If you are like most people and spent your childhood helping in the kitchen, baking cookies, and eating family dinners, then you might remember a number of cooking traditions and gadgets that were popular back then but aren’t used as much now.
Over time, things change—and this is especially true for how kitchen appliances have changed. Some of these items might bring back fond memories for you if you can remember them. Others might just strike you as being plain odd.
Whether you’re for or against these gadgets and processes, they are still pretty fascinating. Let’s take a closer look:
1. Grinding meat
The meat grinder was a kitchen tool used to mince or grind meat. In the past, it was a common tool that chefs would use on a daily basis. Invented in the 1800s, the first meat grinder wasn’t electric. You had to use all your might to hand-crank it and get long, thin strands of meat. These days, we have electric grinders that don’t require as much effort to operate.
2. Pounding meat with a mallet
This hand-powered tool, commonly used to tenderize slabs of meat before cooking them, would have been perfect for grinding the meat. If you weren’t using it for that purpose, maybe you banged the bejesus out of it instead. The different kinds of meat grinders all have the same basic purpose: To make the meat wider and thinner, which can be helpful for certain recipes and also makes the meat easier to chew and digest. While people still use these today, they were significantly more popular in the past.
3. Using a percolator to make coffee
The percolator was invented in 1880, aging before any other coffee brewing system. This low-tech machine is now making a comeback among style setters who appreciate its old-fashioned charm. The coffee percolator uses a pot that boiling or nearly boiling cycles the coffee through the grounds using gravity until the required strength is reached. The smell was amazing!
4. Making your own butter
If you’re reading this, chances are good that you didn’t grow up in a time when people churned their own butter. However, it’s possible that your parents did and made homemade butter for you. If you remember, adding cream to a butter churner and then cranking it until the cream becomes more like butter used to take a lot of time. It was worth it though—the finished product was much tastier and lighter than the store-bought variety.
5. Baking with nesting cutters and hand mixers
Do you remember your mom or grandma using nested cutters to make pastries, scones, or cookies? To make that pastry dough, you likely used a hand mixer or egg beater. In the past, people would have to use a crank to whisk everything up!
6. Canning and preserving food
If you’ve ever wondered why your grandparents are so adamant about not wasting food, it’s because that was the norm in their day- especially if they grew up during the Depression. If veggies are going bad and you want to make them last, canning is an effective solution. A strainer sieve is an old-school kitchen gadget that you might remember using to make homemade jam and tomato sauce.
7. Using real, hardcover cookbooks
With technology at our fingertips, finding a recipe is as easy as typing it into a search engine or opening an app. Although many people own cookbooks, it is uncommon for someone to open one and follow a recipe. If you go back in time, you might remember recipe cards before cookbooks were even invented. I wish those days would come back!
8. Storing flour, sugar, and other foods in canisters
A household staple, canisters were once a kitchen must-have. Mason jars are often used to store food items like sugar, flour, coffee, and tea. They’re convenient because you can leave them right on your countertop for easy access. The best part? You’ll feel incredibly organized!
9. Storing bread in a breadbox
Keeper of the bread, the breadbox was a staple in early kitchens before commercial bakeries became prevalent. Nowadays, breadboxes are more likely to be collector’s items than actual storage for bread!