If you were to sneak a peek into our kitchen cupboards you would find – amongst the utilitarian nesting stainless mixing bowls, the variously-sized modern black stoneware stove-to-table bowls, and the ornate glass serving bowls – a well-used, scratched and worn, slightly-yellowed white plastic bowl from days gone by.
This plastic bowl was manufactured at some point in either the late 1960s or early 70s – long before any kind of knowledge of leaching chemical toxicity had seeped into the awareness of the general public, long before the need for dishwasher- or microwave-safety standards.
To anyone else, this plastic bowl might be looked upon as a dated eyesore, a piece of junk, a health hazard… something that should have been tossed long ago and replaced with something prettier, something up-to-date, something safe.
Yet since its first appearance in my life, wrapped in bright Christmas paper and torn open with squeals of delight – “It’s a grown-up mixer!” – it has survived.
It endured enthusiastic baking sessions – “just like Mom!” – and produced wee cakes devoured with milk and accompanied by girlish giggles.
It served as an emergency cereal bowl when everything else was in the dishwasher.
It was the occasional receptacle for fresh fruit, or tuna salad fixings, or a half-dozen hardboiled eggs.
It escaped the ruthless purges of around a dozen house moves and, most recently, traveled across the country with me to my current home.
It survives, because I remember, and refuse to let go of this small snapshot of my childhood.
(Originally posted in August, 2012.)