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What do you love and collect?

I love my colander. I bought it in a shop at a vineyard. It is large and shiny and the drain holes in it are actually grapes and vines. I have enjoyed this colander so much and I want to put it in the middle of my kitchen table but I use it all the time so it sits on my counter instead. I was thinking about collecting colanders now. Do you have a collection?

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  1. Teapots. I am an avid tea drinker, and probably have about 20 different teapots. My most prized are a pair of antique single serving size brown clay pots, made in southern Ohio for Irish railway workers in the 1800's.

    I have a lot of single serving size teapots (people keep giving them too me as gifts), and it's been very nice to have so many -- easy to make several teas to try my new teas, and once I had a tea tasting party, and was able to brew eight different teas each in a little pot. Very fun.

    5 Replies
    1. re: AnnaEA

      Teapots--me, too. I have all sorts of shapes and sizes. One of my favorites is a Yixing pot shaped like a dragon and a ceramic pot in the shape of an alligator, who is a purse (a true alligator purse).

      Also, same as Yes Please, all sorts of glasses/vessels from various places--margarita glasses from Cabo that look like the holy grail of margaritas, my Pazzo dancing skeletons coffee mug (also from Cabo), a green Bacardi glass and a giant latte bowl from Quebec with artwork of a cat on it, and wine glasses from near and far. My favorite champagne flutes are the ones we got when we visited Schramsberg with their signature tuxedoed frog on them.

      1. re: kattyeyes

        My wife collects tea pots as well. I've really come to enjoy them. I'm a sucker for a nice soup tureen especially antiques.

        1. re: kattyeyes

          To kattyeyes - I got an Yixing teapot for you, young lady: a cat sitting on a Ming style armchair. From Jade Garden Arts & Crafts, 76 Mulberry between Bayard and Canal in NY Chinatown, closer to Bayard. They have a lot of very nice ones for not very much money (and some doozies for a lot, one they had a while back in the shape of a Buddha's hand citron seemed almost alive).

          1. re: buttertart

            Ohhhhhhhhhh! That sounds like it has my name on it. Thank you for letting me know. We are due for a trip to the city again soon--thank you kindly for telling me!

            1. re: kattyeyes

              The shop doesn't look like too awfully much from the outside but they have some very nice things indeed. If the cat one isn't on display, ask Shirley, they may well have more.

      2. Funky bowls and serving plates- its a sickness. I just love being in eclectic shops and finding an unusual print or shape. I wonder if there's a pottery collectors anonymous??

        5 Replies
        1. re: fmcoxe6188

          This is my weakness, I find them in the off season at the thrift shops around here, they are so psychedelic, some of them. Bowls like carrots, plates shaped as ducks, a dish with the coolest corn cobs embedded on it, you could never find these new now. I treasure them ,but if they broke, they only cost me a buck or two.

          1. re: coll

            I love great serving bowls and plates too and have found a few wonderful pieces at discount stores like Home Goods. One of them is shaped just like a carrot! :) It's really very well done and one of my favorite serving pieces. I received this particular bowl as a gift from one of my SILs for Christmas one year - but I know she found it at Home Goods because a little bit of the sticker was still there. ;)

            1. re: flourgirl

              There's a Home Goods that opened right down the road a year or two ago, but I try to stay out of there. I feel like throwing out everything I have and starting over when I go in there!

              1. re: coll

                I hear ya. That store can be downright dangerous to the pocketbook. I have to drive a ways to get to the closest one so I only head there nowadays when I REALLY need something. And thanks to judicious shopping over the years (much of which WAS purchased in the discount stores) I have a well stocked kitchen and pantry and can't really justify too many more purchases - but I really love the serving pieces I have found in these stores over the years. So, like you, I have wonderful things that I love serving food in/on and I didn't pay much for them. Can't beat that!

                1. re: coll

                  I got to indulge that urge last year - when my stepson, who shares my love of cooking, turned 21 I decided he needed better than the student-grade kitchen he had, so for his birthday present I went to Home Goods and basically bought one of everything. Great fun for me, and his kitchen is now the envy of all his contemporaries.

          2. beer glasses. i'm an all round bon vivant so yes i love beer as well. unfortunately i have forced myself to stop getting new glasses as i've run out of (cupboard) space! i've got 3 or 4 dozens German and Belgian glasses in total and do use them every single day for my beers [in rotation].

            2 Replies
            1. re: Pata_Negra

              Along similar lines....vintage beer bottle openers, especially the kind that work in reverse where you push down instead of lift up to remove bottle caps.


