When I visited my friend, Stella, in Santa Fe a few years ago she made me a pie. (My friend is pictured on the left, with her daughter Branwyn and holding the American Girl Doll is her daughter, Ilora.)
I pretty sure the pie was blueberry lavender, but I’m absolutely certain that before Stella rolled out the dough she first put on an apron. Her apron was the bib type, no frills but cute, and the minute she put it on I knew the pie would be amazing, and it was. There is something about a woman putting on an apron in a kitchen that instills confidence in ones baking or cooking abilities. As I sat at her kitchen table and watched her shape the dough, I felt as if it could have been 1923 or 2015. Women wearing aprons is timeless.
I felt surprised that Stella even owned an apron. I never have, not really. The only aprons I have ever worn are those assigned to me at my waitress jobs. And I’ve disliked them all. But then work aprons have nothing to do with my cooking, which actually is a good thing because my talents don’t involve the kitchen. However, I can eat pie very well, thank you.
I found this book in the discard pile at the local library and it triggered memories of aprons. Generally there are two types, the ones that go around the waist and ones that are worn like a bib. I remember my grandmother always put on an apron even if she was making coffee. Hers had frills. My mother would come home from her job at the fancy dress shop and tie an apron around her waist before she started cooking. Hers had ruffles, too.
And yet I could find no photo of any of my relatives, or friends either, wearing an apron. I should have snapped one of Stella that day in her sunny Santa Fe kitchen. I have no photos because women always took of their aprons before allowing their photos to be taken. That’s my theory. Today trendy chefs are proud to have the apron on as they pose beside perfect plates of small servings of food, but I bet most women would still take off her apron for a photo. I’ve only seen men put on a bib apron if they were barbecuing.
Here is my mother and grandmother with my older sister, and brothers. Women in the 1960s wore dresses to hang out around the house. Today it’s yoga pants and t-shirts. If this photo was taken right before a family meal, I bet the aprons were left on the kitchen counter. I wish I would have saved my mother or grandmother’s aprons. They didn’t seem important then as they do now to me. But I feel that way about a lot of things from my childhood.
The woman who wrote the apron book had a bunch of apron photos and stories. By now, everyone knows I’m useless in the kitchen, but I wouldn’t mind having this apron. It would be fun just to wear. I wouldn’t want to get it dirty.
It’s an apron with money attached by bows to the fabric. Now that’s my kind of apron. In my writer’s group we do prompts to jump start our creativity. A prompt involving an apron would be a good place to get started writing , especially someone wanting to write a memoir. Think about that next time writer’s block hits.
Finally, in the back of The Apron Book I found this envelope. Inside is a pattern to sew a basic bib apron. I’m such a bad seamstress that in Home Economics in high school I paid someone to sew a purse for me. I think I can confess that now as my teacher is likely passed away. So I won’t be sewing my own apron, but there is a part of me that wishes I could sew my own apron, and then I could wear it when I microwave my cup of tea each morning. I definitely would include ruffles and maybe even sequins.