One Saturday afternoon, a few weeks ago, some friends and I had planned to travel in to the beautiful Adirondack Mountains for a day trip. With Winter fast approaching, all of us were "chomping at the bit" to have more Summer fun swimming, grilling food and enjoying the crystal clear mountain lakes. Unfortunately, "Mother Nature" had other plans and instead gifted us with a rainy, cold, dark and dreary day. That morning, as I was flipping through our local newspaper, an article about a Vintage Kitchen Utensil and Appliance Exhibit, at a nearby museum, caught my eye. So, after a few phone calls, our plans were quickly changed and we left to take a "trip in to the past" by spending the afternoon at the museum exhibit.
Upon arriving and entering, my first thought was that women sure had it a lot tougher back then. I say women because in the late 19th and early 20th centuries women did most, if not all, of the food shopping, preparation, preserving and cooking; in some cases, even growing the food first! Being an avid cook and baker, I recognized many of the gadgets that were used but just as many were totally baffling to me. Our well-versed guide quickly filled us in with all the facts and particulars as we walked through, and got lost in, a totally different era.
It would be considered normal back then for the woman of the house to work from early morning until late afternoon preparing just the evening meal. Of course, she also had breakfast and lunch to put on the table each day for her family. Talk about a "full-time job!" A huge variety of food was not packaged and sold in stores the way that it is today and feeding a family took many hours of advance planning and preparation. The term "HouseWife" had more of a literal meaning during that time. Women spent more hours a day taking care of their house and feeding the occupants then they did on romance, quality time with their spouse or children, or on rest, relaxation and fun. In most aspects a married woman was literally married to her house!
After wandering around for hours, each of us left there with a "new found" sense and appreciation for all of the modern appliances and conveniences that we have today. Now when I use my food processor, mixer, can opener, bread maker or pick up an egg separator I can't help but think back on that exhibit and smile. If we had to spend 8-10 hours a day preparing daily meals, how could there be time for anything else? Things sure have come a long way and it's funny to ponder that someday in the not-to-distant future others will be thinking the same about our "modern" kitchen tools and gadgets of today.