When I think about being "young," I group youth into a 25-year continuum of events that ended in an identifiable personality that I sometimes recognize in photographs (and sometimes don't). The kitchen device that most comes to mind is a French press coffee maker (a device that wasn't in common use until after I was 25, by the way). You put the grounds in, you add boiling water, and you press the spent grounds to the bottom, leaving their essence in a uniform beaker of coffee. What you do with that coffee after it is pressed has a lot of variation: the choice of cup and portion size, the choice of sugar, milk, cream, soy milk, ice, ice cream, liquor, and the choice of when in the day you drink the stuff. The main point is that what went in becomes a uniform brew made from the quality of its blend of ingredients.
The next stage of life for me would be a sieve. Motherhood, by its very nature, gives us the gift of forgetting large chunks of the difficult times like the exhaustion and the stages of parenting that are challenging. We are happy to forget the lack of personal time, the isolation, and the knowledge that everything is changing constantly before our very eyes. There is, for a period of time, nothing to hold on to.
My next stage would be that of a funnel. After our children no longer need every bit of our attention, personal substance starts to creep back into our lives. The process of liquid in and liquid out is slower, partially because there is more there. We don't want to spill the liquid because it is precious, but we have to be patient while it works. Funnel technology has been around for a long time, and funnels come in all sizes and can be used for many things.
I have, as of last week, entered a new stage of life that I associate with a new kitchen device: the Vinturi Wine Aerator. This device is a combination of a sieve and a funnel, and is used for that great comfort of adulthood: a glass of wine. The device is a funnel that is constructed in such a way to draw air into wine as it is being poured. This brings out the flavor of the wine, the way pouring a glass and swishing it around for a while brings out the flavor, but it happens instantly, and it makes a nice sound while it works.
We tried it in New Jersey, while visiting with our friends who always have great wine (and I mean GREAT wine), and then we bought two Vinturis: one for my father, and one for ourselves.
Yes, the ideas still need their time to come together, but they are so much more interesting when they blend with the air from the here and now. And they also work best one glass at a time.