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Something Wonderful: The Family Kitchen


My mother’s dream kitchen in the early 1950s. We ate in one like it by the late 1950s. Had the table and chairs for the whole family (“Compact but not cramped.”). Had the mixer. Had the Frigidaire. Had the Lazy Susans. Had the sifter with the wood handle painted in red enamel. Had the sink and the faucets. Had the broom closet. Had the toaster. Still do. Moving on up!

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • julie May 14, 2022, 10:31 AM

    My grandma had a kitchen very much like that, even down to the floors. She also had a lovely, sunny little breakfast nook. I remember it as a place of cookies and playing cards, light and happiness.

    Who says there’s no such thing as time travel? A moment watching this kitchen and I have been transported.

  • gwbnyc May 14, 2022, 11:14 AM

    In my capacity as a delivery guy, kinda carpenter, etc, I’d occasion kitchens in classy old highrises, up West End and Amsterdam Aves. as examples.

    There was always a potato cooler in the (exterior) wall and a delivery entrance. The surrounding attention to detail was that not found in later buildings.

    A workmate and I installed some frosted glass panels in Paloma Picasso’s kitchen in her triplex on upper 3rd Avenue, c.1984. She made some lunch for herself and her secretary, a guy named Javier. Campbell’s chicken noodle and tunafish sandwiches.

  • Mike Anderson May 14, 2022, 1:06 PM

    A Dream Kitchen as old as I am! Some nice touches (dig the old tubular chairs), but definitely designed by clueless Yankees who never spent years in the kitchen. Those dedicated food bins–especially the ones for grains–would be swarming with weevils inside a month in any Southern kitchen, zinc or no zinc. In addition, said Yankees apparently never heard of mise en place as a kitchen technique, since they ran that poor woman ragged opening and closing bins, drawers, and cupboards mid-recipe.

    My big find? I want one of those semi-cheesy plastic covers for my stand mixer! But I’ll pass on combining chocolate cake and fruit-filled Jello for dessert.

    • gwbnyc May 14, 2022, 2:59 PM

      that’s why we had help in.

  • ThisIsNotNutella May 14, 2022, 3:09 PM

    It’s like the Jetsons for cockroaches.

  • Mike Austin May 14, 2022, 6:24 PM

    You just watched an example of the pinnacle of civilization: America 1945 – 1965. No other excuse for high and a free society can come close: Women knew their duties, men protected them, and kids jumped around in perfect freedom. We will never be there again. Alas.

    • Vanderleun May 14, 2022, 6:25 PM

      Succinct, sad, and true.

    • ghostsniper May 15, 2022, 4:34 AM

      In more ways than one, Mike.
      That mixer she slid out onto the counter. An average man in those days could open that thing with a screwdriver and maybe a pair of pliers and with a trip to the local hardware store, could fix that thing and have it running again if it broke down. IF it ever broke down. Things were built robust then, meant to last, and that was a big part of the selling advertisements. Things were built with common sense, that if it does break down it can be repaired fairly easily. There used to be repair places everywhere. Now? Everything is over priced plastic junk poorly designed and built with the emphasis that it will soon be in the landfill and the owner will just go to worldmart and buy another for $49.97.

      It’s a me thing. Everything we have ever purchased, that failed, then was sent to the landfill, first sat on my workbench and was explored with my huge array of hand and power tools. Most have been disappointing. Very difficult to get the cases open, and all of the guts are built in such a way as to be unrepairable. Even the parts for any repairs are difficult to find and cost more than a new machine itself.

      Bullshit piled on top of bullshit, at least 5 or 6 generations worth, and trying to get back to “normal” will require massive pain and most likely the elimination of millions of people that stand in the way. When everyone has finally forgotten who we were, we will no longer be.

      • Mike Austin May 15, 2022, 5:41 AM

        Our machines have gone the way of our souls. Soon enough it will be impossible to “return to normal”, as the necessary mental, racial, spiritual and physical requirements will no longer be present.

