There were two things of my grandma Anne Covel’s that I always told her I wanted: her dress watch and her phone. She didn’t think it was morbid of me to make those requests, but she did remind me that she wasn’t dead yet. The dress watch was her engagement present from my Pop (she was too practical to want a diamond ring) and the phone is a 1940′s dial phone that still works (and rings really loudly; we had to plug it in in the basement because it scared DB every time it rang). She died in 1997, and left me both things. The watch I still wear occasionally, it’s very dainty and has a diamond-edged face and a fabric strap, similar to this (poaching photos from the internet is much faster than me taking photos and uploading them):
<— and the phone is very similar to this (may be the same model):
When we were cleaning her apartment after she died, we divvied up the belongings she hadn’t specified which grandchild should get. Somehow, I ended up with her 50′s era electric turkey roaster, along the lines of this:
After this long-and-winding-road of an intro, this is where it gets relevent: when I started prepping my turkey in the morning of the first day of Passover, for the second night seder, I realized that the big semi-disposable pan that I had used for brisket had been crunched and trashed by a well-meaning clean-up assistant the night before. Even though I am in no way shomer Shabbat/Chag, I did not want to go shopping for a new one (I don’t have a Passover pan big enough to fit even that smallish turkey) on the Chag; I know, crazy Conservative me. So I thunk up that maybe, just maybe, Grandma’s roaster could possibly work. I pulled it from its dusty shelf and spent half an hour scrubbing the dirt and webs and spider carcasses from all its surfaces and crevasses, and tinfoiled it well (there were a couple spots of rust I did not want us to consume), and turned it on. Shebang, it started heating up! They don’t f-ing make them like them used to!
I let it heat for about half an hour, just to make sure it wasn’t going to short out. Then I stuck my bird in it, and voila! It was falling-off-the-bone delicious for dinner. The funny thing is, I have no recollection of her ever using the roaster herself. But by the time I was old enough to be cognizant of her kitchenware, she had ceded hosting family holidays to my mom and my aunt.
Grandma was a child of the Depression, and I think knowing that her roaster cooked us our seder would have warmed the cockles of her frugal, coupon-clipping, use everything, waste nothing heart (she reused pickle juice, but that’s another post altogether). After all, until her death she was using a watch from the 30′s and a phone from the 40′s.