Keen on a (retro) kitchen

Are you a vintage / retro lover too? … While my own yesteryear inspired obsession started with books, I’ve since moved on to clothing … and now I’ve passed through the retro-tinged homewares frontier too. I wonder what will be next?

If I said I recently bought this matching set of Keen’s Mustard and Curry Powder purely for culinary purposes, well I’d only be telling a half-truth. There’s just something classic and elegantly retro about the Keen’s branding and slimline tin packaging that I find completely irresistible.

I was so taken with the Keen’s brand that I also picked up a ‘I’m Keen As Mustard On You‘ card by Sissy Sparrows for the Mr, to celebrate our recent 10 year wedding anniversary.

Sure I’ll use the mustard and curry powders for cooking, but I’ll also admire the visual loveliness too. I’m not at all a shallow person, though surely I can’t be the only person who’s purchased something ‘practical with benefits’ for the home?


  1. Erika Lee Sears

    My philosophy is if you are going to use it BUY it! 🙂 It’s all about the simple pleasures.. I splurged awhile back and bought jars for flour/coffee/pasta etc for my kitchen counter and it wasn’t big splurge but I love them. 🙂 If its going to make you happier why not?

    PS also if you know any curry recipe recommendations I would love to hear them.. also a non complicated recipe 🙂 LOL

    1. Makeminemid-century

      I agree wholeheartedly about buying things that are nice to look at … I don’t think that’s shallow … I just think that’s the way some people are.

      My husband has a radio he listens to in the kitchen. I think it’s the ugliest thing to look at … it works perfectly and is totally utilitarian, but I’m ready to toss it and replace it with something that’s much more suitable to my design aesthetic!

      1. tracey (Post author)

        Hi Make mine mid-century – I’m liking the support for buying things that are nice to look at … I’m glad you don’t think that’s shallow! 🙂

        It felt like an extra bonus in doing some kitchen supply shopping that these two have such lovely packaging. I love win-win situations like that!

        Oh, I totally know where you’re coming from with your husband’s radio … we have an old ugly one in our kitchen too … but I definitely want to get a more attractive looking one in the future … a kitchen should look nice and welcoming I think, and no element should jar on the eyes.

    2. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Erika – I like that philosophy!! I definitely use these powders in the kitchen, but I do feel a bit funny about the side-benefit of them being lovely to look at too! 😉

      I think that simple pleasures are the best … it’s something that I come to appreciate more and more the older I get. Oh the jars you picked up for your flour, coffee and pasta goodies sound lovely – I adore those kind of ‘homey’ looking kitchen additions. They help make the place more of a home! 🙂

      Mmm, as for a curry recipe … I’ll check out the one I normally use and let you know whether it’s any good (I must admit that I haven’t made it in a while … haha). It sounds like you’re planning to do some cooking!?!?! 🙂

  2. Debby

    I try to deny it but do get seduced by packaging too Tracey. I’ve had a similar tin of Colman’s Mustard Powder for ages just because it looks nice in the cupboard….I always use the kind in a jar. There’s something really comforting about those vintage labels.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Debby – Thank goodness I’m not the only one who loves the appeal of wonderful packaging … it doesn’t work on me very often and like you I try to deny it, but when it happens … well I fall hard! 😉

      Oh, Colman’s Mustard Powder have lovely packaging too … those mustard companies perhaps know a thing or two about marketing appeal? Yes, vintage labels are lovely and comforting … like appreciating the past without having to live it.

  3. Linda from Heartfire At Home

    I think if you love it, you should buy it! Anything that has that special and peculiar ‘draw’ for you is something worth having because it’ll make you smile! I love the Keen’s Mustard packaging because it’s got two of my fave colours in it, and it’s lovely and bold – not only a great cooking accompaniment, but also a great decorating statement!

    Linda. xxx

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Linda – I must say I’m a big fan of the ‘if you love it, buy it’ philosophy. I seem more prepared to do that as I get older. Perhaps it’s to do with just following your heart in relation to what makes us happy? 🙂

      And you’re so right about the lovely bold packaging used by Keen’s – they’re such happy colours!! 🙂
      Decorative and useful sounds like a great kitchen combination to me!

  4. jan

    I haunt antique and thrift stores for retro kitchen containers and tools so I think you are perfectly normal. 🙂

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Jan – I love looking through thrift stores for the very same reason!
      There’s nothing quite like retro kitchen loveliness to keep me shopping! 😉
      (I’m very glad to know this is perfectly normal behaviour!) … 🙂

  5. Gabrielle

    I use that curry powder – probably because my Mum used it too and I also love the packaging. My sister collects ‘collectible’t tins – there is something wonderful about them (and anything to get away from the plastics that are everywhere). One of life’s pleasures is to have nice looking things around the house, so go for it Tracey 🙂

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – The packaging of Keen’s is wonderful, and perhaps the other reason I use these powders is because I grew up with it in the house too.

      I love the idea of a collection of tins … there are some really lovely varieties out there. I often come across some interesting tins at op shops. I have such an aversion to plastic containers – I’d much rather use something more ‘permanent’ like glass or tin.

      As I add pretty things to the home I think it makes me ‘keener’ (haha) than ever to get rid of all the things that either don’t add value through their function or their appearance … that will be a big task!!

  6. Mel

    Hey, if practical can also be beautiful then that’s a bonus, right? 🙂

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Mel – I definitely agree. If something is useful AND it also looks lovely, then I’m more than happy to have it in my home!! 🙂

  7. thursday

    Love it! On Monday’s I work in a bulk food store and we have many seniors who come into refill their vintage spice containers. I’m always tempted to ask them if they’d like to trade in their old jars for something new, but it’s for purely selfish reasons.

    Also, I’m dying over the artwork on the spine of Kitchen Garden Companion!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Thursday – Oh how wonderful that the seniors come into the store to refill their vintage spice containers. I completely understand why you might want to ‘encourage’ them to upgrade to something more modern. Haha … it’s worth a try!! 😉

      I’m glad you like the cover of that book – the Kitchen Garden Companion is a wonderful book, you should see the graphics and format inside – it’s a true beauty!! 😀

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