The Loneliness of very large Saucepans in the Cupboards of Life

It seems everything gets a bit less as the years roll by. Our strides with Milo are shorter now, as when, for example, I was marching up the Austrian Dolomites so many years ago. Of course I never took any measurements of my strides then nor will I resort to it now.

It is the same with intake of food. Our meals are shorter in that they are smaller now. From the huge plates of yesteryear, laden with heavy clay spuds, sprouts and massive steaks, we now eat a miniscule little baby beetroot with single small Dutch carrot and a single sad eyed sardine. The plates are smaller and those big plates are only taken out when the grandsons are over with their noisy enormous 3 kilo potatoes appetites.

Yes, it has all become so much less or smaller. Even noise is getting less. It is rare to have loud music blaring out or TV on without watching. I have noticed that it seems to be quite acceptable for the younger generation to have the TV on or loud radio cackle without watching the TV or listening to the sounds. It is more or less something that appears to give some meaning to their lives, almost as if the noise confirms they are really living and whooping it up, just like everybody else.

Anyway, whatever the pro-s and con-s, (more cons) of modern life, within our duopoly of domesticity a rather peaceful era has arrived and we love it. We are sometimes still invited to a sleep-over at our children or friends but we rarely accept. It means we often scurry back, in the hollow of the night (now with the new foot-rest car), to our own nest and throw ourselves down on the newly stuffed divan, utterly content with our own abode. No noise, no TV chatter, just us. How lovely. How much better can this get?

With all the diminution of those superfluous materials in our lives and a concentration on quality rather than quantity we seem to be somewhat burdened by having things we never use. Cupboards are filled with too much. So many spoons and forks are rattling in drawers, not too speak of cork screws, bottle openers, ladles, swirly things and other cooking implements. We have a round saucepan made of granite or stone given to us years ago. A thing you pre-heat in the oven and then you can cook something in it afterwards. Why stone? Apparently some obscure tribe in Papua or Tibet use that form of cooking. We have never used it.

We have so many saucepans. One is so huge, I can’t remember we ever cooked for the army or orphanages. It has a large handle and on the opposite side a smaller handle as well. You can only lift it by using two strong arms and that is without food cooked in it. With food cooked in it I have to stand on a chair for extra leverage and need Helvi’s aid as well.

With the weather warming I prefer to cook outside. It is so nice to wake up not to the smell of fried onions. I have a super duper barbeque with Teflon hot plate and stainless steel burners. Late in the afternoon, I slice potatoes and Helvi makes some top side grass fed Angus cow meat patties. With that a variety of vegetables, all in miniscule portions and I barbeque like mad. Not a single saucepan gets used.

In the meantime our cupboards are groaning with all our past cooking machinery and implements. Stainless steel saucepans. Cast iron saucepans. Teflon saucepans. Ribbed saucepans (cast Iron) to give that ribbed look on the salmon or sole. They are all resting there in our cupboards waiting for heat, food, but above all for the human touch to be taken out and used once more again. They live in hope!

Perhaps it will happen at this year’s Christmas.

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16 Responses to “The Loneliness of very large Saucepans in the Cupboards of Life”

  1. petspeopleandlife Says:

    You and Mrs O are not alone. I eat less but healthier and I don’t like noise either. Gerard this is a very thoughtful post.


  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thank you, I am sure that we now have more saucepans than ever. Do they sneak in at night or are they secretly multiplying in the cupboards?
    We have three cast iron frying pans and three stainless steel ones. Yet, we don’t really fry much at all.


  3. Andrew Says:

    I have the solution, Gerard. You should have a garage sale – become an ironmonger for a day. You can give them a chorus or two of “Any Old Iron…”. Or you could sing my favourite rugby song: Sosban fach. “Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân, Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr, A’r gath wedi sgrapo Joni bach.” To be sung loudly and with beer in hand. I’m sure a Dutchman can manage the vocal linguistics. Lieber ein Holländer im Opernhaus als auf der Autobahn, as someone famously never said. Less is indeed more. I’m working on it.


