Check out this bread pan. This is a large blue enamel bread pan that belonged to my mother. It is an item in my kitchen that holds special meaning. ( really which items do I have that don’t?)
I remember exactly where and when my mother bought this item.
We were a long way from home travelling to visit my oldest brother who was living in Manitoba at the time. It was of particular significance because it was our first long road trip as a family. Me, my Mom and two older brothers piled into Mom’s Austin Cambridge, sans seat belts and headed east. We left Vancouver Island and travelled for three days of straight driving if I recall correctly. I remember being a little nervous as the semi-trucks headed toward us on the other side of the highway because as they passed they would create so much air flow that we would get drafted towards them and the car would shake as my Mom held steady on her side of the white line.
I recall several arguments about who was sitting in the front next but mostly I remember the sense of adventure I felt. When we arrived at my aunt and uncle’s farm where my brother was living it was full on summer and hay season.
I have fond memories of horrible tasting water, fresh milk from the dairy, picnic lunches delivered to the men in the fields working, including my brother, and most of all the pies.
My aunt would make numerous pies for the hard working men and boys and have them cooling on the kitchen table. My most embarrassing memory was when there were several lemon meringue pies on the table and I noticed many flies swarming the pies. I thought I would be helpful (and try out the fly swatter) and swat a fly off one of the pies. Imagine my horror as I swatted at a fly where upon lifting the swatter to see if I got it, realized the swatter had lifted the entire meringue topping and I had missed the fly completely. Yikes. My aunt was very good humoured about it but my Mom gave me a stern look and a few disapproving comments.
We delivered lunch in the back of a pick-up truck each day and would join the men in the tailgate picnic and the return back to the house to complete the day’s chores, gardening and dinner preparations.
On one day I remember being particularly excited because Mom was going to go shopping. I went along with her and we stopped in several places looking for a ‘bread pan.’ What she was looking for was not a pan for baking but rather a large pan that would accommodate the mixing and kneading of her bi-weekly bread making ritual back home. She would make large batches of bread twice a week to keep us supplied with bread for toast, lunches and the like. With three hungry kids this was no small feat while working full time and running a household.
Finally, when we were in Stonewall, Manitoba she found what she was looking for. I believe the pan was hanging from the ceiling or up on a high shelf because I remember someone having to get it down for her to examine closely. I had never seen such a pan before but I remember the ambience of the old hardware store and how good it felt to be there with my Mom looking for such a utilitarian item.
Since then that pan has housed many a batches of bread dough. Eventually, when we all grew up and moved away Mom no longer needed to make large batches of bread. I inherited the pan and began making my own bread dough in it. This pan has been used for many other purposes in my house, one of which is steeping elder flowers to make elder flower champagne and another is for ‘slaking’ green figs to preserve in ginger syrup.
As usual, this useful kitchen item brings back happy memories and keeps my stories alive as I go about my everyday rituals in the kitchen. I look forward to passing on the pan and its stories to one of my children one day.