It can be fun to look at contraptions and gizmos from the past, as antique inventions can inspire a sense of nostalgia or pride in us and even make us cringe. They can also help us visualize history. More than anything however, old items help us see where humanity has been and give us an idea about where we are headed.
One realm of life that antique items can help us understand is the home kitchen. In the past, the kitchen was arguably the lifeblood of the home. It was where the caretaker of the home, usually mom, cooked meals and ran her home management business. As surely as the times have changed with respect to gender roles, the home kitchen has changed dramatically as well. Here is a list of things that used to be common in kitchens that you don’t see anymore.
Imagine a device that can take the toughest meats and transform them into something that’s not just edible, it’s downright delicious. If you didn’t go too far in your imaginings, you might have just envisioned a pressure cooker. On the face of things, a pressure cooker looks like a lidded pot, but it’s really more like a portable pressure chamber. When cooking with a pressure cooker, liquid is a must as the pressure comes from the trapped steam, according to The Kitchn. The pressure inside a pressure cooker raises the boiling point of the liquid inside the pot to speed up cooking time, force moisture into food and caramelize and brown foods nicely.
Wood barrel tap
Though most of people can go to the store and buy beer or wine as they please, there’s something magical about being able to have said beverages on tap. For that, modern people have to go down to the neighborhood bar or pub. If you had only been born a little bit ago when a home wood barrel tap was a socially acceptable household item, you would actually be able to have that bar experience at home with your personal keg of beer or wine.
A breadbox is literally a box in which people stored their bread. In the past, people used them to keep their bread fresh. This was in pre-mass-produced, preservative-laden days when people actually made fresh bread at home. A typical breadbox could hold one or two loaves of bread. Like pressure cookers, breadboxes are something most of us may have seen in our lifetimes but never used. Breadboxes are still available for purchase. Modern bread boxes can be made of metal or wood. Antique breadboxes are usually made of wood or pottery.
When you are thinking of an apple peeler or corer, it probably doesn’t look like the ones they used back in the day. Modern people use apple peelers and corers that can fit into a drawer out of sight until they have a hankering for an apple. In the past, in places such as New York, apples were a way of life. According to Edible Manhattan, before the 20th century, most homeowners grew apples. They would put the pretty apples in the cellar for eating and turn the ugly ones into cider, applesauce and apple butter. Coring and slicing all those apples was tough work, so our forefathers created tortuous-looking labor-saving devices such as apple peelers that cut down on processing time.