Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Kitchen Travel Treasures & July's LOL Posts

This is my kitchen a few days before our move. We are not packing up. Aside from a few small things, Everything stays here which has made our jump across the pond much easier to a furnished rental apartment. Waiting until we find a permanent place to live in New York City, we are taking only clothes and essentials. Later on we will move more of our personal effects. Time to start over in a new space.

Essentials for me would be shoving pots, pans, cookie sheets and cutters, extracts and decorating supplies into as many boxes as possible. However, baking supplies are abundant and available in NYC and in most cases, more economical. So I need to take a deep breath and let go. As much as I would love to bring the contents of my kitchen with me, those are not the things I will miss about our home.

My walls and kitchen here are filled with mementos from numerous travels all over the globe and I will miss them.

When I first started dating Dr. B he was a flying doctor. His work sometimes took him to several countries a week. On our first official date he had just returned from bringing a patient home to Germany from Bangkok. As a joke he presented me with a plastic pink flowered cell phone case he bought in the night market. As our relationship developed, this became became a tradition. He would arrive back with something funny, kitschy or tacky from every place he went, even if it was a hastily picked up tchotchke purchased at the local airport.

Over those years, I received a magic genie lamp and curled and tasseled turkish slippers from Istanbul, stuffed koala toys from Australia, sno globes and thimbles from all over the planet. The sillier, the better. I had two elegant golden curio cabinets mounted on the wall where I kept everything. It was our joke.  

The truth is he is not a collector, other than those things he procured for me, he never shops in his travels and is a minimalist at his core. Everything he is bringing to NYC fits into a few suitcases. I am the opposite. Those love token gifts were crammed into their own designated spot because I take my travel shopping seriously and I needed room everywhere else to display my finds.  Our walls are covered with handmade items and art pieces from all over the world. When I look at them, they not only remind me of where they came from but more importantly, I see each face of the person who sold them to me.

Here is a little tour of some of my kitchen/dining travel finds:

Spice baskets from Cambodia
Pineapple shaped nesting wooden bowls from Hawaii
Hand painted rice bowls from Indonesia 
Hand painted tile mirror from Costa Rica
Hand painted wooden trays from Florence, Italy
Lacquered soup bowls from Hanoi, Vietnam

I prefer to buy food in tins as often as I can. As the tin outlasts the contents, I am left with a lovely useful souvenir. Here are two of my favorites.

Sweet and Spicy Paprika in Tins from Budapest
Cafe Du Monde coffee cans from New Orleans hold my kitchen utensils
My kitchen witch marionette from Prague is supposed to bring luck to the home.
Nesting bowls fron Hanoi, Vietnam with eggshells lacquered into the exterior 
Nesting (ha!) hand carved wooden turtle shaped platters from the Maldives
Salad bowl from Cannes, France
Spice grinder from Istanbul
Stone platter with embedded fossils from the Atlas mountains, Morocco
Hand painted tin fish hooks from St. John, Virgin Islands
Wooden bowl with embedded cinnamon from the Maldives
The cinnamon stick pieces make a beautiful design and the bowl itself smells amazing.
Easter themed ceramic egg cups and napkin rings from Budapest.
Hand painted napkin rings from Moscow
Wooden inlaid coasters from Sorrento, Italy. Their scenes of the Amalfi coast remind me of several trips I made there.
Felucca themed kitchen rug from Egypt
Extra large spekulatius mold from my favorite thrift shop here in Germany. My MIL explained the different designs. Saving that for a holiday post.
These hand painted wooden boxes from St. Petersburg, Russia hold lots of cookie decorating supplies
Elephant themed table runner from Laos
Hand painted ceramic bowls from Lisbon, Portugal
Hand woven mats from Grenada
Hand painted covered casserole dish from Strasbourg, France
Tagine from Marrakesh, Morocco
This last item was given to my husband as a gift by a Fijian colleague at the UN Mission in Iraq. An essential in any kitchen.
Cannibal fork from Fiji

Just want to see if you were paying attention.

Amused? To prolong your amusement, read this month's funny food blogger posts below:

LilaLoa's Uncle Sam Cookie Tutorial.

The Island of Dr. Gâteau's Food Website Bingo.

The Art of Being Perfect's Naughty Little Sprinkle Stealing Monsters Caught on Camera: Part 2.

Food Network Humor's 16 Awkward Food and Beverage Names.

Scarletta Bakes bids a fond farewell to her hand mixer.

The Cupcake Bandits rant on The World's Dumbest Foods.

Serious Eats shows what happens when you order every mix in a Cold Stone Creamery.

Salty Seattle's take on the Double Wide.

Food for the Thoughtless concocts the Danish Modern.


  1. have some really incredible collection! I love that mirror.

  2. Interesting items. The chopsticks go through those bowls, interesting for presentation. And the last item - of course every kitchen needs it - its no good to use regular utensils for such meals:)

  3. Wow! I can certainly see why you're reluctant to leave these behind! Such great souvenirs from times past!

  4. love love LOVE all of those things! I would've married Dr. B, too! Great taste! :)

  5. I love your kitchen! Great colours, with the turquoise, lime and orange, and wonderful treasures. My faves were the Costa Rican mirror, the cinnamon bowl from the Maldives and the Cafe du Monde coffee cans (I sooooo miss Cafe du Monde!). But that kitchen witch would freak me out! ;-) I'm sure your kitchen in NYC will soon be just as fabulously eclectic!

  6. Such fun things! I am a collector (hoarder would be a less nice way to say it), so I have a difficult time being minimalist, even when it would be helpful to be so! We moved a couple of miles from an apartment to a duplex and it took me a month to move everything because I didn't even go through my belongings, just put them in my car, drove across town, left them at the new place and kept at it until our apartment was empty! I don't know how I'd handle moving to a different continent!

    Good luck with your move! It's so exciting!

  7. What a fun bunch of stuff. I have trouble getting rid of things with sentimental value. Love those hand painted trays from Italy. Oh not sure about that Cannibal fork but :)


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