        Any society that worships infanticide and makes saints out of drug addicted negro murderers will not survive—and does not deserve to.

      • jwm May 15, 2022, 6:57 AM

        I have two plastic cordless power drills that don’t work. Neither lasted longer than the second charge. I drilled my last stone with a 60’s vintage Craftsman that I bought at a yard sale some years ago. I still have the same power drill that my Dad had when I was a little kid. It still works fine.

        JWM

        • ghostsniper May 15, 2022, 7:36 AM

          You MIGHT be able to fix those drills, it’s worth a try.
          The key word is “brushes”.
          2 sticks of black carbon that ride over the surface of the commutator.
          In time the brushes wear down and make poor contact with the commutator, and, the voids in the commutator load up with the dust from the brushes, shorting it out.

          You’ll have to split the case by removing all the screws that hold it together.
          Find the commutator on one end of the main shaft and look closely at it for the brushes making contact with it. The brushes will be held in place by screws or clips. Remove the screws/clips and pull the brushes out, noting the position they are in when you pull them. Examine the end of the brushes where they ride on the commutator, they will be curved on the end and probably splayed out. Use a small file or sandpaper to “clean up” the worn down brushes. Turn your attention to the commutator. Notice the shiny copper stripes and the spaces between. Again, with small files, small brass brushes, and sandpaper clean as much of the black carbon off of it as you can. Notice if there is any scoring on the surfaces of the small copper pieces. IOW, try to clean that whole area up as best as you can.

          Before reassembly, examine the brackets that hold the brushes. There should be some sort of spring mechanism that holds the brush against the commutator. It may be a coil spring or a bent wire/plate type. Stretch the coil spring a little longer so that it applies more pressure on the brush. For the bent wire/plate type, use 2 pairs of needle nose pliers to try to bend it a little bit further, again to try to make more pressure on the brush. Reassemble reverse of disassembly.

          If you have the user manuals for the drills (find the pdf files online) you may be able to find a parts list and buy new brushes for a few bucks. A couple months ago I bought new brushes for my Dremel on amazon. My Dremel is 30+ years old and I have replaced the brushes 3 times. Good luck!

  • WDS May 15, 2022, 8:17 AM

    I’m still cooking on this ( https://imgur.com/3q53Gnp ) from 1970, although mine is official avocado green as is the upright freezer that still works perfectly. My great-grandmother was from Austria and I swear I don’t ever remember her even coming out of her kitchen.

    • ghostsniper May 15, 2022, 10:52 AM

      WoW, you lucky dawg! I’ve never seen one of those in person only on TV, long ago.
      Samantha on Bewitched had one. I’ll take one, in Harvest Gold, if you please! BTW, is that a Tappan?

    • HH May 15, 2022, 7:01 PM

      I had that same range! in a house my husband and I bought in 1979. It shorted out and “blew up” a few years later (on Easter Sunday, of all days, with a house full of company waiting on Easter dinner). After that, we bought a Kenmore electric range with two ovens and a built-in griddle. I loved that range. I cooked grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes every week.

      When my husband and I married in 1970, his mother had a pink kitchen and bathroom. Pink appliances (range, refrigerator, washer) and pink sinks and tub. It was charming and I loved it and her. In 52 years of marriage, I’ve had appliances in white, gold, green, coppertone, aqua, almond, black, and stainless steel. I like white the best.

      • ghostsniper May 16, 2022, 4:34 AM

        Good gurl. You can’t go wrong with white. They look pure, clean. Non-trendy. Never goes out of date. Our FL house has white and when I gutted our up north kitchen a few years ago I put in white appliances. GE. But their quality has slipped in recent years.

    • Vanderleun May 16, 2022, 8:09 AM

      Wow. Just Wow!

  • Mitchell Strand May 15, 2022, 12:46 PM

    I know it couldn’t be, but the voiceover woman sounds a lot like Majel Barrett, Gene Roddenberry’s wife, as well as Number One on the pilot, Nurse Chapel on the series, and the voice of the computer on Next Generation.

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