              1. re: fourunder

                Glasses in general! Wine, champagne, martini, highball, lowball, juice glasses. I have water goblets, margarita glasses, ice cream, fruit and dessert glasses and lots of each kind. There are so many variants: color, shape, pattern, thickness of glass, frosted or clear.

                I was obsessed!

                Until I ran out of cupboard space, had more unused glasses than used and when my boyfriend went to get something out of the cupboard his jaw dropped at my collection. I have not bought another glass since then and don't even look anymore!

            2. Gin bottles. A lot of these new makers have really interesting bottles with great shapes and textures. Cut and smooth the top of a 1L bottle and you have a unique looking vase.

              3 Replies
              1. Corks. We have a giant vase of them and smaller vases for the overflow, which we've been accumulating since college. At some point I wanted them for some art project, but I've since forgotten what that was. Now it's just a shrine (of shame) to how much we've drunk over the years.

                17 Replies
                1. re: cimui

                  My belly is a shrine of shame to how much I've drunk over the years. Your corks, however, sound like a unique accent piece! I wanted to do the same with a small rectangular vase I had, but I don't drink enough wine and a vase of Jim Beam caps doesn't have the same visual appeal.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    Hah -- but I bet a whole row of Jim Bean bottles would be quite lovely, even empty!

                    If one were to judge on the basis of your gut, I'd think that your gut had produced a few bottles over the year rather than consumed them. It has room for a few more if you ask me. :)

                    1. re: JungMann

                      You've gotta start collecting Jim Beam in the collectible bottles, then. Did ya know?


                      I used to have to dust my uncle's collection back when. He had Charlie McCarthy, the Black and White dogs, more bottles than I can even remember, but Charlie and the dogs stand out in my mind. ;) HA! Found 'em!

                    2. re: cimui

                      Oh, how funny! DH does the same thing! I've used a few of the corks when I've cooked octopus. But for the most part, they are all there. We've got a large bowl where all the corks are kept with a bunch of smaller vases for overflow as well. DH wanted to do an art project with them at some point -- perhaps attach them to the walls of our future wine cellar (I wish! But it's fun dreaming) so you've got an entire wine cellar covered in corks.

                      Personally I don't collect anything for the fear of it bringing out my obsessive tendencies (that I keep buried deep inside of me) where I wouldn't be satisfied until I collect every single item of whatever it is out there.

                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        Ok, I'm intrigued. How do corks come into the picture when you cook octopus?! My ulterior motive for collecting them is that they also double as doggie pacifiers.

                        Cool frakkin' idea, by the way, to cover a wine cellar with corks! I love it! In fact, I'm going to adopt your cork covered wine cellar fantasy, too. When you get there, I'm going to bring by some big fat bags of corks and help you hot glue gun (?) 'em on. :)

                        1. re: cimui

                          You can make trivets with corks, too.

                          One of our local restaurants has a wine cellar where you can sit and eat, and they've used corks along the chair rail as a decorative motif. Very cool!

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            I *really* like the trivets idea, kattyeyes. I have to get myself a hot glue gun and play with that.

                          2. re: cimui

                            Ha ha. A cork would make an awesome doggie pacifier! I've read that cooking an octopus with a cork in it is supposed to make it tender. I think it's supposed to be an Italian trick. I've only cooked octopus with corks, and it's been pretty tender -- a lot more tender than when I've eaten it at friends' houses, my parents' home, and at most restaurants. As I haven't done a scientific study, I'm not sure if it's because of the cork or because of the type of octopus I get or the cooking techniques I use. But it doesn't hurt to always throw a cork in.

                            We'll set a date for the cork covered wine cellar! Invino's idea of a cork bar sounds interesting as well -- though I think that would only make a small dent in our cork collection!

                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              Fascinating!! Wonder if it'd help to throw a cork on the grill with the octopus... ;)

                        2. re: cimui

                          A friend of mine made a wreath using corks, Cimui. Not bad looking either. Looked like this without the bow:

                          1. re: Gio

                            Ooh, very nice! A new reason to save yet more corks! :)

                            1. re: Gio

                              that's pretty cool. your friend is very craftsy!

                              1. re: cimui

                                My former boss would save corks all year and for Xmas she would make those cute cork reindeer for everybody in the office. I still have some, even though it was 15 years ago....
                                My hubby also saves corks-has a full wooden wine box in our wine cellar in Krakow, and an almost full one in our California house. I am not sure what he is planning to do with them, maybe sell them by a pound :-))))
                                I personally collect china dish sets. Have 7 at the moment, and I better stop, because my other half is losing his patience (and if he does, his cork collection will suffer as well) !

                                1. re: polish_girl

                                  I've seen really cool bulletin boards made of wine corks, with that many you could do a whole wall!

