Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Prompt Contest Winner - Samantha Lang

Thanks, all of you who entered our October Prompt Contest
Everyone turned in excellent posts. They were so much fun to read. We hope you'll stop back by in the months ahead and try again. 

Congratulations, Samantha Lang, winner of the October Prompt Contest. 

Samantha loves reading and writing. For the last seven years, she has worked as a nanny for a family with eight children. She has entered short story and poetry contests and now wants to tackle the challenge of novel writing.

Thanks for entering our contest, Samantha, and may God bless your path toward becoming a published writer.

Here is Samantha's winning entry, in response to our prompt:

Janie stared at the particles of food which coated her once clean kitchen. Could a Crock Pot explode? Hopelessly, she glanced at her pantry and wondered how her guests felt about bowls of cereal for lunch.

“No good deed goes unpunished,” she muttered. Janie picked up her grandmother’s latest letter and scanned its contents again. 

"Janie, you should meet my new neighbor, Carla, teacher at Larson High School. We’ve had some delightful chats and I would love to introduce you, dear."

Reading between the lines, Janie knew that was her grandmother’s way of fishing for that elusive invitation to lunch. Surrendering to the hint, she wrote a letter (Gran insisted on snail-mail), inviting both Gran and her neighbor to lunch. How hard could it be to entertain two ladies for a few hours? But as she surveyed her kitchen, Janie wondered if the afternoon was doomed to fail. Her once favorite appliance lay on its side, still plugged into the wall. The makings of Italian wedding soup covered the room, floor to ceiling. 

Janie looked up at the clock. 11:30. She had half an hour to recover her kitchen. Throwing her hair back in a sloppy ponytail and rolling up her sweatpants, she set to work.At exactly noon, Janie lifted Gran’s letter and took one last swipe of the counter with her dishrag. Though she herself was less than presentable, the kitchen looked fantastic, perhaps even cleaner than before the disaster. She grabbed a bottle of air freshener from beneath the sink and squirted a bit into the air. 

At the sound of the doorbell, Janie took a deep breath and forced a smile on her face, hurrying to the door with Gran’s note still in her hand. As she opened the door, however, her smile faded and her heart dropped.There was Gran, in her floral dress and thick sweater. But the arm she gripped for support was not the matronly teacher Janie expected. 

Towering over Gran stood a man. A very handsome man with light brown hair and remarkably blue eyes. His smile revealed perfect teeth and two deep dimples.Words failed Janie. 

Gran tilted her head to one side, studying Janie’s appearance. “Janie, I hope you are still expecting us. This is my new neighbor, Carl.”

Carl? Janie scanned the note in her hand, feeling her face burn red as she realized her mistake. Her grandmother’s frail script didn’t read, “Carla, teacher at Larson High School,” but “Carl, a teacher at Larson High School.” 

Janie looked up, horrified. Gran’s eyes twinkled in amusement. “May we come in?”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Common Household- Sewing

After reading through my co-bloggers posts, I've had a certain nostalgia come over me. I grew up in a home where both my parents worked, mom rushed from work to pick us up from daycare, raced to the grocery, then home to make dinner.

I don't recall helping make meals, cookies or pies. The rolling pin saw the light of day during the holidays, which happened to be the only times I recall watching my mom cook. So things like the turkey baster and candy thermometers were passing curiosities.

Microwaves and VCRs were things that came to be during my childhood. The only thing I noticed was my parents' excitement. And Top Gun on surround sound vibrating the walls. ;) I believe that movie propelled my dad into purchasing the VCR. 

Our first computer was a Texas Instrument. I remember standing with my dad in the magazine section as he perused the game codes. We'd then go home and spend hours upon hours inputting data, hoping we didn't make a mistake.

But the things I remember the most, things that may or may not be consider 'common household' items were things that were very common in our household.

One of my first memories is of my dad stepping on one of my mom's dropped pins. These tiny, shiny sharp objects have been around for thousands of years in various forms.

A little trivia, according to Wikipedia (Yeah, I know how reliable it is but still, it's fun) the term 'pin money' used back in the Middle Ages came from the fact that pins were expensive to purchase. A husband would give his wife money to by one. How thoughtful. :)

Mom lost a few pins throughout my childhood, and of course, Dad usually found them.

Scissors, an item that dates back to Mesopotamia, were another common item. One piece of advice I can give to all husbands if they wish to keep the peace in their households; DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT use your wife's good scissors as tin snips or wire cutters.


Some of my fondest memories are of my mother staying up the night before Christmas finishing all the projects she was working on for us.

