Article: Nostalgic Cooking and Dining Utensils
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  1. #1
    Founder Sara Noel's Avatar
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    Default Article: Nostalgic Cooking and Dining Utensils

    As I told my daughter the story behind the pink Depression glass cake plate that had been my parents', she remarked, "Mom, you need to write these stories down before they're forgotten."

    This made me realize that many of our family stories surround our
    cooking and dining utensils, as well as pieces of furniture. They can stimulate our memories and lead to nostalgic stories and bits of family history to pass along to our children and grandchildren.

    Depression Glass Cake Plate

    This pink Depression glass cake place, of cherry design, was a wedding gift my parents received in 1934. My mother told the story of opening the box and finding it seemingly full of chocolate covered cherries, one of my dad's favorites. His boyhood friend, Walter, knew Father's fondness for these candies, so it didn't seem unusual that he'd give such a wedding gift.

    However, as they ate the layers of candy, a pink cake plate appeared beneath them. This plate was used for birthdays throughout my childhood. When not in use, it was kept in the china closet with our "company" dishes.

    Wooden Chopping Bowl

    I was delighted to find my mom still had the oval wooden chopping bowl when I had to move her from her home as she developed Alzheimer's. Although it's no longer in usable condition (cracks have appeared), it's a nice decorative and nostalgic piece.

    I recall chopping cabbage and carrots in it so Mother could make cole slaw.

    She also mixed up potato salad there and other foods when she needed large amounts for our family of six.

    Meat Grinder

    This meat grinder, which attached to the kitchen table in our farmhouse, has more than food memories. When I was a child of about five years old, I was grinding beef for corned beef hash, when the grinder came loose from the table and fell on my bare toes.

    It cut my big toe so badly that I still have a scar there, many, many years later. I had trouble walking for several days, with a large bandage on it, until the pain was gone.

    But we continued to use the grinder, only making sure it was screwed very securely to the kitchen table.

    Canning Jars

    When I found some of the old canning jars in the cellar of my mom's home, it brought to mind those days before freezers. Our refrigerator had a small interior freezer section which contained ice cube trays, in which Mother occasionally made ice cream or sherbet. We did take some meat to the "locker" plant in the city 15 miles away and rented a freezer unit there.

    However, the rest of our food for winter use was canned...fruit, meat, vegetables, pickles, jams and jellies. Throughout the summer, Mother and we girls, sometimes with the help of a neighbor lady, prepared food for canning.

    Although we got tired of this hot work over the kitchen woodstove, we were all glad to have this preserved food come winter time. You didn't run to the store for your food as readily as we do these days.

    Look over the cooking and dining utensils of your childhood, or even the ones you're using now, and write down the stories behind them. This is a unique way to preserve family history.

    FRITTERS was a dish Mother served during my childhood. When she added apples, they might be somewhat of a dessert. By adding corn, she made a main meal dish for supper.

    Stir together: 2 beaten eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup cream, sifted dry
    ingredients (2 1/2 cup flour, 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt). Add chopped apples or drained corn as desired.
    (With apple fritters, you may want to roll the apple pieces in cinnamon or nutmeg and add 1 teaspoon sugar.)

    Cook on a griddle as you would pancakes. Serve warm with syrup.

    (c)2002 Mary Emma Allen

    (Mary Emma Allen has been writing cooking columns for 30 years and has compiled a family cookbook. She's now writing a book for her family of the memories surrounding the cooking and dining utensils from her childhood. Visit her web site for more cooking articles:; e-mail:
    [email protected])
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  2. #2
    Registered User duckduckgoose007's Avatar
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    Great stories & memories, Sara
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    Registered User captclearance's Avatar
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    I remember the hiss of Mom's pressure cooker when she made the best pressure fried chicken....... mmmmmmm
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  5. #4
    Registered User Katybird's Avatar
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    I remember my Mom's avacado green electric skillet, she cooked some great meals in that. I remember my Grandmother served bread at every meal in her home, she had a lovely white bread plate with raised wheat shocks on it and the words "thank you for our daily bread" on it. These are items that I remember fondly.
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