Remember those kindergarten worksheets where a group of objects were pictured, and you had to circle the one which didn’t belong with the rest? Well, if you play that game with the above photo, I certainly hope you circle the broken piece of junk in the upper left corner! That doozey not only “doesn’t belong” because it’s broken, but also because it is BRAND NEW—whereas the other items are vintage or just downright OLD. And some of us know that OLD is often best!
The piece of junk is (allegedly) a jar opener, recently purchased at (you guessed it!) WalMart for (would you believe?) $3.98 plus our Wisconsin sales tax. We bought one a few weeks ago. That very night I used it and it broke in my hands—without even beginning to open the jar.
Being nice folks, we gave the silly contraption a proverbial benefit of the doubt, returned it to WalMart (they are good about returns there), and bought another identical alleged jar opener. That very same night Joe used it, and it broke in his hands without even beginning to open the jar. So we wrapped #2 non-jar opener in a bag with its sales slip and for all I know the goofy thing is still sitting in our van. Returning purchases, even to “good” WalMart, gets old. We may save ourselves a hassle and simply forfeit the $3.98 plus Wisconsin sales tax.
Meanwhile, back to “OLD is often best”! The other items pictured above have been with me (or someone else) for a long time, and I am still using them. To the right of the silly piece of junk is a genuine jar opener which was in my family ever since I can remember. But some jar lids are made differently today, and my family treasure no longer works on every new jar of jam or whatever. Yet I will never part with it.
The other vintage items have been picked up for a song. (I do a lot of singing during garage sale season!) I dearly love them, and they warm my heart for 2 reasons: 1) they haven’t broken with decades of use and 2) they are drop dead gorgeous. I am one of those odd individuals who cannot live without ambience and charm. OLD normally abounds in ambience and charm, and NEW often does not—with the exception of babies, kittens, and puppies. They have charm, plus!
Most of our kitchen and dining room items are OLD: my Grandmother’s (1880) dishes plus our wedding china and a plethora of auction and antique mall gems, Victorian era glassware, old sterling and silverplate, practical utensils like those pictured above, charming tins (mostly made in Britain), wonderful old mixing bowls, etc.
Contemporary brides register for exotic cookware. I always smile inside when the gifts are opened at showers. I truly wonder if those “out-of-the-home” career women are really going to do all that much cooking! As the latest in French cookery is unwrapped at bridal showers, I fondly think of my circa 1953 pots and pans—the classic Revere Ware which never wears out.
Over the years I’ve tried an occasional non-stick this, and trendy-pretty that, always to return to my beloved first choice of stainless steel with copper bottoms. Along with the Revere Ware, I treasure my old cast iron frying pans and Dutch oven. There is nothing in the world like cast iron for creating rich brown gravy on a brown pot roast baked for hours in a slow oven. Crock pots can’t do that, and I challenge the exotic French stuff to even try!
Conversely, we do have a few new kitchen items of which I am inordinately fond: my lime green digital scale (the above-pictured scale doesn’t measure to the ounce—a feature I need for making perfect soap), my flaming red Kitchen Aid hand mixer with 5 speeds, and a funky orange collander (would you believe, plastic?). Also our coffee pot is new, but actually the concept is vintage; it’s a percolator! Not many are made today, but there are a few out there—accessible on AMAZON.
Percolators make real (strong!!!) coffee with a mellow flavor. Since my mother used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”, I won’t even tell you what I think of that other kind of coffee maker—currently ubiquitous.
Where is all of this Monday morning diatribe going? Simply here: it’s only late January, and already I’m chafing, chomping, straining for those garage sales to start. In lieu of garage sales, Joe and I may take a spin over to St. Vinnie’s this week. Just like our home, St. Vinnie’s is a charming place where OLD is often best!
Margaret L. Been, ©2012