Aged sixteen I was encouraged to take my first job at a shop called Scullery Made in Malvern, Victoria (www.scullerymade.com.au). Scullery Made sells top shelf cooking utensils imported from Europe, and stocks close to 4000 different items. Try and imagine what it was like at sixteen when a customer would come into the store asking for a mandolin, targine, paring knife, orange carver, mouli, muslin and the list goes on – who would have thought that there were close to 4000 different ‘things’ you can use for cooking, many with very unique or french names never heard before.
Keeping that in mind it may come as no surprise that I was told it wasn’t going to work out at Scullery Made – after my first day!
Almost every item a customer asked for I didn’t know, and when I got too embarrassed to ask the owner (again) to translate to me what the customer wanted (and show me where it was located in the huge and very complicated storeroom), I would venture out to the storeroom on my own to scan the shelves (of 4000 items!) for a name that looked similar to what they had asked for (speedy customer service wasn’t top of mind at that point in time!).
The moral of that story is: There are a lot of Kitchen utensils (more than 4000…) and they have some very strange names, and purposes (and my husband is very concerned about this).
He is concerned because about 2 years ago I started collecting red antique kitchen utensils to hang on our kitchen wall. It started off very casually at first, however I did hear the words ‘becoming an obsession’ muttered by my husband yesterday in an antique store when I was purchasing my 17th item (If only he knew there are around 3950 more out there according to Scullery Made!).
My criteria is very simple … Utensils only eg. something with a wooden handle, that is small enough to hang on my kitchen wall, and red (usually just the handle is coloured). I chose red because I have a fondness for a splash of red in my decor at home, and if I only collected one colour it made the hunt more challenging. Until my recent travels in the last week my kitchen wall looked like this: With a knife, mouli, piping/decorating utensil, fish scaler, butter whip, cooking slide, beater, slicer, baller and cutter (clearly not their technical names, or Scullery Made approved terminology).
Holidays + traveling = visiting antique stores (and I LOVE it!).
Being Christmas we have been in the East and West of Victoria, and all the antique shops in all the towns we have passed through. My husband could give you a detailed description of how much fun he has had while I search these stores for red cooking utensils – thank god for the cricket test match broadcast on the radio, it makes staying in the car and waiting for me enjoyable bearable for him! (The key to buying more time is to find something in the town your companions might be interested in doing, looking at or listening to whilst you look – I find wineries, Dan Murphy’s or sending them to get a coffee very useful).
I can go months without finding anything, then suddenly every shop has something red, and something I don’t already have – this holiday break has been especially fruitful. I am yet to hang these new items on the wall, and find a name and purpose for some of them – if only Scullery Made produced a Kitchen Utensil Dictionary with images.
I am a little stuck on the item that looks like a cement trowel – any suggestions?
What I have failed to mention (which might also help to explain why this if an obsession interest of mine) is that I studied Hotel Management as my undergraduate degree, and as part of that course I took 2 cooking classes for 2 years – Culinary Techniques (Fine dining style cooking techniques), and Commercial Food Production (Cooking for 50 plus people), so my knowledge of cooking utensils and love for cooking has matured beyond that of my one day at Scullery Made back in the 1980′s.