Most of the colors I like best are not pretty ones. Ochre, for instance, is one of my very favorites. I invite it to tend to me while thrifting. OK actually the truth is I visually scour any scene and surface for its existence. Which isn’t hard, because it sticks out like the proverbial, beautiful-to-me sore thumb. So much of successful thrift-shopping is in the scanning… among a row of clothes on hangers, 100% linen is immediately apparent. Porcelain and stoneware crowded on a shelf, even dust-encrusted, the peculiarly deep shine of Hall China’s still-secret glaze shows through in a second. While digging has its place, I’m prepared to state that the almost supernatural all-at-the-onct perception from a first, lucky look has resulted in most of my best thrift scores.

Ochre kitchen suiteThe Descoware oval oven was from the special ask-to-see behind-the-counter area with the high prices, where I don’t usually find much of interest. Other people’s special isn’t usually mine; this I know. But THIS was the Descoware oven of my dreams, and the price wasn’t bad at all, though I cannot for the life of me remember exactly what it was—$20-ish? A bit more? Still: a STONE BARGAIN.

The weird plastic-and-glass cheese grater, of a type I used to see thrifting all the time but don’t any more, and only ever the one in this color, is pure novelty—not the world’s best cheese grater, though hardly the worst, either. Bought due to its as-new condition and color, with grating efficacy to be tested later.

The Waring blender was a tremendous score, not only because of its perfect ochre but because I was in search of, yes, a blender, and found this at the late, lamented thrift store supporting Saddleback Memorial Hospital. Proximity to the former-Leisure-World-present-Laguna-Woods provided a steady stream of great vintage merch. I can’t even talk about without crying the fuchsia snakeskin Givenchy zip-around wallet I got there for $1.50, used for years until it was falling apart, and can’t replace for less than a cool $1,000 on eBay. But, the blender: Perfection.

The print is of David’s Madame Récaumier, which you’ll recognize from the Louvre, where this little print was purchased. I matted it in (ochre) velvet and hung it in my kitchen even before discovering the young Madame had a food bonafide: She’s a Brillat-Savarin cousine.

The cookies on the baking tray beneath are Bonnie’s Amaretti, a fab Martha Stewart recipe that dries a bit at room temp before baking, which is what we’re observing in the photo. They are not un-ochre, it occurs. We can assume I’ve made these many times since this photo was taken more than 10 years ago, and it was already a favorite then. I can tell you for free I’ll be making some more, right quick here.

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