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December 6, 2011 at 6:54 AM

Good will for the holidays? The price is right for kitchen gear

This time of year, there’s a lot of talk about good will toward men (and women, and children). And, as ever, at the holidays, it’s hard to get away from the word “shopping.” Today I’d like to discuss both.

I’m a sucker for kitchen gear, and regularly rummage at rummage sales, put on the brakes for yard sales and rove the aisles of local thrift shops in search of a deal. So when a new Goodwill store opened blocks from my house last week, I didn’t waste any time answering that siren’s call. Having heard there were lines outside when the store opened, I assumed there’d be little worth buying by the time I showed up around 6pm. I was wrong.

In a quick sweep of the household goods department I snagged a sturdy 2 1/2 quart Calphalon saucepan ($6.99) that has the utilitarian look of a restaurant supply-house purchase; a copper-lined stainless-steel gratin dish ($7.99) and an 8-inch J.A. Henckels serrated bread knife (99-cents) that feels so incredibly solid in my hand I don’t know how I’ve lived without it.

Such a deal! [photo: Nancy Leson]

As I always tell naysayers, the secret to finding great used stuff is to thrift-shop frequently, expect nothing and be surprised when you spot a “find.” Sometimes, you don’t find much, but when you do — or at least when I do — it’s proof that one (wo)man’s trash is another’s treasure. And in this economy, we can all use a few scored treasures, right? Speaking of which . . .

But wait, there’s more! [photo: Nancy Leson]

The green glass jar (above center, $1) is a recent Goodwill purchase, and the utensils it holds were each bought for around a buck while I was out hunting over the years (the spoon, found in Anchorage nearly 30 years ago, cost a quarter). That maple fruit bowl was a cheap find (yard sale? I can’t recall), and the spice rack is a vintage Carnation milk crate, scored at a neighbor’s yard sale last year for $10. The tomato can was “free.”

So tell me: what kind of used kitchen-booty would I find in your house, where did you purchase it and (if you can recall) what did it cost you?

Comments | More in Food products and kitchen gear

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