Welcome to Carolina’s Cupboard!
Here you will find my list of merchants who sell appropriate historic items, whether they be iron “S” hooks or herb crushers and graters or ceramic pots. All are vendors that I’ve used and continue to use. This list will be fairly specific, and you’ll discover that I believe not every item required for early 19th Century (and earlier) cooking can be acquired from one and only one seller. You’ll have to pick and choose from several different sources. At least, that’s what I did. Of course, price is always
a consideration, and, as those who know me will attest, I HATE to spend more
than necessary. Not that I haven’t made a few poor choices; I most certainly have.
But that’s the point of this section! Learn from my mistakes and take advantage
of my past purchasing experiences. Feel free, as well, to suggest other sources.
If you disagree with anything on my list, that’s fine, too. Everyone has their favorites, and these just happen to be mine.
Let’s get started! [NOTE: all are reproductions, unless otherwise noted]
Stoneware: I must start with a major shout-out to my potter friend and former
co-worker (and fictional husband) at Conner Prairie Museum (CP), Larry Gilliam.
HUZZAH! For reproduction early 19th century stoneware pitchers, bowls,
storage crocks, mugs, tankards, butter churns, etc. etc., you cannot go wrong.
Larry has been Master Potter at CP for probably more than 30 years. When
he retires, all may be lost. Until then, however, you can contact Larry
at (888) 508-1836. Tell him Lucinda, er, Carolina sent you. 😮
In addition, for now at least, I would say stick with the stoneware. Although redware is also available, it’s not the best. (Sorry, Larry!) Well, maybe it is.
But, it’s not what is made day after day after day. Larry & company’s (mostly
just Larry) forte is most definitely reproduction stoneware. My choice for redware
is elsewhere on this list. Wherever you purchase pottery, be sure to ask and/or
specify what time period you desire (i.e. 17th, 18th, or 19th century, and early
or late within those, etc.).
Birch Twig Whisk: Buy wonderful, period-appropriate birch twig
whisks directly from www.giftchaletauburn.com (it’s in Auburn, MA).
Shipping will cost more than the whisk, so buy several, keep
one and a spare, and sell the rest to friends and family. Or,
buy ’em from eBay (even though it’s the exact same store).
AND, oddly enough, THEY’RE CHEAPER! (by $2).
*NOTE:* Sadly, I’ve just been informed that these whisks
are no longer available, either from the aforementioned
vendor or from e-bay (naturally, as they’re one and
the same.) I’m so sorry! All I can advise is, just keep
checking now and then, as they may return. (Here’s hoping!)
**NOTE #2:** They’re back! At the Gift Chalet. HUZZAH!
The price went up, but hey! At least now you can buy them
again. I bought a few, just in case…. (8/10/2011)
NOTE #3: Dagnabit, once again, these are “unavailable.”
All I can say is, just keep checking, as they may, again,
be available. In the meantime, if you are desperately
in need of a birch twig whisk, I have some extras, and
I might be willing to part with a few; e-mail me,
12/2/2011 UPDATE: Guess what?! Just checked Chalet’s
website and, yep, they’re baaaaaaack! It really is up and
down on these for some reason. Lesson is, keep looking
and don’t give up. HUZZAH!
Cooperage: (Reproduction 18th century wood water buckets, flour
and sugar buckets, etc.) Ron P. Raiselis, P.O. Box 4054, Portsmouth,
New Hampshire, 03802-4054; (207) 339-0030.
Excellent craftsmanship. Ron works for Portsmouth’s Strawberry Banke
historic site. He formerly plied his trade at Colonial Williamsburg.
Copper and brass kettles/pots and knives: Crazy Crow Trading Post
Fireplace shovel: (iron) Circa 1820. Nice-sized, not too heavy or
too light, hand forged shovels. Great customer service, by the way,
if any problems develop.
Gridiron: (iron, for roasting/grilling meats and fish) Landis Valley Museum
(in the past, you could order this online, but I don’t think you can now,
so you’ll probably need to call) and Historic Housefitters. Both have similar
products, with slightly different dimensions, for about the same price.
At one time, I was going to purchase from Landis, but then I found one
on eBay (and it was MUCH cheaper! HUZZAH!).
By the way, Smoke & Fire also sells one, but I think the legs on what’s
offered are much too long. All of the originals that I’ve seen have the short
legs (roughly 2 to 3 inches). I say choose one of the others above.
Herb/vegetable grinder: The results of recent research has revealed
that, to be safe, unless you’re portraying the Civil War era, stay away
from these. They were NOT available or used in this country during
the 18th or early 19th centuries.
