Country Kitchen: Cooking With Old Appliances and Utensils

Country Kitchen: Cooking With Old Appliances and Utensils
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The appliances and cooking implements of our childhood usually have been superseded by the ultramodern ones of today. We use slow cookers, bread makers, electric skillets, toaster ovens, electric grills, often with computerized controls.
However, some people are returning to the appliances and utensils of years ago. These had been accumulated for nostalgic and decorative purposes. But some collectors now are actually using them instead of those they can acquire in modern stores.

These might date from 10 or 20 years ago, or they could go back to the mid-1950s or earlier. Those collected for decorative effect often were used even earlier than that.

Some Converted

Some of the early cooking appliances have been converted for modern usage.

For instance, the kitchen woodstove, the type we used for cooking and baking during my childhood on a farm, sometimes are available converted to electric or gas. They give the old-fashioned effect but don't require stoking the fire with wood or coal.

Wood heating units now operate with gas or pellets. They may resemble the wood heater and cooking stoves, but produce energy with other sources.

Various Appliances

*Try using a toaster with fold-down sides. You place the bread behind a rack on the door and lift it up over the coils instead of popping it into slots on the top.

*The waffle irons had a different look from those of today. When our modern waffle iron stopped working, we pulled out one we purchased nearly 30 years ago. It works very well and amuses the grandchildren because of it's "old-fashioned" look.

*Rotary egg beaters that you turned with a handle were the only type I knew in childhood before the advent of electric mixers. We also used wire whisks for stirring, but beat eggs with the beaters turned by hand.

*There also were beaters with a cover around them which we used for whipping cream or something that would spatter. This circular cover ensured that the mixture was contained within the bowl.

Where to Find Older Appliances

If you're searching for vintage appliances and utensils, check out flea markets, antique shops, online markets and auctions. Some of the items you also may find in the homes of your childhood, if Mom hasn't thrown them out.

As you look through books on kitchen collectibles, you'll often see pictures of these items, learn more specifically where you might find them, and find hints on how to incorporate them into your home's decor.

Some of the appliances will be ones you actually can use, whereas others serve as decorative items in your home. I'm fascinated by the kitchen collectibles of my childhood and share stories about them with my daughter and grandchildren.

"Write down the stories," my daughter says, "or we'll lose those memories forever."

With our electronic age changing our way of living so rapidly, the items of our childhood and the stories surrounding them will be lost unless we save them.

Recipes to Save

The same goes for recipes of our heritage and those possibly cooked on the older appliances...they will disappear from our lives unless we write them down.

This recipe is a variation of one my aunt often made for the evening meal. It was one of my favorites.

BAKED CHEESE SANDWICHES - Place 4 slices bread in a greased casserole dish. Place a slice of cheese on each. (You also can add a thin slice of ham to each.) Cover with 4 slices bread. Then place a slice of cheese on each top slice of bread.

Beat 3 eggs and add 2 cups milk. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper and paprika. Pour this over the bread.

Place baking dish in pan of hot water. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 40 minutes, or until the egg/milk mixture thickens and the bread puffs. Makes 4 servings.

Article (C) 2004 Mary Emma Allen

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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