My entire upbringing can be measured in frying pan units. At regular intervals, a brand-new, remarkably non-stick pan appeared in the kitchen “only to be used with this plastic utensil”, my mother would say, and inevitably, eight months later it would be scratched up worse than burned CD from 1999. The coating flaked off, acting like extra seasoning for every meal. Two frying pans spanned junior high. There were at least three for high school.
It might be a little too early to call, but I feel like I’ve beaten the system that had me treating them like they’re disposable; and I’m no longer buying a new one as often as I change the batteries in my smoke detector.
Like a parent cares for all their children equally, I care for all my kitchen tools. Like my younger brother, the non-stick frying pan gets coddled the most. It’s used almost exclusively for eggs, with only the gentlest of tools, and it’s stored on the shelf covered in a plush microfiber cloth, tucked in like a baby just down for a nap.
My kitchen is a general minefield of metal utensils and sharp objects, where one wrong move would be the beginning of the end for the frying pan. It’s a private maze only I can navigate. Partly, I cannot trust anyone not to ruin the flying pan, but mostly I can’t bear to see their faces as I take them through the kitchen, and explain “here, under this luxurious tea towel is the non stick frying plan, if you could please make sure you store it with the towel on top, and be sure never under any circumstances to…” Or while cooking, I imagine myself interrupting our wine-fuelled conversation with a shrill “not that one!” as the ever-helpful guest reaches for the metal flipper.
If someone is using my kitchen, rather than watch the train wreck, it’s easier to put the train in the closet.
And it’s not just the frying pan. There’s the aluminium ice cream scoop that leaves grey streaks in the ice cream if put through the dishwasher, and, as a result of too much garlic-flavoured pineapple, there’s cutting board that has a fruit-only side.
I’ve fallen short of writing a “Guide to Kitchen Item Use: 24 Pages to Make the Most of Your Stay”. It just seems so much easier to hide things. I’m not looking forward to the day when I have to explain to a guest, perhaps looking for a towel, why there’s a cutting board, ice cream scoop, and frying pan under a blanket in the closet.