Cookbookery

For more than a year, I’ve secretly dreamed of finding a secondhand copy of a gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, or Specific Carbohydrate Diet cookbook. At every thrift store I visited, I’d scour the paint-chipped nonfiction shelves, hoping to find something I could use sandwiched between In the Kitchen with Rosie: Oprah’s Favorite Recipes and Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution. Seriously, if you’ve ever browsed a Goodwill’s bookshelves, you know there are more than enough copies to go around.

in the kitchen with rosie

Once I found a copy of The Maker’s Diet, the gateway book that sparked my interest in alternative healing methods and ultimately led me to Breaking the Vicious Cycle and my SCD revolution. I hefted the volume and considered picking it up for my sister (who also suffers from Crohn’s), then set it back down when I realized I could give her my neglected copy. I continued to scan the shelves with each trip, despite my failure to find anything remotely usable in my kitchen. You know…just in case.

A few weeks ago, my patient search was rewarded with a dog-eared, food-stained copy of one of the most quintessential SCD tomes.

SCD cookbook

Could I have purchased this book online? Certainly. But where’s the fun in that? I was happy to rescue this unwanted book from the purgatory of a thrift store bookshelf. I can only hope that the book’s previous owner healed her body enough that she no longer needed her copy. Or else she memorized her favorite recipes and decided to pass along the wealth of knowledge and deliciousness to someone else. What does it matter? I am eternally grateful to whomever donated it, and will think of this unknown donor fondly with every helping of Thai Chicken Wraps or Sesame-Dijon Crackers.

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Salvation Army Finds, Part 2

As I mentioned at the end of my previous post, something caught Colin’s eye as we were leaving the Salvation Army on Thursday. He spied a petite vintage recliner, the color of persimmons sprinkled with cinnamon and dried in the sun.

Persimmons

He tested the chair out, reclining it back and checking for overall comfort. Within minutes he was sold on it. I drove my car to the front of the building and we slid it into my little hatchback.

transporting vintage recliner in hatchback

I love having a hatchback! So convenient for moving all kinds of bulky things.

Unloading the recliner and getting it into our apartment proved a little trickier than we’d anticipated, but ten minutes later we got it into the house. The armrests looked a bit worn from years of use, and there was a thin black line across the headrest. Colin grabbed a wet rag and started rubbing the fabric. Less than a minute later, I could not believe how the chair was transformed.

Cleaning a vintage recliner before and after

All that black nastiness was just dirt, grime, and human oils. Gross. How could somebody have that in their home—presumably for years—without swiping a wet washcloth at it to restore it to its former glory? I picture a dark haired, middle-aged bachelor with a pot belly and square, tinted glasses, a Marlboro lodged in the corner of his mouth like a dart that’s missed its target, can of Coors in hand, sticky Playboys on the floor. But the absence of any smoke smell or burn marks in the chair forces a different image to emerge: a woman in her 70’s with glaucoma, advanced enough that she can’t even tell the chair’s dirty. This would account for the surprisingly good shape the recliner’s in, given its age. (Though there’s no date of delivery on the bottom of the chair, the Wes Anderson-esque Futura font style on the tag gives us a hint.)

So now we have an ugly-beautiful (really, the color is somewhat hideous, but it’s oh so delicious as well) pleather chair that Colin loves. (Pleather! I never thought I’d have a pleather anything in my house.) It’s now settled into his computer room and will cushion the bums of many.

Vintage orange and tan recliner

Salvation Army Finds

The Salvation Army is all over the news after Wednesday’s building collapse in Philadelphia. I was completely ignorant of this event when I stopped in to our local Salvation Army yesterday in search of furniture. Though knowledge of the tragedy wouldn’t have stopped me from entering Portland’s lonely warehouse, it does seem odd timing to be blathering on about thrift store finds when others paid the highest price for their pursuit of the greatest bargain. Such is life. I wish a swift recovery to those injured, and hope the families affected stay strong. May the great thrift store in the sky offer unlimited discounts and premium scores to those lost amid the racks.

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I’ve been on the lookout for a few pieces of furniture to replace the ones that Colin’s cousin, Richard, took with him when he moved out. When I moved in with Colin, he and Richard had been living together for several years. I had no concept of which communal items were Colin’s and which were Richard’s. Now we’re down to just one kitchen chair, which is a problem when Colin and I try to have dinner together. (He’s been rolling my computer chair over to the table each night, but we are reaching a point where it’s more of a nuisance than an amusement.)

Yesterday I stopped in to the Salvation Army on my way home from work to see what goods they had. There was so much furniture, and I was immediately attracted to a table and chair set.

Salvation Army vintage black table with dining chairs

I took pictures and sent them to Colin to see what he thought. At $45 for the table and three chairs, it seemed a fantastic deal. I hung around the set for a while, trying to subtly claim ownership and ward off other customers while I waited for Colin’s response. This gave me a chance to really inspect the table and chairs. I started listing pros and cons in my head.

Pros

  • Unique. This design was unlike any I’d ever seen, or would see again. I could guarantee that nobody else would have something like it.
  • Cheap. $45 for a table and three chairs worked out to about $11.25 per piece.
  • Vintage. The retro look was just what I was looking for.
  • Color. The chrome/black colors would match well with the kitchen aesthetic I had in mind.
  • Timely. We needed chairs; the sooner I found something I liked, the better.

Cons

  • Quality. On the one hand, the legs were metal, and seemed sturdy. But the table had a chip in the laminate and some stains, and one of the chairs had cigarette burns in the seat. Not cute.
  • Incomplete. Three chairs? Not four? Hmm.
  • Mismatched. One of the chairs had armrests though the other two didn’t.
  • Dirty. It would need a lot of work to get those legs shined up the way I envisioned them. And I wasn’t even sure how clean they could get.
  • Transport. Getting it home might be a challenge. The table had a line down the center and an interesting pulley system underneath it. It looked like it could be folded in half, but the legs would need to be unscrewed first, since they didn’t bend.

When I heard back from Colin, he was into it, but after running through my mental list of pros and cons, I was hesitant to snatch the set up. I talked to a sales associate to see if I could hold it. The answer was no, so I decided to walk away from it and come back with Colin later that night, and hope no one else had snagged it in between.

We went back a couple of hours later and fortunately, the set was still there. Colin checked it out and did some essential jiggling around to test the sturdiness of one of the chairs. The chair wobbled as if it were made of pudding. Colin flipped the chair over and saw that the screws holding the legs on weren’t doing such a great job. Potentially fixable, but if the screws were stripped, we’d need to find new ones. Strike 1.

Then he gripped both sides of the table and shook it back and forth to test its legs. The table responded enthusiastically, shimmying like it was at a Sadie Hawkins dance. This time we looked underneath and saw one of the legs was somewhat detached from the tabletop. Strike 2.

We lumped the myriad other noted cons together to form strike 3, and said goodbye to the dinette set. It was a great find, and will make the right person happy. Someday.

On our way out, however, Colin spotted a piece of furniture he just couldn’t pass up. And I’ll write about that new member of our family in my next post.