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What are the lovely things in your kitchen

Last night as I was standing sleepless in my kitchen, waiting for water to boil for herbal tea, I noticed--again--the little pan heating water on my stove. It is a little stainless pan, over ten years old now, a small cylinder with a rolled stainless handle fat enough for comfort, and a nice lid. It is very plain, but very pleasing. It comes out of the dishwasher bright and clean. Its handle stays cool during short heating tasks. It is something I chose for function, a tool that pleased me to find. Nearby sat my favorite teapot. It is plump, short spouted and gray blue. Its handle is wide. The lid fits precisely into the lip of the pot. I chose this because I needed it, and because it pleased me. I don't know why seeing familiar, functional and attractive items in use gives me pleasure, but it does. Perhaps it is because I chose them because they are useful and aesthetically pleasing.

What things in your kitchen do you enjoy seeing in use, and that make you happy to know that you chose them well?

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  1. I chose my stuff fairly recently, but I'm really pleased with it all:

    My cutlery is perfect. Kind of minimal, but comfortable, practical and perfectly weighted.

    My awesome roasting tray - alrady used about 10 times since xmas

    My LC dutch oven. My god I love this thing. I get a thrill every time I get to use it

    My precious chefs knife. Again a pleasure to use. Sometimes I will buy a carrot or a potato just to practice with it.

    My two porsche knives (the top two, paring and santoku) - not as good as the Global, but I got a bargain (£20 something for both) and thy're really comfortable to use.

    This is nearly the set of anolon pans I have. I got a stir-fry instead of the little milk pan, and I really would like the small pan, though my GF likes the stir fry.
    The biggest pan is rarely used, and I have a stock-pot for really huge things like stews anyway. But if I had to cook 2 veg and a roux at the same time it's there. But yes, a pleasure to use and to clean after! the little pan is the egg pan because I also have:

    My LC frying pan! This probably gets the most use outside of the small saucepan. It's amazing for steaks, although it's not as non-stick as it was. Really heavy too.

    Among other things I like are my spatula, my wooden spoon, my new chopping board, my silicon spatulas... and my plain white dinner ware. And my bread knife.

    1. So many ...

      I love my vintage red metal canisters with yellow (originally ivory I believe) Bakelite handles. My stainless tea kettle whose handle is never hot ... my beautiful Lagostina sauce pan. And of course my Dune and Flame Le Creuset dutch ovens ...

      1. My favorite thing in my kitchen is whichever member of my household cleans up after dinner.

        1. The most gorgeous thing in my kitchen is my La Chamba 3-quart sauce/saute pan. It was a gift from best friend and lives on my stove top. La Chamba is made from black clay found near the Magdalena River in Columbia. Mine us used almost daily and still as beautiful as the day it came from the potter's wheel. Since it's hand made, it is slightly oval instead a perfectly round, which only adds to its beauty.

          3 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              In Colombia, someONE lovely in your kitchen is Dana Zsofia. ;)

              In the Land of Steady Habits, lovely and whimsical things in my kitchen include:
              - a puffing dragon teakettle
              - a little blue and purple pottery garlic keeper with a cork top
              - a giant blue bowl usually used for serving pasta or when I made vichyssoise for the first time: http://www.chow.com/photos/358821
              - a little silver tea stirrer shaped like a twig with a bee on top
              - glass tea cups with bees on them--see a theme?
              - a colander with holes in the shape of grape clusters
              - April Katt, a.k.a. the real kattyeyes

              And while "lovely" may not be the right word to describe it, a vintage "Ice Cold Coca- Cola Served Here" tin sign shaped like an arrow hangs over my stove. Though I don't drink much Coke anymore, I love it and will always be a Coca-Cola kid at heart.


