After living in Asia for about 6 months, we gathered quite a vibrant chopstick collection. When we got home to Portland, I wasn't sure what to do with our loot — luckily, I have a creative husband.
The chopstick collection is mounted above our bar counter using small eye hooks. These 1/4" screws can be found at most local hardware stores. My husband simply screwed the hooks into the wall in an organic, flowing line. This natural, wave shape keeps the collection from looking too tidy or precious and is remarkably beautiful. Plus, it's a living reminder of our journey together and all the good eating we did in Asia and continue to do back at home.
While traveling, I recommend starting a collection of some kind. Something small, inexpensive, light and durable makes an ideal souvenir. That being said, I collect pajamas from each country I visit, and those don't necessarily fit into any of those recommendations. However, collecting chopsticks was a natural in SE Asia, and every market or road side noodle shop bore the potential to be the site of the next great find. I even bought a set I love (the bright yellow ones) at a pho stand for about 20 cents. The lady noodle vendor laughed so hard, what was I wanting with a pair of old, stained chopsticks? Treasure can be found in such a variety of locales when abroad.
Each pair of chopsticks has a memory or story attached to it. The little lotus-tipped beauties were presented to me on my birthday, which we celebrated in Ho Chi Minh City over strong coffees and tea cakes. They are unique and elegant. I should be using them more often!
Do you collect any kitchen items while on the road? If so, do you use them when you get back home? How do you display your collections?
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)