In our house growing up, the holidays were all about baking. We’d bake pumpkin pies, make peppermint bark, and decorate gingerbread men. We loved using Grandma’s cookie press, Mom’s cookie cutters, and the ancient sifter with the wooden handle. So with Christmas around the corner, we decided to hit the flea market and add to our own collection of wonderful vintage kitchenalia.
Baking Spirits Bright
We brought the roller cart, and we both had lists. Kitty wanted a nice spice rack and a gift for her cheffy friend Margaret. Jennifer was looking for metal pie pans to bake in and give as presents. And we wanted glass spice jars and cookbooks with tried-and-true recipes for the cookie party. We headed toward a vendor who specializes in kitchen collectibles. She had old ginger and clove tins and painted kitchen canisters. We admired several grinders sitting on a table. She said the big ones were used at grocery stores for grinding everything from spices to coffee to grains. The small grinders were made for the home. One was manufactured by the Peugeot car company before they got into cars! We cranked them all and found one that still worked smoothly. The perfect gift for Margaret, so Kitty got it for $50.
As we walked down the next row, we noticed an elaborate spice cabinet with porcelain drawers and two matching bottles in the center. Kitty could tell right away that the labels were in Dutch. Kaneel, Peper, and Nootmuscaat…what a delightful piece! We fantasized about taking it home, restocking the drawers, and learning the Dutch name for each spice. But $175 was too much to spend for a foreign language lesson. Instead, we got a deal on a little set of ceramic “books” with nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon printed on the “spines.” Almost as charming and only $20!
Sweet As Pie
Our cart was getting full, but we still had an hour before the dealers started packing up. We nibbled on spiced pecans while we looked through a bin of baking utensils marked $1 to $5. Jennifer held onto a pastry cutter, a pie crimper, and a curved nutmeg grater.
She told Kitty they were going to make her eggnog pie even more delicious this year! Kitty picked up a cookie cookbook that was super dog-eared. We turned to the pages with the most stains and handwritten notes. Someone made these cookies a lot! We took it as an endorsement and bought the book for $2.
Spice of Life
The vendor next door showed us a round pantry box stenciled “SPICES” with eight boxes inside. Jennifer recognized it as a bentwood spice pantry from the late 1800s, like one we saw last winter at a folk art show. Of course, she knew what it was worth and priced it at $350. So we went on our way. When we finally found the glass spice jars, only paprika had its original label. We planned to fill the containers with cinnamon and sugar and tag them with our favorite Snickerdoodles recipe. For only $3 apiece, those jars will make the sweetest stocking stuffers ever!