All I offered was a kiss on the cheek goodbye and a mandate to check in when he arrived there safely. A sweet gentleman in passing said, "well, that was nice." We smiled at one another and went on our separate ways. I was changed; perhaps he was as well.
We are always under observation, under a microscope even. An exchange, a word. These seemingly small moments affect other people. We don't have to have adoring fans, buckets of money, or notoriety to lead a full life - to impact other people. If we quiet the noise and distractions, we would see this each day. A gesture of understanding in the checkout line between mother and child. A nimble young man helping an elderly man with his bags. Returning a lost glove, a smile at a wailing toddler, the acknowledgment of a lonely stranger. To believe that small gestures are meaningless is a disservice to the gift that life is. A gift every human person is afforded, despite his or her station in life.
Right around Christmas time, I received a message from Beth Sweeney, founder of Coppermill Kitchen, a luxury brand of restored European antique copper cookware. Her pieces are absolutely stunning, and her story is equally inspiring. She wanted to send me a present for my kitchen. I was flabbergasted. "You want to send me a Christmas present?" As I have recently undergone a transition in the workplace, I was feeling a bit lost, uncertain, and worried about keeping up appearances. What will I tell people I do for living, I wondered. I surely cannot say I am a writer, as I haven't been published by a respected source. At best, I am a decent home cook with a great appreciation for mealtime. I like to dabble here and there, while I figure out the next step, if there even is a concrete step. The road is winding and I must remember that.
Beth told me she was inspired by my work. I was deeply touched from a maker's standpoint, as I have been diligently striving to develop a craft. But more so I was touched on the human level. An act of kindness from a stranger, a small symbol of appreciation, and it made all the difference. She and I have remained in contact and plan to get together in her Copper Kitchen in the future, to share "good food and good stories." A friendship sparked from a darling copper mould, one I will treasure.
To prepare compound butter:
Bring 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter to room temperature, until it gives to the warmth of your hands and is malleable. Finely chop a selection of your favorite fresh herbs. I used rosemary, chives, and sage. In all, it should amount to a little less than a tablespoon. Using a spoon, break down your butter and mix in your herbs, working the excess off the spoon with your fingers. When the herbs are evenly distributed, spoon the butter into your mould and press down with your fingers to fill the crevices. Continue to pack the butter into the mould, level, and chill. I left mine in the freezer overnight, as it was my first time using my mould, but an hour will do.
Beth taught me to run the mould under hot water ever so briefly. I gave my mould a little tap on the cutting board and it popped out. If you have difficulty, work it gently with a tooth pick. We will be serving this atop a grilled steak for dinner, but you can serve as you wish. Atop a sandwich on crusty bread would be a delight as well.
To shop Beth's catalogue at Coppermill, click here.