Year of Liveability

Motivation in an out-of-date spice bottle

Looking for some objectivity in practical questions and reflections on the past.

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Motivation comes in two forms – that which we fabricate for ourselves and that which is imposed upon us.

Today, I’m working my way through the latter; preparing for a rental inspection later in the week.  So, why not use this as an opportunity to wander around the house with garbage bin in hand, tossing out anything that is emotionally easy to toss.  A bit of imposed motivation.

This task was made a little easier after helping my Mum re-organise sections of her kitchen pantry last weekend.  I hoped that it would encourage me to get back on track with my own resolutions … manufacture some motivation.

I didn’t plan to encourage Mum to throw anything out.  However, questions started to be asked and a few things didn’t make it back in.  For me, this turned into a practical exercise in asking objective questions.  Perhaps it would motivate me to ask the same questions when clearing out my cupboards; bring a bit of objectivity to my very subjective approach?

And overall, I returned motivated.  That was a positive outcome.  Mum seems happy with the work we did.  There’s another positive outcome.

However, today’s task was only made a little easier because there were a few items that I brought back with me, and they aren’t emotionally easy to toss.

The paprika takes me back to the goulash I made for a dinner party when I was 16.  There is an ink stamp on the back of the bottle that reads “59c”.  Every time I went home, there it was, reminding me of the generosity of times past.  Only now that I think about the details does it remind me that I hurt my back at that party!

The allspice and cinnamon belong to a 1970s apple strudel experience.  It felt like an all-day event.  By the time I sliced, diced, chopped and grated all the ingredients for the filling, made the pastry, stretched the pastry wafer thin so that it covered the dining table, spread out the assorted fruits and spices and drizzled it all with melted butter, rolled it up and baked … I was too tired to do the washing up.

Some years later, I sent that recipe book off to the second hand store with a pile of others.  It seemed so out of date.  From time to time thereafter, I hankered for that strudel recipe.  Many more years later, I found a copy of the book on the bookshelves of an aunt.  She had spent a great deal buying it when first published, and was a little disappointed to hear that I’d bought mine for a few dollars on a remainder table.

I photographed the strudel recipe, but have yet to recreate the experience.  Next time I’m home!

But I certainly won’t be doing it with these old spices.  They’re now gathering dust on top my fridge, next to the radio/cassette deck I bought in the 1980s.

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1 comment on “Motivation in an out-of-date spice bottle

  1. I recently had a friend de-clutter my cupboard & it’s so true about the memories those out of date spice jars bubble up. My paprika took me back to the tuna dish my mum use to make once a week & as kids, we got to dip the bread fingers into melted butter, layer them on the top and sprinkle with paprika!

    Liked by 1 person

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