Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bygones of a different era

Picture your grandmother's kitchen.

Do you remember any familiar scents? Bread baking in the oven, fresh picked cucumbers, or maybe a chocolate cake waiting for a passerby.

How about utensils? Worn wooden spoons, a dainty pickle fork or two...

It's hard to imagine that a place as universal and timeless as a kitchen could be witness to so many cultural changes. Don't believe me? Kitchen staples wax and wane with the times.

Aprons, once unthinkable to not wear one while preparing pie crusts and mopping the floors, are now coming back in vogue. Newer generations have traded the practicality of some items for sheer fashion or trendiness instead. Aprons have always signified work. I have a vintage apron from the '50s that I still haven't gotten in the practice of always tying it on every time. When you put one on, I think a message is relayed to your brain, "She's serious." This reminds me of Proverbs 31:17, "She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms." The phrase "girding your loins" means to tie up loose fabric or clothes so that you make work more easily, similar to "rolling up your sleeves." Yet again that blessed model of a godly woman found in Proverbs 31 shows she's not afraid to get dirty.

If aprons signify work, then a tray signifies serving. My whole idea for this post came about over the weekend because of a tray I own. I received it as a wedding shower gift from a dear friend, and 99.9% of the time, it rests out of sight on top of our fridge collecting dust. This past weekend however, I used that tray three different times. All three times were carrying some delicious foods to some families from our church. The thought dawned on me that the only time I really use that tray is to transport food to a different place. It suddenly became a powerful symbol of hospitality for me. That simple wooden tray convicted me due to the amount of dust and that I almost forgot that I owned it. I need to serve more. I need to offer hospitality more. Not only that, but a tray can be lovingly used within your own home to serve your husband or children breakfast in bed. That's always a lovely treat :)

Aprons, trays, rolling pins, hostess trollies, tea services, they're all a part of old-fashioned kitchens and hospitality. We could take a lesson from these forgotten treasures, to labor diligently in our kitchens for our families and for those outside our home.

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