Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Tita's Magic Pot
This is Tita's Magic Pot.
Tita was my grandmother, Lucy, who died at age 90 in 2008, and a genius in the kitchen. Her Mexican rice is the stuff of legends. Her potato salad is unequaled. Leftovers turned into mini gourmet dinners full of flavor. Once in a while I would visit specifically at dinnertime (always 6:30pm) just so I could get invited to stay. Shameless, but, oh so worth it!
This particular pot is the biggest part of a set that was broken up after Tita passed away. It is the pot that held mass quantities of her Mexican rice and potato salad to family gatherings. It always went home empty.
You would think that after what was made and housed in this pot I would feel intimidated, but I don't. Competing with my grandma's cooking is pointless. I'm a recipe and practice-makes-perfect type of person. She was a dash-of-this-tad-of-that, risk-taking, cook from memory type person.
But there is still a bit of her kitchen magic left behind in that pot.
I get a certain confidence and bravado when I use it, which is often. And, for whatever reason, anything I make in it turns out great, even at the first attempt. Homemade chicken soup, albondigas (Mexican meatballs,) mashed potatoes, pulled pork, and any kind of pasta emerge from the pot flavored with an inexplicable pixie dust that spells success.
Despite my efforts, other pots and pans in my kitchen do not have the same results. Water boiling over, bad experimentation, soggy Mexican rice--those things happen in the others. But not in the Magic Pot.
There is something to be said for meaningful things that are passed down to us. I've inherited furniture, a nativity, and a Lladro from my grandparents, as well as paintings my grandma painted herself (really beautiful and worthy of another post.) But unlike those things, the Magic Pot continues to be used and produce home-cooked food that we enjoy. I think of Tita (and Tito too) every time I use it, and memories flood back of their kitchen and the wonderful smells that wafted through it.
Anything that can do that truly is magical.