Culinary Cellar Update

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This sign on the door leading to our basement, AKA The Culinary Cellar, has been there for years.  My mom gave it to me for a long ago Christmas gift.  She would be surprised at how many books people sent me after the devastating flood that reached seven feet high and up to the top step of this door.

It’s unbelievable how long it takes to start all over, both mentally and physically – and so much money spent for the massive clean-up. But as many of my readers know, I was not about to give up my cellar or my blog.  I could not have done this without you, my readers, and of course my family.

But here is the good news; it’s looking new, different, and wonderful.  When a local kitchen and spice shop in our hometown decided to close, they sold everything in the store. They had incredible shelves and cabinets and we bought four of them.  They have been sitting in the basement waiting patiently to be filled and loved.  That’s where my daughter Kristina took over recently.  She organized and filled each cabinet.

This is the tea and small dish center.  Kristina found the appropriate cookbooks to match the items.  There is even more in those sliding doors.  The teacups are almost all vintage from grandmothers, great-aunts, and sometimes even great-grandmothers.

Next to the teacups and dishes is the cooking contest shelf with booklets and clippings from the Pillsbury Bake-Off and other contests.  Notice all the Doughboys.  Almost all of my contest clippings and photos were lost in the flood, but thank goodness I had some upstairs.  The comfy chair was donated by our good friend Del, and the throw is from Finland.  The chair is not in its permanent place yet until we figure out the rest of the basement, but it’s a cozy place to sit and look through cookbooks.

The green cabinet has lots of entertaining items and a wine rack.  I haven’t polished my mom’s 1960 silver tea service  but I will.  It’s beautiful when it’s cleaned up.

This smaller cabinet is a favorite.  At the kitchen store the clear top that lifts up is filled with cookie cutters, all organized, that I have been collecting since I was a child.  There’s even more behind the doors underneath along with all kinds of baking items.  What’s fun about this cabinet is that at the store, under the glass top was star anise for sale.  When you lift the top, the aroma hits you right in the face!

We are still working on organizing and shelving the thousands of cookbooks, but here is a peek at the middle section:

It’s a work in progress but remember, below is how this exact area looked after the flood:

It’s still hard for me to look at this, but it happened and life goes on with a new cellar.

When all is done, I would love to have a party.  If anyone comes at the moment, here is what you will see at the bottom of the stairs:

I can’t wait for it to be completed, but it’s already feeling cozy and welcoming.  I could stay down here all day and look at cookbooks.  Oh wait.  I do…


I know my mom would sit down here with me and enjoy every minute looking at a lot of her old dishes and some cookbooks.  I miss you every day, mom.  You would love it here.

By the way, mom lived to age 97.

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20 Responses to Culinary Cellar Update

  1. May 27, 2020 at 5:58 am #

    So happy to see all you and Kristina have done ! Looks wonderful and so cozy and welcoming. I will never forget seeing what your house and basement looked like after the flood–a true test of your patience and fortitude. Congrats on everything you have done to the new Culinary Cellar ! Your mom would have loved it !

    • May 27, 2020 at 8:14 am #

      Barb, Kristina does such a great job organizing everything. Better than I could do!

  2. May 27, 2020 at 6:57 am #

    Oh, Debbie! What a devastating sight after the flood but how wonderful the rebirth of The Culinary Cellar! I, too, experienced a flood event and words just cannot do justice to the damage that water can do. Enjoy your new surroundings! Hope you are recovering well!

    Happy summer-

    • May 27, 2020 at 8:12 am #

      Hi Emma! It’s so good to hear from you. Maybe someday when you are visiting the states, you can come on over and see it in person!

  3. May 27, 2020 at 7:04 am #

    It’s such a shock to see that after-flood photo! It looks just great there, and I get a nice feeling knowing one of my cookbooks resides there now, too! It’s lovely knowing that your daughter cares as much about this as you do, and your treasures will always be loved and cared for!

    • May 27, 2020 at 8:10 am #

      Thanks, Barb. There’s a lot of love in that basemen!

  4. May 27, 2020 at 7:42 am #

    Bigger and better than ever

    • May 27, 2020 at 8:09 am #

      Lisa, I can’t wait for you to see it!

  5. May 27, 2020 at 9:09 am #

    Thank you for sharing your latest development with the Culinary Cellar!

    • May 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm #

      I’m so happy you keep up with the blog, Dawn!

  6. May 27, 2020 at 9:11 am #

    Thank you for the update on The Culinary Cellar! I am impressed with how it’s coming along!

    • May 28, 2020 at 8:44 pm #

      Thanks so much, Dawn!

  7. May 27, 2020 at 8:59 pm #

    What an exciting, encouraging post! Congratulations on your fortitude and hard work. Well done! Thanks so much for continuing and for sharing the journey with us!

    • May 28, 2020 at 8:41 pm #

      Denise, thank you for keeping up with me!

  8. May 28, 2020 at 8:45 am #

    the “new” look is a testament to you, your mom, daughters, and the rest of us “sisters”, we all will reap the benefits of your care and devotion to “our” books.

    I look forward to your blog it is a bright spot whenever one shows up. Thank you.

    My heartfelt blessings with what you have done so far AND what you will accomplish.
    God bless

    • May 28, 2020 at 8:40 pm #

      Elaine- thank you, my sweet friend. Your responses always make me smile and want to hug you.

  9. May 28, 2020 at 4:29 pm #

    Love seeing your progress. I could feel your excitement through the screen!

    • May 28, 2020 at 8:30 pm #

      Wish you could see it, Priscilla!

  10. June 2, 2020 at 10:18 am #

    Hi Debbie, nice to see you feeling well enough to be continuing the blog. I subscribed to Sphere Magazine way back when and enjoyed it very much. I think I’ve posted I made the entire Chinese menu from 1972, and sadly, that was the only issue I kept.

    I remember a recipe for a spinach and (I think) Italian sausage recipe for Stromboli.
    I’m hazy on whether it was stromboli or calzone but believe it was the former. Also think it was on the left hand page but it was a long time ago. Is the recipe one that’s familiar to,you? Would love to find it again. In fact, searching for it led me to this site a few years ago.

    I am also wondering if you have a list on your site of cookbooks you lost and would like to replace.

    I enjoy the site, congratulations on a lovely culinary cellar.

    • June 2, 2020 at 8:53 pm #

      Hi Nan- Thank you for all the kind words. You made my day! Check your email in the next couple days and I will look for and send you the recipe. It sounds very familiar. I think others have asked for that same recipe.

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