Everyone has a relative that likes knick-knacks… you may be that person. Are you a pack rat? Do you like (cute) junk? Do you buy diner coffee mugs as souvenirs?
It’s okay if you do. There are (12-step) programs that you can enroll in.
I find these kitsch-bound folks fascinating. They severely lack sense of style, clearly flaunt civil propriety, and shock the normal conscience with their decorating preferences. Taste(fulness) goes out the window, or never came in the front door to begin with.
My uncle Harry is what I call my “kitschy kin.” I love him to bits, but walking into Uncle Hare’s house is like stepping into a circus cum garage sale. Shelves are packed with trinkets and goblets and bric-o-brac from countless roadtrips. His cupboards brim with coffee mugs from far-flung corners of the country. Actually, it’s kind of fun to open them to see where your next cup of coffee will come from: Cody, Wyoming “The Man. The Town. The Legend;” Birk’s Gasthaus Bed & Breakfast in Hermann, Missouri; or The Waffle House, somewhere along I-80 in Pennsylvania- which is what I happened to pull out the other day.
Well, I have to admit, I do have some kitchen kitsch of my own – in the way back of my cupboard is a mug from the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Needles, California – it was the last pit stop before leaving California on my move back east. Uncle Hare, the road warrior that he is, had happily volunteered to help drive me across the country to the other coast. I guess a little bit of his spirit overcame me at that homey truck stop.
One side of the mug has a cartoon drawing of the Lincoln-logged structure with the words “Get Your Kicks On Route 66” etched above. The other side depicts a highway ensignia bearing “Historic Route 66.” Above and below the sign are the words “The Mother Road, Main Street of America” and lists every state the old highway traversed – from California to Illinois.
Digging out this mug made me want to help America embrace its kitchen kitsch and its kitschy kin. Don’t hide it – use it. Don’t scowl at them – accept them.
So, all you bloggers and flickrites out there, I want to see what you or your kitschy kin have in your kitchens. Take a photo of your favorite or most novel kitchen gadget or “souvenir” and email or link it to me. For those of you on flickr, add your photo to the kit(s)chen kitsch group I’ve created. Bring out the good, the bad, and the ugly. I can’t wait to see what’s lurking in your kit(s)chen!!