                                  1. re: coll

                                    None of the things mentioned are IT, but I remember seeing some sort of project on TV that used massive numbers of old corks. All I can recall is thinking that it was a very good idea. So don't chuck them all without trying to find some uses first, lest you later wish you'd kept them.

                              2. re: Gio

                                I'm also a cork collector. I've seen a photo of baseboard trim made of wine corks that kind of intrigues me. In fact, this website has a bunch of ideas: http://lovemyearth.blogspot.com/2007/...

                            2. Antique rolling pins. I keep them on a black wrought-iron wine rack as you would wine bottles. There are so many styles and shapes. I always think of the wonderful breads and pie crusts and so forth that have been created with them over the years. And yes, I do use them sometimes...

                              Cookbooks too - over 1000. But that's another obsession and story.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Mothership

                                I have small collection of rolling pins - some vintage, some brand spanking new. Pins with handles, pins without, nylon pins, french pins, ravioli pins...

                              2. I collect wine bottles with sentimental value. Most of them have come from big splurge meals, like anniversaries and birthdays, where the wine was easily the most expensive part of the meal. Looking back, some of the wines I've been lucky enough to drink over the years are incredible! The most memorable was the '99 Insignia my husband proposed to me with in '05.

                                We collect corks also. They are going to be glazed and used as the top of our bar. That's a project for next year, though (along with a zillion other things, of course).

                                1. Cake stands. I love the things.

                                  I have an unnatural affection for punch bowls right now, too, but I'm trying not to give in, because I just don't have the space to collect them. I have one set, I can borrow two more from my mother--how many more could a girl need? But it doesn't stop me from coveting them.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: modthyrth

                                    Cake stands! That is one of my favorite collections. I would have more but they take up a lot of room. Do you have one that is square or rectangular? I can justify having lots because a homemade, decorated cake deserves a special plate.

                                    Some of my food/drink/cooking related collections: shot glasses and barware; teapots; sifters; assorted cooking utensils, especially with red handles or nobs (see CookieWeasel's post); cook books and recipe clippings; restaurant dishes and cups; aprons; I cut off my salt shaker collection at about twelves pairs.

                                    I stay away from EBay, garage sales, and flea markets--too much temptation.

                                  2. I collect salt and pepper shakers. I've got dozens of pairs. I keep most of them in a box in my garage but rotate a few in for display in my kitchen. Some are over 100 years old.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: southernitalian

                                      I collect ceramic sugar shakers - I have about 80 of them most dating back to the 1930s to 50s. They are all painted, stand about 5" to 7" and look like pepper shakers but taller. I am pretty sure all are English.

                                      I also have a lovely collection of Clarice Cliff crocus pattern flatwear.

                                      1. re: southernitalian

                                        We also collect salt & pepper shakers. Of special interest are the Kate Greenaway designs from over 100 years ago. Here are a few photos.

                                        1. re: southernitalian

                                          I collect teapots, salt and pepper shakers, vintage kitchenware, bakelite canisters, the list goes on! i love stuff from the 1950's-60's. I have some pictures on my blog of my salt and pepper shakers

                                        2. Yixing teapots (Chinese clay teapots that are made in an astonishing number of shapes - I especially look for the ones in the shape of vegetables and those featuring animals). Chopstick rests (Japanese originally, now used in a lot of Chinese restaurants as well, also come in many different shapes - my favorites are again vegetable and animal shapes). And cookbooks.

                                          1. Everything.
                                            But kitchen related items are LC cookware. I have 2 large different "sets" with a variety of skillets, stock pots, saute pans, etc. Collecting them for years. The old turquoise blue and dark brown - both at least 30 years old. I use them all the time, they look new. I search ebay and sometimes run across another piece.
                                            Also, dishes & china. I have to stop collecting these. I am looking like a hoarder :(

                                              1. There was a really long thread about this awhile back that I didn't add to my Favorites and can't find now, but my response was old wooden spoons. I have 36 or so. Can't be too deep, can't be too long; can't have a bowl that is too thick to make it impossible to taste from. I have few favorites I used on a regular basis, but on occasion pull out one of the fancier ones (some have interesting carvings on the handle). None of those flimsy pine spoons for me!

                                                Also, I still have lots of white ironstone platters and serving dishes. Some are stamped Meakin, some are Johnson Bros., some aren't stamped. My stepfather got me into the habit of looking at white ironstone platters at auctions and in antique stores, and while I haven't bought any in a long while, there is always the "big decision" as to which platter to use if I'm serving something that needs to be plattered. :-)

                                                4 Replies
                                                  1. re: KayceeK

                                                    That's it - thanks, Kaycee! Couldn't find it for the life of me.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      I did check but missed it. It is a good thread. I apologize for being redundant. I enjoy Chowhound commentors so much!

