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kitchen collectibles

by Diana Bulls



Salt. It is one thing that all of us have in common ? we need it to survive. In pretty close to every kitchen in America, there is a salt shaker sitting on the table or next to the stove. And, I am willing to bet, that many of those shakers have been filled by a blue box with a little girl carrying an umbrella on the label.

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by Diana Bulls



Summer is truly upon us. Three digit days are to be expected in the Central Valley and many of us are relying on time-tested measures to get us through the heat of the day. Some people are lucky enough to have air conditioning or a backyard pool. I live in an old house–air conditioning was unheard of in 1910. We also gave up the pool when we moved into town. So I have to rely on my ceiling fans and iced tea.

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by Diana Bulls



I really love all those strange and funny ceramics produced in Japan during the pre war days and immediately afterwards. Before I decided to start down-sizing my collections, my kitchen shelves were filled with pitchers, tea sets and odd little condiment sets. I have managed to pare my collection down to a couple of tea sets and about six or seven pitchers, along with an egg cup and some pie birds. Still, whenever I visit an antique or thrift store I am compelled to check out the kitschy Japanese ceramics.

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by Diana Bulls



So, you probably didn’t even realize it, but you might already have a cook book collection sitting on one of your kitchen shelves. You might own a cook book by Betty Crocker, Fanny Farmer or Better Homes and Gardens that you got for a shower or wedding gift – a good, basic cookbook with lots of how-to pictures. You might have a couple of cook books put out by your church or a local ladies club, and then there are those advertising cook books from companies like Pillsbury, Campbell’s Soup or Jell-O.

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by Diana Bulls


Ever since human beings began cooking food as opposed to eating things raw, some enterprising soul has tried to come up with tools that would help make cooking and kitchen chores easier. Rock and wood tools eventually gave way to those made of metal, dull edges became sharpened, woven containers were replaced by clay, etc. etc.

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by Diana Bulls


The end of World War II called for a big party. Soldiers and sailors were coming home; families were being reunited and it seemed that the worries of the 1930s and early 40s were over. All of the home front effort in war production had helped pull the country out of the depression. There were more jobs with better pay. Rationing was over and Americans wanted to spend money. For the first time, in a long time, any American housewife could buy something that wasn’t necessary or needed to run a household.

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Kitchen Collectible: Cookie Cutters

IN THE December 20 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andDiana Bulls,
andFood Fun,
andHometown History
SECTIONS

by Diana Bulls


Christmas is just around the corner and I bet most of you will be baking at least one batch of cookies. It doesn’t matter if they are sugar cookies, gingerbread men, or snicker doodles. It doesn’t even matter if they are made from scratch or out of a refrigerated package or a box mix. When Christmas arrives, there had better be cookies. (I mean, you do want a visit from Santa. Right?) Yes, Christmas is definitely cookie season.

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by Diana Bulls


Just about everyone I know has at least one cast iron skillet in their kitchen (or maybe in their camping equipment). Most of these pans were family hand-me-downs, but the more astute cook has actually searched them out at yard sales or thrift stores. Besides skillets–in all sizes–there are griddles, Dutch ovens, pots, waffle irons and muffin pans. In fact, cast iron was the world’s first “non-stick” cookware.

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by Diana Bulls



One of my fondest childhood memories of summer is homemade ice cream. For no particular reason, other than it was hot, Mom would mix up a batch of ice cream and Daddy would get the old White Mountain, hand-cranked freezer out of the tank house. The filled freezer container would go in the wooden bucket, and Daddy would layer in the ice and salt, and finally the cranking mechanism.

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by Diana Bulls



“Summer’s here and the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.” Well, actually it’s not cotton, but fruits and vegetables. That’s right, summer’s bounty can be found at our local farmer’s market on Wednesday night, at fruit stands and in our own backyards. The variety of fruits and vegetables we have available is one of the best things about summer in the San Joaquin Valley.

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by Diana Bulls


Today there are not many Americans who think about how to store food. Nearly every household has a refrigerator, a freezer and a variety of plastic or metal storage canisters. Food comes from the grocery store in cans, bottles, boxes or bags–ready to just put away in the frig or pantry–with little concern about hungry critters

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by Diana Bulls



Most of us pay little or no attention to salt & pepper. They don’t cost much and are easily obtainable at any grocery store. Every household has a container of salt & pepper on the table or in the cupboard, but it wasn’t always this way. At one time, both salt and pepper were literally worth their weight in gold! Modern salt mining techniques and expanded pepper growing regions have made them an everyday item rather than a luxury.

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Practical Kitchen Pets: Pie Birds

IN THE November 10 ISSUE

FROM THE 2012 Articles,
andDiana Bulls,
andFood Fun,
andHometown History
SECTIONS

by Diana Bulls



So, you have taken my advice from past articles and have started poking around in your grandmother’s (or mother’s) kitchen drawers, and you found this ceramic thingy. It sort of looks like it was half of a salt and pepper set, but then again, there is only one hole on top and it’s way too big. Lucky you; you have found a pie bird! It is one of those whimsical, days-gone-by kitchen gadgets that is still practical enough that every pie baker should have one.

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