Cooking with copper

Martin’s batterie de cuisine

VFC

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You guys gotta see this.

Martin's batterie de cuisine

Martin is an amateur photographer who also loves copper — or is he a copper lover who is also an amateur photographer? — and he has contributed posts about his pieces as well as some advice on how to capture copper with a camera. I think he was inspired by my first Cooking post to capture his own batterie de cuisine, and the results are, not surprisingly, spectacular.

Martin says, “I live in the attic of a renovated, landmarked (listed) barn that is older than my oldest pans. Cuddly with great views. I love it when my pans dangle from the wooden beams (wood truss) or on the walls. Firstly, because I can see them all the time, secondly, because this is extremely practical.”

Martin's batterie de cuisine

“Since most things are used a lot, nothing gets dusty. A rarely used pan is quickly cleaned before use. All pans and lids are clearly lined up and immediately accessible. Even the most frequently used kitchen gadgets are close at hand. Just like in a professional kitchen — although it is not at all! Everything arose from necessity and experience.”

Martin's batterie de cuisine

“I spontaneously photographed it as it was, mostly in the used, unpolished state as I like it in all its shades and colors.”

Martin's batterie de cuisineMartin's batterie de cuisineMartin's batterie de cuisine

“I love them all, whether stamped with big names or nameless copies/exemplars.”

Martin's batterie de cuisine

“On the wall of a bay window hangs a heavy couvercle emboîtant (32cm, 3.7kg), which is however used as a gratin pan or as a kind of skillet.”

Martin's batterie de cuisine

“Additional sauce pans and skillets are placed on other walls or beams. The results would be too monotonous if I photographed them all.” (Martin, I beg to differ.)

Martin's batterie de cuisine

(Here is Martin’s gorgeous Smith & Matthews pot that needs a guest showcase post.)

Martin's batterie de cuisine

“This is my vintage ice ax, which retired earlier than myself. Compared to some pans, it is as light as a feather. Below that is a postcard that shows a caricature of two Swiss mountains that I’ve climbed many times. The left summit is the Altmann (approx. 2400m) and was therefore represented as an old man. With a little imagination you can see a certain resemblance to me.”

Martin's batterie de cuisine


Martin, thank you so much for these wonderful photos and the tour of your kitchen. There is something marvelous about old copper, wood beams, and warm bright light. I can see how storing your copper pans out in the open makes it more convenient for you to reach for them and encourages you to cook with them more often. I love how you have made your kitchen both beautiful and practical — your approach to your collection is pragmatic as well as aesthetically satisfying, and it inspires me to appreciate mine!

I wonder if any of you would like to share your batterie de cuisine? I’d be delighted to help. Please reach out — VFC at vintagefrenchcopper dot com.

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13 Comments

  1. Martin, everything is beautiful! And so functional too! I love your photographs and collection! VFC is right, I’m also inspired!

  2. This is absolutely gorgeous. If only I had the space to do something similar in my kitchen. Sadly my pots live in a dark corner cupboard, only seeing the light of day when used for cooking. Martin, your “free range” pots look so happy.

  3. Thank you to everyone who looked at this post and added great comments!

    I’ve photographed my kitchen several times, but never with so much thought and effort. The motivation was the first cooking post from VFC and the invitation to the readers to present their own kitchen. Apart from the snapshots that distinguish the best street photographers, it takes time to take good photos. I spent hours finding interesting perspectives, matching pans and background, setting up the tripod and sometimes even a small ladder for myself. I was always dependent on varying lighting conditions. I needed more hours for the post-processing on the PC and the selection of the photos. But since everything is my hobby, I had a lot of fun and the results are worth the effort.

    When you think of the size of a room, you usually think of the area. However, one should not overlook the fact that each room has a volume. Since my kitchen is tiny in terms of area plus sloping walls and beams that stand in the way, I deliberately included the height in the design. Although I dispense with a dishwasher and other devices common today, there was not enough storage space for my many copper pans. So why not use the height in an airy way as storage space? Imagine if I had installed an appropriately sized closet to store the pans. It would have been an ugly box that would have blocked the view of the adjoining room. In addition, access would have been tedious.

    Professional kitchens have always been designed with open shelves and hanging pans – whether in chateaus, manors or in restaurants. While it was mainly functional considerations for this type of furniture there, the modest financial possibilities shaped the kitchens of the “simple” people, which also had hardly any cupboards. Only with increasing prosperity did the cooking utensils disappear into cupboards. The “Frankfurt Kitchen” from 1926 is considered the archetype of the modern fitted (built-in) kitchen. It is designed like an industrial workplace, i.e. compact, functional and easy to maintain. After the work is done, all materials should be invisibly tidied up. Every housewife’s dream.

    Since the furniture of my “kitchenette” is already quiet old, I think about redesigning the room. I have some ideas …. A corner of my kitchen is already being worked on.

  4. Hi Martin,

    I appreciate what you said about a kitchen needing to be a functional space. Cabinets can be lovely, my grandfather built the ones in our house for the previous owner as part of an addition in the 80s. He passed away a few years ago, so his wood work has sentimental value, but sometimes I find myself wishing we had open shelves instead, as things tend to be hard to find and get to when I need them quickly while cooking. I’ve come up with a few solutions for this since we moved into our house about two years ago.. we do our best. As I continue to make my kitchen functional, I’ll keep in mind what you said about volume! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Amy,
    I know all too well the dilemma you have faced. I also have some very old cabinets that represent my family’s roots. Compared to modern cabinets, they are quite inconvenient, but I would never part with them, especially since I like to live with a mix of styles. Aesthetics, functionality and emotional values can be brought together. A process that takes time and patience. Plants don’t grow faster if we pull on their stems and leaves. The enthusiasm expressed in your post will eventually give you great ideas.

  6. If I lived in a home with a kitchen like that, I simply would never leave. Exquisite! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Hey Chris, of course I would be very interested in your collection. Yet I am just an active reader. You probably want to send your photos to VFC so that all readers can benefit from your collection. I’m curious!
    Martin

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