Raised in a rural area, I learned early on that most things can be useful, and nothing should be wasted. I also learned to appreciate the artistry and satisfaction involved in creating something from scratch. For me, many of these lessons took place in the kitchen. It’s no wonder that today some of my own creative successes (and laughable failures) also take place in the kitchen.
My best example: the art of canning. Every summer growing up, my mom and I would work together gathering all the ingredients and meticulously laying out all the utensils for making jelly. We never made less than three batches, so this was a morning-long endeavor. Some of my fondest memories are the sight of our empty mason jars washed and turned upside down to dry in rows on the counter top; the taste of the foam skimmed off the top of the boiling jelly with one particular long-handled spoon and no other; and as the batches cooled, before you could even finish cleaning up the kitchen, the satisfying sound of the pop the jar lids made as they sealed. Canning is definitely a “process” that requires precision and timing, but the end result can be divine, especially when you spread that divine over golden, flaky, homemade biscuits baked in a cast iron skillet.
As I learned from my parents and grandparents, everything in the home should have a purpose, and hopefully more than one. So each Christmas when we received our annual gift of a calendar towel from the local cotton gin, we displayed it proudly on the kitchen wall. The previous year’s calendar became a towel for drying dishes and eventually a soft, faded memory of another year gone.
In its second year, the Richard Creative Calendar Towel commemorates the art of canning. I hope that you will display your calendar towel in a place where you find inspiration to create something pretty and practical for those you love. Perhaps it will be something delicious that fits nicely into a mason jar.