Monday, December 22, 2008

You Can Grow!

The winter solstice has passed which means the days will become longer until spring arrives. I can hardly wait. What better time than now to plan your garden?

This page of advertising (and more tasty blender recipes) came out of a 1966 issue of Farm Journal. I love to look at old ads and see what inflation has done to today's prices. The "Trees that Grow" aren't far off from today's prices. How interesting. Could it be that trees are inflation-proof?

I have never grown dahlias or gladiolus. If it can't survive an Ohio winter it's not worth the effort to dig the planting hole. My grandma had a thing for glads though.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to whip up a batch of that blender sandwich spread.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It slices! It dices! It's Blendamatic!

This is the cover of an owner's manual for the Blendamatic blender, printed in 1965. I searched far and wide for a photo of the original blender but couldn't find one.

The majority of the owner's manual is dedicated to all sorts of interesting recipes. Let's all get our blenders out and make some "Chick-N-Cheese" pie. And did you know you can make meat loaf in a blender?

This page really caught my eye. "Around the world with your Blender" says it all. Someone out there please make the "Gefilte Fish" and post a photo to astound and amaze us all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How Cold Is It?

This old thermometer was a promotional gift from the National Bank of Oak Harbor to its customers. The bank is still open today in my home town six miles south of Twelve Acres. I found this little treasure at Lene's Web. I need a thermometer inside the chicken coop and this little one fit the bill.

I nailed it right about one of their roosts. It fits snugly against the wall and the chickens can't knock it down.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

PET Milk Recipes

This recipe booklet "Sweet and Simple" was distributed by PET Milk in 1960. I love the color graphics in it. The colors are so vivid which was typical of that time.

Last night I made the "Orange Peach Parfait" but used mandarin orange slices instead of the canned peaches. It was very different--creamy yet fruity with a sherbet-like flavor. It was a nice, cool ending to a meal of spaghetti and garlic bread!

If you decide to make any of these recipes please post a photo of the end result on your blog and link it to here so we can all get a good look at your creation! I was too busy to photograph my little orange parfaits, unfortunately. (Click on images for full sized version.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Aunt Nita's Bowl

This green glass bowl once belong to my great-Aunt Juanita. It ended up in my mom's collection a few years ago and now it's in my kitchen. I used it to hold some grated Parmesan cheese for dinner tonight.

I can't find a single maker's mark anywhere on it. I'm assuming it's Depression glass because of its age and color. The brim has a rather sharp edge on it like a lot of Depression pieces have. If you have one like it I'd be interested in knowing more about it.

It's a very good size for the kitchen and holds about a pint. I love my vintage kitchen items not only for their looks but also for their usefulness.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Woman's Work

Those of you who are a decade or two older than me (I'm 39) are going to have to help me out with this brochure. The front cover states that it was distributed by the Home Economics Extension Staff of the Ohio State University in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. The date on the cover is May, 1943.

Were these pamphlets distributed by people, presumably women, who acted as agents for the USDA? Apparently these people made sure that the topic of Home Economics was well understood and practiced by women all around the country. I am assuming that this program eventually lead up to what we now know as the Cooperative Extension Service. There is one such office located in the basement of our town's post office.

If Jim hadn't pointed it out to me I wouldn't have noticed the huge "V" for victory on the front cover. The women on the cover are cheerful and keeping the home fires burning while their husbands are overseas engaged in battle.

My how our focus has changed! And in such a short period of time. Sixty years really isn't that much time, all things considered. But look at what the women had to handle while the men were off fighting the war. Here's a sampling of a huge checklist inside this handout. The checklist also includes the topics of cleaning and caring for clothes which I didn't scan. Click the image for the full sized version.

Between my mother and me we have what must be the entire collection of all the letters my grandparents wrote to each other during the war. The letters are poignant for the most part with patches of mundane in between. Grandpa's brother, Richard, was wounded and sent to an Army hospital to recover. He sent this V-Mail to my grandmother during his hospital stay, also in May 1943.

If you've never seen a V-Mail or held one in your hand let me just say that they are a marvel to behold. They are miniscule! (Click the photo for the actual size.) They're actually a photo of the original letter, shrunk down. The tiny envelopes they were mailed in are absolutely perfect in their small scale. The smaller size made them cheaper for the government to send. I have only a few of these and they are precious to me. In his letter, Uncle Richard makes small talk and asks how my Uncle Donn and my infant mother are doing. He passes along blessings and well wishes and in his own way asks Grandma not to worry about him. It's all very pleasant and chit-chatty.