            2. My Henckel Four Star Chef's Knife may not be the most popular in its class, but it's the most beautiful to me:

              (mine is about 15 years old so may be a little different than the one in the link)

              1. I love these threads, but it is SO hard for me to keep this to a short list. I have carefully, over many years and through some trial and error, picked each and every tool, piece of equipment, bakeware and serving pieces so that I am only surrounded by things that I truly love. I have edited out the stuff that didn't make me happy and most of it went the way of past garage sales. I love my kitchen and it makes me really happy to be in it and using the things that I love so much. :)

                8 Replies
                1. re: flourgirl

                  I'm impressed ... everything in the kitchen both beautiful and useful! I have lots that are both, but some of the other as well (only useful) ... my plain Pyrex pie plates are nothing to write home about, for example ... Most of my measuring tools are pretty unexciting, though I do have a pretty green Depression glass measure.

                  1. re: flourgirl

                    I'm getting there, too. But I've been "editing" my kitchen for over 30 years. Some things just won't go away, however. ;-) The Cuisinart food processor I got in 1982--butt ugly and beat up--just keeps on working and working and working, making it impossible to justify a shiny, colorful, KitchenAid version.

                    1. re: Beckyleach

                      Becky, you are preaching to the choir. I do NOT replace things that still function fine but aren't that pretty. That's why it's taken me so long to get to this point (that, and not having unlimited funds so I do a LOT of careful, bargain hunting.) My dishwasher for example, is, swear to god, over 20 years old. But I;ve NEVER had to have it repaired and it just keeps chugging along. It'll get replaced when it kicks the bucket. At least the outside of it still looks pretty good. The inside- well that's a whole other story.

                      But generally what happened is that as my skills grew I outgrew stuff I had purchased previously and upgraded to better quality items. Again, mostly through VERY careful and patient shopping - over the course of almost 20 years.

                      And foie, I didn't mean to suggest that every single thing in my kitchen is a work of art. It's not - but for instance, I appreciate the simple design and function of my good quality stainless steel measuring cups (which long ago replaced the crappy plastic ones I had). I love my Chicago metallic perforated pie pans - not exciting but beautiful to me in the way form meets function. Stuff like that.

                      1. re: flourgirl

                        But if I had to pick a few things in my kitchen that are truly "lovely", it would be all the pieces of handmade functional pottery we've been collecting for years as well as this absolutely gorgeous crate and barrel seedy glass cake stand I bought a few years back that looks like draped material. I never get tired of looking at it.

                        I also LOVE my collection of vintage commercial chocolate molds in various seashell shapes that hang on the wall. They're cast metal and the kinds of molds with multiple rows of shapes. I put the collection together frorm ebay auctions over the years and I think it's pretty unique.

                        1. re: flourgirl

                          Oh, didn't mean to appear preachy. I'm just slightly annoyed in a good way at the longevity of some of my stuff. Thank god it's not avocado green, at least. One handy thing: my elder daughter has her own apartment, for the first time, so that was a great "excuse" to pass on the not-quite-great knives (yay! Wusthof Ikons for me ) and the remaining good but not great cookware.

                          Truly the ONLY things in my kitchen that aren't "lovely" are my counters and floors--cheap imitation butcher block laminate and grey industrial CARPET!!!-- and there's no money to do anything about that till both girls are through college, so I'll just have to endure them.

                          1. re: Beckyleach

                            My laminate is bright yellow ... at first I found it a horror. The PO had told me it would grow on me, and I thought to myself, 'The lying [bad word],' but it was actually true. I now find it quite cheerful ...

                            In my drawers I have Longaberger baskets, with a silverware insert in one, and in the others are organized a) metal utensils, b) measuring tools, and c) other stuff. I've had them for many years now, and enjoy them every time I open my drawers. I have another matching shallow basket in one of my spice cabinets for the plastic bags bulk spices come in.