  4. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I think it’s lovely that you have so many pots and pans. It demonstrates what a wonderful, long and happy marriage you and Helvi have shared together. Having been rather careless in my marital choices, I’ve had to abandon quite a few pots and pans over the years and now, a little like Mother Hubbard, utensil wise, my cupboards are quite bare 😀


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I find it truly amazing your quest for ”a good one” and hopefully Irishman is the love of your life. It is all so precipitous a slope on which to find happiness in the one go. Not surprised it often takes a few goes. ”Happiness in the kitchen of give and take” is perhaps a good motto to stick to..


  5. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    It all sounds so familiar Gerard. You have given me incentive to get rid of many useless pots and pans. I offered a grandson a lovely expensive Le Creuset fry pan but he said he already had two in that size. I find myself using my grandmother’s cast iron stuff which does a better job anyway. We haven’t cooked a steak since the cow went dry. Can’t chew it anymore anyway. But the peace and quiet and the option to not answer the phone if I don’t want to are great. It’s a wonderful thing if after so many years of togetherness, people can still exist in a peaceful “duopoly of domesticity.” I love that phrase!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Ah, the freedom not to answer the phone, Kaitisweet! I haven’t bought a pre-paid on my cell phone for many weeks now. Helvi’s phone is lost somewhere in the bowels of her formidable collection of hand-bags or if not there, sunk to the bottom of the round cane basket of many, many scarfs.
      We had a land-line call yesterday afternoon at 5.32pm. We let it ring out and the number was unknown. I bet it was some man trying to sell us a coffin ( The Calvary model) or insurance for same.


  6. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    I’d be happy with the title alone of this post, but the rest is full of vibes too. We have a house that I feel guilty about because, since the children left, we have an ’embarrass de richesse’ of rooms (we use most of them too). However, last year we made some changes in the kitchen. More room to sit, easier to move round, FEWER cooking utensils. We took everything out and it had to have a licence before it could return to the kitchen. Very happy with results.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, kitchen is important. We seem to have lived in places where the kitchen became the hub of life from which all else radiated.The farm where we lived for 14 years had a very large sitting room attached to it with a huge open fire.
      We miss the open fire but not the carting of fire-wood fed into it. So it goes.
      The sofa is now fixed with a small fortune spent on taking the old springs out of it and refill the cushions with high density foam. Thank god, now we still sit on our old trusted sofa and find it so much easier to get upright from it. We could not have adapted to another one.


  7. Steve Gingold Says:

    Ah, the collecting of a lifetime. We also have more pots than we will use. And to boot, when my mother in law passed away a few years ago, Mary Beth hated to see her mom’s stuff go to someone who may not appreciate them enough. So more for us. But when one does come out for use it reminds us of something sweet and we are happy to relive the experience.
    Several years ago we learned that when I used a grill/ribbed pan indoors with a piece of meat rubbed with spicy spices, the fumes would cause Mary Beth to gag. So I now grill outdoors year round. It is most enjoyable to go out in the middle of winter, shovel the snow away from the Weber and set the gas afire. The steak smells and tastes great…much better than it would from an indoor pan…and as you said, no pan involved.
    Despite all that positive garble, have yourself a nice garage sale as Andrew suggests. Or maybe get yourself a nice rolling cart and haunt the locals with cries of “Pots for sale” while doing your best revival of Olatunji. 🙂


  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, I suppose we could turn the saucepans upside down and do a
    Thank you Steve for the bringing music to my saucepans.


  9. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    If it isn’t a coffin, it’s probably a walk-in tub! How do they know when you pass 65? Scary


  10. Office Diva Says:

    It seems as if you might be able to open up a flea market stall just Forlorn Cookware. Surely the two-handled/two-manpower one has to go? Non? Then perhaps you will be cooking for the army AND the orphanage this Christmas. :O)

    In our house we cannot throw anything away, which invites mental clutter as well (so says the ancient art of Feng Shui).

    I like the peace and quiet of my own home, too. Especially when I am traveling!


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