The back cover of the "Shortcuts in Housework" brochure encourages women to "keep a set of steady nerves" and "smile and still do your part to win the war". I gotta hand it to the women of the 40's. They were a breed apart. They had a lot on their plates yet they still did everything they could to keep their families fed, clothed and sheltered not to mention maintaining the household while the men were away.

What a fascinating and inspiring glimpse at life just a few decades ago. My grandmother was one of the women who kept the home fires burning while her husband was gone. This brochure makes me appreciate all that she had to do.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ecko Cake Spatula

Before we knew what this utensil was, Jim and I were both convinced we knew its identity. He swore it was a "cake leveler" and I swore it was a "cake server". (I pshawed at his cake leveler notion--the very idea!) We were both wrong. After a little searching I learned that it is actually called a cake spatula.

It was manufactured by Ecko but that's about all I can find out about it. It seems these cake spatulas are very hard to find now. I never did find another one exactly like it during my research.

The handle is an avocado green bakelite, not exactly a modern color. Hands up, who has an avocado green appliance in their kitchen right now? Uh huh, uh huh. It's a very nice weight and length and I just recently used it to cut and serve the heart cake I made for my guys this week. It did a great job of keeping the cake slices from wobbling back and forth precariously as I placed them on the dessert plates. It's extremely thin and therefore very good at slicing cake.

It belonged to Jim's grandmother Knipp, who used to quilt with my grandma. I have a picture of the two of them working on a quilt during one of many quilting bees they attended. (Do these even occur anymore?)

It's so nice to have this cake spatula still in use in my kitchen today. It makes me want to bake more cakes just so I can get it out and use it.

"Magic" Fruit Cake

Just in time for the holidays! Yes folks, it's Magic Fruit Cake! I'm not sure what the "magic" part is though. This marketing booklet (copyright 1954) was printed by The Borden Company and targeted to Home Economics Classes.

What's your take on fruit cake? Personally, I don't like it. I tried it once and once was enough! (All photos can be clicked for the larger version.)

It's interesting to note how technology has changed since 1954. It's a hoot that they considered a woman cooking with a wood stove to be old school. Looking at the "modern" woman of 1954 makes me think, "We've come a long way baby!"

Be sure to include Magic Fruit Cake in your menus!

Everything Old Is New Again

My love and appreciation for vintage items has been the inspiration for this new blog, "Everything Old". I collect vintage kitchen items from my favorite trash and treasure place, Lene's Web. Marlene Webb went to high school with my mom and I was introduced to her years ago when mom and I went on one of many "treasure hunts" in Marlene's big barn.

Years later, I've come to realize that the vast majority of my serving pieces, utensils and dishes came from Lene's Web. Here I will post photos of my favorite things. I know I'm not the only "old soul" out there who loves vintage things and I look forward to hearing stories from others who's "mom had one just like it". I'll also post recipes and fun advertisements here.

Marlene gave me the last of Mrs. Gulau's recipe collection today. I was very touched because she told me that she was giving them to me (free of charge) because she knew I would appreciate them. Wasn't that a sweet thing to do? It was a big envelope stuffed with recipe booklets from manufacturers such as Sunbeam and Shetland as well as companies Betty Crocker and General Mills.

Here's a photo of the items I purchased today. I am planning my "Nothing But Pie" party for next weekend and I needed a very retro punch bowl. Marlene had several and I chose this one with a nice swirly shape. Notice the extra, smaller bowl. I'm assuming that the goal is to freeze part of the punch in the smaller bowl. The frozen punch "ice cube" is then placed inside the larger punch bowl to keep the punch cold without diluting it the way ice cubes would. Isn't it lovely how the little cups hang from the punch bowl edge? I love it.

Also I'm in love with the Bakelite handled angel food cake cutter. The red handled spatula is under the "Androck" name. Even my son Derek noticed the quality of the "Made in the U.S.A." utensil. They just don't make 'em like they used to but I'm so glad these things can still be found if you look hard enough. I plan to use it on the grill. I love the tapered handle. So retro! You can also see some of the recipe books that Marlene gave me.

And now a word from our sponsor...Frigidaire.