                            1. re: foiegras

                              Oooh, I love my Longaberger baskets, too...but they are on a rolling rack in my sunroom (overflow from my kitchen)...one round one and one skinny one...potatoes, onions, shallots, stuff like that all go in...and I have a breadbasket atop the fridge...all with the pretty blue weave in them. And I have a double-decker pie basket for going places and bringing treats! :)

                            2. re: Beckyleach

                              Becky, I guess what I really meant to say is, I think we think alike. And it is amazing how long some older stuff can last. We just replaced the washer and dryer after 17 yrs (although we had to repair both units a couple of times over the years - repairs we did ourselves.) But I will say, that now that I have new machines - which are plain, simple low frill machines - I'm kind of sorry I waited this long to replace them. I hadn't realized how hard it had become getting the laundry until I got the new ones.

                      2. My two favorite items in the kitchen are,
                        1)My set of vegetable peelers I got for Christmas. They're from williams and sonoma.
                        2) And my set of all clad measuring cups, also from williams and sonoma, also a Christmas gift.

                        1. My four Le Creuset DOs in carribean, kiwi, gray, and flame, harmonized look together. My All-Clad saucier. Four Apilco white french porcelain bakers perfectly nesting. Last not least, the loveliest is ofcourse ME in my kitchen:)

                          1. My knives - Hiromoto gyuto, CCK cleaver, kikuichi yanagiba, tojiro honesuke, misono hankotsu, a thinned tosagata nakiri and parer, a few others.

                            And - on the rare occasions she wanders through - my wife.

                            1. Just like flourgirl I have researched, searched out and chosen every single thing in my kitchen so it is always a joy to walk in and be surrounded. Every little thing that catches my eye makes me happy. But mostly, the loveliest thing is the sight of my family eating and my boys when they tell me I could compete in the finest kitchens. Hey, they may be overstating things but that will always be the loveliest thing - a family that comes for the food and stays to spend time together. That's always worth cooking for.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: knet

                                "Hey, they may be overstating things but that will always be the loveliest thing - a family that comes for the food and stays to spend time together. That's always worth cooking for."

                                Yes! :)

                              2. When I first put a kitchen together it was a case of castoffs from family and filling in inexpensively as the need arose.

                                When I married I picked out a stainless pattern I still love - I works for me visually and it also just has the right feel in my hand:


                                This was the only item that there was an argument over during the divorce!

                                Over time my aesthetic became more defined and I became a better and more knowledgeable cook. As I replace or add items I now require them to be be functional, visually pleasing, feel good in my hand and make me happy when I look at them.

                                Some of my can't do without items also have an emotional aspect. Each time I use my grandmothers Foley Mill I tap into memories of her applesauce making marathons when she would visit - bringing said mill with her! My favorite cooking fork belonged to my ex's mother.
                                She was an amazing woman and a terrific cook - she has been gone for 20 years and I still miss her daily. Each time I hold that fork in my hand I feel instantly connected to her. That battered, cheap aluminum fork is a thing of beauty to me!

                                My favorite chefs knife is lovely in many ways, especially since it was the first "good" piece I purchased for myself. I was buying a wedding gift and realized that I had no problem spending the money on a loved one, yet I couldn't do that for myself. I decided this was an issue I needed to work on (self love, blah, blah, blah) and this was the result. It is still my favorite knife many years later!

                                Other items are the multitude of handmade bowls and mugs that have come my way. My Le Creuset beanpot also makes me enormously happy. The color, the shape, the perfection of the finished dish plus at a fantastic price at Tuesday Morning!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: meatn3

                                  We have a stainless set made by the same company (ours is Gorham Fairview) and there probably would be squabbles about it should we end up in divorce court. ;-)


                                  My two daughters already both wanted it so I went and bought another eight places settings on Ebay, recently. Now they each can have half.

                                2. I have an old 6 qt. copper bowl with a beautiful patina, a cobalt blue seeded glass pitcher, an older turquoise blue ceramic batter bowl, a green Depression glass cake plate with little feet, and my tomato salt and pepper shakers, all stored within sight, but safely out of reach of my marauding kitchen cats.

                                  1. My tapered french pastry rolling pin

                                    My grandmothers pink, tulip shaped, tea pot

                                    My Chef's knife.

                                    Three simple things that make me happy on a daily basis.

