Cooking

Early rotary egg beaters

antique Dover egg beater

Hand-operated rotary egg beaters were invented just before 1860, but at that time it wasn’t yet clear what the best design for the job would be. Different inventors had different ideas for labour-saving ways of whisking eggs. The first beaters with rotating parts were probably an American design patented in 1856 (below right) and, in […]

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Is it safe to use a vintage briki, ibrik, or cezve?

ibrik, briki, cezve

Drinking strong coffee made in a small pot called a briki, ibrik, cezve or rakwa, has become quite popular in English-speaking countries in the last few years. If you have an old briki – from an antique shop, relative’s attic, or an old souvenir – you may wonder if you can put it on the […]

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Can you ID stovetop utensils in a 1920s kitchen?

kitchen stuff 1920s

This kitchen is on an early dude ranch set up for city dwellers who wanted an “American West” experience on vacation. Perhaps it’s a little more folksy than some other kitchens of the 1920s, but everything in there is authentic, and could have been found in other homes of that era. Before I start naming […]

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Hanging salt boxes

antique wooden hanging salt box

Hanging salt boxes used to be taken for granted in kitchens throughout northern Europe and colonial America. There they were, on the wall next to where you cooked. The pictures on this page are all European, but salt boxes were an essential part of life for settlers in North America too. They pounded salt lumps […]

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Historic kitchens – visiting with eyes wide open

kitchen 1500s England

Whenever I travel I look out for historic houses, especially if they have kitchens worth visiting, and enjoy picking out bits and pieces for a closer look. And yet the room often isn’t the way it would have looked at any time in its life. The picture above is of a 16th century English manor […]

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Cornishware: what did people like about it?

Cornish ware

Why did Cornishware appeal to people in its early days? Now we think of it as a British “design classic”, collected above all for its distinctive broad blue and white stripes, the core pattern of the original TG Green Cornish Kitchen Ware range. Some collectors also like less common variations: black stripes, or a storage […]

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Mrs. Beeton’s pastry essentials

pastry mold patty pans

Mrs. Beeton knew it took time to learn how to make good pastry, which she called paste. …the art of paste requires much practice, dexterity and skill… Isabella Beeton, 1861 Her main tips are: Pastry-making utensils must be kept scrupulously clean and not used for anything else. Use a light touch with cool hands and […]

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Pie birds: how old are these collectibles?

pie bird funnel

How many pies today are baked with a little ceramic chimney inside that supports the crust and channels away steam so that hot fillings don’t burst out in places where they shouldn’t? Also called a pie funnel, vent, or whistle, they don’t actually have to be birds, though using a little pottery bird with dark […]

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