I don't mind spending a day organizing my spice cupboard. If I had to pick a "favourite cupboard" (and why on earth wouldn't I?) this would be it.
Pouring packets of spices into little jars (and them labelling them with little pink labels, of course) is soothing. Everything smells so good, looks so vibrant & overwhelms me with memories of kitchen success and family gatherings.
Brian brought me home a bag of spices from The Silk Road Spice Merchant last week. I had visited their Calgary Farmers Market location before & felt overwhelmed. It's like my favourite cupboard, times ten. But Brian's workday led him to their new location in Inglewood. He noshed on a scone (from Sidewalk Citizen bakery which made me green with envy) and thought it only fair to bring me home a treat too. Brian's "treats" are notoriously self serving. And if we didn't have such similar taste, I could accuse him of buying gifts for himself. Lucky for him, I also appreciated the steak spice & orange peel he brought home (Which he used to garnish a G&T. Go figure.). He also regaled me with tails of the origins of cinnamon (I was impressed).
Anyway, it was the two new jars of spices that had me rearranging my cupboard.
I have to wonder if my Grandma Lydia, back in her day, would have considered this a good use of time. Back then, for them (and most farming families), food was simple & I doubt spices like turmeric & epazote found a home in her kitchen. And I can say almost certainly she didn't have pink himalayan salt. But still, I can picture her cleaning out her cupboards & being satisfied with her results. As much as life has changed, some things stay the same.
When Grandma passed away in the fall, I was lucky enough to get some beautiful pictures of her & her family (and ultimately my family). I picked my favourites and framed them. The picture of my Grandpa Paul & Grandma Lydia (below) that now sits on my dresser has unexpectedly served a purpose besides nostalgia & decor. It's a reminder, each time I see it, to cherish the simple life they once led.
And if that inspires me even a little bit, it is in a direction toward the things that matter most. The things that sometimes escape a housewife* in 2012.
* I for one love the term 'housewife'. It rings of traditions & matriarchy.
Glancing at the picture, I am connected to her, having just cleaning my cupboards. And I think of a day long ago, on a farm near Wainwright, Alberta, when my grandma dusted off her hands, smiled at a job well-done & admired her clean cupboard.