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A History Lesson

As I look at my kitchen it is a time travel through the years. I have collected things from all over, in fact, my first kitchen dishes were a collection of odds and ends that I inherited from many of my well-meaning relatives. I used those until I moved out of the trailer.

My mother was a war bride from the early 1940s. Her pans were the Pyrex type with metal handles that allowed you to remove them from the stove or oven.

I really enjoyed using these pans because leftovers could be stored in them and then reheated in the oven. At that time there were no microwaves for easy reheating.

On the topic of microwaves, my husband has one of the first microwaves that was made. His wife was friends with the lady who owned the hardware store. When Kay ordered her own microwave, his wife, Diedra, asked her to order one for her.

When the grandchildren from Alaska visited, they remembered the old microwave. They were allowed to push the buttons to operate it. It was kept just at their level.

My mixing bowls are the crockery type. I inherited them from my mother and grandmother. The only time I use my metal bowls is if I use my stand mixer or if I am chopping something.

The rolling pin I inherited comes out to roll cookies and pie crust. It dates back to my mother’s era and has red wooden handles. I am not sure how much my mother used it though, since my grandmother did most of the baking.

When I had my first apartment, I invested in a set of baking pans. That would make them over fifty years old at this point. There were two different types of cookie sheets, a set of layer cake pans, a pie plate, a square baking pan, a cupcake pan, and a bread pan. With my set, I also got a set of copper measuring cups and measuring spoons. I also got some copper-colored cookie cutters. I still have all of the pans. I purchased them with Betty Crocker coupons so I got a great deal with just a little cash involved.

Cookie cutters also are part of the history of my kitchen. I often purchase a cookie cutter when I travel because they are small and pack easily. My first ones were hand-me-downs from grandma. My favorite type of cookie cutter is the outline type. They release the cookies the best.

I have cutters for every occasion. My granddaughter and I used different cutters to make entries for the fair. I remember making a pair of gloves by turning the cutter over so that I had both hands. I have one round cutter that rolls to cut multiple round cookies. When my mother-in-law and I attended a household sale she bought it. Soon she decided that I would use it more then she would and she gave it to me.

My cookie jar was purchased on my honeymoon, my first honeymoon. I think it was meant to be a bean jar, but I have always used it for cookies. A cousin accidentally dropped it when he was helping himself to some cookies. He painstakingly glued it back together before I got home from school. Thank you, Keith, I appreciate it.

The dishes I use now came from my husband’s home. I just took a few of them at this point, but the rest of them will come up eventually. It is nice to have dishes for the microwave. My good dishes have a silver band that makes them non-microwave friendly.

My china cupboard is a mix of cups and saucers that I received as gifts or purchased on trips. When we were cleaning the china cupboard my granddaughter took pictures of them so she knows where they came from. I think she wants some of the dishes from that cupboard.

I have gifted some of my old dishes to my children – things they could use. Some of what I gave away were dishes I received as wedding gifts a long time ago.

My stock pot was a gift from my son and his family. As it turned out his son has always been partial to my homemade soups. Through the years I have made many types of soups and I have not found one he did not like.

I also have a neat pair of scissors to cut herbs. Once the herb is detached from the plant it cuts it into small pieces. That and a pineapple cutter were gifts from my daughter and her family.

My grinder came from my mother. I remember my grandma having one of those too. I used to use it whenever I ground cranberries for relish, but once I got the grinding attachment for my stand mixer, I went to that. It is so much easier and so much neater. I also use it to chop up ham to make ham salad. That too is a much neater process.

Since I cook a lot a gift for my kitchen was always a welcome addition. Now, however, I have to check the stash that Don and I have because we have at least two of everything! It appears that my kitchen will be well stocked–whatever I choose to cook!

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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