I have no idea who gave us the aluminum 7 qt. stock pot I was getting ready to recycle. As wedding presents go it had survived very well. It was not perfect but it was still functional. The delightfully tacky 70’s design enameled around the base was intact. The handles were starting to get loose and the bottom had gotten a little rounded over the years, but whose hasn’t?
Forty years ago I had very little interest in most of the wedding presents we had received, let alone anything related to cooking. I was much more concerned with counting the gift cash we had received, packing the Camaro and getting on the road with my high school sweetheart, turned wife.
As newlyweds the stock pot dutifully received anything schlepped into it, the canned soups and prepackaged chili mixes. It never complained that it was just used to warm things up to an edible temperature, not really “cooking.”
A few years later and over several different time periods it served as a baby bottle sterilizer.
It delivered countless hard-boiled eggs, not for eating, but decorated for Easter egg hunts, delighting our growing family.
Shortly after the birth of our first grandson, and a day before Thanksgiving, Mrs Beachbum came down with the flu and was unable to cook. I jumped in, took over the prep and cooking duties, delivered an edible Thanksgiving dinner and discovered that I liked to cook. Mrs Beachbum later confessed that she had never enjoyed cooking and was more than willing to turn those duties over to me.
The canned soups from our newlywed days have turned into hand crafted creations with fresh vegetables and simmering stock. The number of grandchildren has grown to two and the wedding gift stock pot soldiered on.
But as my cooking skills slowly increased my satisfaction with that stockpot slowly decreased. I became more aware of the loose handles, the thin metal and it’s inability to sit flat on a burner without rocking.
So I bought a new one!
Am I sad to see the old one go? Not really, yes there are some good memories associated with that utensil, but at the end of the day, it’s just a thing. I will still be cooking soups for my high school sweetheart, our kids and grandkids … I’ll just be doing with a brand new stock pot with a flat bottom!