The Presumption Chest

When my dad was a young man, he once went to pick up a young lady for a date, and while he waited for her, her mother hauled out her daughter’s hope chest to show my dad how much loot she had. Far from impressing him, had she been trying her best to scare him off, she could not have done anything that would have worked quite so well.
Though we don’t have the same culture-wide tradition of the hope chest anymore, the principle of a young woman gathering up stuff that will come in handy later is a really wise idea. (It just shouldn’t be used to impress the guys!) When my younger daughter was in college, she began accumulating quite a load of things for her future kitchen. She bought herself a big, beautiful, red kitchen aid mixer with the proceeds of a catering event, and she collected vintage tablecloths and aprons, and lots of kitchen gadgets. At one point I remember her saying something like, “I don’t have a hope chest. I have a presumption chest!” But she enjoyed using her pasta maker and her collection of cookboots, etc. while she was still living with us.
If a woman has the resources (and a place to store it all), there is no reason to think she has to “wait” until she is married to have a well-equipped kitchen. And if a woman is on her own, with her own place, it is all the more important that she use her gifts and resources to furnish her home as well and as beautifully as she can.
I love the way my daughter justifies women buying Denver granite wholesale and up-to-date kitchen gear. After all, she says, a carpenter has tools for his trade, and a woman can’t be expected to produce great meals in a shoddy kitchen with crummy tools that lost their usefulness a decade before. A woman needs a little inspiration. And I say a hearty Amen to that. My daughter’s collection of pots and pans are in every color, which has given me the nerve to collect my own assortment of blue and orange and green and red pots and pans, canisters, and spatulas, bright towels and dishcloths. It makes my work in the kitchen a real pleasure when I have good, and lovely, equipment to work with. I realized a long time ago that the placemats we got for our wedding were going to have to be replaced. (And pretty much everything else as well.) And sometimes a new set of dishes is not so much a necessity as just a simple morale booster. A carpenter will agree that it’s a whole lot more fun to work with cool tools. So when the water in the big blue pot is boiling, a snazzy potholder is an absolute must for lifting the lid.

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12 thoughts on “The Presumption Chest

  1. Oh, but vintage is nice, too! I love that I have the same pots and pans that my mother used in my kitchen for decades before I became mistress of my little domestic domain. I wouldn’t trade her copper clad Revereware for anything new and fancy. And I’m still grieving the demise of my favorite aluminum spaghetti pot a few years ago when it sprung a leak and had to be discarded. The cooking utensils are familiar old friends, and I am sure I own the Platonic ideal of measuring spoons.

    New can be nice, but sometimes old can be nice, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. My husband is the ultimate “best-quality” guy. When we had our own business (interestingly, he was a furniture maker and antique restorer!), he always purchased the best we could afford because the better quality tools (surprising) made the job quicker and more precise. (Did I mention he’s a perfectionist?) Fortunately for me, he thinks I should have the best we can afford too. I go for quality over quantity. And you’re right, the right equipment (especially if you’ve spent time researching, finding the best price, and saving your pennies) is such a morale boost. These are our tools of trade.

  3. Oh! If there is any advice I would give to my younger self, it would be to collect those sorts of things. I now wish that I had cared a little more about that kind of stuff, or at least thought about how nice it would have been to have those things already, before I entered into such a strict budget situation as a newlywed.

  4. Oh, I love this, thank you. I think it’s a great idea for a young person still living at home and earning money to use it for these kinds of items… I’m thinking particularly of that nice Kitchenmaid mixer.

    Back when I was in college, I would have loved to spend some of my work $$ for this, especially since I had no interest in saving up for an expensive wedding AND now that I know how hard it is to work a nice but pricy homemaking item into a frugal family budget!

    I also appreciate your analogy to carpentry tools. I’m working on my homemaking skills (15 years after getting married!), and I think you are exactly right: having a pleasant environment with good household tools makes my work that much easier… perhaps some of my homemaker grumpiness comes from trying to “make something work” that should be tossed out in favor of something that actually works!

  5. Before my daughter was married, we would look for beautiful linens, great kitchen items, etc. for BOTH of us. Time goes so fast and before you knew it, she was married seven years now and has four children.

