It takes a lot of work to live a simple life. Nowhere is my simple life more obvious than in our tiny Maine kitchen, which is NOT outfitted with anything fancy or any modern "conveniences." Slice, mix, grind, open, brew, shred, wash, drink, dry, grate, can, julienne...by hand works fine, but it takes a bit more time.
I was tickled to receive a post from my friend Debra Jean today. We're on the same wavelength, probably because we live in similar old cottages. I met Debra and her wonderful daughter Nicolette when they attended a talk and book signing I did on Cape Cod in late June. Nicolette is the one who said that their cottage kitchen is "HONEST and humble." I think ours is the same. Honest, humble, and the epicenter of island life in Maine.
Not necessities, but these things make me smile. Salt and pepper lobster shakers, a lobster sugar dish, and a cautionary sign.
I use these old friends every day. Some of them are from my grandmother. Others are finds from tag sales and antique shops. Cooking in iron makes everything taste better.
I love this sign. Hmmmm, I wonder which industry funded the printing of it? I think it is hilarious, especially "Take a bath oftener than once a week."
This is a trivet from the old Portland Stove Works. It was used on a woodstove and is in the shape of "The Pine Tree State."
It wasn't until the night we moved in here that I realized we didn't have a single drawer in the kitchen. Luckily, Augustine, our lovely old Hotpoint, has a drawer for our cutlery. Everything else goes into tins and crocks.
Ok, it is NOT a totally "honest kitchen." I don't like appliances. The toaster is hidden under a French linen dish towel that my pal Lynn brought back from her trip to France. The apple cutting board is from a local tag sale, and the big board behind the apple is from a cottage my friends owned. I think the board was part of their floor. Oh well, it works for me.
All glassware is from a church auction and tag sale.
The lobster dishes are my favorites. I also love the Swanky Swigs with stars and boats and the old tumblers with boats. The dishes and cups with sea creatures were given to us by all our wonderful employees at my old business, Heart's Ease.
Our cupboards were the ugliest...plywood. Jeff took off the doors, sanded everything, and then painted the insides with a glossy linen white (all paints are Benjamin Moore). Not so bad now.
Fancy storage? Who needs it? An old Folger's coffee jar on the left, a peanut jar (why a fish logo), and small red-lidded peanut butter jars serve me well.
The two chickens hold salt and pepper. They were given to me by my friends Barbara and Jane who owned the cottage down the road. They're the ones who gave me the floorboard cutting board.
Recycled dishtowels are my curtains. Look closely at each day of the week, but especially Saturday, which must have been party time.
A big pitcher and some martini glasses dance with a glass. This is very Wizard of Ozish.
Sunday is mellow as Sunday should be.
What is that screened thing on the refrig? It is a late 1800's garde manger from Paris. It was the one thing I wanted to find and tote home from France. Everyone assured me that we'd never locate a real one, but we did in Isle Sur La Sorgue flea market. Little iron hooks in the top hold saucisson. This was a challenge to pack and carry onto the plane. You should've seen the look on the face of the customs official. The basket is also from France. We met the man who not only grew the willow, but also wove it, then carried the finished works of art to market. I use this basket for our Farmer's Market.
When we moved in, our counters, back splash, and floors sported that very 1940ish blue marbled linoleum. Jeff worked for days and days with a pry bar and putty knife removing the linoleum. Then he installed thick and forgiving slabs of Vermont soapstone for the counters, back splash, and sink. The thing about soapstone that I really love is that you can set hot iron right on it without any damage. Also, if you get a scratch or scrape, just rub on some olive oil, and it is fine. One minor pain, you can't let water sit on soapstone or it gets a gray mark. Again, just rub on a dab of olive oil.
What could be simpler than a wire dish dryer? I do the washing, Mother Nature does the drying.
The big water jug (above) holds our supply of drinking water. Our everyday water for showering and dishwashing comes from an open reservoir and spring about a two minute walk from our house. Yep, we brush our teeth with frog water, but we drink deep spring water from ...
... a spring that is under our South Bristol Town Hall. We take large, empty containers to Town Hall and draw our water from a spigot at the side of the building. Lots of times we run into neighbors and catch up on the local gossip. This is also a great area for meeting new people.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time...do you have an honest kitchen? Send me a photo if you do.
P.S. Stop by the Lowe's Garden Grow Along blog for my new posting.