Cookie jars and cocktail shakers in Lake Worth. Beer steins in Pompano Beach. Meat grinders in Lantana. When it comes to collections, many of us are inspired by the kitchen.
I'm an emotional collector, drawn to culinary things that remind me of people and places I love. I'm attracted to anything kitchen or food related. It's an industry hazard, fueled by an excuse to one day use it as a prop for a photo shoot. But, I think it also stems from my grandmother Della, who was an avid collector. I do believe it's hereditary.
Collectibles provide a way to reconnect with the past. Since the kitchen tends to be the heart and soul of the home, fond memories of the gathering places where our mothers and grandmothers prepared nourishing meals can be relived with the touch of a well-worn wooden rolling pin or a smooth cast iron skillet.
Meet four South Florida kitchen-related collectors.
Christopher Collins, owner George's Meat Market
The collection: Meat grinders
On display at: George's Meat Market, 125 South 3rd St., Lantana, 561-585-2990
Size of collection: 110, plus more in a box in the back room.
Origin of collection: George Collins opened his namesake meat market in its current location in 1960. Throughout his career as a butcher, salesmen would bring grinders to Collins as gifts. He started to display them and customers soon followed suit, donating grinders found at flea markets or yard sales. In 2005, George’s grandson, Christopher took over the business before George passed away.
Favorite piece in collection: "There are a few cherry pitters and cheese grinders mixed in the collection too but somewhere up there is one grinder that is over 100 years-old," says Collins.
Charlie Crawford, owner White Apron Catering
The collection: Cookie jars
On display at: White Apron Catering, 1710 N. Dixie Highway, Lake Worth 561-585-2985, WhiteApron.org
Size of collection: about 30
Origin of collection: "I picked up a funny yellow mouse 20 years ago," says Crawford. "He was demonic looking because he was so silly looking, almost too happy. That was my first one and it just grew from there."
Favorite piece in collection: "My most sentimental piece is a gingerbread house. My grandmother had one just like it. I always think of her when I see it. I remember going to her house and getting cookies out of it. But my favorite piece, I picked up at a museum in Chicago during a Jeff Koons show. It reminded me of something he might do. It’s a rabbit by a Japanese artist named Momoyo Torimitsu."
Russell Hibbard, owner Bamboo Room
The collection: Cocktail shakers
On display at: Bamboo Room, 25 South J St., Lake Worth, 561-585-2583, BambooRoomBlues.com
Size of collection: 800 at Bamboo Room, 180 at Hibbard’s home and another 200 in storage.