Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I like old things. I have a special affinity for pieces that were used in keeping the home - doing laundry, sewing, and the kitchen. When I was a teenager, my mom watched The Walton's every week. Mom was a young woman during The Depression and identified with all they went through in each episode. If Mom watched it - I watched it. I grew to enjoy it almost as much as she. I particularly liked when the scenes took place in the kitchen with Mama or Grandma doing the cooking or other chores. I could always spy a bowl or two in that kitchen. I liked those old bowls and wished we had some like that in our kitchen.
The bowls that we did have were Pyrex stacking bowls from the late 40's or early 50's. Those bowls were put to good use over the years. Many a tasty food was prepared in them. Over time, I learned to know what the menu might be based on the color of the bowl. Blue- tuna; red- pimento cheese; green- a homemade cake; yellow-potato salad. While each bowl's use was not restricted to it's particular food, it was usually a pretty good clue.
After Mom passed away, we divided her household items. It was accomplished in a loving, caring way - not a single argument over anything. The bowls didn't come home with me. Sometimes I would spy a set for sale in an antique shop and think about Mom. A couple of times I almost bought a set, but before I made it to the register realized it wasn't really the bowls but the memories. I always put them back.
I have over the years collected my own set of 'stacking bowls' Each found sitting on a shelf in an antique shop or sale. I wonder if there is someone out there with fond memories of any of these? Certainly they have been used to make all sorts of wonderful things from daily meals to holiday fare, dishes for pot lucks or a grieving family, cakes for celebrating a birthday or a school bake sale.It's a happy accident that they nest together so nicely. So far they don't seem to have their own assigned food. Since all but one is mustard-y color that is probably a good thing - the mustard -for tuna; the mustard- for pimento cheese . . . it just doesn't have the same ring.
I'm in the process of getting my swap quilts and Pay-It-Forward pieces in the mail this week. Keeping all these secrets has been hard, but it did give me the chance to share my love for these bowls. Sometime soon you will find a quilt related post here.

28 comments:

Katie said...

Loved the Walton show and old bowls too. Hard for me to separate the thing and the feeling but I need to. Looking forward to your quilty pics soon but I love anything you write about! Pretty easy to please, huh?

Finn said...

Those hauntingly beautiful stains of The Walton's theme song rings out loud and clear every morning Monday through Friday at my little house in the Valley. The Hallmark Channel shows 2 episodes each day. I must be up by 7 (CDT) to catch them, but they set the tone for my day. Peace, harmony and mostly love and family. The Waltons are so much better than 'popping pills' *VBS*
I love your bowls..and the color. I have a couple of blue gray ones and one that is dark brown. I don't use them for food, at least NOT prepared food, and they have hairline cracks. I'd love to bake bread with them, but don't feel it would be safe. They house apples sometimes, pine cones at others. And they are find with a napkin in them and warm muffins or rolls.
It's a great post, quilts or no quilts..*VBS* Hugs, Finn
P.S. A long apron awaits you at Pieces..*S*

Lucy said...

Beatuiful bowls. You have a great taste,Libby!

meggie said...

Lovely collection of bowls. I love to think of them being pre-loved.

joyce said...

I love your collection of old bowls. I have one that is not old but a repro that we bought in a factory that used to supply most of Canada. The memories are great but the bowls stand on their own too because of the size and thickness.

Angie said...

I love those bowls, too, Libby, and have some 'stacking' bowls, but mine aren't old--just repros. But I love them, and they bring to mind all of those wonderful homey thoughts and feelings when I use them, which is quite often. We grew up on the Waltons too. :D

Darlene said...

I love your 'mustard bowls', Libby. I have a few pieces in my kitchen that remind me so much of my grandmother however I have a few bowls and such that carry their own memories. I didn't realize that until my daughter was talking about that one day at a family gathering. I must admit that I got a bit teary eyed - silly, huh!

Jane Ann said...

Funny how mixing bowls can conjure memories of the user. I have an old "bluebird" bowl that my mother associates with her mother--it was my grandmother's "biscuit bowl." I too grew up with the multi-colored Pyrex bowls and would love to have a set now. But I have a few odd antique bowls scattered around my house because they're simply beautiful--like yours.

I wonder if coming generations of daughters will associate memories with mixing bowls, seeing as how so few women cook any more. I guess there's always the popcorn bowl....

Lovely post.

Nicole said...

What a lovely and thoughtful post. It made me think of my grandma and her special "pie dough" bowl. She never had to measure anything if she was using her special bowl. She knew just how much of each ingredient to add to the bowl to make a perfect crust. If she didn't have her bowl...Well, let's just say the crust turned out different.

Bren said...

I loved this post! I do have memories of stacking bowls, but they were all the same color...a light green. I have bowls that stack here from when I was first married. They stack too and have special memories attached to them.

Judy said...

I always like seeing your bowls too. I can't say I remember the bowls my grandmother used so I don't think they were any special set. Mom used tupperware and that was the big THING to get when I got married, so I still have my stack of those that I mostly use IF I make something. I do have a mustard set of three bowls like these that came in my very first dish pattern when I got married. Pfaltzgraff(?) Heritage or something like that... I still have those 3 bowls and I use them occasionally, especially for bread!

