to time I picture myself having to pack up and move 
every single item in this house to somewhere smaller.
Still fresh in my memory is the last move
(sixteen years ago)
when the admirably thorough removal men 
wrapped, packed and shipped everything for us,
 including a large twig, just because it was in the shed 
and I hadn't thrown it away.

Tackling this kitchen drawer was like being on Time Team.

A trench was opened and then layer by layer
I exposed our culinary history.
Gentle scraping revealed a rice paddle from the sushi period,
an aerolatte from the hot chocolate period,
 patisserie tools including madeleine tins and myriad shaped cutters from the
trying too hard period, 
not forgetting a rare lattice maker 
for a coulibiac of salmon,
from the short lived dinner party era.
Funnels for jams and elderflower cordial appeared 
from the self-sufficiency age -
the mushroom hunter's knife and brush (ditto).
Next came a tumbled collection of graters, zesters,
basters, skewers, chopsticks,
poached egg shapers, sweetcorn spearers,
scoops, shovels, measurers, beaters,
ice cream maker appurtenances,
and herbal tea infusers,
probably disturbed by ploughing.

 In a fine sediment at the bottom of the trench,
there were fridge magnets -
Homer Simpson and accessories,
poetry kits,
geometric pattern makers
and evidence of obscure rituals 
where pocket money was exchanged for
 novelty items at the end of school trips.

Many of these artefacts were washed and bagged 
and put to one side for conservation.
Many were not.

Maybe I should have been an archaeologist.


  1. Having moved house every year for the past 6 years I am always amazed how much stuff you can accumulate in just 12 months so I dread to think what it would be like after sixteen years!

  2. Ah yes, the "madeleine" period........ I had it and have the tins to prove it! If it's any consolation, there are drawers in this house that mirror that one in your post.

  3. That fine sediment in the bottom of the drawer - where on earth does it come from!
    When we moved house after twenty eight years I couldn't remember what some of things in the kitchen drawer did or why they were there - I do remember a ball of blue tack rolled in fluff stuck with a drawing pin with a paper clip and an elastic band wrapped round it - very useful!

  4. Tsk! I thought that you had nothing in your house that was not useful or beautiful!

    I have just 'released' the wok that has done 25 years in solitary confinement without food or human interaction.

  5. Well as you see, it is an ongoing process. We have three woks and I don't remember buying any of them. That must make them stowaways.

  6. I was just wondering yesterday, if anyone else had an unused lattice cutter. Mine is now stowed away in the garage. how wonderful, yours (like mine) was still in the kitchen two years ago, I do hope it is happily retired now!

  7. I'm very glad you put a link up to this post.
    Wonderful! I especially loved the different periods like the 'trying too hard' period. I think I have a couple of artifacts from that age as well.