Frances E. Dinger

Turkey Baster

Nancy had never had the chance to stand in someone’s kitchen in a foreign country. She wondered where the family who owned this house would find the forks in their French villa. The silverware drawer seemed to imply a kind of cultural history. With dinner forks resting next to salad forks and, given the absence of a plate between, spoons of two sizes[1] next to those, with butter knives completing the line. Steak knives were kept in an entirely separate drawer, as the keep them away from small children who might be asked by their otherwise occupied mother to please set the table, and yes we do indeed need both kinds of forks, a knife but only the small spoons tonight. Chopsticks rested in a kind of miscellaneous bin above the more standard utensils, thrown in such a way that it became difficult to find a matching pair. On the night when the family ordered out for Chinese, they did not use the cheap one-use wooden chopsticks[2], they used their beautiful lacquered ones but they often ended up with mismatched pairs, a solid eggshell-blue stick paired with one that was primarily finished wood but had a band of blue flowers on the top quarter of the stick.

Below the drawer of standard eating utensils was the miscellaneous drawer. Some of the items therein included: a soup ladle; several wooden spoons that had to be hand-washed, never put in the dishwasher; a corkscrew used in opening bottles of wine, the point of which had always looked dangerous to the youngest child; a bag of wooden skewers the father liked to use for barbequing kabobs in the summer time; a can opener used primarily for opening cans of cat food; special lids for opened cans of cat food; and a spaghetti scoop.

The mother heard on a television program that a good way to make a more organized kitchen was to place all the utensils in a box, all the pots and pans and casserole dishes and things used for cooking in a separate box, and keep them there for a month. When something was used, it could be taken out of the box and put in an appropriate place in the kitchen. Everything that was still in the box after a month could be given away. The mother considered doing this in November, because she knew in November she would, without a doubt, use her turkey-baster.


[1] The larger of which was labeled as a soup spoon but the smaller, she could not remember what the official purpose was. Perhaps they were both soup spoons and it came down to a matter of preference but this seemed not correct. A few minutes later she remember they were tea spoons and momentarily felt incredibly stupid.

[2] Though these were kept for a later date, placed in lunch bags when the children and parents brought their own meals to work and school.


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