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Purple Melamine Mixing Bowl

by Dilys Rose

Saved up for months to buy my mother
for her birthday what, covertly, I coveted:  
a thing so now— in the swinging sixties—
when purple was the new black
and the clean lines of Danish design
were, I convinced my ten-year-old self,
what every woman wanted. She ran
a hand across the full smooth lip,
tested the non-slip ring on the base—
it worked, even on Formica! —cradled,
fleetingly, the roomy, womb-like bowl,
stowed it in a cupboard.

As purple was all the rage, I should have
known she’d suspect anything so hued
might abet my budding delinquency.
Besides, she hardly ever baked. I can’t
recall a single cake she made. Sweet treats
were Gran’s domain: gingerbread, treacle
tarts, though by then she’d lost the vigour
needed for family favourites. To spark
my mother’s interest, I tried my hand
at foolproof, no-bake recipes. She told me
not to leave a mess, to put everything back
where it came from.

House-clearing, I reclaimed my gift.
Dusty from disuse, it scrubbed up nicely.
I’ve used it ever since. My girls learned
to tip in clouding flour, snowfalls of sugar;
to stir, beat, whisk, fold, to scrape the batter
off the sides before they licked the spoon.
Now (on tiptoe) the grandkids take their turn.
At sixty, the purple melamine mixing bowl
retains its youthful bloom, has barely a scratch.  
Pushing seventy, I know the bowl will
outlive me, know too that I’ll bequeath
a lasting promise of cake.

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