Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Old-time Kitchen

This morning when I was waiting for the coffee to brew, I took note of the antique items which sit on the space above my cabinets. Doing so brought other old items to mind which my grandkids wouldn't recognize in their homes today.

While most families these days enjoy the convenience of food processors to chop, grind and otherwise mutilate food, I remember other tools. In my Mother's kitchen, and Grandmother's before her's, there was a tool called a meat grinder. It had a screw-type grip that attached to a stool, or table top, and a crank on the side. It was made of heavy metal and had an opening on the top where the solid meat would enter, and an opening on the side with a cover with holes over it. Once the meat was pushed into the top, you'd turn the crank, which turned the grinder inside, turning the meat into small bits which would then be forced out of the grate on the side. With a little elbow grease, you had the equivalent of hamburger.

For chopping things like cabbage, there was a chopping bowl made of wood, and a crescent blade with a wooden handle. It did a good job, and you could judge for yourself how coursely or finely the chop was.

Another, can't-live -without tool was the egg beater. This handy gadget had to mixing blades, similar to it's descendant, the electric beater. The old egg beater usually had a wooden handle which you held with one hand and a small crank on the side that you turned with the other hand. It would turn the mixing blades, and voila...beaten eggs or heavy cream, etc.

There were other interesting items in an old-time kitchen. An early toaster was square on the bottom, with four sides that slanted up from the bottom to a smaller square on the top. The inside was open. On each side was a wire that was attached with spring type hinges, which held the bread against the side. The toaster would be placed on a stove burner, and the heat would toast the bread on one side. You'd have to watch carefully, so it wouldn't burn, and physically turn the bread over to toast on the other side. Coffee was made in the drip manner...or sometimes a perculator, but not electrically. The coffee pot would be made of enamel or later, aluminum, and placed on the stove burner. There were no microwaves to heat water for tea... a big whistling tea kettle would do the job, again, on the flame of the stove.

I wonder if my grandkids...or even my own kids, would know how to use some of these things today. I still have my old kitchen tools, and often used them. There's a rarely used blender and a never-used food processor in my cabinets, but does that mean I have to use them? I enjoy doing some things in the old ways....but I will say, I'm grateful for modern appliances, like dishwashers and laundry machines!


  1. That's why we take them to museums Kath!

  2. Mike teases me that we LIVE in one. I don't think it's quite that drastic, but I do like to have old things around me...

  3. I do remember these items and have used some of them myself. I have even made coffee in a perculator =)
    Guess this oldest daughter of yours does remember some things and wishes that I could do more "the oldfashioned way"