Q: We collect early fireplace cooking implements and would like to know where we can find a certain type of wrought-iron toaster designed to bake flat breads on the hearth. Also, can you tell us how such breads were made?
A: Horseshoe-shaped wrought-iron toasters were made to stand the hearth like easels. They were used in Scotland as early as the 17th century for baking bannocks, or Irish flat bread; the dough was placed on a narrow ledge at the bottom of the piece and positioned before the fire. Beautiful Scottish bannock bakers are available at Pat Guthman Antiques Inc., 281 Pequot Ave., Southport, Conn. 06490; (203) 259-5743. Recipes for baking bannocks, Irish bread and fire cakes on wrought-iron implements or smooth wooden boards can be found in "300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles," by Linda Campbell Franklin, available for $25.50 postpaid from the author at 2716 Northfield Road, Charlottesville, Va. 22901. Information on fireplace cooking and cooking implements also can be found in a three-year set of Kitchen Collectibles News (1984, 1985 and 1986), available from Ms. Franklin for $25 postpaid.
Q: I have many old Avon bottles and products and would like to know how I can find out if they have any value and where I can sell them.