                                    1. Lots of things, but the most precious is a paring knife my father made for my mother out of a tire knife - the handle fit her hand perfectly as it does mine now, and the blade wore down over the 40 or so years she used it into a silhouette of her right index finger. Would kill me to lose it.

                                      1. We redid our kitchen a couple years ago and I was able to design it myself so I've got a lot, right now, that really tickles me. But standing out among them, I think, are three things:

                                        • my big soapstone sink, it was an indulgence but it's a joy several times every single day
                                        • the Tapmaser control on my kitchen faucets that let's me operate them with a touch of the toe http://www.tapmaster.ca/us/
                                        • my baking center with a baking height counter and storage for essentials like flour, sugar, etc. in Lexan third pans in the drawers beneath
                                        • oh, and the composting pan (also a third pan -- only this one is stainless) that fits in my trash & recycling pullout

                                        1. When my dad was visiting Marseilles in the 1970s, he happened upon a junk shop for scrap metal. He couldn't believe what he saw - hundreds of antique copper pots, pans, containers, canisters, ladles, etc, all well-oxidized and ready for the smelting furnace. Picking out the best and most varied pieces he could, he had them crated and shipped back home to Pennsylvania These adorned mom's kitchen until we sold the house in 1994. Now they are gleaming like new and hanging around the kitchen of my 1767 farmhouse. Good eye, dad!.


                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Chefpaulo

                                            Good story :)

                                            There's only a couple of things I actually want from my parents kitchens. My Dad does have a chromatic harmonica I want though...

                                          2. Haha--if I'm honest, I'd have to say the thing that gives me the most pleasure is usually the *next* pretty thing I'm eyeing to purchase!

                                            I do have an ever-growing set of Fire & Light dinnerware

                                            --plates/pieces in every color, it's impossible to set a table that isn't striking. (pic below)

                                            5 Replies
                                              1. re: blue room

                                                I agree--those are absolutely striking. Thanks for the introduction. Like I need more things on my wish list! ;) Damn you, blue room.

                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  I met the folks who make these at a fine craft show 7 or 8 years ago. Super nice people. I fell completely in love with the dinnerware. The colors are great and they simply glow. They mix and match perfectly.

                                                  I'm still waiting for a little more space and then I'll expand my collection too!

                                                2. My Le Creuset pots.
                                                  My All Clad 3 quart saucepan.
                                                  My knife rack from MOMA.

                                                  1. I love all these stories. Thanks for posting.

                                                    I too have a Henckel four star chef's knive which I love to use.

                                                    1. Some 40 years ago, while in college in Buffalo, I bought a pint-sized white ceramic pitcher at the Georg Jensen store while spending a weekend in Toronto. It's from Figgjo, a Norwegian maker, with Turi Gramstad Oliver's "Market" pattern in "handpainted silkscreen" shades of green. It was one of the first things I bought solely on aesthetic appeal. At first I rarely used it, but ten years later when I got my first microwave, the pitcher was just right for heating water for tea or coffee. Its perfect lip never drips (listen up, Pyrex measuring cup!). its handle is comfortable and perfectly angled to facilitate comfortable pouring, and the wide base kept it from tipping over if jostled. Then came that fateful day in 2008 when, wet from washing, it slipped from my hand and cracked as it hit the floor. I sought a replacement on eBay for months. The shape is not very common - a few appeared, but in various countries, and pricier than I could justify. I also looked in vain for something equally pleasing from other manufacturers. Meanwhile I discovered the Figgjo egg cup, with whose lovely design I became ridiculously obsessed. And there were other Turi patterns as attractive as Market.....I finally found, settled on, and won a pitcher in Turi's Lotte pattern, in lilac, olive, and navy on white, but not before I'd already bought a Market egg cup and a set of 4 solid olive ones. I am happy with the Lotte pitcher, but I still need to get over its cracked Market predecessor, which remains on the shelf as I wonder whether I should find somewhere to have it professionally repaired.

