woensdag 4 januari 2017

Sugar and spice and all things nice

Alas, my much longed for Christmas break is now well and truly over. And what have we done? One thing is for certain: we did not do nothing. How do you do nothing, to quote  A. A. Milne, or rather: Pooh, once again? I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that.

We didn't make the mistake of making too many plans. Instead, we took each day as it came.

On one of our charity shopping trips, we picked up this slightly damaged
plaster bust of St. Rita, patroness of the Impossible Cases. I guess that's us alright!

Obviously, some charity shopping was done, and on the sunny days, we went for short (and one slightly longer) walks, topping up the Vitamin D levels.



The only thing which we'd more or less planned was a visit to Expo 58, a treasure trove of a vintage shop.

About an hour's drive from Dove Cottage, it is a little bit out of our way, so we do not go there as often as we would like to.


In fact, our last visit was almost exactly a year ago. Then, we came home with two fabulous 1950s cocktail chairs, to replace our old and worn out Ikea airmchairs. As you can see, Phoebe took to them immediately, so that we now have to keep the seats covered with throws. So much for having original 1950s furniture ...

It was an utterly grey and somewhat foggy day, and entering the shop was like stepping into an altogether different world. In fact, our eyes had some trouble adjusting to so much vintage loveliness.



There is so much to see and choose from: vintage tins, retro vases, old suitcases, china, enamelware and assorted kitchenalia, well-remembered childhood toys, small pieces of furniture, decorative frames with or without sepia family photographs, ...  The list really is endless!

There's even a small selection of vintage clothing and textiles.







After browsing the well-stocked shelves and the bigger items taking up every available floor space, my eyes alighted on a small wall cupboard with ceramic drawers for storing kitchen staples and spices.

Can you see it, hidden behind the dusty mirror, with the poor weasel on top?










Although it was looking a bit shabby and the drawers were quite filthy, with its two little rounded doors with painted glass panes it was exactly the thing to appeal to me.

Here's a closer look, weasel and all ...


Although Jos was quite taken with it too, we soon realized we didn't have any wall space left in our kitchen.

With heavy hearts, we had just decided to leave it behind, when we heard another couple expressing their interest and discussing its merits with Stefanie, the shop's owner.

Our hearts sank even further so, when the couple eventually walked away, we wasted no further time and bought it. And no, the weasel didn't come home with us ...


The next day, another foul and murky one, was spent cleaning it up and restoring it to at least some of its former glory.

As it had probably spent its final years not in a kitchen but in a shed, it literally took hours to wash the ingrained dirt from the ceramic drawers.


Squeaky clean and shiny, it is now taking pride of place in our hallway, at the bottom of the stairs.

The big drawers used to hold, clockwise from top left: sugar (suiker), rice (rijst), flour (bloem), coffee, chicory (bitterpeen) and vermicelli.

For those not familiar with what is meant by "chicory", cichorei or "bitterpeen" in Flemish: these are the ground and roasted roots of a plant related to the vegetable chicory (endives), which is used as a coffee substitute.






Although not as popular as it used to be, it is sometimes added to coffee, originally to make coffee supplies last longer, and drinking coffee a lot cheaper.

Here's a vintage ad for Belgium's most popular brand of "cichorei", which is still going strong today, and which is still being used at Dove Cottage!












The smaller drawers used to hold spices: pepper, bay leaves, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and mace.


Before I bore you to death with the little cupboard, we did find a couple of other things at Expo 58 as well.



Very fittingly, there's this little viewer with a reel of slides showing images of ... Expo 58, the Brussels World Fair of the same year.


And what about this Atomium souvenir spoon, still in its original box?


Another addition to our collection of vintage Emsa kitchenware. But what is it for? I haven't been able to find out, so any suggestions are welcome!


Finally, how could I forget "Bobby", the vintage draught excluder dog?

He has come in really useful these last couple of days!

Jos also made a last minute buy, but that will be for another post ...

38 opmerkingen:

  1. What a fantastic little shop!

    You scored BIG time with those chairs! The colour is stunning.

    I can see why you didn't want to leave that little spice cupboard behind. What a unique piece.

    Looks like a very fun day of treasure hunting.

    Happy New Year!

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Thank you Susanne, and Happy New Year to you too. We'd been looking for chairs like that for ages. As usual, it paid off to be patient! xxx

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  2. What a lovely little cabinet! Chicory isn't much used here, but it is a component in 'Camp' coffee essence, a sort of liquid coffee. I don't know if anyone even drinks coffee made with Camp nowadays, but for me it's essential when making coffee-flavoured icing.

    Your Emsa box looks to me like an onion or garlic storing box - the holes make sense for that, and I'm sure my mum had a box that size/shape for storing onions back in the 1970s, though it would only have held a couple - my memory says it had 'zwiebeln' written on the side.

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    1. You are spot on there, Mim: the Emsa books is indeed meant for storing onions or garlic. Now why didn't I think of that? xxx

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  3. What an amazing shop! The cabinet is gorgeous, so glad you changed your minds and bought it. we have Camp coffee over here, (as Mim says, an essential for coffee icing!) and I have an old glass bottle dug up from the garden with chicory written on the side. I thought the box might be for candles, but like the garlic suggestion!

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    1. Oh, Camp Coffee, I'd heard of that! And we're glad we changed our minds about the cabinet too! xxx

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  4. What a super little cabinet. It came up well after cleaning. I love chicory roasted with honey, never knew about its use in coffee. X

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    1. Chicory (the vegetable) is quite popular here in Belgium. A classic Belgian dish is chicory rolled in ham, topped with cheese sauce and baked in the oven! xxx

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  5. We had a brand of instant chicory drink called Postum but I haven't seen it in years. My parents liked it better than decafinated coffee.

