Finding Culinary Treasures at Auctions

Finding Culinary Treasures at Auctions
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Auctions possess a fascination for those seeking a bargain or a rare find. Attended by dealers, non-professionals looking for antiques, people simply needing an item for their home, or the person who finds this a pleasurable way to spend the day, auctions have been a part of our heritage for decades.
From out of attics and barns across the countryside, come items one person calls "junk" and sees as something he can dispense with for extra money. However, another person sees them as treasures of value.

At auctions you may come across exactly what you're looking for to enhance your home or your collection, whether it's glassware, china, woodenware, old dolls, tinware, quilts and coverlets, rugs, furniture, silver, barn tools, pewter, and much more.

Decorating With Kitchen Finds

When looking for kitchen or culinary items at auctions and yard sales, your taste might be guided by something you remember from childhood, items you've begun collecting over the years, objects you're using in your decorative scheme, or simply collectibles you like for no reason at all.

Decorating your kitchen with auction finds can be fun and you might choose themes around various items. My daughter once lived in an apartment in an older house. In the large kitchen were shelves and cabinet tops where she could place collectibles. She alternated between baskets of various sizes and canning jars.

Some of the jars were blue glass and decorative in their own right. The clear glass ones she filled with marbles, beans, and macaroni of different shapes and colors. From picking up, at first, a few jars because she liked their shape and color, she became fascinated with fruit jar collecting.

Kitchen Gadgets

Others collect kitchen gadgets...egg beaters, potato mashers, spoons, whips, and graters. You can hang or place these around the room at various locations and in attractive arrangements.

Baskets come in any size and many materials. Sometimes you may want to use them to hold flowers, apples, gourds, and other items in keeping with a season. With other baskets you may place odds and ends at a desk or on a attractive "catch-all" container.

You can hang baskets, fill them with newspapers and magazines, store dish towels, hold kitchen utensils, and help as organizers.

Recipes for Collectors

While you're busy attending auctions, collecting, and decorating your kitchen, try this soup recipe my daughter developed. It can be made ahead and reheated.

HAMBURGER VEGETABLE SOUP - Brown 1 pound hamburger or turkey burger in Dutch oven. Drain off fat; add 3 1/2 cups water, 3 beef bouillon cubes, 10 oz. can stewed tomatoes, 10 oz. can tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more as desired), 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, 3 large sliced carrots, 3 medium potatoes cut into cubes,1 chopped onion.

Simmer until vegetables are cooked through. Then add one 10 oz. can whole kernel corn and 1/2 a 16-oz. bag of frozen Italian vegetables. Simmer until these are cooked and flavors blended. Remove bay leaf. Serve with freshly baked bread.

(Every time Beth makes this soup, she varies some of the vegetables and seasonings, depending on what she has on hand or the season. )

(c)2002 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has written "Curios of Yesteryear" for publications since the 1960s. She and her daughter find their trips into the realms of collectibles enjoyable adventures. Mary Emma also writes other columns, books, and travel articles. Her book, "The Magic of Patchwork", takes you into the history of quiltmaking. Visit her web site for more information about her columns and books at

For online auction resources and tips click here


About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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