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A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
I am very pleased to announce that we have a new addition to our household, one that I did not expect but over which I am more than mildly excited.
We now have two colanders.
While I’m sure many of you come from one-colander households and appear to have made it this far in life without undue difficulty or hardship, it must be said that having a second colander is unquestionably an enriching delight and a genuine pleasure, perhaps even an indulgence hitherto never considered possible in the modest or humble home.
My mother only had one colander. It was a metal affair whose holes were arranged in some floral design, and it was affixed to a little round pedestal. It was quite large, gloriously shiny, and took pride of place in the back of a cupboard for nigh on sixty years, as far as I can tell. Whenever there were vegetables to rinse, the whole family would gather around the majestic thing and watch the tap water flow over the happily knobby cauliflower florets or the long sleepy beans and marvel in wonder at the way the petal-patterned punctures performed their job. It was a highlight of the year for us. We lacked nothing in our merry lives, neither expensive toys nor performing poodles, when we thought of the colander at the back of the cupboard and felt that tingle of excitement at the next time some harvest of the earth needed flushing or tossing.
My wife and I have had the same yellow plastic colander for nearly forty years, and while it pales in comparison to the colanders of yore, it remains a handsome thing, even boasting a pair of little handles lovingly molded by the factory into the upper rim to prevent a busy cook’s fingers from brushing the freshly moistened victuals. In its lifetime it has been loaded with so many shapes of pasta that I’ve quite frankly lost count, more vegetables and fruits than can fit in a cornucopia, and very likely several hundred pounds of newly cooked ground meats whose fats were to be captured in a carefully positioned wad of paper towels beneath.
A family’s colander has stories to tell, that’s for sure.
And now a second has joined it, perhaps for company, in the cupboard where these sorts of things live with tureens and serving dishes, juice jugs and cake pans.
I found it there last week.
It isn’t yellow, doesn’t have holes in a floral pattern, not even a pedestal or three perky wee feet.
It’s green and exceedingly floppy, being made of some rubbery material impervious to heat.
“What’s this?” As though I needed telling.
“That’s our new colander.”
“What was wrong with the old one? I hope you didn’t throw it away.” Who throws a colander away? I’ve never seen that done or found one in a rubbish dump, not that I’ve looked very hard.
“Nothing. I just thought we’d like to have a new one.”
“It’s very floppy.”
“Yes. It collapses.”
“Not when there are things in it, I hope.”
“No. You hold it with the handles.”
“Just like the other colander. The one we still have.”
“Is it for different foods?”
“No. It does the same job.”
“The same job as the other one. The one we still have.”
“Well, yes. But now we have two.”
“That’s frightfully decadent.”
“This one’s better because you can squash it to make room in the cupboard.”
“Room for what? Room for the other colander? The one we still have.”
“And other things, if we want.”
I must say it’s a lovely colander. I’ve used it once or twice already, lifting it slowly from the cupboard so as not to wake its elder sibling who might be jealous and wish to wrestle with my broccoli.
Sometimes, I’ve even done a sort of eeny-meeny-miney-moe to decide which I shall employ.
“This is a bit of a luxury, don’t you think?”
“You’ll get used to it. Lots of people have two colanders.”
“Do they, though?”