Fire Kings

On my weekly pilgrimage to my parents on Sunday, I snuck into my grandparents old basement apartment (I didn’t really sneak, you see when my father asked me to go to the downstairs garage to get some cans of cranberry soda – aka the new taste sensation – out of refridgerator #2, I simply took a detour first). My goal was to find something nostalgic that would spawn a recipe which could be shared here.

There will be no recipe in this post.

And so there they rested. In the cabinets just above the sink they hid, completely forlorn – one yellow, one red, piped with a now-chipped black rim.

With abilities enabling them to withstand the temperature of scalding ladles of chicken soup or perhaps perfectly al dente pastene – on those days of inferm, chock-filled with TV gameshow watching – they also carefully contained and denied countless streams of ice cream melt from trickling down on the floral motif-slickened and spun-vinyl backed protective barrier that stood guard over the cleanliness of the kitchen table. They valiantly served as temporary vessels for generous handfuls of dry-roasted peanuts and contained the splashes of many-a skim-milk-soaked Kellogg (sic) cornflake.

I’d be bluffing if I claimed their discovery didn’t require me to choke back a few wet ones. For the first time ever these puny bowls filled my mind, not my tummy.

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Brimfield Flea and the Quest for VTG Condiment Jars of a Specific Brand

I’ve got an addiction – an addiction to dull, chipped, faded and otherwise just plain-old, worn-out hunks of junk.

Today marks the last day of the last week of the 2013 season for the Mecca of salvage dealers/hoarders/appreciators known the world over simply as Brimfield Flea – and thus my last opportunity to get dirty with the carnies. As an avid collector of antiquated designs and technologies myself, you best believe I made the trek.

Namely, this was done in order to update and expand my extensive western cowboy shirt collection. This included the score of the day: a rad 60’s-era red gingham with ornate yoke on the back (for ten bucks).

I also hoped to score a very specific type of container that was just mentioned in the post prior: a vinty glass jar emblazoned (I now hate that word) with it’s distinctly undulating banner, whose very markings proclaim it’s contents as being the mustard of choice on Sears Avenue.

After hours of scouring the acres upon acres of grounds that constitute the Brimfield Antiques Show and Flea Market I uncovered a few 75th Anniversary Planter’s peanuts jars, just about every soft drink bottle known to humankind and the almost-but-not-quite Gulden’s container. Although many could be considered somewhat relevant to this blog (Sprite and/or Slice vessels in particular), not a single vendor had what it was that I was really after: French’s mustard.

Instead of here documenting the jaw-dropping breadth of the show’s magnitude, the grotesquely life-sized Elvis and Bruce Lee statues or the slew of clouds-at-their-feet gidrul’, unable to perform the most basic of bipedal functions without bumping into one another, due to their “bargains-on-the-brain” mentality, I have settled on this simple snag below.

I will spare readers my laborious use of metaphor and just show this assortment of old valve handles. Papa would like stuff like this. Please feel free to draw your own conclusions.

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Ensconced in Terry or Gravy Shields

A memory from my cousin:

“All children under age of 18 must wear full bath towel around neck to protect from red gravy”.

Frances. Forever ultra-vigilant in her desire to keep us grandkids devoid of splatter. We didn’t have a say in the matter either. As soon as we sat at her kitchen table she would fasten these excessively over-sized, absorbent cloths around our hungry necklines with a safety pin – giant protective bibs.

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Papa Pan

Some say it was the olive-oil-drenched dough, others the skin-on, unpeeled tomatoes from the garden, while still others insist it was it’s sheer simplicity, but the real secret to Salvatore’s infamous pizza was his pan. There were always a couple of these speckled, enamelware gems in rotation – satisfying all of his roasting, baking and at times even transporting needs (it’s deep and has big handles – not saying that it was used for spreading manure, but who knows?). These coveted casserole-like containers carried many-a comestible from oven-to-table over the decades – and continue to do so today. There are however a few unwritten rules that go along with it’s use:

-It is never to be washed – let it cool and just wipe it down (read: “seasoning”).

-Always store in really hard-to-get-to places. Here are a few suggested spots: above the fridge, deep under the sink or better yet, at the bottom of a pile of other cooking vessels.

-If you ever have to use it to prepare something to bring to someone else’s house for say a holiday or gathering, make certain to transfer your goods to a separate serving plate. Otherwise, you will never see your papa pan again.

-Whatever you decide to prepare in it, be sure to serve to family and friends with lots of love..

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