I’ve been contemplating what gift to bring to a wedding reception I’ll be attending soon. An Amazon wish list was sent out, but this is the younger sister of one of my best, long-time friends and I can’t just show up with a set of towels or a colander or something. Plus, this chick isn’t your typical bride. The reception is going to be a small backyard gathering of friends and family after a recent elopement. She comes from a family of great cooks – so the food is likely to be excellent. Allegra is eclectic, youthful, creative and absolutely, staunchly NOT a conformist. I mean, the fact that she even got married surprised me a little when I found out. I’ve never met her now husband and I have no sense of them as a couple, but the bride and her family are like a second family to me. I want to give a good gift, you know?
It got me thinking about all of the incredible gifts my husband and I received for our wedding, six years ago. I registered for a lot. We were young and still very much using kitchen hand-me-downs or odds and ends from thrift stores. I was ready for some “big girl” household items and also wanted to make sure our guests had a lot to choose from of varying prices since our guest list ranged from college friends, to co-workers, long-time family friends and both of our large extended families. Single people, married people, and people who would be traveling by plane for the event.
One friend remarked, “You must really love to cook!” I didn’t know what to say because, really, I don’t. I did, however, grow up with a well-stocked kitchen. My mom is no culinary genius. I mean, truly not gifted in the art of cooking, but she certainly knows how to follow a recipe and prepare a homemade meal complete with all the tools needed to make it taste and look beautiful. Our kitchen had everything a good cook needed. Stainless steel pots and pans, serving dishes in all shapes and sizes, measuring cups neatly stacked and every utensil one could ask for. Likewise, she had a linen closet with matched towels and sheets, a laundry room that was tidy and well stocked. You get the picture.
In short, I registered for “The Good Stuff” – a Kitchen-aid mixer, Cuisinart blender and food processor, Calphalon pots and pans, glass mixing bowls, non-stick baking sheets, good quality linens, beautiful dishes, stemware and all sorts of kitchen gadgets I deemed “necessary.”
And we received many, if not most, of those items. I use many of them every day and for the most part, I can tell you exactly who bought them for us. Our wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life and I feel no shame in using that cliche. It was. I always say, “When will all of the people you love and who love you most be gathered together again?” The answer is: When you die. So if you want a wedding, go for it! (And don’t forget the videographer – that was one mistake we made.)
But, back to gifts. I decided I wanted to think about two of my favorites. One useful and one sentimental. And ask anyone who cared to, to do the same. My useful gift, one that I use daily without fail, one that brings me pleasure in a way an inanimate kitchen object probably shouldn’t, is my Calphalon knife block set. If you are using dull, lightweight knives…. all I can say is, you’re missing out! There is nothing like wielding a knife confidently because it does just what you need it to. Once we learned how to use the included sharpener, it was game on. I can’t imagine cooking without them. The knives were a gift of my mother and father’s long time friends, The Culps, and I think I’m going to tell them again how wonderful they have been all these years.
On to the sentimental. Emily showed up to my wedding on the same day she ran a full marathon in San Francisco. The same day. She wore a yellow dress, was a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor and brought a gift so lovely, I cherish it as one of my most prized possessions. The tin hearts came from Mexico and read: “Nuestros corazones, unidos para siempre.” Our hearts, united for always. It is one of the first things I have hung in the three houses we’ve lived in since our wedding. Emily got engaged last weekend, to a boy she met on her first day of college but didn’t start dating until more than a decade later. Unidos para simpre.
So, what gifts did you receive (or give) that make your heart sing? Remember, I still have a wedding to go to. And despite what Emily Post says about having a year to give a wedding gift, nobody wants to show up empty handed.
Photo by: Christina Rosetti Photography