I'm sure she thinks I hated having homemade clothes when the rest of the kids had designer, and I'm sure there was a time that I did, but I will never forget the time and love spent over the cutting table, at the sewing machine, or sitting in her chair crocheting a scarf or knitting a sweater.

Writing prompt:

Flames blazed in the fireplace. The rocker creaked a staccato. Tonya's needles tapped . . .

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Common Household Items - Modern and Future

Confession time - I have a favorite appliance in my kitchen. I know you shouldn’t show favoritism, but it's my Tassimo single-cup coffeemaker. I know it’s an extravagance, but I love coffee and I always hated throwing coffee away when I made too much. So now I make a single cup and I can even make lattes and specialty coffees if I have them on hand. Other than that, my kitchen is ordinary. We are not really high tech in other areas of the house either. If it works, why replace it? 
I do have dreams. When I began researching this article, those dreams expanded. Yes, I would like this television set and that beautiful modern lighting. If you watch HGTV, you see so many new and innovative additions to kitchens and bathrooms it’s difficult to keep up. But writers must stay up with the new gadgets if our writing is going to be modern for the next couple of years. 
For your convenience, I have inserted links in this article. Just click on the item to see the original article and/or photo.
Appliances & Gadgets - Among my favorites, advanced lighting, a self-cleaning, restocking refrigerator, a “green” glass, robot security and what I like to call the “super” bed. Just imagine a bed that does everything for you. But there are many more gadgets out there, designed to make our lives easier. However, some of them are costly and are not energy efficient right now, like the Kohler Numi toilet.
We already have music that follows us everywhere, electronic books, ipods, ipads, iphones, and laptops. These are constantly evolving to keep up with the ever-changing technology. Even our automobiles are evolving into highly technical machines with touchscreens that allow us to route our journey, raise and lower the heat and sound and even talk on the telephone. 
& Televisions - Our present-day television boasts high-density picture quality that is at times unsettling, if the screen is a large one. You almost feel you’re there. Anyone remember the old color TV’s? Those first ones to hit the market? We’ve come a long way. The screens of the future look a little different. There are holographic TVs in the works and the solid glass screens are already out there. You think you’re looking at a mirror or a glass panel until you touch the remote and turn it on. Cool.
These new gadgets will be powered by solar, wind, biodiesel and nuclear energy, according to several articles I found, especially one from National Geographic. But that’s another subject for another day.
There is a wealth of information out there to help you populate your futuristic novel with cool gadgets and appliances. If you have deep pockets, you can even invest in a few to add that touch of realism to your story. If your work in progress is set in the present, just be aware that your cutting-edge technology will be out of date by the time your book is published. 
Thank you for reading our posts this month on Common Household Items. I hope we have helped fuel your imaginations. Please join our blog or follow our facebook page to keep up with future posts on interesting writer-inspiring subjects. And take a few minutes to finish one of our story prompts. Enter the monthly contest to win a $10 Amazon gift card and be featured in our last post of the month. Hey, it’s free advertising. 

This week’s prompt: Lucy was awakened by a trilling alarm. Bimbo, her security robot, had detected something. She pushed a button in the headboard to activate the security channel on the TV. Her heart nearly stopped as the screen revealed the intruder...


Friday, October 19, 2012

The Radarange

Need to boil water? Melt butter, chocolate, or marshmallows? How about warm a snack? My second favorite kitchen appliance can do this and more, the microwave.
A microwave oven, often colloquially shortened to microwave, is a kitchen appliance that heats food by dielectric heating accomplished with radiation used to heat polarized molecules in food. Microwave ovens heat foods quickly and efficiently because excitation is fairly uniform in the outer 25–38 mm of a dense (high water content) food item; food is more evenly heated throughout (except in thick, dense objects) than generally occurs in other cooking techniques.
Dr. Percy Spencer invented the first microwave oven after World War II from radar technology developed during the war. Named the "Radarange", it was first sold in 1947. Raytheon later licensed its patents for a home-use microwave oven that was first introduced by Tappan in 1955, but these units were still too large and expensive for general home use. The countertop microwave oven was first introduced in 1967 by the Amana Corporation, which had been acquired in 1965 by Raytheon.
From what I’ve read, how a microwave actually works is difficult to explain and scientific. My untrained mind helped me to decide instead to give you several facts I found interesting about the microwave…
(1)    The heating effects of high power microwave beams were discovered by accident when Dr. Percy Spencer’s candy bar [a Mr. Goodbar] he had in his pocket melted.
(2)   The first commercially available microwave oven was almost 6 feet high and weighed 750 pounds. In 1947, it cost $5000, [$52,042 in today’s dollars.]
(3)   Current estimates hold that over 90% of American households own a microwave oven.
(4)   Microwave ovens heat food without getting hot themselves.
(5)   Closed containers, such as eggs, can explode when heated in a microwave oven due to the increased pressure from steam.

