Credits: Orange Spice by Aimee Harrison Designs
It’s a crockpot. The Corelle/Corning pattern is called Forever Yours and it's been discontinued for a long time. It's a peachy-pink and green pattern on beige.. Corelle doesn't even make plain beige anything anymore, but when I was a teenager they did and I selected that pattern as the one I wanted to collect for my future peach and green kitchen when I moved out. I had plans that I would have an apartment with the kitchen the flowed into the living room to start with so I was going with the peach and green country-ish kitchen flowing into Wedgwood blue with the same mint green as an accent color for the living room in a decor with all of my antiques and antique advertising. I dreamed it to be beautiful and tasteful.I also had plans for a career that would take me farther than a half hour away from my parents home. I got along great with my parents and there was really no reason to move. I had all those wonderful things in boxes until in a few years my career would take me out of Michigan. I would decorate my apartment then. Eventually that apartment would grow into a condominium and that gorgeous kitchen and living room set up would work even better.
But I never planned on MS to stall and in just a few years kill my career and I NEVER planned to marry.
Getting married later in life meant the kitchen already existed and the one I wanted so badly as a teenager, and honestly would still give anything to have today, has only a few pieces in my kitchen and most of it is in boxes in storage in my 50s, having never been used. (I have always been and will always be an optimist. I keep in mind the MS doesn't change my shelflife and that it's possible that assisted-living may be a better option in my future. If I find myself blessed enough to have an apartment with counters that are low enough for a wheelchair and people to assist me I may still have that apartment I started dreaming about when I was 16.)
But there is one piece of my dream kitchen that's been in use since I was about 18. That's the beautiful crockpot. It's in that wonderful Forever Yours pattern and it's been with me many places and marked many wonderful things in my life.
The first thing the crockpot got to do was keep a full batch of chili warm for a few "stag parties" that I held on Valentine's Day for any of us that didn't have a date. Mom made the chili, even though she wasn't invited, because everybody loved mom’s chili; BEANS and everything!. We would watch some of the crappy B-rate movies we could find, the Toxic Avenger is remembered as one of the worst great movies. And we had all kinds of junk food and that wonderful chili that you can eat as much as you wanted and nobody cared what gastronomical effects it had on you because there was nobody that needed to be impressed. The main rule for the party was you could not bring a date and you could not flirt with anybody at the Valentine's Day stag party. The purpose of the party was to enjoy being single. (There had even been couples who begged to come to the party and just pretended they weren't together because the stag parties had gained a pretty good reputation. By the way they were told “no.”)
In 1990, just before I turned 24, I decided I was going to learn how to cook. Prior to that my friends were afraid to eat things that I had cooked because I was told by them that I could "burn Kool-Aid" if I was let loose in the kitchen. After years of watching Noni cook and mom and dad cook there was really no excuse for me burning the Kool-Aid and I did a very good job of teaching myself how to cook. There were a couple of soups that I learned how to make using that crockpot and I developed my recipe for what I call to this day the best black bean soup ever made. I was right that I could learn how to cook coming from such a great cooking background. I was already a renowned baker and then I became a great cook, even my dad greed!
The Forever Yours slow cooker also became something that set up on the counter in the Omnicom production truck and kept hotdogs heated for the crew on our long soccer tournament weekends and then it was also once again used to hold mom's chili for our early spring softball tournament. The food the crew had to eat, which is food that I myself brought in, was one of the reasons I never had a problem having a full crew for weekend tournaments.
A few years later the crockpot was full of minestrone my dad made, because I was in college full-time, three part-time jobs and doing extra freelance jobs, I was working NASCAR during the day and going to school at night, so Pop help me out and so did my Forever Yours crockpot. it heated up the soup as soon as I got to class and kept it warm to be served at the last day of class celebration for a sociology class I took while finishing college studying ethnic cultures. Everybody brought a dish representing their own personal ethnicity and it was a fantastic feast.
That crockpot will always be a symbol to me how blessed my life has always been.