By Karen Parr-Moody
Kitchen wares pepper the halls of GasLamp Antiques and Decorating Mall. One finds that from these items — which form a festive jumble from a variety of decades — a creative kitchen can take shape.
As inspiration, why not look to the Loveless Cafe? Mike Severson did when he took the photo of the famed cafe's sign (photo, right; framed and matted photo, $50; W-105). An area landmark, the cafe first began its long run of serving fried chicken and biscuits in 1951. It was then that Lon and Annie Loveless purchased the Harpeth Valley Tea Room and transformed it into the Loveless Motel and Cafe. Located at 8400 Tennessee Highway 100, it is about 30 minutes from GasLamp. To this day, Loveless chefs start baking at 3 a.m. daily, whipping up the from-scratch biscuits that Annie Loveless put on the map; the secret biscuit recipe has remained unchanged over the years.
The black-and-white enamelware pitcher in the photo, right, is as classic as it is useful ($45; Booth B-115). Enamelware was the first mass-produced kitchenware that came in an array of colors; among the tones were blue, red, purple, brown, green, pink, grey and white. Enamelware was first seen in mail-order catalogs and American dry-goods stores and during the 1870s. It was produced through the 1930s and included items such as biscuit cutters, baking tins, teapots, mixing bowls, muffin pans and ladles. These were stamped from thin sheets of iron, steel, or aluminum and then coated with colored enamel.
During World War II, many women donated their enamelware to scrap-metal drives. Enamelware production picked up again in the United States during the 1960s. Pieces that survived until today, such as this pitcher, are popular among collectors.
This charming yellow bean pot in the photo, right, is one in a long line of utilitarian kitchenware staples ($26; Booth B-2015). Used for centuries, bean pots were first created from pottery materials, which resulted in simple glazed crocks. These were prized for their multiple uses, which included cold storage in the root cellar and baking in the oven. While bean recipes may have remained largely unchanged through the eras, as did the basic bean pot silhouette, the pot's materials multiplied. During the 1930s, the French company Le Creuset constructed bean pots made of cast iron for use in fireplaces, eventually transitioning to durable stoneware for use in kitchen ovens.
The silhouette of the bean pot is not just attractive to look at; the round body is designed to circulate heat slowly and evenly. The slightly narrower neck is meant to minimize moisture evaporation and heat loss.
Mid-century Modern fans love the distinctive look of that design movement's kitchen accoutrements. In the photo, left, you will see a collection of such pieces. The yellow-and-white sauce pot in the center is the charming Lotus pattern produced by Cathrineholm, in Norway, during the 1950s and 1960s; it was designed by Norwegian artist Grete Prytz Kittelsen ($58; Booth B-2012). A type of enamelware, this piece would be the perfect accessory for a Danish Modern kitchen.
Also in the photo is a bright yellow sauce pan with a "pouring lip" and a teak handle ($25; Booth B-2012). It is a vintage Dansk Kobenstyle enameled piece that will surely provide the perfect pop of color for a Mid-century Modern kitchen. It was designed by Jens Quistgaard in the 1970s. Dansk is, and always has been, an American company, but early Kobenstyle pieces were made in Denmark; ones made after 1966 were produced in France.
The third item in this photo is a Kreamer Ware bread box with a built-in wood cutting board ($39; Booth B-2012). It will bring some shiny stainless steel flair to any kitchen, and can be used for its original purpose or to store items such as plates or dry goods.
Some people enjoy collecting vintage scales, which add nostalgia to a kitchen. These can stand alone or can be used as bookends for cookbooks or for holding plants. The beautifully shabby scale in the photo, right, would be a welcome addition to such a collection ($45; Booth B-110). It is a Pelouze Deluxe Way-ette (get it?), and it is perfect for the cook who wants a return to a classic, uncomplicated style. It weights items up to 25 pounds.
If you've ever looked at Rachel Ray's television kitchen you will see that she shows off a collection of kitschy enamelware in tones of yellow, red and blue. That is one way to go, but there are many directions available once one begins collecting items of pretty kitchenware. And when your kitchen items are as cute as these vintage finds, you don't have to hide anything away in cupboards.