Like everyone else in these stay-at-home times, I have been cooking more than I usually do. And I have been bringing out pots and pans with a long history. I know aluminum is no longer considered an appropriate metal to use for cooking, but except for cast iron skillets and a casserole or two, they are all I have. My pots and pans were handed down to me by either my maternal grandmother or my late husband.

My grandmother’s cookware has probably been in service since the 1930s. That was when she came from Colorado to live with us in the East when I was born. My husband’s wares date to early post World War II years, when he began to live on his own after overseas Army service that included being part of the Normandy landing. Each pan had a special use then, and for both practical and sentimental reasons is used in the same way in my kitchen.

My grandmother was frequently a bread maker. I am not, but her pan for scalding milk is still used only for scalding milk in my kitchen. A smaller pan is used only for melting butter. Her muffin pans for baking a dozen muffins are now improved by the addition of paper muffin cups that keep them from sticking. I was disappointed to find that Alley’s General Store no longer carries them when I needed them for Sunday morning blueberry muffins this past summer.

There is also a vintage double boiler. Its sole purposes in my kitchen are for stewing rhubarb and making seven-minute frosting, both purposes for which my grandmother used it. And there is a bread pan in which my mother baked salmon loaf and a small saucepan my husband used for soft boiling breakfast eggs. My ironstone skillets are items he found at the top of the West Tisbury dump in the days when useful items no longer needed by their original owners were left there for new owners to discover.

Although it is not a family memento, my dilapidated two-cup drip aluminum coffee pot that has lost its handle was a long-ago gift from a friend who had advanced to a glass coffee-maker. Every morning, when I pour the boiling water in over the grounds, I am reminded of him.

It is neither aluminum nor ironstone but certainly the hand-cranked coffee-grinder that was my paternal grandmother’s is also on one of my kitchen shelves. Decades ago, she filled her East Chop kitchen with the aroma of fresh-ground coffee each morning and sometimes she would let me grind it. She also made lye soap in her kitchen and left it to dry out in a box on the table there. It was a delectable butterscotch color, like frosting for a cake. One morning, when my family lived next door and I was passing through her kitchen on my way to the beach, I swiped a fingerful of the “frosting” to taste. I reacted in horror as the lye burned the inside of my mouth.

In the casserole dishes that I have, my father would make cheese fondue and the smell of the kirsch and white wine that went into it quickly comes back when I look up at those casseroles, though I rarely make a fondue nowadays.

In other years, when I had summer visitors, they would look aghast at my dilapidated kitchenware and propose buying me house-guest gifts of pots and pans that were new. I always declined. They did not understand how many memories are stored in my kitchenware.