Back in the day (:P to for the usage of that phrase!), meaning my teen years, I worked in the family seafood business, which has long since been sold. At the time, there was a composition notebook full of recipes, long gone now and memorialized in my cookbook based on my recollection (crab cakes, crab soup, chowders, salads, baked beans, etc.). The kitchen also boasted a huge, perfectly seasoned cast iron skillet. That thing was at least 20" in diameter. I can’t tell you how many softshell crabs and scallops I sauteed in that pan. I’m not sure what happened to that pan when the business was sold.
When Mom and the aunts/uncles were cleaning out Mommom’s house, she asked what I would like, if anything. By default, all the children and grandchildren get their gifts returned. (I received a series of magnets, pottery, and other knick-knacks from the various places I’ve visited.) But was there anything else? The Biochemist asked for Poppop’s decoys. The Computer Guy asked for Poppop’s funeral flag. I asked for photos…and Mommom’s skillet. It’s a bit odd, maybe, since I don’t cook a great deal. But when I think of Mommom, she’s either napping on the couch (3-4pm daily during General Hospital, after doing other chores and before cooking dinner), or she’s in the kitchen, building a meal for the extended family. If the yellow platter that she used for decades to serve fried chicken had survived, I would’ve asked for that. But the skillet is perfectly seasoned, the cooking implement that she used daily. Breakfast (eggs, bacon, pancakes), lunch (grilled cheese), and dinner (a variety of dishes). I don’t cook a great deal, but I’m going to start using it, because a perfectly seasoned skillet won’t stay that way if it’s just left to sit. Use in memoriam.