Kitchen Time
By Karen Parr-Moody

Longtime GasLamp fans have discovered that the items found there for the kitchen, in particular, are endlessly charming and seemingly without end. With this thought in mind, you can simply roam the halls for a short while and pick up a bounty of clever items that can be used in cooking or in setting a table or in decorating a kitchen. The possibilities are staggering.

There are Lefton bluebirds — and then there are Lefton bluebirds. This grouping in the photo, right, is beyond darling (set of five figurines, $24; Booth B-314). The Lefton Company was one of the early importers of wares from Occupied Japan. And for those of us who have an affinity for items made in that country during that time, the products are truly a joy to find. Even as the 1950s marched on, and Japan was no longer occupied, the Lefton bluebirds still retained that "look" of Occupied Japan, if you know what I mean — cartoonish and flirty.

This grouping is an interesting blend. There is a set of salt shakers that are both "girl" birds. This set original would have included a female bird wearing her bow, as seen here, and a male bird wearing his bow tie. It looks like since these came out in the 1960s, one little birdie got lost and replaced. No matter. They both still have their sparkling rhinestone eyes, which match those of the larger bluebird, which is a coin bank. The other two items in this grouping are quaint little egg cups. I have personally been fêted with three separate baby showers lately, and the minute I saw this set of Lefton bluebirds, it occurred to me that someone should snap them up to use in a baby shower. Can't you just see the egg cups filled with delicate candies?

Ivan Day, one of Britain's preeminent food historians, has been known to wax rhapsodic about molds, such as the copper one seen in the photo, left ($8.95; Booth B-207). And one of the points he likes to make is that they were not all used to make jellies. In fact, for the last few hundred years, they have been used to implement a variety of visions that creative chefs dreamt up. During the Victorian era, for example, copper molds could be used to make a comport from nougat or ice; what a lovely item to set on the table! Today, many people like to collect fancy molds made of copper, tin or wood. I have a set of about 15 that I hang on my Christmas tree as ornaments; it's all about using one's imagination!

Speaking of imagination: What fun it must have been for a Mid-century Modern designer to create this kitschy kitchen clock made by Sessions (photo, right; $45; Booth B-2012). He is decked out with a a mustache, goatee and a toque, and the pièce de résistance — a clock in his belly. If you have a kitchen that is mint green or even a monochromatic black and white, I could see this clock's chrome frame, bold black numbers and red accents fitting right into the scheme. He could even seed a theme: Due to that era's fascination with all things French, one can find similar items by Dapol, such as a spice set and napkin holder. Now that should send you on a scavenger hunt!






No stylish kitchen is fully dressed without a charming scale, as seen in the photo at left ($32; Booth B-303). Decades ago, when this scale would have been made, many families were still butchering their meat and growing their vegetables for use in their daily meals. Scales were necessary for measuring weights for recipes and the like. Several different scale companies manufactured what were called "American Family" scales from the late 1800s through the 1960s, and they look cute in a kitschy kitchen. This one, the Hanson Model 2060, is slightly more industrial than a typical kitchen scale; it is known as a utility scale. But it would still blend right in with the American Family scales. In fact, if you even get a chance to buy several similar scales in different colors, they make a nice looking display on top of a cabinet.

This handful of kitchen items is just the tip of the ice cream bombe, so to speak. There are many more items to investigate at GasLamp, including enameled pots, vintage cookbooks, serving pieces, cookie jars, salt and pepper shakers, Fiestaware, and more. You'll need more than one shopping basket for this kitchen list!


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