Most of us have the basics in our kitchen: an oven, refrig, microwave, coffee maker. But no matter how small my kitchen, I try to find space for a few things that make me smile, inspire me to cook, or bring back memories of meals and travel.
I have a carpet in my kitchen that I bought in Ankara from a shrewd carpet salesman, who weakened my resistance with Turkish coffee and baklava. (You can see the carpet in the photo above.) It’s been on the floor for years and is showing no ill effects—which is either a tribute to my tidiness or evidence of how little time I spend in the kitchen.
On the refrigerator door, I have a number of magnets. I know. . . I know, it’s tacky. But it’s like a Wall of Memories for me. I have magnets from all the places I’ve been since 2000. When I look at them, I’m reminded of some unique, food-related experiences during that time, such as:
- Walking through the streets of Paris with a baguette under one arm;
- Downing a Guinness at the Crown Pub in Belfast;
- Flying onto the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier and having lunch with Missouri sailors;
- Munching on fruits in Bogota that I had never tasted, or seen, before;
- Eating magnificent eggplant dishes in Istanbul;
- Having lunch in the desert surrounded by the elaborately uniformed soldiers of the Khyber Rifles;
- Traveling the small wine villages of Alsace-Lorraine;
- Sharing traditional dishes while listening to the horrendous war stories told by Kosovo women.
You get the idea. The magnets mark some memorable times—all food associated
Also adorning my kitchen is a set of colorful, ceramic knives. My daughter gave them to me because. . . well, because she’s a lot like me and knows the things I enjoy.
The red item in the above photo, that looks like the elbow joint for a metal pipe, is called a “salt pig.” I got it in Paris this fall and later found identical ones on line. I gave some to friends with whom I’ve shared many happy moments in the kitchen. I hope the “salt pig” makes them smile.
The salt container works for any blend of spices you use frequently and want to keep within easy reach. I told my friends if the “pig” didn’t suit their kitchen, it could be repurposed as a paper clip holder.
And speaking of salt, you might not recognize this piece that hangs beside my kitchen table. I got it from a carpet dealer in DC. It’s a salt bag that’s used—or so he told me—to carry salt on camel caravans. I’ve never been on such an expedition, but if the chance should arise, I’m ready. (Actually, it’s a bag for carrying rock salt to feed sheep.)
At the farm, I have this Blue Onion pattern, salt box given to me years ago by a friend at a time when I had a blue/white kitchen. My kids might remember that it sat on the counter during the time they were growing up—though the kitchen accessory they were most interested in at the time was the refrigerator.
Another amusing item in my condo kitchen is my honorary degree from L’Ecole Culinaire, that came with giving the commencement speech a few years back. Seeing such “credentials” makes those loitering in my kitchen think I know what I’m doing.
That’s about all the fun stuff I can squeeze into a small kitchen. How about you; what’s in your kitchen? What oddities do you keep around to personalize your cooking space?