The Making of a Warm Kitchen
So many of my earliest memories of connecting with my mother took place in the kitchen. I remember the day—I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old—when she slipped a tiny apron over my head and, for the first time, let me slice the strawberries for a fresh springtime strawberry pie. I remember the way the house would smell, warm and herby, when she started sauteeing onions, peppers, and oregano, an hour before dad got home from work, and we knew tonight was homemade spaghetti. In the summers, I would pick raspberries from my grandmother’s patch, while inside she and my mother boiled yesterday’s yield into a syrupy sauce, in my grandmother’s mid-century kitchen, her banana cream yellow oven and copper mashing tools, and later that evening, from copper pots she would serve the family stew.
My own mother has always made the kitchen the hub of the house. She may think the reason we congregate there is for pre-dinner snacking, but the real reason is because that’s where she is. And while she trims green beans and browns the hamburger, we sit on the counter, sharing the day’s details, exhaling our worries, laughing, being near her.
While we’re under no illusion about what truly makes for a warm kitchen (good food, good company, good music**, and a little bit of dancing while chopping the green peppers), we do love little gadgets that make the day-to-day time in the kitchen feel a little special. In all our searching for heirlooms to curate into our gift collections, we have yet to find something we love as much as these brass cooking utensils.
The beauty of brass is in its durability and brightness. Brass bears the marks of use, taking on the patina of meals cooked and shared, the fingerprints of the cook. And yet it polishes back to full gleam with a simple polish pad. These utensils cover all the essentials of time in the kitchen (plus a few nonessential but absolutely delightful pieces): a funnel, a colander ladle, an egg spoon, an ice cream scoop, a recipe box, even a dishwasher magnet engraved "Clean / Dirty." Their solid brass construction gives each item a weightiness that feels good in the hand. And of course, all are 100% food safe.
Two hundred years ago, a copper pot cost a month’s wages. This was the sort of item people would buy once, and care for their entire life. We love items like this: ones that are beautiful in design, ones that add beauty to your space. We love items that we can really care for—intentionally. Pulling out the brass cookware, lining it up on the counter, and taking time to touch each one, to caress it back to brightness— These intentional minutes give time to reflect, to remember the meals and moments these items have shared.
For all the time mother spends boiling pasta, scooping ice cream, ladling soups, and loading and unloading the dishwasher, we’ve come to truly love these brass cooking utensils as a gift for her. We love brass because it adds warmth and glow to any space. We love mothers because they do too.
**While we are talking about creating a warm kitchen, here is one more little treat—a playlist of my favorite songs to cook to. Enjoy!