How many of you reading this grew up with a mother in the 70s who collected Corningware? This probably means that you must have been raised North America, or in a household elsewhere in the world that had access to the Corningware brands, which included Pyrex and Corelle as well. These household names were such a fixture in my generation that any glass or ceramic oven-proof dish was referred to as a pyrex, regardless of the actual brand. Get my drift? Well my mother jumped on the Pyrex bandwagon even before I was born, and that was primarily because she spent some years in Philadelphia before she got married. Then she met a friend from Oregon who introduced her to the entire Spice of Life line of Corningware. With every trip to the USA each summer she added one more item to the collection, and then some.
The drawback of being an only child is that you end up inheriting everything, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the Corningware. While I was still moving around with my family from country to country and entertaining people for lavish dinners, the entire range of Mommy’s dishes saw a lot of action, but once I lived on my own, there was simply too much, and the serving dishes were far too big for a single person.
There was a Kashmiri shawl dealer I met in Delhi one year who sold me a very elaborate brocade shawl. Before I bought the shawl, I needed an explanation to the piece and how long it took to make the shawl, and why on earth I should buy such an extravagant item. His answer was a classic: This is a generation item, not a seasonal purchase. When you buy this, it will be passed on from one generation to another, unless it gets lost, stolen or burned. Well, how do you argue with that?
There was a time I resented my mother’s Spice of Life collection, because it wasn’t my taste at all, but it grew on me, and I really can’t imagine any household of mine without it anymore. I have learned to look at them just like the Kashmiri shawl vendor said – a generation item that will be handed down with pride and as an intrinsic part of family history. I have since broken at least two bowls along the way, and committed the ultimate sacrilege of using some as planters…
Here’s the thing – the spice of life is not in the grand adventures we embark on, or even the exotic travels we may find ourselves in. It is in the little things around us on a daily basis that make us smile or evoke precious memories. They fill the voids, warm the soul, and remind you that you have a past, a heritage, a future, and whatever you hold in your hands today is but a fleeting moment. So cherish it and use it well. These moments will tell a story tomorrow.