Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sifting Thought

This week's assignment is to write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly - and find the beauty in it.

I found a new recipe to try. I read the ingredients list. I read the instructions. I bought the things I didn't have on hand. 

I gathered my goodies on the counter. The ingredients, bowls, a pot, measuring cup, and wooden spoon for mixing. Good to go.
The potatoes were quartered and boiling. The ham cubed and set aside. Sour cream and shredded cheese within reach. It was time to mix, assemble, and bake. 

The last step before going into the oven was sprinkling Parmesan cheese flavored bread crumbs on top. 

I didn't have Parmesan cheese flavored bread crumbs. But I had bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. 

So I combined them, pulled out a whisk to mix them together. 

That wasn't working to my satisfaction. Hmmm. 

I went to my cupboard full of baking pans. There in the back I found the answer. 

It was dented a little bit. It was discolored by age a lot. Dusty from years of disuse. But I knew it would do the job. 

The old hand sifter had belonged to my grandmother. I poured the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese into it. And I began to turn the crank. 

It made a pleasant noise, "shoosh, shoosh, shoosh". 

The crank still had the original wooden ball, worn shiny from use. The metal rod, shaped to fit the sifter canister still brushed the wire sieve at the bottom.  

"Shoosh, shoosh, shoosh."

As I turned that crank, I felt a smile happen. The simple beauty of an old fashioned utensil. Still doing the work it was crafted to do. 


  1. I love this piece and the concept behind it-"The simple beauty of an old fashioned utensil. Still doing the work it was crafted to do." And I love your writing too. Well done!!

  2. Cute idea! It's amazing how looking at something believing it can be beautiful really does make it beautiful!

  3. Great post! I love when you find the perfect little "ugly" tool to that makes everything come out just right.

    I'll never forgive my husband for throwing away my old fashioned potato masher... ah, memories!

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Renee...this is so tender.
    I could see you there in your kitchen, going through the steps.
    Lovely job.

  5. What a lovely idea, the old tool making beautiful music. Love!

  6. Love it! : ) Stopping by from Red Dress Club.

  7. I love the image of the hand sifter. I have one of those. That image really adds a lot to this.

  8. The ball on the handle.

    You actually brought tears. My mom's sifter is like that, and I kept trying to buy myself one, but they were all wrong.

    It took me forever to realize that I was looking for something with two generations of use behind it.

  9. I have one of those sifters. I've never actually USED it, but the picture you painted made me smile to think of it.

  10. This piece felt like a sunny Sunday afternoon it was so lovely. I love that some of the best things in the kitchen are original designs. Those shifters are awesome and that one is so special having been imbued with your grandmothers use too.

  11. I love stuff like that. Does the job just as well. Nice take on the prompt!

  12. I agree with Jennifer, it does feel like a Sunday afternoon while I sit here reading it on a Saturday. And I love the last line, "Still doing the work it was crafted to do."

  13. Simple imagery. Good job! If I could offer a tiny piece (only one) consider another word in place of 'disuse' - When you go on to say years of use, it sounds contradictory. Other than that? Awesome! :)

    BTW - I love old utensils, canisters, etc... Nice take on the prompt.