3.10.11 Made To Measure
Ever since I was a child, I have loved collecting. It started with seashells on the beach, then enamel rainbow pins and with time developed into a passion for German ceramics from the 50s and 60s, Elsa Peretti designs, beautiful baskets and anything mid-century by Dansk made out of teak. (Let's not even get into the designer clothing, vintage and new!) But paradoxically, I deplore what we affectionately refer to as "tchotch" (pronounced "chahch")—an abbreviation of "tchotchke," a Yiddishism that refers to knickknacks and gewgaws, the sort of kitsch that collected dust on your grandmother's doily-covered side tables.I have solved this by mainly collecting things that are actually pressed into service, and never deemed too precious to take part in daily life. The ceramics are plates, bowls, vases and candlesticks that are routinely used. Same with the Dansk: an ice bucket, a serving tray, hurricane lamps. My vintage Ball jars are in constant rotation in my pantry. Beaver Dam (our French friend's house where we have been staying) boasts a number of these practical collections. Aside from the pepper mills and vintage stoneware and linens, there is a wonderful collection of glass beakers and measuring cups. (To my great dismay, I broke one and have been trawling ebay for a suitable replacement.)
Some of these pieces are straight from the lab, some are old kitchen companions. They are incredibly useful for cooking or baking, when you need to have a cup of olive oil, a quarter cup of cream and 3 cups of stock at the ready. They are also great as pitchers, to serve hot milk or cold, brilliantly colored juice. That's apple, above, believe it or not. I also like to use a medium-sized one for whisking up salad dressing.
I am especially obsessed with this little guy. With just a 2-ounce capacity, it's perfect for mixing cocktails.I'd love to know about your collections, and whether they are accumulating dust on a shelf, moldering in a cardboard box somewhere or actually part of your everyday routine.