Old dishes seem to call to me from rummage sale tables. Mostly I gravitate to ‘picture plates’, those with rural scenes. (Please see my post re: blue and white plates) I don’t want to collect a bunch of plates I don’t dare to use. If they are not in perfect condition, I will use them. I am a believer in using what I have, very little is displayed that is not also used.
I also love vintage plates with images of old roses on them, or those made of clear rose-colored or green glass. (Must be the gardener in me) I have several that I mix and match with abandon. When I hosted my now daughter-in-law’s bridal shower, we had a Garden Tea Party theme and I pulled out all the old white flowered dishes and all those in roses and greens, plus the old linens too. It was a lot of fun.
I’ve always been a hands-on sort of person. I usually shun electric gadgets when cooking, although, I do have a few favorites. But for the most part, I like to sink my hands into bread dough and blend things with wooden spoons. I appreciate a lot of the old kitchenware items and am always on the lookout for certain pieces with a lot of usefulness left in them.
Old crocks are great for storing bulk foods, rice, flour etc. Spatter ware bowls and plates see a lot of use serving items in my kitchen. Old pottery and ceramic ware mixing bowls are positively addictive, beautiful as well as functional. Wooden rolling pins and cookie cutters are useful as well as decorative. So are metal advertising tins, canning jars, pantry jars and glass milk bottles. I buy a lot of foods in bulk and break it down into glass or metal storage containers. The canning jars and pantry jars are great for storing things like pasta and beans. I use only those jars that seal tightly. Some foods like rice do well in the metal tins that bulk items such as common crackers and ‘biscuits’ (the British term for cookies) were sold in. When we buy milk in gallons, I try to measure it out into the glass quart milk bottles to store in the refrigerator. It is much easier to handle that way and I enjoy using it much more. I believe life is about those small simple pleasures. If I smile every time I use a little milk, it’s all worth it.
When taking time to enjoy the process of creating a meal, using the tools of yesterday really helps to bring me back to a simpler time. The well worn rolling pins, the slightly out of shape cookie cutters, the smooth mixing bowls and hand carved wooden spoons all evoke a sense of enjoyment in cooking.
Of course, a collector of kitchen things would do well to collect something else too, namely cupboards. And I do. Our cupboards have come from some interesting places, basements, barns and roadsides. They keep all those collections clean, organized and close at hand, convenient to use.