The Broken Butter Dish — and other memories

by Laura on November 13, 2017

in Blog, Jan29, Partaking


And another butter dishes is broken . . .

And with one wrong move, another butter dish smashes into pieces on the kitchen floor.

We just can’t seem keep a butter dish in one piece in our kitchen. Over the past decade, we must have broken at least 6 butter dishes. It was my doing this time around — a surprising twist of fate, since breakage in the kitchen is rarely my fault.

You see, I’m a hawk when it comes to policing the family with breakables in their hands. Despite my efforts, I still see chips magically appearing on my Vietri bowl, and cringe when I hear something ceramic hit the kitchen counter, no doubt falling after being precariously placed in the pile of breakables in the dish drying rack.

It is only a dish you might say, but some of them are embedded with memories deep in their ceramic (or glass) makeup.


  • The bowl I handmade years ago during a business visit to Denby Pottery in England, or the Emile Henry mini pie dish I shaped and painted years ago while on a visit to the factory in Marcigny, France.
  • The charger plate picked up at Chef Michel Rostang’s Paris restaurant Dessirier, which reminds me of a delicious (albeit long) business dinner in The City of Light.
  • The plate from Barbados purchased during a two-week, island hopping trip throughout the Caribbean for work.
  • A  glass citrus juicer — a reminder of life with Grandma Gorman.
  • A beautiful Brazilian-made glass vase from my trip to the country for one of the first Cup of Excellence coffee competitions.
  • The mini pitcher purchased on the streets of Andalucía — it’s matching 5 bowls have already been smashed to pieces.
  • A Favorite childhood mug– Olive Oyl!
  • The terra cotta cazuela from Portugal which not only reminds me of that wonderful culinary trip, but also evokes memories of the friends gathered around my table for a homemade dinner (with the cazuela on the table).
  • Family gatherings meant the basement at Grandma and Pa’s. It also meant the gold leaf glasses. My Dad and Uncles George and Tom gathered around the basement bar sipping cocktails from these glasses.
  • The soup terrine from my great aunt and uncles’ home in Johnstown, PA — I only own one object from their full set, but that terrine is filled with memories of summertime visits.
Handmade bowls in England and France

Handmade bowls in England and France


Yes, they are only objects, but they serve a purpose — reconnecting me, and my family, to a lifetime of food-related memories. They are part of the storytelling of our kitchen. The meals may change, but these items move through the years with us, reminding us all of the memories we have enjoyed around the table. Subtly reminding us of the gatherings, friends and family members no longer with us, and the laughter we shared while eating great meals.

Those which have chips on them, tell a story. Likewise, those which have shattered and have made an exit from my cupboards, live in our memories and take us to a point in time.

There are others that have more recently joined our family table. They may not have as much of a melancholy hold on me now, but I’m sure that they will down the road, especially for my children.


This Thanksgiving, we’ll be making more memories with the family — planning the menu, cooking together, and definitely sitting at the table eating. As we do every year, we reminisce of holidays passed. There, on the table, the turkey-shaped gravy boat will sit (a gift from Greg’s Mom several years ago), my Grandparent’s wine glasses will be filled, and the foie gras terrine (a gift from a friend in remembrance of our drive through the south of France to cooking school) will be filled with deliciousness.

Meals are filled with memories — what you ate, where you ate it, who you were with, and for us, it is also the objects which hold memories as well. I wonder, 20 years down the road, which of these these objects will sit on my children’s tables evoking memories for their family.





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