food, history, rural life, and how we connect our cultural past and future
Easter and my special copper pot
Forty-six years ago I received this lovely Bazar Français double boiler as a gift. Over the years it has taken pride of place in my many and various kitchens (a stunning twelve moves over the years since 1966 now that I add it up – yikes!).
To keep the copper shiny I’ve tried every commercial copper cleaner I could find. None work with the efficiency of the solution given me by Casey Anderson Amdahl, my sister-in-law’s mother-in-law. When I met Casey she was already old – she was born in the 1890s. The day she first visited us on our farm place in northeastern South Dakota I was struggling with trying to shine up my big copper canner kettle – this was in the autumn of 1975. She told me of the method her mother had taught her; lemon juice or white vinegar with salt, rubbed on the tarnish. That day she also suggested I just bake the whole pumpkin and cut it up after; a bit of advice I have followed ever since.
So throw away the tarnish removers with their chemicals and fumes; white vinegar, salt and a rag (and I do use rubber gloves) and a bit of elbow grease will do the job just fine. And it leaves just enough patina to keep the character of a well-used and well-loved utensil.
For all the years I’ve owned this double boiler it is for the Easter Day feast that it is regularly trotted out. It’s the essential utensil for making Hollandaise Sauce to go on the Eggs Benedict that is the centerpiece of our annual Julia Child Memorial Easter brunch. This meal is so named for the recipes for English muffins, poached eggs, and hollandaise I first learned in her 1979 book Julia Child & Company. It’s been a long fun 30+ years! Dare I say it: “Bon appétit!”