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Essential Kitchenware

Author: Beag Horn

My mum used a large, translucent white Tupperware container to keep flour in. It was tall and rectangular, the kind you often see in B&B’s at the breakfast spread – used to store and pour breakfast cereals. It had a lid that came fully off, or you could peel open its integral small round lid to pour out the contents.

I remember it from when I was a child in the 1970s and 80s, at a time when my mum used to host Tupperware parties at home. I’d get to sit amongst the women and hold the colourful plastic items as they were passed round. My dad would go out to the pub because men weren’t allowed at the parties. The saleswoman would bring all the Tupperware items and perform demonstrations of how to use them. I remember some: an egg cracked into a small square Tupperware, placed inside a big square Tupperware with a colander insert, with boiling water poured into the bottom. She’d put the lid on, wait for five minutes and the egg would come out boiled and square.

Another was an orange peeler which looked a bit like a yellow plastic crochet hook. The woman would hold an orange in one hand, and draw the sharp hook down it four times, creating four equal sections of skin which she’d then peel away. Simple! If you booked to host a party yourself, you’d get the orange peeler as a free gift. One particular Tupperware woman would demonstrate the spaghetti ladle, using it to bash mince in a pan in order to break up the clumps, which I thought was a clever, innovative use of the utensil, not entirely unrelated to the creation of Spaghetti Bolognese.

When my mum died, her translucent white Tupperware came to me. It must be about fifty years old now and it makes me think about how plastic outlives us all, how Tupperware is durable, airtight and hygienic; it lengthens the life of the food it contains. I keep my flour in it. I couldn’t use it for anything else.