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Tools, Riffs & References - Aprons, a love letter to Nana

Apron, a covering, a layer of protection, keeping flour dust at bay, splatters from where they are not invited, often reflecting the work being done, be it in cocoa powder love or chunky red sauce joy.

I have owned a few aprons over the years. Believe it or not, I’m still hanging on to one from an upscale kitchen store that was all the rage and a bit of a status symbol back in the day. I have a purple one my BFF bestowed upon me knowing it was my favorite color, she also gave me a uber girly one that was highly flammable later in life, I think for another purpose, but we shan’t talk about that.

In culinary school, our aprons had to be pristine white, which was pretty tough to maintain. A fresh one each day, led to a lot of laundry during the week. Appreciating it was part of the journey, I complied, but swiftly shifted to black aprons upon graduation, saving the white ones for when they are required and or baking. Have you ever seen a black apron after making biscuits ?

The apron that has been with me the longest and has the biggest heart print on it, with its distinct V-neck and armholes, slipped on front to back to give full coverage, is my Nana’s apron. A green abstract floral print on cotton, with gold rick-rack, neatly bound in now fraying avocado green trim, has Esther’s handprint all over it. Burnished metal buttons hand sewn into place, remain a reflection of my grandmothers attention to detail in everything she touched.

Neatly tied up in my pantry with a few others, I often catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye, even run my hands along its ties, but rarely wear it as it’s so much more than an apron to me. This simple handmade covering is a memory keeper bringing back to my heart's eye,

the smile on my grandmothers face, the touch of her hands, so different from mine as they were small, yet mighty and always warm. I think about how year after year I watched Nana in her kitchen preparing holiday dinners in the winter, and when I became old enough to handle a paring knife (aka small knife), sitting at her kitchen table cutting fresh strawberries from her patch, sugaring them down before topping them with heavy cream in the summer.

Those memories, along with others curated over time, is what I bring every day to the table, plate and dish, Here In My Kitchen.

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