                                                      1. re: Sensuous

                                                        Quite alright - I had forgotten about my white ironstone platters on the other thread anyway. <vbg>

                                                1. Old kitchen utensils with red or green wooden handles. Aluminum cookie cutters. I lived with my grandmother for a while when I was little, and that is what she had, so these bring back many good memories! I also have a bunch of old aprons (started with a smock flour sack apron, also something my grandmother always wore) and went on from there. The cookbooks are piling up all over the place, and have spread from the bookcase to the countertop to the floor. I hate to admit it, but they've long since turned into a collection (I define a "collection" as "more of something than you actually need or use").! However, surrounding myself with all this gives me the warm fuzzies, so it must be good! My main concern at this point is not ending up on the "Hoarders" show.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: CookieWeasel

                                                    I ws visiting in Chincoteague VA this summer and found this great vintage potato masher with a red enameled wood handle. I only have a couple of vintage pieces, but I LOVE this masher. I like to think that some Chincoteague fisherman's wife used to use it in her little waterman's cottage kitchen....

                                                    1. re: flourgirl

                                                      I had one (red wooden-handled potato masher, vintage style) too, which I loved. My room mate broke it while too zealously mashing yucca.
                                                      Fruit and vegetable salt and pepper shakers, I have no idea how I got started with this, I must have been out of my mind. My favorites are the pickles and the mushrooms. They all live in boxes now.

                                                  2. I collected everything + mason jars. now I want them gone. anyone successfully gotten rid of a collection?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: ciaodog

                                                      No, but I did manage to reduce one to a more manageable size through the simple expedient of getting married and moving house. I now have a display area where I'm allowed to showcase my collection - but only the cherry-picked best items.

                                                    2. I collect these great vintage-inspired flat back tin cookie cutters made by Karen Hurd. They're fairly large and look great on my kitchen walls. One of them, a Noah's ark cutter is HUGE and I'm fairly sure is a one of a kind.

                                                      I also collect vintage cast metal seashell chocolate molds (the kind with mulitple rows of small shapes.) I have about five of them in all different shapes hanging on my wall. I love them both because the motif is one of my favorites, but also because it's a pretty unique collection that I'm not likely to see duplicated too many places.

                                                      I have a carefully selected and edited but really nice collection of functional pottery - casseroles, bowls, serving platters, jars etc. I love each and every one of my pieces and try to use them all as much as possible.

                                                      And of course, there is the cookbook collection - numbering around 500 books. But as others have said, that's really an obsession for other threads.

                                                      1. We collect cookbooks as souvenirs of travels to other countries or regions. Of course, it helps if the book's in English but not all are.

                                                        1. My main collection is not food-related, it's antique radios. But I still have a collection of little plastic bulls from the late '70s and early '80s, when they came on every bottle of Hungarian Bull's Blood wine, which back then was a very tasty inexpensive red that I went through by the case.

                                                          (It's still a good inexpensive red, but they no longer attach those little bulls to the bottles).

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                            The other day I was in my husband's car (sort of like a giant ash tray so I don't check in too often) and couldn't believe he still had a little Koala bear that came on one of the first Australian bottles of wine that I ever saw, 1980s probably. It was cute but he is so not like that. But actually a couple of cars later, and it's still sitting on the stick shift like it was born yesterday. I love Bulls Blood wine, I buy it every Halloween because it's closest to Transylvanian, my liquor store guy told me I'm not the only one. They should put a little vampire on it.

                                                          2. miniture alcohol bottles. there are certain critiria to be met when i buy them-glass unopened bottles. its a young collection but fun none the less. I have 178 bottles to date. the cool thing too is only three bottles are duplicates.

                                                            1. wife and i collect coffee mugs from everywhere we travel. have quite a collection displayed on the tops of our kitchen cabinets.

                                                              non-cooking wise, penguins and don quixote things. have everything from murano glass, to cheap plastic to 4' tall live topiary penguins, and don quixote from artwork to paper mache to llardo.

                                                              1. Racks, old cans and antique jugs.

                                                                1. I don't collect them, but recently learned a new word: pocillovy. That's collecting egg cups.
                                                                  A year ago I broke a vintage, small, Figgjo (Scandinavian design) pitcher to which I had a sentimental attachment, and which I used regularly to nuke water for tea. Weeks of daily searching on eBay finally yielded a suitable, affordable replacement. In the meantime, I was irrationally drawn to the shape and design of the egg cups in the Figgjo line, and eventually gave in to my desire to "splurchase" this unneeded item. In the course of that quixotic pursuit, I was surprised - and cautioned - to learn that egg cup collecting is obsessing enough to have its own name.