My own microwave is used to warm up all sorts of food, cook frozen meals, and melt certain foods. I also might heat a cup of water for hot tea or coffee. My crock pot for slow cooking and my microwave for those busy days keep this writer writing…
This week’s writing prompt: Belinda’s hand trembled as she set the chipped mug of water into the microwave. The word on the faded cup mocked her. Peace. A concept long forgotten when…

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Common Household Items - Beyond the Kitchen

1970’s - 1980’s 

There are other items in our households outside the kitchen that should be included in our inventory of common items. As I move into the 1970’s - 1980’s era, I’m in more familiar territory, because now I’m looking at my personal history. But I’d like to move beyond the harvest gold and avocado appliances of the era and take a glance at some of the other rooms in our houses. 
Some of our readers are intimately acquainted with the unique fashions of the eighties (oh, the big hair). One thing we needed most to achieve the big hair―hot curlers and curling irons. 
Okay, some of you probably still use both of those items. I have gotten away from using the curlers, but I still own a set. Wonder where I put those? And remember the “bubble-head” portable hairdryers of the sixties? These were thankfully replaced by handheld hairdryers and brushes. Yes, I’m certain some of you still use those old hairdryers. If you have any humorous or comical pictures of these, please feel free to send them to us on our facebook page @ http://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.blogspot.com
As health-consciousness erupted on the American public, we added juicers and blenders to our kitchen roster of appliances. And who can forget the lovely workout clothes of the eighties? Spandex, lycra, warm-up suits, leg warmers and sweatbands on your wrists and head. Classic.

Confession: I kept several pairs of legwarmers, hoping they’d come back. I’m prepared, folks. 
Another common household item that made major improvements during this era was the television set. The cranky old buttons and dials disappeared, replaced by the remote control. No more jumping up to change the channel or raise/lower the volume. 
VCR’s burst on the scene, changing our lives and making it possible for us to watch movies in the comfort of our own home. Transistor radios, cassette tape recorders, Sony Walkmans and boomboxes added theme music to our lives. We could literally listen to our favorite music wherever we were (even in the shower) and much to the chagrin of some of our parents and neighbors.
Atari and Nintendo - two common names from the late eighties as the television game devices crept in and took over our children’s minds. I’ll never forget the Christmas Day my sons and their dad (who bought the game for them, of course) spent the entire day playing Mario Brothers. I still cringe when I hear that theme music. 

While this is not an extensive list of items, I hope I’ve spurred your memories and maybe even tickled your funny bones. Now I challenge you to choose one of our weekly prompts to write a short, short story (under 500 wds please) and enter our monthly contest. You can win a $10 Amazon gift card if your entry is our chosen winner. Not only that, but we’ll post your picture and a short bio with your winning entry as our blogpost on the final Tuesday of October. Happy Writing!

Today’s Prompt: Lindsey tugged her hot-pink legwarmers over burgundy tights, tucked a walkman in her belt and . . . 

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Kitchen Table

Christina here.

When I realized what this month's blog topic was, I was kind of at a loss. Common household items have never really grabbed my attention, not unless I need the colander or something. My brain is usually stuck in the 8th century B.C. or the 19th century. Yes, even in my here and now.

It's typical of me to obsess over my stories. If I get stuck, I go start a load of laundry. If I remain stuck I sweep, do the dishes, clean the bathroom. All those things are on auto pilot while I'm plotting ways to torment my characters.

One thing that seems to be a constant, whether I'm writing an historical romance set in Israel or a romantic suspense set in Kansas, is the table.

The Graphics Fairy
Yes, they've changed over the centuries from leather pieces, to stone, to intricately carved wood, to the simpler styles we see today, but it seems as if they've always been around. And they've always been a gathering place.

A place to eat.
A place to gather one's thoughts.
A place to talk.
A place to talk war.
A place to talk peace.
A place to draft documents.
A place to build models.
A place to rebuild carburetors. 
A place to do homework.
A place to sew.
A place to sort.
A place to make cookies.
A place to store junk mail.
A place to string popcorn for Christmas.
A place to give thanks.
A place to pray with friends.
A place to commune with the Lord.

There are so many things the kitchen table has been used for, the list of items is endless. Many of these things have been done by many people across the generations. All of them are things I've done. Yes, even talk war and peace. International wars and spiritual wars.

