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Flea Market/Yard Sale Kitchen Finds

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My roommate will be moving in a few months and taking his nicely stocked kitchen with him. I was thinking it might be fun to spend some time at flea markets this summer and possibly pick up things for the kitchen in the months before he leaves.

What is it worth looking out for?

So far I'd have on my list:

A cast iron skillet

Muffin Pans/Pie Pans/loaf pans, etc.

Vintage Pyrex/Fire King - measuring cups, mixing bowls, (and baking dishes, if these are safe to cook from...is the consensus that they are prone to exploding? Or is that just the new ones?)

Enameled dutch oven (seems unlikely that I'd find this, but who knows!)

Dishes

What else should I look out for? I don't need a whole list of kitchen must haves, but maybe some of you might now what kinds of quality cookware (or dinner or servingware) I should look out for, or may you can share some of your own finds!

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  1. While you're keeping an eye out for the skillet, also keep an eye out for the the elusive cast iron bakeware. I lucked into several pieces for like 8 bucks several years ago. It should be noted that this was in a small town in the middle of nowhere however.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nocturnalbill

      Oooh, what did you get, Nocturnal? I found a Griswold "gem" pan for about $7 recently (that was a steal) but I had to pay close to $20 a piece for my 2 Griswold muffin/popover pans.

      What to look for? Nice, old Ecko stainless steel cooking utensils (spatulas, turning forks, etc.) are always good...potato ricers....hand-made crocheted potholders (they're just too pretty to use, though)...not likely but you might stumble onto some great old carbon steel knives...

    2. If anyone ever finds a 1970's Braun Kitchen Machine KM32 (mixer/blender/meat grinder) I will pay for it and arrange shipping from anywhere in Canada or the US. I am desperate to get my mitts on one of those again.

      1. Re exploding glass bakeware ... I have a ton of it (both vintage and bought new by me, some of which is about 20 years old now & I sometimes spot my pattern in antique malls), it's never happened to me or anyone I know personally. There's simply a huge amount of it out there ... the majority of households in the US own it. The explosions are quite rare in comparison with the huge number of pieces extant.

        They've changed the formula (for new Corningware--anything else?), and so the vintage stuff is better than new. Fire King is no longer in production, but AFAIK Anchor Hocking is (I've bought some myself, including a pretty ribbed ultramarine blue casserole).

        1. An old crockpot! (See threads on slow cookers) Do get one with a ceramic insert that can be taken out, soaked and washed though. I bought a 1970s model - with removeable ceramic - for $1 Canadian, but you will probably have to spend a bit more. I like the simple old models.

          I have seen a whole set of Le Creuset at a garage sale, the people were moving from Montréal to New Zealand, but I couldn't afford that and their Hoover, which I needed after a move. What you find will depend in part on the country, region, city and neighbourhood, but in part on sheer luck. Another moving sale I happened upon was by a chef moving to Asia. Alas his knives were sold except for some huge ones, but I did pick up one of those huge round perforated spoons with a long handle - these are called "spiders" if made of metal mesh but mine is stainless steel with holes. Useful in the wok but also for many other things. (No, I do NOT clean the catbox with it). A professional-quality pizza wheel and other gadgets I forget. I have bought at least four perfectly seasoned cast-iron skillets, and given two away to happy friends.

          Look out for estate sales for the quality stuff. I treasure my cross-and-olive crystal glasses, though they are not large by modern standards. Great for white wine.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lagatta

            Those seem like awesome finds. I would LOVE to come across a Le Creuset dutch oven. I have a 3 3/4 oval and I need a second bigger one. I think I'll probably just wind up buying a new one before next winter, but I can only hope! I need one of those spiders too.

          2. A couple other ideas ... I love my vintage S&P shakers ... the old range shakers are perfect for their original purpose, and the Flour and Sugar aren't bad to have either. I also have a collection of vintage refrigerator dishes--not only are they beautiful, but food keeps better in glass than in plastic.