Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

December 10, 2014

Appliances

Filed under: At home,Childhood Memories,Food — Janice @ 11:09 pm

Amazon knows me all too well. I have an email touting all the latest kitchen equipment. No, I am not much of a cook, but I am drawn to the kitchen gadgets. I recently did order a “tiny pie making kit” with little tiny pie pans made of silicone (or is it silicon?). Plastic. It is practically plastic, but it doesn’t melt. I have, so far, not made a tiny pie, but I am eagerly anticipating feeling the pie-making urge come upon me so I can test out my new tiny pie pans.

I suppose Amazon also kept track of the juicer I bought a few months ago. I thought I would give that juicing fad a try and see if I could become incredibly healthy AND slim by drinking delicious green concoctions. I really did like the juice, but the process and the clean up became a drag. I am proud of myself that I did not just put the juicer on a shelf or in the back of a cabinet to sit. I bundled it up and gave it to someone else to try.

Well, now that I think about it, I also have been keeping an eye on immersible blenders on Amazon, too. I was watching the prices and yearning for one, but ended up buying one cheap in a big box store one day. It was really neat to have for the four or five pots of soup I made before it fell to pieces in my hands.

I look back on the appliances that my mother had as I was growing up and it is a little bit different than what I use today. At work, the subject of “percolators” came up. Most of the “kids” I work with had no idea what that meant at all. I grew up with a percolator preparing my parents’ coffee every morning. I loved the sound of the steam gurgling and struggling and then heating enough to push that gush of water up through the glass piece on the top to percolate down through the coffee nestled in the metal basket around the tube up the middle. The percolating coffee was a sweet sound to wake up to and the smell meant “home.”  We were always warned about that glass top, to be careful with it. You could get a replacement if it broke, but that would mean a trip to town and no coffee until it was replaced. I think Mom mostly handled the coffee pot and that delicate piece, but I do remember shaking out the grounds from that metal basket into the trash can. My folks switched to a Mr. Coffee after I left home, I think, but that must ahave been invented in the late 70s because I never owned a percolator. They were old-fashioned by the time I lived on my own.

Mother had a Sunbeam mixer on the countertop. I have a mixer of some type on my countertop, too. Mine is used mostly for cookies, though I always THINK I am going to use the bread hooks more than I do. Mom’s didn’t have the lock down feature mine has to keep the beaters from riding up on the dough, but hers had the nifty knob to slide back and forth to change where the bowl was in relation to the beaters. On mine the beaters move around the bowl, the bowl doesn’t move around the beaters. I miss how we could scrape down the sides of Mom’s mixer as we mixed. My current one is built so that you have to turn the mixer off before you can really get in to scrape the bowl sides. I’m sure less fingers go into the cake batter this way. That was a warning we always heard from Mother, to never reach into the bowl if you dropped your spatula or something. I seem to remember a scary tale of my aunt getting caught in the beaters. But she still has 10 fingers so maybe it was just a good fable to warn us.

We had the typical pop-up toaster from time-to-time in my life, but mostly we had the slide in broiler-type toaster. I would love to have one of those again. There was nothing better than a batch of Texas toast, slathered with butter on both sides and toasted good in that broiler, on top and then turned over. Yum. And cinnamon-sugar toast, or just sugar toast, was perfect from that broiler. And cheese toast (we called it grilled cheese, but I think that is something different to most people). Or maybe these were all just better from Mom’s toaster because they were prepared by Mom. In my kitchen I have a toaster oven that is fancy enough to bake in it, it says. I have never ever baked something in it. I toast. And maybe I melt some cheese on something. But I haven’t had cinnamon-sugar toast in years. Sigh.

We never had a microwave when I was growing up. I had my first one when I was already out on my own. We managed to get by. I think I could get by without a microwave again, but my poor husband would starve.

Oh, and crock pots! Those were invented somewhere along in the 70s and I’m sure Mom’s first one must have been harvest gold, like our kitchen, or avocado, the other ubiquitous color of the 70s. For those that don’t remember, except for a few VERY modern pink and blue stoves and refrigerators in the 50s and then the classy copper color that showed up in the nicest homes in the 60s, harvest gold and avocado were the first colors for appliances. We bought a harvest gold stove when we moved from Colorado back to Texas and we thought we were really uptown.

I can’t remember anything Mom made in a crock pot back in those days, but I would miss mine a lot if I didn’t have them now (I have a “regular” one and a big BIG one).

When we moved from Colorado back to Texas and had ordered the stove, but didn’t have it yet, we had a kitchen with appliances, but no stove for a period of time. I don’t know how long it was, probably not more than a week, but I remember the ingenuity my mother used to cook our meals. I felt like it was “Little House on the Prairie” to not have a stove and oven, but Mom did quite a job. She had an electric frying pan, so really that was suitable for most of the things she would have cooked on the stove. We had the toaster oven, too, and we had a little mini-coffeepot that could easily boil water. We used it to boil the water to make tea (we always drank iced tea with dinner) and we boiled eggs in it, too.

Amazon may succeed in selling me a new immersible blender and maybe even a new coffee pot in this holiday season. Now that I’ve gotten all nostalgic, I may have to see if they sell percolators and toaster ovens.

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