Monday, May 21, 2012

My Great Memories Of Buckets

To me, the bucket is more than a bucket. It's like a picture of the fullness of humanity, or existence period, androgynous, at once receptive and able to pour forth. How complete, and how interesting to point out.

Other than that, I like the bucket's functionality. And all the great memories I have of buckets.

The first example is the classic pail. How often I remember, and this is back in the old days, when we would go to the hand pump to get a bucket of water. We then had a ladle, itself a miniature bucket, that we would drink from, and communally at that!

I suppose I may owe some of my immunity to disease now to my ignorantly taking in other people's germs all those years ago. Today, of course, I'd never drink from a pail that's been within 50 feet of someone else. Which means I might drop dead at any moment.

I also remember pans and things that do pretty much the same thing a bucket does. You pour water from one to the other and obviously the water doesn't know any difference. For water, anything that impedes its flow, from a drinking glass to the Hoover Dam is just a bucket or, more accurately, a bucket-like thing.

Grandma used to boil water in a pan like this. And next thing you knew, she'd be putting food in it, like macaroni or spaghetti. You can probably guess what came next: She'd cook it and we'd end up eating whatever it was.

This kind of little pan, again with some of the same qualities of a bucket proper was always good for making something like Jello. The way I remember it, it was silver in color, and there were also some that were white. I like the silver best, because it seems to me like silver gets cold faster than white. But I'm open, seriously, to being corrected on that belief, if anyone thinks they know better.

Then there's the flat pan without handles. This is a good one if handles aren't your thing. And if you're not using it for hot water. If you're putting cold water in it, it's no problem at all. It makes for a nice pan, indeed, the presentation being very spiffy and refreshing as well to the eye. But why you wouldn't want handles, who knows. It'd make a good water dish for the dog.

OK, now we're back on terra firma, because I do prefer handles on a bucket or a pan, anything of the bucket family. It gives you that extra portability. And if you're open to using hot water in addition to cold, you don't have to plan in advance. You simply may as well have handles. My memory of a pan like this is it was good for filling with water to soak your feet in. If your feet felt like soaking. A little bit of Epsom salts in there and it does the trick.

This one is a little more complicated. It's like a double bubble thing. You've got a bucket within a bucket, maybe a Chinese invention, going along with their box in a box theme. You're boiling water down below, then putting the top pan in the bottom, so it's very cool. You do eggs in it. Just looking at it, it's like a duplex apartment; everyone knows someone else is there, but you get used to it. Frankly, I'd much rather live in a horizontal duplex than a vertical one. But a double pan simply doesn't work if you orient it horizontally. Heat has one direction, straight up.

For tea kettles, which the double bubble pot also could be, I prefer the single. It's easy to use and easy to understand. You're not getting tangled up in all the handles, jutting out like a bull's horns. You've got one pot, one handle; it's all very clean and efficient, like a single bed as opposed to bunks. You put the water in it, boil it, and pour it on your teabag. Or you could use an infuser and make your tea in a more zen-like way, which I like to do sometimes. I find that doing things in slow motion and very intentionally sometimes brings me back to basic sanity. Sometimes.

This looks like a camping pail. It's small enough to fit on a camp stove. It seems like Charlie Chaplin had one like this in The Gold Rush, so we're talking a very old design here. You've got a guy in the silent movies, in a ramshackle cabin, boiling his shoe (to eat) in one of the bigger pans, probably the second from the top, then making his coffee in a little pail like this. I know people aren't near as finicky about how their coffee is cooked when they're camping or in a ramshackle cabin. Because out there if you get grounds in it, you just spit them out.

I hope you enjoyed my bucket list and my personal memories.

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