'When my mum got married, you never bought pans for yourself ' - Susan Morrison
He just breezed in from the supermarket and casually announced he’d bought a brand new set of matching pans.
This came as something of a surprise to me since I couldn’t remember being consulted on this potential purchase.
"What’s wrong with the old pots?” I mused, as I tried to recall which cupboard they were in.
The kitchen is another country, and one I’m best to stay away from. I am to cooking what Boris Johnson is to family planning. Chaotic, overheated and the dish is never named until it comes out of the oven.
The pans in our cupboard do not match. I’ve watched Nigella, Jamie, and the Blessed Delia, as they whip up stews, ragouts and bourguignons. All that shiny tinware, beautifully co-ordinated.
Some tiny part of me, influenced by endless black and white British war films watched on Sunday afternoons with my dad, looked at all that gleaming metal and thought, you could build a Spitfire out of that lot.
I’m not even sure where half the old kitchenware came from. There’s one tiny battered red milk pan. I think I ‘acquired’ it from the little flat I had in Liverpool in the 1980s. When the kids were babies, I heated their bottles using it. Yes, my babies were bottle fed. So shoot me. The Boy child now towers over me and the Girl one can outfox a Vulcan, so they seem to have done ok.
There’s one with a buckled bottom, evidence that I cannot cook. I really did burn a boiled egg. Yes, boiling an egg is cooking as far as I am concerned. To be fair, it didn’t actually burn. I got distracted by, oh, I dunno, a passing pigeon or something and completely forgot about this culinary adventure. The water boiled away. The egg, remarkably, exploded. It's amazing how much damage flying white, yolk and shell can make. I was still picking bits out of the lampshade three years later.
We have four frying pans. I have no idea why, or where they came from. The thought crossed my mind that I could start a new career as a frying-pan juggler post-lockdown. The new set has another frying pan. This one has a lid. To sauté, apparently. Nope, no idea.
There’s a griddle pan. Cast iron, weighs a ton. Not sure what it's actually for, but I hit a spider with it once, and believe me, the scuttling days were over. We had to redecorate that wall, but a small price to pay, I thought. I know where that pan came from. It was a wedding present.
In fact, we have at least three wedding presents still in use. I think that’s why I was so flummoxed by his cavalier decision to purchase a set of cookware for our own use.
When my mum got married, you never bought pans for yourself. They were wedding gifts, and the only pans you ever needed.
Don’t tell him, but I knew our pots were knackered. My plan had been a quick divorce, then get married again, with a gift list at John Lewis, natch.
We were bound to get a nice new set of shiny pans, not to mention towels. They’re getting a bit tatty as well. I’ll have to go and buy some now.