Doesn't this lady look ecstatic about her new Frigidaire Cook-Master oven? Heck, I'd be ecstatic if my oven looked like that too. (Click on photo for full size version.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Heart Them

Last night it occurred to me that my kitchen isn't organized very efficiently. Most of my cooking tools were tossed into a big drawer which meant I had to dig and dig to find anything. My hot pads were on the opposite side of the room as the oven and my fruit and vegetable tools were too far from the sink. My goal today was to get my kitchen and my recipes organized. Although I really wanted to take a nap I didn't give in to the urge. I sorted through tools and anything I haven't used in 6 months was put into a zippered storage bag and placed in the storage cabinets in the garage. Then I separated the tools according to use: pastry/baking, fruit/vegetable, and general use and put each group into its own drawer. I then tucked my hot pads into the drawer right next to the oven which makes perfect sense to me. I rearranged serving dishes and cooking dishes so that the most frequently used items were easily accessible and the not-so-frequently used were placed out of the way. Now my kitchen makes sense!

I sorted through my recipe book and took out any recipes that I haven't made in a long time. Some of them made me scratch my head and ask, "What was I thinking?" Now my recipe book is much more streamlined!

Midway through my organizing I looked out the glass doors to see this riff-raff eyeballing me. Sorry, no beggars allowed! Silver and Sweetheart probably just wanted to see what it looks like inside the human coop. The girls have slowed egg production down so much that I'm lucky if I get 4 eggs a day right now.

After the kitchen work was done I brewed some coffee and prepared some cake batter to put in these pretty pans I got from Lene's Web. Aren't they adorable? I LOVE aluminum bake ware. Nothing releases so perfectly. Back when I made birthday cakes to make money when my kids were little, I had nothing but aluminum cake pans. They're long gone and I miss them. I will replace them though, thanks to Lene's Web.

What was the occasion for the cake? Well I got to thinking about how much my guys do for me and I wanted to show them that I appreciate them. I kept the cake hidden during the whole cooling process and managed to get the layers together and the icing on just as the boys were getting off the bus!

I had Derek put dessert plates out when he was setting the table. But they were noticeably empty during the meal. Jim finally asked about the empty dessert plates and I went to the office to retrieve the hidden cake.

I told the guys why I baked it and thanked them for all that they do for me. I also told them to have as much cake as they wanted (a rare treat).

I think they liked it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Kitchen Treasures Found

I visited "Lene's Web Treasures & Trash" again yesterday and hunted for vintage items to give as Christmas gifts. I love going there and Marlene is always happy to see me and gives me a nice discount. I was looking for cast iron muffin pans, loaf pans and muffin tins to go with bread mixes to give my sister-in-law and mother-in-law.

This corn stick pan is pretty common and easy to find. There is a "V" stamped on the back. Marlene had it marked for $12.50.

This pan, however, is another story. I can't find another one like it on the internet. The only maker's mark on the back is a "2" in one of the corners. This one was marked $12.50 too. I'd like to include a bit of history on the gift tag for each pan. If you know anything about them please inform me.

The pans were a bit rusty when I got them. I had Jim clean them up in the blasting cabinet then I washed and dried them. I coated them with shortening and put them in the oven at 250 degrees for two hours, then wiped the excess oil off. I repeated the seasoning process to make sure they were seasoned properly. I don't want to give rusty pans as gifts!

After all the time I spent on reseasoning these pans I've developed an attachment to them, especially the corn muffin pan! I'm going to bake a batch of corn muffins in it to further season it tonight. The more a cast iron pan gets used the better seasoned it will be, right?

Then I found this eight-cup Ecko muffin tin. It was made by Ovenex. I love the jewel cut pattern on the tin. Isn't it nice? I'm going to keep this one and use it to decorate the kitchen when I'm not using it. I didn't note the price tag on this one--I just wanted it!

Here's a close-up of the maker's mark. I can't find another one like this on the internet either. I can find six-cup tins but not eight-cup tins.

This perfect little Hull creamer screamed at me from the shelf it was sitting on. I couldn't find its companion sugar bowl. Again I can't find another one like it on the internet so anything you can tell me would be helpful. I love the eagle motif on the sides. It's a dark olive brown with a light aqua drip glaze around the top edge. Marlene marked it $1.50 and I know it was a steal!
There were other pieces of Pyrex that I'm happy with too but I'll share them another day after I've got them all packaged up and ready to give.