Sometime during the summer between our first and second years of law school, my husband-to-be and I decided to get married. We set the date for Thanksgiving weekend that autumn, back in my home town of Richland, Washington. Then we went about our graduate-student lives—going to classes, working on law review (me) and an international law journal (him), and getting through the pre-Cana program at a parish in California that my home parish would accept as the required pre-marital counseling needed to marry a Catholic girl and Protestant guy.
During an early week in that crazy period in our lives, two of my college friends visited me. Knowing that my fiancé and I would be married a couple of months later, they gave us an early wedding present—a set of mixing bowls.
I still have those bowls.
The largest one is our go-to bowl for cookie dough. My husband (the primary cookie-baker in our family) used it this last weekend to make chocolate oatmeal cookies for his rowing club’s regatta. He also makes his pie crust in that bowl and pancake batter some Sunday mornings.
I sometimes use that large bowl for pasta casseroles. A couple of months ago, I made a meatball pasta dish for my sister-in-law and her two grandchildren when they stayed with us for the night. The kids later told their mother that, “Aunt Theresa’s house was the best part of the trip.” When asked why, it had something to do with sleeping bags on the floor and meatballs. That’s what five- and seven-year-olds like.
The bowl that is the next size down is perfect for many dishes, like pie filling or fruit salad. And down in size from that one, the third bowl is good for warming up leftovers. These middle two bowls probably get the most use, but the smallest one is best for mixing sauces and for warming up single servings.
The point is that we use one or more of these bowls almost daily. At least several times a week.
And every time I pull a bowl down from the cupboard, or put one back in the stack from the dishwasher, I think of my two friends. I remember our college days—the laughter and drama and evening chats in the dorm.
I remember also my family’s meals over the years—the harried suppers thrown together after days at work and school, the holiday pies, the weekend breakfasts of pancakes and bacon.
In retrospect, these mixing bowls proved to be one of the best wedding presents we received. A gift that began in friendship and love and built memories that deepened our family relationships and wove the web of our lives. Thirty-nine years later, this gift keeps on giving.
I hope that the wedding presents I’ve given have had a tenth of the impact on friends that this set of mixing bowls has had on me.
Which of your wedding presents were most meaningful to you?