Last year at the IDOS World Championship Cookoff, something unexpected happened. Just before the semi-finals began, almost all of the other teams stopped by our cooking area to bring a gift that represented their home town and shared a word of encouragement. And then again just before the finals, more gifts were shared! This gift-giving ritual happened in the midst of all of the pre-competition jitters and anxiety and was a complete surprise! Each delivery made me stop for just a moment, putting aside worry about recipes, spices, and countless other details. Each brief interuption to the stress of preparing for competition, was a gift. Each delivery of a gift was a moment to shake a new friend’s hand and remember that friendship is always more important than competition.
All of the gifts were personal and shared something special but one stood out. I have held on to this special gift over the past year – a homemade blue scrubby with a cute and catchy poem attached.
I loved this little gift! It was handmade, used recycled nylon, served a useful purpose (cleaning out cast iron), and made my heart smile with its fun poem.
We had not heard about this tradition, so we didn’t have a gift to share in return. I decided then that if we returned to Sandy, Utah, we would bring gifts.
Thus began my search for an appropriate gift. Over the past year, I’ve kept a look out for gift ideas but never found anything that spoke to my heart. Nothing seemed to be just right. I wanted a gift that was (1) inexpensive or less than about $5, (2) homemade, (3) celebrated cooking in cast iron. Sounds like a simple task but it was not! Finally, I read a post on the Cast Iron Facebook page about homemade potholders that instantly caught my attention, and my search for gift ideas ended!
Potholders are essential in any kitchen, indoors or out. Picking up a hot pot, hot skillet, or hot pan out of the oven, requires protection that fits easily in hand, is flexible, and washable. I knew immediately that this was the perfect gift for us to take to WCCO. Made out of colorful, inexpensive, 100% cotton, this would be a perfect gift I could make for each team.
I am almost finished crocheting a beautiful stack of potholders and am ready to pack them up for our trip to Utah in a few weeks!
In the next post, I will show you how to make these easy potholders. What is your favorite DYI kitchen project?