Historic Ingredients: Purchase all those nigh-impossible-to-find
ingredients from Jennifer and Rob Dobyns, who’re operating as Dobyns
and Martin, Grocers, at the Sign of the Sugar Loaf. The website for the new company.
Horn spoons: G Gedney Godwin. I also bought a couple in the Gift Shop
at Washington Crossing Park (Pennsylvania side). They weren’t too
expensive, and I like when I can pick ‘n choose which ones I want.
Particularly with horn spoons, because they often can look like
everyday plastic spoons. I like a little color variation. Helps, too,
with any accidental, “Oh, that plastic spoon? I threw it away.”
Iron ware: Like everything else, I’ve bought items from several different
sources: I got a wonderful, not-too-expensive trivet from the Blacksmith
at Conner Prairie. Call the number above (for the potters), and request
an item and price list; Jymm Hoffman of Hoffman’s Forge custom-made
a spider (skillet on three long legs, no lid) for me, and I have one of his
trammel hooks and a toaster (which, in all honesty, can be found
cheaper elsewhere); inexpensive “S”hooks can be had from Hoffman’s,
G Gedney Godwin and Circa 1820; cooking skewers (great for chicken-
on-a-string) from The Scarlet Scarab; and an inexpensive fire poker can
be found at Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc.
Various items can also be purchased via the Historic Trades craftspeople
at Colonial Williamsburg. It’s a trade-off, however; you’ll be guaranteed
historical authenticity, but you’ll pay dearly for it.
Pewter Table Spoons: (for eating, serving) G. Gedney Godwin.
Redware and Stoneware: A major HUZZAH! to the folks (all two of them!)
at Westmoore Pottery in Seagrove, North Carolina. Owner/potters Mary and
David Farrell make a wide variety of items that are appropriate for the 17th,
18th, and early 19th centuries (be sure to specify which you need when ordering).
They do excellent work. Reasonable prices, too.
I strongly believe that an historic cook should have a bowl from one vendor,
a pitcher from another, a storage crock from a third, and so on. No household
of earlier centuries would have had a matched set of wares, so mix ‘n match
Re-tinning copper pots: Atlantic Retinning and Metal Refinishing
Tea Use ONLY loose tea. NO TEA BRICKS!!! Such things were NOT sold,
used, or even available in this country during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Utensils, cooking: get your long-handled iron spoon, spatula, and skimmer
from G. Gedney Godwin; purchase your cooking fork and ladle from James
Townsend and Son, Inc.
8/3/2012 UPDATE: Unfortunately, I must remove G. Gedney Godwin.
Just this week I received a cooking spatula and spoon,
and to be blunt, both were god-awful. They must’ve
changed suppliers? In any event, I returned both
and will be looking elsewhere.
Wooden bowls, small: $12 each @ Avalon Forge www.avalonforge.com.
You’ll need to order and pay via PayPal or snail mail. I have about six
of these bowls, and they are simply wonderful. I cannot attest
at this time, however, to their other items.
UPDATE 5/29/2013: First of all, the price on these
bowls has gone up; they are now $14. Second, I just
ordered/received two (2) more and was very disappointed.
I realize they are probably hand made, but the new ones
seem bigger overall and the sides thicker than what I got
a few years ago (am SO glad I got a couple extra back then;
should’ve gotten more!). Also, the flat area on the bottom
is now bigger and more pronounced, which is not good. The
old ones have that, but it’s FAR less noticeable. dagnabit.
And so, I no longer recommend them.
HOWEVER, I did get an excellent camp (straight-sided)
kettle. It nicely matches those that John U. Rees talks
about and illustrates in his articles on proper Rev War
camp cooking equipment (see http://www.RevWar75.com).
HUZZAH for that!
A note about eBay: I have purchased many items, both actual antiques
and reproductions, from assorted vendors on eBay. It’s absolutely amazing
what can be found. I’ve acquired cutting boards, cast iron skillets, sugar nippers,
waffle irons, posnets, a marvelous gridiron, mortar & pestles, large & small graters,
copper wash basins, dough scrapers, wood flour sieves, and more. Yes, I’ve also
bought a few duds (rust covered or painted cast iron kettle, anyone?). It pays
to know what is correct and acceptable, to do your research, and to ask lots
and LOTS of questions in advance.
In addition, I’ve picked up some great items at local thrift, vintage, and antique
shops. And of course, things like wooden spoons can be picked up cheaply at
the local Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and marble mortar & pestles at Sur La Table.
For any of the above, when in doubt, seek out another local hearth cook and
ask her (or his) advice. Or contact a local historic museum. Barring any of that,
you can always contact yours truly at email@example.com.
***More to come***