I WAS recently gifted something very special. Several months ago my grandmother asked me for advice about what to do with her old dining table.

The table was too cumbersome for her new house but she was reluctant to part with it; the table had belonged to her parents. It had been a part of her childhood, a gathering point of the household and a solid, oak surface for her breakfast bowl.

She had learnt to cook at that table, rolling out shortcrust pastry with untried hands. The surface was flecked with dents and scratches but the wood was smooth, like well-worn steps.

I suggested that, since she no longer had the space, she could disassemble the table and have the heavy top recycled into a set of fine wooden chopping boards.

She did exactly that. From one purposeful kitchen surface to another, with all the warmth and chatter of memory intact.

In the kitchen, as in life, it is memories that triumph over ‘things’. Every time I relocate, I smile to myself as I unpack my kitchen. I am in possession of a very old potato masher, it has a wooden handle and a dented metal disc latticed with crude holes.

It belonged to my great-grandmother and, due to its sturdy build, still mashes like a dream. I treasure also her rolling pin; a dense, unruly cylinder of wood with none of the ball-bearing-handle features of the modern pin.

My bookshelf cradles a fragile copy of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. It was given to me by my family on my 21st birthday and it sits solemn and queenly among the other cookbooks. The spine is fraying and the pages are fat-spattered but, like my grandmother’s dining table, it symbolises the love and chaos of a thousand home-cooked meals.

At Christmas my grandmother presented me with one of the beautiful, aged-oak boards. It had been carefully crafted and gently rounded at the edges. It sits proudly in my own kitchen, holding a narrative and purpose so close to my heart.

The tools of my heritage speak to me across the generations and remind me of what is real. In a world where permanence is temporary, the humblest of possessions can hold the greatest meaning.