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  • Debra Palmen

The Foodie's Guide to Antiques & Collectables

The first edition of The Foodie's Guide to Antiques & Collectables (An expert guide to buying antique kitchenalia like a professional) has now been released. Yay!

A great deal of research and work has gone into producing a quality product, and I hope you like it. It's available here on the website, from me in person at Peregian Beach Markets & Collectorama Antiques Fair, or you can stroll into your local bookshop and if it's not already on the shelves you can ask them to order it. Easy Peasy.

To compliment the book's print release (eBook coming soon), I thought I'd also include for you a few general Kitchenalia buying tips in this Blog:

Functionality First, Fancy Later: While that 19th-century butter churn might look charming, ask yourself, "Do I churn butter?" Antique kitchenalia can be beautiful and quirky, but is space an issue for you? If so, make sure the churn is practical enough to earn its spot in your kitchen.


Inspect, Inspect, Inspect: Don't just stare at that vintage coffee grinder with dreamy eyes; give it a thorough once-over. Check for cracks, missing parts, and any signs that it might have faced more wear and tear than your grandma's favourite knickers.


Size Matters (In the Kitchen): Antique kitchen gadgets can be like cats; they come in all shapes and sizes. Make sure that egg beater or pasta maker isn't a behemoth that'll require its own postcode on your counter. Having said that, large, well-made, restaurant-standard pieces are great quality. There was no built-in obselesence back in the day; these pieces will totally outlast you and your children (and grandchildren).


Beware of Rusty Romance: Rust can add character and look fabulous. But too much can turn your charming find into a tetanus hazard. A little patina is fine; a rusty soup ladle, not so much.


No Broken Promises: Antiques should hold up their end of the deal. If that vintage toaster is more of a decorative piece than a functioning appliance, be sure you're okay with being the proud owner of an electrically uncommitted artefact.


Budget Wisely: Set a budget and stick to it. The last thing you need is to spend your monthly grocery budget on a set of antique egg cups. Priorities, people! On the other hand, who am I trying to kid? This is one bit of advice I can give but never take.


Research, Don't Regret: Before diving into a purchase, a little research goes a long way to help you avoid making expensive mistakes. And a lot of research helps you buy with confidence. This is precisely why you'll find The Foodie’s Guide helpful – I did all the research so you don’t have to.


Consider Storage Realities: That vintage copper pot will undoubtedly be Instagram-worthy and you'll love cooking with it. But where will you put it when not whipping up culinary masterpieces? Think about storage space before your kitchen turns into an antique obstacle course. But also remember to think laterally. When it comes to storing antique copper, hooks are your friend.


Think Long Term: Antiques have seen a lot, but they're not immortal. Consider the longevity of the piece. Will it survive daily use or crumble under the pressure like last night's soufflé? It’s always worth investing in quality pieces.

Don't Forget the Fun Factor: Above all, enjoy the thrill of hunting down excellent pieces and then enjoy using them. Antique kitchenalia is meant to bring joy and a touch of history to your kitchen. If that vintage egg timer makes you smile, it's probably worth it. Just make sure it still keeps time!

The Foodie's Guide to Antiques & Collectables provides much more than advice on what kitchenalia is valuable, what's not, and an explanation of why. Every chapter also includes an entertaining discussion of the origins of each featured food, and let me tell you, some of these stories are downright bizarre, some funny and all are fascinating.

Available from me, and all good bookshops!

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