It seems to be a goal of the wives of my partners to gift me at Christmas time with unfamiliar domestic objects. Last year one of them gave me this cast iron thing. It was an oval frame with four feet and a couple of handles.
I was clueless. I pondered it from many angles.
I finally had to ask the partner whose wife had given it to me. It seems it was a thing on which you put a hot casserole dish. So I eagerly got out all my casserole dishes, brushed off the spiderwebs, cricket legs and mouse turds (okay I don't cook much... when I use anything from that dark cabinet it is thoroughly washed first) but none of them fit in this cast iron thing.
I believe last year's gift now resides somewhere in the garage.
This year, a different partner's wife gave me a lovely little thing. I had no idea what it was. It was a metal box about 6"x6" with sides about 2 inches high. It had no lid. On one side there was a v cut out of the edge. On the side opposite the v there was a hinged open triangle with a ball at the peak. When you bent the hinged triangle down it fit neatly in the box. When you bent it up it would open to nearly vertical. The box was prettily painted and said "Merry Christmas" in the bottom.
To complicate matters, along with the box I got a lovely little tiny Christmas pillow, about 4"x2" with Santa on it and a pretty ribbon attached so you could hang the pillow from something. So I assumed, logically, that the pretty box was some sort of display thing for the pretty pillow. I tried it. Couldn't get the pillow to hang from the ball on the end of the hinged triangle no matter what angle I tried. Again, I pondered it from many angles.
I took it home and my husband and I pondered it together and repeated my efforts of hanging the pillow from the little hinged triangular bar. No luck. So we hung the pretty pillow from a kitchen cabinet knob and left the pretty box on the counter to ponder more later.
The next day, my cleaning woman came over. She knew immediately what the thing was. A napkin holder. Huh. Who'd a thunk it? Apparently we got the pillow thing right; it was unrelated to the napkin holder and you were just supposed to hang it from a knob, although, she informed us, it was usually from a doorknob as opposed to a kitchen cabinet knob.
So I immediately got out my napkins, brushed off the spiderwebs, cricket legs and mouse turds... no, just kidding, the napkins are in a different cabinet.. :~P
And guess what?? They fit! They fit in the napkin holder! I was gleeful. Throughout the holiday season I had my napkins on my kitchen counter in my pretty napkin holder.
It's just a darn good thing that the fork had already become a common place eating utensil before I was born. I can just see me getting my first fork: "Huh... do you suppose you use it to comb your hair?" *Ponders fork from many angles*