                                                      In terms of usefulness, my plastic cutting board is perfectly designed. It has a cut-out handle which allows it to be hung on the outside of a cabinet, and on the other end, the edges are bent upward, funneling chopped food so that it can be neatly poured into a pan.

                                                      When it comes to equipment, functional design is even more important to me than aesthetics, but as an Art History major, I get special pleasure from attractive objects. My best friend gave me a Shaker reproduction basket which is also a favorite.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        You might ask your insurance agent for a repair recommendation if you decide to go that route ... are you thinking just for display? I got my recommendation from someone with a huge Arts & Crafts pottery collection who had a fire that cracked most of his pottery.

                                                        I have many Pyrex measures, and I think the spouts must be hand-shaped, there's so much variation. I recently discarded one because its spout was so bad. I have another the same size that's perfect ...

                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          Don't know if it is the right pattern, but there is one on EBAY for 24.99...

                                                          FF Figgjo Flint Turi Norway MARKET milk/6" pitcher -HTF

                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            I had not been familiar with this company - your post set me off on a search and I ended up with a set of the egg cups! I guess breakfast with company is in my future...

                                                            Do you know if the ceramic skillets are just for gas or can they be used on an electric range?

                                                            Thanks for giving me a good excuse to add my 2 cents to help the economy!

                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                              Oh dear, I feel like a pusher! What pattern did you get? I don't have a skillet - I THINK I recall once seeing a listing that said they could be used on electric or gas but wouldn't swear to it. Look for a listing that shows the underside - if memory serves, that's where I read it. Trivia: pocillovy is the word for egg cup collecting. There are books on it.

                                                              Bostonhound, I did get a replacement, just in a different pattern. If I got the cracked one repaired, I'd use it (with a leakproof insert) as a vase. The size I have is about 4" tall with a 4" bottom diameter. Figgjo has been folded into another manufacturer. They may still make plain institutional ware, but these patterns haven't been made in decades. Too bad - they are as functional as they are attractive. Meatn3, I hope you'll e-mail me privately to report on how you like the cups once they arrive.

                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                I stumbled upon the the olive green ones that you mentioned! A set of four for $1.25 + s/h! Green has been my favorite color for the last 15 years I think, so they will fit into my mishmash collection of dishes rather well. Perhaps they will encourage me to be a better breakfast eater.

                                                                There is something about egg cups that draw me. My family never used them. My maternal grandmother had a few and she (once into her senior years) made soft boiled eggs every morning for her husband and Yorkshire terrier. The Yorkie was fussier about the timing of the eggs than my grandfather...

                                                                An eggcup seems like a little throne or alter to the amazingly versatile egg. Here you are preparing and eating it about as simply as can be, and this lovely object cradles and reminds you of how wonderful an egg really is. Plus egg cups are just too cute, a category of which I am a complete sucker for!

                                                                Keep pushing! This is another thing so great about this community - learning about great new-to-me products from people who have similar addictions!

                                                          2. My kitchen is pretty utilitarian, but warm. Think English and Scandinavian (my grandpappa was Swedish, maternal side is Finnish) so lots of warm wood, cream, linens, white, wooden pcs from Sweden, pewter and stainless.

                                                            So my lovely things are:

                                                            Well used copper bowls, my breadboard, English creamware, this copper egg-shaped egg steamer from Sur LaTable, my carbon steel pans, my shiny All Clad, Spode Blue Italian, wood spoons, wine label "tiles" that I made, and more.

                                                            I love my small-ish kitchen, it's very intimate and cozy. I would think the Two Fat Ladies would love to join me and we could cook a wonderful roast beast.

                                                            Everyone wants to hang in there when I entertain, but it really is small!

                                                            1. kind of on a related subject.
                                                              seems that no matter the question, true foodies are enjoyers of anything in their kitchen, I know I relish at just standing and pondering what's on my shelves, in my cupboards and pantry, etc.

                                                              1. Wooden cutting board. Don't really care how anything looks.