Dawn said...

We always watched that show too! I love your mustard bowls! Too fun!

Sue said...

I love bowls, too. I spent many years trying to find just the right big bowl for my kitchen use. Finally found the perfect brand new, old fashioned looking bowl. When my daughter was married I searched out one for her, too, and she enjoys it as much as I do mine.
I loved the Waltons, too. I think the younger generations are missing a lot by not being exposed to shows like that. Sponge Bob just isn't sending the same message.

Beth said...

I'm the same way, I like collecting old, mismatched stuff like that. You know my mom still has bowls like you're talking about your mom had? Last time I went to visit her, I came home with a few things here and there. One of my most favorite things I got from her last time was her old, old, old Betty Crocker cookbook. I remember she had that when I was a kid. It has all her notes and everything in it, and recipes she's collected. I use it a lot. When we had to clean out my father-in-law's house when he went into the retirement home, I acquired a few more bowls and some milk glass. I just love all that stuff. I think we appreciate it more when we're adults, when I was a kid I looked at my mom's stuff and saw it as junk. Funny.

Beth
baalberts@verizon.net

kjquilts said...

Libby, you made me think of two old bowls in my memory. One grandmother had the pea bowl. Peas were served from the garden at nearly every meal. There are so many pea names I can't begin to remember them all! I have that bowl in my cabinets now and I love it. The other bowl was a glass dish with a top on it that was for banana pudding. At Christmas it was called the ambrosia bowl. My mom still uses it for those purposes today!

Guðrún said...

I am not familiar with those bowls, but yours are lovely.

Karen said...

I loved the story about the bowls. I am also a fan of stacking bowls, I have the clear Pyrex ones. My mom had the same set as your mom but they must have all broken, they were not there when we emptied the condo after both my parents had passed away.

Diane said...

What a beautiful post. Isn't it funny how many of us have fond memories of a simple household item like a bowl. I have my mother's pyrex bowl, affectionately known as the "jello" bowl, used to serve red jello with sliced bananas or green jello with marshmallows. I have a set of heavy pottery bowls from my grandmother that are painted with flowers (1930s). When another grandmother passed away, I asked for two things: her recipe for Swedish rice pudding and the dish she made it in. Yummy memories.

Marcie said...

I guess we all both walking down Memory Lane these days! Lovely bowls, and memories too!

Wendy said...

Libby you are the only person I know that can write about bowls and make them interesting, I mean that has a compliment. You can really write well. I visit antique shops often, guess what I'll be searching for...LOL
Your blog is always a pleasure to read.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

I loved the Waltons as well, that John Boy!!
I think it is so intersting how we long for things that were special to us as children, happily buying things that are in no way new or trendy but that bring so much more joy...or is it peace?
I know I feel like that about Singer sewing machine cabinets, about a lot of things, the old one from our childhood may be gone, but we really need to revisit it, lol Tracey

Linda_J said...

My mom had a couple of those though I don't think the complete set, lost, broken or never had in the first place probably. I would love to have a set myself but not so much for the nostalgia part as I need some bowls that size for mixing things up when cooking.

I wouldn't mind having her black snowflake pyrex casserole dish that we always had scalloped potatoes in though.

Really enjoyed your pictures from last weekend. Who says you can't go home again?

kris said...

I read your blog and sometime think I should comment, but never do,until today. The bowls did it for me. My mother had a set of those bowls and almost every food memory came out of the big yellow one. When my Mom passed the big yellow one came home with me, and when I moved to the Netherlands it came along. About 5 years ago we remodeled our kitchen and as I was packing up I dropped it! My whole childhood passed before my eyes, I cried for days. A few months later my husband came home from a church sale with a complete set! One more great memory to go in the big yellow bowl!

LBP said...

Just stumbled across your blog and love it! I watched the Walton's religiously. My mother was a young girl in the Depression and identified with so much of that show. I love your bowls. I too have memories of the bowls my great aunt used. We always knew what we were having by the color of the bowl. I do the same thing! Maybe I am creating memories for my son.

Sweet P said...

My grandma used to have a yellow pyrex bowl, and now that I think of it, she always used it for potato salad too. My mom had a tupperware bowl for potato salad.

I have clear glass bowls for mixing. I just don't use them nearly enough for cooking.

Yvonne said...

Your bowls are awesome...I love old things especially when they have such wonderful memories attached to them.
The Waltons was one of my all time favorite shows. I just loved Grandpa.

Carole said...

You bowls are beautiful. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Not only did I watch the Waltons but I too like old things. I'm pretty much the only one in my family that does. I like old thimbles. I don't know why. I don't have much of a collection, just a few that I always carry with me in my hand work basket! Funny because while camping I temporary lost my thimble. I had to find it not because it was an expensive one, but because of the memories of all the projects I have used it on for the past 10 years. You're right, it's not so much the item but the memory we associate with them. Thanks for sharing your bowls.

QuiltingFitzy said...

How about the metal glasses? We had a set of probably 4 shiney metal glasses with a slightly fluted edge. They sweated like no other, lol.

Oh yeah, potato salad in the biggie, that's a for-sure!