ISO functional kitchen miniatures
September 9, 2017 9:13 AM   Subscribe

I collect miniature kitchen items. Some of these are just very well-made dollhouse things, but, my ideal is items that have been made in miniature by an actual kitchen product company. Favourites in my collection include mini Rosti Margrethe bowls, a mini crock made by an old crock company, tiny cast iron pans that are technically useable... I want more, but my search skills are weak.

I would like to treat myself to a few more of these -- the preferred kind, where it is an authentic reproduction of a real, regularly sold kitchen good, made by the company that usually manufactures and sells normal-size versions of the items. I have a big collection of the Margrethe bowls, so finding the tiny ones in the four colours I did felt like a big score. I am aware of the Le Creuset miniature pots but some are a little too big to qualify (in my perfect world, the item, while technically usable for its intended purpose, is ideally too tiny to actually be meant to be used for food), and, worse, they were pricy and are even more so now.

Any leads? I usually dip in to kitchen stores and find these things via serendipity. Trying to search for "kitchen miniature" gets dollhouse stuff; "functional kitchen miniature" means that the dollhouse can opener can really turn. The latter would be a thing I would buy if the price was not too high -- but the ideal, shut up and take my money! mini can opener would have been made by Swing-A-Way or similar.

One thing I have never been able to add to the mix: antique/vintage items produced as sales samples. Those would be delightful, but I've never even seen one... (I do not have a firm price range in mind here, but it is more "I have an unexpected extra and have not had a treat for a while," not, "I wish to spend hundreds on my museum-quality display.")

I am in Canada, and I have an Etsy gift card to have fun with, so, bonus points if the thing is on Etsy and ships to Canada with no hassle. (I also have friends in the US and UK who can be prevailed upon to forward me things.)

Finally: I would enjoy ideas for good ways to display these things. As is the shelving thingies they are on are too deep and too high in each compartment. I would love a sold-in-Canada reasonably priced minimalist designed storage option for knick-knackery that is nearly never more than 3" in any direction; Ikea had the perfect shelf some years ago but I had a much smaller collection and only bought one... :'( Ikea-level pricing is ideal for that part.
posted by kmennie to Shopping (19 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if this is exactly what you want, but Emma Bridgewater makes super-cute mini versions of her mugs and jugs as Christmas decorations. They hold about 15mls, and they can be used properly (mugs work as shot glasses, jugs can be used to serve milk for tea/coffee).
posted by tinkletown at 9:39 AM on September 9, 2017

Also since you mention Ikea, they do an adorable children's kitchen range which you can actually use - might be bigger than you want though.
posted by tinkletown at 9:42 AM on September 9, 2017

Surely you already know about toy cast iron stoves? There are a significant number on ebay if you don't already have one.
posted by jocelmeow at 9:43 AM on September 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

Check out miniature museums' gift shops. yeahlikethat and I just went to the one here recently, where I got (of course) a tiny jar of limes. I wasn't looking for specific name-brand reproductions, but it seems likely they might have some. You could give them a call. Here's their list of other miniature museums, which you might check for gift shops (unfortunately, the St. Louis one doesn't have its offerings online).
posted by limeonaire at 9:51 AM on September 9, 2017

If you can find old wooden boxes with dividers that they used to deliver cokes n those would work for display. Really building your own display case would not be too hard if you have some basic carpentry tools.

Use the search term "salesman sample" or "salesman sample miniature". I just searched salesman sample stove and found a bunch.
posted by mareli at 9:52 AM on September 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Fiestaware makes a Mini Disc Pitcher.* Here's a picture that shows the size in relation to French toast.

*link is to search on etsy for mini disc pitcher but you an also buy them from many department stores or the manufacturer directly
posted by vespabelle at 9:59 AM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

These may not be small enough for you, but a lot of Tupperware toys are small versions of regular Tupperware. Also, Tupperware made a tiny bowl, about the size of a US quarter, as a keychain in the 1970s. It will probably show up on ebay sooner or later.
posted by FencingGal at 11:03 AM on September 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

I just searched Tupperware keychain on eBay. There are a lot of mini versions of different Tupperware products, but they do have added holes so they work as keychains, and that may be a no go for you.
posted by FencingGal at 11:06 AM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Would these Rachel Ray Lil' Saucy ramekins count? They are oven safe stoneware like her other items, and while they're meant to be small, they're really miniature (3 oz) versions of her full size roasting pans.

(My thing are tiny bowls and ramekins, especially if they come in rainbow set, so I'm going to keep an eye out for those tiny Margrethe bowls!)
posted by Room 641-A at 11:08 AM on September 9, 2017

Corningware made a "kitchen play set" of miniature casserole dishes, tea kettles, and other pieces in their iconic cornflower pattern.
posted by asphericalcow at 11:13 AM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

This doesn't directly help you find things to purchase, but are you aware of all the miniature cooking videos on YouTube? That community surely knows where to find the things you're looking for, though I suspect the answer is: Japan.

I have an adorable set of mini cocottes (that are way smaller than the ones Le Creuset sells) that came with a cookbook. I bought them at a bookstore in Taipei.
posted by danny the boy at 11:58 AM on September 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

I squee'd over this tiny cast iron pan at Target. Maybe not as small as you are looking for but it's definitely usable as cookware.
posted by lakeroon at 12:24 PM on September 9, 2017

I have a pet wok that comes with a small recipe card that leads me to think that you could actually cook with it, but I've never tried.
posted by Seboshin at 12:47 PM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here is a shop which sells cookware as featured in miniature cooking videos! I believe it is all usable. At the moment it's just stoves and a few knives, but it looks like they put stuff up there after using it in videos, so I'd keep an eye on the site.
posted by Acheman at 1:46 PM on September 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Our Kenwood mixer came with a miniature battery powered mixer that works for small quantities. IIRC it has a whisk and a K beater.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 6:00 PM on September 9, 2017

Have you seen Re-Ment? Little plastic miniatures from Japan - some are cartoony; some are remarkably detailed. My favourite set is vintage Hitachi appliances. The fridge and rice cooker are my favourites in the set.
posted by ortoLANparty at 6:34 PM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

...thanks! No 'best answers' as these all either sent me in the direction of something to at a minimum, lust after, re-consider (I had considered the Ikea mini kitchen stuff as it's so well-made, but decided it was too big, but am now re-thinking my size requirements as trying to hunt down the Kenwood mini sent me off into a world of toys, which reminded me of stupidly passing on a toy Braun coffee grinder once as "too big" -- I was too fussy!); and I had totally forgotten that a lot of these things are made as Xmas ornaments, so may require the teacup and will be watching kitchen stores/sites hawkishly from now through Boxing Day. And clearly I need a saved search for a pet wok...

Much appreciation to all who advised on furthering my weird wee fetish!
posted by kmennie at 10:31 AM on September 10, 2017

Fish's Eddy has a bunch of shot glasses that are tiny versions of bigger glassware.
posted by yeahlikethat at 11:42 AM on September 15, 2017

Also you might get better results for functional items by searching for "minis" rather than "miniatures". Check out the difference between googling "miniature egg beater" vs "mini egg beater"!
posted by yeahlikethat at 11:56 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

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