    We had a box like that that held notepads and pencils by the wall phone, but I doubt that was the original use. I always thought it looked like a recipe file.

    I like your Saint, and the cabinet is beautiful.

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    1. We have other kitchen items of the same design, so we knew it was for use in the kitchen. We were mystified by the holes, though. I guess we can use it as a recipe file, that's in fact quite a good idea! xxx

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  6. Could the little box be a string holder? The balls of sting would be inside, with a piece protruding from the holes?

    I'm so glad you bought that beautiful spice cabinet. It's a joy to look at.

    Happy thrifting ;)

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    1. I quite like your suggestion for the box, although that's not what it was meant for ;-) xxx

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  7. Wow - that looks like an amazing place to visit. Love your little cabinet - gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you! We really should visit that shop more often, as we never come back empty handed ... xxx

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  8. zichorie - wegwarte - in german - not chiccoree the salad....
    the final drink is called "muckefuck" around here :-)
    the little emsa container can be for onions/garlic......
    your newest spice cabinet is gorgeous - and bravo for cleaning it up! the BW came up often with similar pieces at fleamarkets - but they are always to small/to few containers for my kitchen routines.
    phoebe looks so elegant on the red chair! stylish cat :-)
    huge hugs! xxxxxx

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    1. Muckefuck souds really disgusting! But you are right, the Emsa box is for storing onions/garlic. We will use it for something else, though, just like we put the cupboard in our hallway instead of the kitchen. Always contrary, Jos and me ;-) xxx

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  9. We used to live near a factory that made a chicory coffee replacement stuff, I will never forget the smell when they roasted it, it was horrible! I'd rather see it growing much prettier, each flower only open for a day and start off bright blue then fade as the day goes on.

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    1. I didn't know the plant (shame on me, I know), but I looked it up and the flowers look really pretty. Maybe I should search it out for our garden ... xxx

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  10. What a fab shop (taxidermy aside!) I love your spice cupboard - I wonder if it's on the wall yet, or you're doing a Kinky Melon thing and leaving on one side until you make your mind up sometime next year!!
    St Rita is fabulous and look at naught Phoebe on the groovy cocktail chairs. She's just letting you know that her parents have great taste! xxx

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    1. No Kinkly Melon thing this time (or should that be a Dove Cottage thing?) as we've put it up immediately after we cleaned it up. I don't think Phoebe sees us as her parents, but rather as her servants ... xxx

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  11. What a fab shop, so many things to buy! I love the little cupboard you bought, it looks really lovely now you've cleaned it all up. Hehehe, and I used to have that same Ikea cupboard you have underneath it! xx

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    1. Thanks Cate! Oh, yes, that Ikea cabinet. Although it was meant for storing cd's, we are using it for storing something completely different. Can you guess what? I will blog about its contents at some point ... xxx

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  12. So glad you did buy that spice cupboard and I love what you have done with it. That shop looks very much like one I have just visited. Most of our charity shops are closed because it is Summer holidays down here. But next week they will be open again so you know where I will be. Happy new year to you and all the very best for a great year.

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    1. Our charity shops never close, although the summer holidays aren't the best time to visit. Happy New Year to you too, Sue! xxx

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  13. Isn't it funny how somethings you can just not leave behind, like the spice cupboard. How many times do we say "wish we'd bought that ".
    The box is inspirational, it has so many uses. I wonder if it was for holding salt ? But I love what everyone else has suggested as well. Let is know what you come up with.
    Happy new year to you (if I haven't already said it haha). I'm having problems with loading pictures to my pc and blogger hence not much blogging going on :-( xxx

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    1. The box seems to be for storing onions or garlic, but we will be putting it to some other use. We thought it was storing salt too, but then I don't think it would have holes.

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  14. That cabinet is smashing! How pretty it looks all cleaned up. I'm glad you took the plunge as if you're anything like me, you'd have hankered after it until you'd been forced to go back xxx

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    1. Over the years, we have learned our lesson, as we had to go back for things several times, only to be met by disappointment when they were gone ... xxx

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  15. Ooh that stressful feeling when you walk away from something and someone picks it up! All's well that ends well though, it was obviously meant to be yours! Hard work, but worth it.
    I absolutely love your bust of St Rita, and she's definitely a saint I could use!
    Such beautiful cocktail chairs, which is why Phoebe favours them! Xxx

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    1. We have a church dedicated to St. Rita here in our village. It's very popular and lots of people come there to burn candles. Must be quite a few Impossible Cases around ... xxx

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  16. Rita, patron saint of Impossible Cases, how wonderful. ( Will now be singing the Name of the Game all night!) So pleased you got the delightful cabinet but left the weasel behind, it would have scared Phoebe! X

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    1. It would indeed have scared Phoebe, she's scared by anything vaguely furry. I wasn't thinking of the Name of the Game, but now I am! xxx

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  17. You find the most amazing stuff I love the saint Rita. I need 1 as I'm impossible. The cabinet is lovely the weasel terrifying

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    1. That weasel was really horrible, with its strange grin and beady eyes ... We already had another, smaller, St. Rita, but this one is much lovelier, even though she's had an accident at one point and is missing a finger ... xxx

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  18. Oh how I'd love a poke about in Expo 58!

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  19. Oh the spice drawer is brilliant! I would LOVE to visit that shop!x

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    1. Thank you Kezzie! It really is a shame that shop isn't nearer to us ... xxx

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