    (This is the same daughter that sighed when I sent her the URL to your blog because she knew she could not resist making time to read it) ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I have to comment on the kitchenaid mixer. i bought mine (also red!) at an outlet store when i was single, and it was mostly used to make cookies for my girlfriends. then i found a new church, which was using store-bought loaves for communion. i had never attempted baking bread before, but something just seemed wrong about “purchasing and unwrapping” the body of Christ. So, I volunteered to start bringing homemade bread weekly for communion. the big ol’ mixer came in handy! i found the baking to be a very worshipful experience. i thought of the blessed women who went to anoint the (literal) body of Christ. after the kids were born my sundays got busier, and other people began taking an interest, so i no longer do the baking. but the tradition lives on, and you should smell the sanctuary! heavenly (so to speak). single girls looking for a chance to exercise their “domestic” muscles and minister at the same time, think about this.

  7. Hello. My name is Rebecca and I wanted to thank you for the wisdom you and your husband so willingly share with people whom you have never (and may never) meet. Yet, you desire to help and strengthen those of us who desire to live godly lives to the fullest, spread the truth of the gospel to those who seek it and encourage those who are weary.

    My husband and I have been married for nearly five years and we have walked our road with you and your husband beside us the whole way. You have been our marriage counselors, our mentors, our child-rearing coaches, and the catalysts to understanding and contemplating MANY a topic.

    A few weeks ago, our pastor came to us and asked us where we had gotten our parenting style and ideals. We both sort of looked at each other, and realized…. It wasn’t from our parents. We learned, in many instances, what NOT to do from them. We have become who we are and implement what we implement because we sought knowledge and instruction from, of course the Word of God, but also by reading your books, and listening to your lectures, and contemplating your articles…and NOW, feasting on your blog!

    I dare say, writing this here, in a topic about a presumption chest, doesn’t quite fit. I hope that the placement of this email doesn’t diminish its value.

    I just wanted to THANK you for being who you are, teaching what you teach, and doing what you do-all very selfless and driven with kindness and love. You have not and may not ever meet me, but I hope you realize you have touched my heart and I seek your advise and counsel even before my own mothers. I appreciate you and all you do.

    Thank you.

  8. Ohhh, I think I need a Kitchen Aid mixer! And I am also reminded of the importance of treasuring time with our daughters.
    Nancy, any tips on incorporating little ones in on your cooking…and at what ages you started teaching your little cooks?

  9. That’s interesting that you made the comment about the carpenter’s tools compared to the cook’s tools. I am so blessed that in the past two years, my kitchen has experienced a total makeover, thanks to a wonderful direct sales company I became a part of and have earned all this stuff at virtually no cost to me. I get to go around and teach other people how to make fabulous looking food, show them the tools to do it with, and let my family experience it too. Our sabbaths have also experienced a makeover, and they are so much more enjoyable now. I have nice dishes, great recipes, and all the tools I need! What more could you ask for?

  10. I am so encouraged by this post and these comments:) So often as a single young woman collecting things for my future home I wonder if I am being presumptuous, but this has helped me realize there’s nothing wrong with it;) I too bought a KitchenAid Stand Mixer (Cobalt Blue, which is not easy to find) at a very good sale in a local kitchen store (I paid less for my 5 quart mixer at this sale than I paid for my Mom’s 4 quart mixer I bought for her birthday awhile back!). Reading this has really settled in my mind the purpose behind having a hopechest. So thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I’m tagging into this blog almost 9 mos later… but I have just found it. I am so grateful for D Wilson’s book, Lost Tools, and have found it to be helpful in so many ways. I am grateful like Rebecca and others mentioned, for your efforts to put common sense, Biblically based, Godly blogs on-line. I’m not surprised to have found Wilson’s family and friends just as interesting as the book that I have used almost as much as my Bible, in guiding us in our efforts to plan homeschool, in a classical manner. …. I digress. I am a home economics major, 1990, and loved all of the tools I used in food classes, along with all of the practical tips I learned, about home making. It was at a state university, however, the wonderful plans I made, oh what fun for when I made it to where I am now. I now have 2 children, by adoption, after what seemed like a long period of stowing things away in my ‘presumption’ chest.
    I just this year, after 10 years of marriage received for a surprise present, a kitchenaide mixer!!! I can’t wait to try the cinnamon rolls recipe!
    Best to other friendly readers! And Thankyou Nancy and friends for this blog, keep blogging!
    p.s. Brandi, I agree about the purchasing of communion bread. Your thoughts were expressed so well, and what a wonderful way to uplift those partaking.

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