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Finding memories in the strangest places

Saturday night DW and I were standing at the kitchen sink. He was washing, and I was rinsing, as he handed the mostly pottery pieces, and a couple of big pots, off to me.

Our lively Christmas crew had all come and gone, we’d had Christmas all day long. We were pleasantly tired and I was ready to sit down and enjoy the Christmas lights on the tree one last time.

But, as I rinsed memories surfaced, I do tend to get a little sentimental at the end of a day spent with family.

There’s this bowl that I love to use.  And as I carefully maneuvered it under the hot water to rinse off the soap suds, I told DW about it, though I’m sure I had many times before, and he listened again.

It’s a large white glazed ceramic bowl with 3 slightly faded pink stripes running around the top of it.  Across the bottom is a raised inscription that indicates it’s from Italy. But that is not where I found it.

This nice bowl is an accommodating five inches tall with a 13-inch diameter and can hold plenty of almost anything. For countless church potlucks I’ve filled it with fresh spinach or Caesar salads. I always felt it my duty to bring something green to the table. And for tailgating in Starkville I’ve taken it piled over the top with mounds of fresh fruit.

At Thanksgiving it holds either green beans or cornbread dressing. It has even served as an ice bucket and traveled to Tennessee two, maybe three, times to serve at the boys’ rehearsal suppers. Saturday it served double duty offering chips to go with salsa for snacking and then a big green salad for supper (making sure all my people get all the food groups!).

My initials are written in permanent marker on the bottom and for a little extra identification at some time or another I added a stick-on label with my name and Batesville address, though I never remember actually taking it and leaving it anywhere. It’s too precious.

If you are a Batesville long-timer you might remember a store called Alco. I believe it started out in the shopping center beside First Security Bank, located in the space on the far east end.

Later it moved (I think) to the larger building where the “new” Piggly Wiggly is now. (Not to be confused with the old Pig on Hwy. 6 or the Other Pig on 51 Highway across from the SPHS football field. Long-timers will remember.)

Alco was pre-Walmart and I loved it except when the boys got away from me and a slight panic ensued until I saw a circular rack of men’s shirts magically rotating all by itself.  Exactly where you’d expect twin toddler boys to hide. It was in this wonderful store that I made my find.

I wasn’t shopping for a bowl. DW has never really understood my passion for pottery and I was pretty sure he wouldn’t understand why we would need this big $5 bowl, but I bought it anyway.

And here we are some 35 years later still using it. I don’t think we could have a function at our house without it. Though some of the glazing has worn off, it’s still serviceable and just as lovely as ever. I don’t take it tailgating any longer, but I still take it every second Sunday to church potluck filled with the expected green salad (still my duty).

Just last week I received a page of address labels in the mail printed with my name and Tennessee address. I will stick one on the bottom of this bowl, but I’ll leave the Batesville label intact.  This bowl serves up too many sweet memories.

Recipe of the Week

Cranberry Spinach Salad

Make the dressing or serve with Newman’s Oil & Vinegar in a nice big bowl!

1 tablespoon butter

¾ cup sliced almonds,

1-pound fresh spinach, rinsed, drained

1 cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

½ cup white sugar

2 teaspoons minced onion

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup cider vinegar

½ cup vegetable oil

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, cool. In a large bowl, combine spinach, toasted almonds and cranberries. In a medium bowl, whisk together sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar and oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.