Monday, July 23, 2012

Kitchen Gadgets

I've always loved kitchen gadgets, nothing better than the kitchen section of a mail order catalog.  I thought I'd introduce you to some of our gadgets.  I'll bet you all have some too!

The scale was manufactured by Wm Enders Oak Leaf of Walden, NY and patented in 1906.  We really use this scale and it works well.  This was from my grandmother's house and now it sits on our counter.  We set things on top and the arrow points to the weight.  There are no digital readouts that glow in the dark.  

The timer- hand wind and listen for the ding, just once so don't miss it.  The advantage to this timer is that I can go outside and take it with me.  What can be better!  Our new oven display lasted all of about 8 years, after the warranty ended of course.  This is a nice dual oven with convection option too.   Our new motto is the fewer electronics, the better.

The Ecko high speed beater- what power outage?  None here, crank and beat.  Normally we use a whisk and I do have a very nice Kitchen Aid mixer that we purchased years ago.  The Kitchen Aid was expensive but very well worth it as far a gadgets go.  We have attachments for grinding and sausage stuffing too. This manual model will work in a pinch though, so we made sure to keep it as well.  It really says high speed beater!

The egg slicer, could it get any more simple?  Perfect slices every time for salads or just packed in my lunch bag accompanied by fresh tomato and cucumbers with a little ranch dressing on the side.
The can opener.  We gave up on electric can openers years and years ago. They became dull, the dropped the can or opened only a portion of it.   This is a pretty fancy one for us, it has handles-with grips!  Normally we used one that would fit in the palm of your hand with a small key type winder.  The one in our emergency bag doesn't even have that, it's a military type - my husband always calls it a John Wayne opener. 

We opted out of the pretty granite counter tops because cast iron is our cookware of choice.  Instead, we chose a very sturdy tile that will stand up to heat and heavy cookware.  

We rescued this cast iron piece from a flea market- completely covered in rust. After some clean up it is just perfect and a great pot for frying smaller quantities.

This old Griswold dutch oven is from my husband's great aunt.  It's been in the family since 1926.  In 2012 it continues to be one of the most used pieces of cookware we have.

To accompany our gadgets we also have some awesome cookbooks that have been passed down through the family.   Some early 1900s, some fun 50s/60s, novelty and themed plus enough church cookbooks to fill a library shelf!   Of course Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking has the place of honor next to the wine rack along with The Joy of Cooking.

The Boston Cooking School Cook Book  (this edition 1927)

My dad was a gadget type of guy too.  He always tried to give mom something super great and every time she returned it.  One year it was a combination meat slicer and something I can't quite remember, but it was really cool.  Back it went.  Another year it was an AM/FM clock radio/light/alarm combination that probably massaged your back and dried your hair too.  Well, I might be exaggerating just a little.  But back it went.  All the good stuff, back when these sort of things were not the norm! 

It's good to have the old standbys though, the "through thick and thin" items that are proven.  

What gadgets are your favorite?


Sunnybrook Farm said...

I have a John Wayne on my key chain as you never know when you might need to open a can. The end of a John Wayne can be used as a screw driver. I think the Marines call them that because John Wayne was in the original instruction film that showed them how to open a ration can with it. They always work!

Gorges Smythe said...

I've never used it, but I have a large "spider" (three-legged skillet w/ long handle and Dutch-oven-style lid that came over the mountains from Staunton, Virginia on some kind of covered wagon driven by my g-g-grandfather. The lid says it was made in "Wheeling, VA." There IS a Wheeling, Virginia, but I suspect it was the Wheeling that's now in WV, since that town was always a steel town.

Lisa said...

I have a glass juice that I love to twist lemons and oranges. It is pretty old from my great grandmother. I am searching more for nonelectric gadgets too. Think these will come in handy in the future. Thanks for sharing yours and I love all the pics!


CrankyPuppy said...

Hey, Kathy! I really loved this post because there's nothing better for cooking than old cast iron and old cookbooks. I still have all my grandmothers and great grandmothers and wouldn't part with them for anything.

I wanted to let you know that I've nominated your blog for the One Lovely Blog and the Very Inspiring Blogger Awards! You can see my post about it over at I hope you'll accept!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Congrats to you! I left a reply on your post. I'll work on that over the next few days.

Candy C. said...

Fun post! I'm a gadget gal myself! I have a hand crank beater that I use occasionally, a glass juicer, a flat grater that I use a LOT (I don't own a real food processor), whisks glaore and even a hand crank Salsa maker. Oh, and I gave up on electric can openers years ago too! :)


I sure do like your kitchen gadgets, of course they are a weakness of mine also...Enjoyed the post Kathy.

LindaG said...

I love all your gadgets, Kathy.
I'd like to hear more about your counter, too. We are in the process of doing the kitchen in the farm house and will need counter tops.
I have cast iron pans, too. We've been looking at counter tops, so any advice you can give would be appreciated.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Linda, it's really a decorative floor tile- so it's tougher. Our friend is a tile setter so he came over and did some nice simple design work. If you use tile, the grout will likely get dirty since we're canning, etc. Pick one that won't show as much aging. Our tiles are larger but that was by choice.

There is a nice concrete counter tops that you can have colored really nicely. They don't really look like concrete and of course are tough as concrete.

Our kitchen isn't the glamorous kind like these new ones. I'd love one like that but being practical, we went this route based on our needs.

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