                                                                  1. I used to actively collect Blue Willow. I wound up with some things that I was never going to use so I sold those on eBay. I also used to collect Champagne flutes. One-offs mostly, never sets. But when I got up to about 20, I just stopped. No more room. And with my "everyday" flutes I could pour for 30 or more people. Largest I ever had was about 25 for a seated Christmas luncheon. Much fun.

                                                                    1. Memories. I have too much stuff as it is. Also experience.

                                                                      1. Just finished straightening up the garage, and realized my worst collection: empty glass jars. They all seem so perfect when I save them, and they do come in handy for all kinds of things, but once or twice a year I have to cull them intensely. Just threw out all the square ones, they look nice but not so practical. Hard choice though. I only save ones that I deem special, but it gets a little crazy. Since they're free not so bad, and they went into the recycle can to dispose of.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                          You mean like empty mayo jars and such? Or something that aesthetically appeals to you? If the former, I'm not sure I'd call that a collection :) Actually maybe I'LL call it a collection instead of "shit, why haven't I put these in the recycle bin?"

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Mostly aesthetically pleasing, plus just enough Hellmanns jars for leftover soups and broths. But mostly unusual old fashioned kind of jars, like you would find in Europe. Talk about a cheap collection!

                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                              That sounds charming. Do you have space over your kitchen cabinets that you could line them up?

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                I have a whole bunch of crystal Italian decanters that I got at the liquor store after the holidays for 50 cents. I was going to make herbal vinegars as gifts, but they look so good just sitting up there that I changed my mind. Everything else is on racks out in the garage, they look nice in their own way. Like a little army waiting to store my edibles.

                                                                                By the way, one of my biggest disappointments was when Hellmanns changed their jars to plastic, and didn't even warn us. I used to give out homemade goodies to everyone in them, and now I only have one left, which I guard with my life. The plastic ones are so ugly (and now only 30 oz rather than a quart) but they're great for freezing.

                                                                        2. Aside from the cookbooks and handwritten recipes...I collect aprons,Some new , some very very old.I have even one of my grandmothers framed.

                                                                          1. Forgot that I have a collection of old cooking tools, old knives and an old copper-brass colander. I have a large match collection. Can't hardly get matches any more.
                                                                            I wished I still had my Ripple bottle collection.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                              Ha, ha, I drank Ripple in college, I wishied I had saved "all" the bottles, especially the tropical fruit Ripple.
                                                                              Thank you for the memories! LOL.

                                                                            2. I love mason jars and glass containers. I have a fascination with ceramic vessels in general. So I collect these whenever I can and am obsessed with the idea of canning things and making innovation and tasty concoctions, even if it means an exotic mixture of fruit for a confiture.

                                                                              I also love odd and interesting drinking glasses and eatware, especially in distinctive color schemes, shapes and patterns.. If money allows, I collect those, too.

                                                                              I have a ridiculous collection of decorative confectionery such as sprinkles, sanding sugars, nonpareils, dots, sugar confetti, dragée, sugar crystals and the like in various colors and styles. I love the way these look on shelves and I adore having so much to choose from when making desserts look whimsical and creative in a particular sense. This type of stuff honors the perpetual child within me.

                                                                              I am a big fan of collecting unique and intriguing packaging, too. If I buy a box of cookies or I get a cute, decorated package (the kind with the lunchbox design with the handle on top) that holds a couple of orders of frozen yogurt in it, then I'll keep the packaging for inspiration and creative ideas. I always appreciate and love great package design for food.

                                                                              You know, this reminds me. I used to LOVE the tall glass containers that POM Wonderful sold their juices and teas in. Each glass had the company logo on it, too. Anyone remember that? I kept those glasses afterwards as they made cute drinking vessels to collect and today I have a good collection of them from the past.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Airo

                                                                                Loved your post. Fun to read. And I too have a fairly ridiculous collection of decorative confectionary and I have the prettiest bottles displayed on an open, stainless steel shelf. It looks great and I get tons of compliments.

                                                                                I also love the IDEA of canning/preserving, (making pickles, jam, chutnies etc.), have tons of books on the subject but have to admit haven't done all that much with it yet. I think I'm too easily distracted....

                                                                                1. re: Airo

                                                                                  I have about 8 of those POM glasses. My mother has even more. She has a few with the embossed logo rather than the printed logo. I really love those. Wish they still sold it in those. Haven't bought any since the switch to plastic.