What are some of the things you've done at the kitchen table?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Common Household Items - Mom's Kitchen

1960's - 1970's
In my mid-sixties world the Beatles headlined. A spoonful of sugar helped the medicine go down. A man walked on the moon. Technology changed so fast, it was difficult to keep up. Mom saved green stamps, so we had many cool kitchen gadgets. Toasters, toaster ovens, electric can openers, mixers, blenders, etc. For those of you who aren’t familiar with green stamps, or quality stamps, you received them at certain grocery stores. The more you spent, the more stamps you received. We loved to go shopping at the stamp store. They had such amazing stuff. 

After spending a week or two at Grandma’s, home seemed especially Jetsonic. We flipped a switch on the wall to turn on the lights. No hauling in water, it was readily available from faucets in the kitchen and bathroom. We had two bathrooms in the house. Taking a bath was almost luxurious. And there was an abundance of outlets in which to plug all those appliances. Mom’s favorite small appliance was her shiny, stainless steel percolator. How well I remember the sound of the percolator and the smell of fresh coffee wafting through the house. 
Mom preferred an electric stove. She was fond of baking, so the house was often filled with the wonderful aromas of fresh baked bread, cookies, cakes or pies. She had paraphernalia for her baking. Nesting bowls, a sifter, measuring cups and spoons, rolling pin and cookie cutters. When she tied on her apron (she never cooked without an apron) and pulled out her Betty Crocker cookbook, we’d hang around waiting for bowls and spoons to lick. 

The portable mixer whirred, the can opener buzzed and popped. All of these new appliances made noise, but we didn’t care as long as the Beatles or Elvis sang in the background. While my brothers lay on the floor in front of the black and white console TV watching The Three Stooges, I helped Mom in the kitchen. She used self-rising flour, so we didn’t have to add soda, baking powder and salt. We kept our flour, sugar and cornmeal in avocado green canisters on the countertop. 

The only home-canned foods in our kitchen came from Grandma’s. Mom worked full time, so had no time to care for a garden or put up food from one. She gleaned fresh produce from the grocery store and filled her pantry with tin cans and cardboard boxes. She used vegetable shortening rather than lard and margarine instead of butter. Eggs and milk came in cartons. It was quicker and easier to do laundry with our automatic washer and dryer. The broom took a back seat to the vacuum cleaner and the dust mop sat in the closet unused, since we had cushiony carpet instead of wood floors. 

Today we cringe at the thought of aqua blue appliances and bright white daisies dancing on yellow wallpaper, but at the time, it seemed shiny and modern. We spent a lot of time in Mom’s kitchen, sat down to meals as a family more than once a week and ate home cooked meals ninety-nine percent of the time. Sweet memories. 

Note: Instead of adding to the list of household items this week, I’ve tried to incorporate all of them in my post. 

This week’s prompt: Susie had just plugged in the percolator when the doorbell rang. Perfect timing. She opened the front door expecting to see her neighbor . . . 

Friday, October 5, 2012

This Writer’s Favorite Kitchen Appliance

 Let's leave Grandma's kitchen of the past and travel to my kitchen today. My personal two favorite kitchen appliances are my crock pot and the microwave. Also the dishwasher, but we'll save that story for another time. Today’s blog is about the Crock Pot or Slow Cooker. The Slow Cooker is a countertop electrical cooking appliance which maintains a low cooking temperature which allows for the unattended cooking of beans, stews, roasts, and other meals. The key word for the writer is unattended. You can write and cook at the same time, once the initial prep work is done.
A basic slow cooker consists of a lidded round or oval cooking pot made of glazed ceramic or porcelain, surrounded by a housing, usually metal, containing an electric heating element. The lid is often of glass seated in a groove in the pot edge; condensed vapor collects in the groove and provides a low-pressure seal to the atmosphere.
Raw food and a liquid (such as water, wine, or stock) are placed in the slow cooker. The cooker lid is put on and the cooker is switched on. Some cookers even automatically switch from cooking to warming after a fixed time or after the internal temperature of the food, as determined by a probe, reaches a specified value.
The heating element heats the contents to a steady temperature in the 79–93 °C (175–200 °F) range. The contents are enclosed by the crock and the lid, and attain an essentially constant temperature. The vapor that is produced at this temperature condenses on the lid and returns as liquid. Some water-soluble vitamins are leached into the liquid. The liquid transfers heat from the pot walls to its contents, and also distributes flavors. A lid is essential to prevent warm vapor from escaping, taking heat with it and cooling the contents.
Raw kidney beans, and to a lesser extent some other beans (such as broad/fava beans), contain the toxin phytohaemagglutinin, which is destroyed by boiling for at least ten minutes, but not by the lower temperatures of a slow cooker. Dry beans should be either boiled prior to slow cooking to avoid poisoning, or alternatively, leaving the beans to soak in water overnight, sprouting them, to neutralize the toxin and increase nutritional values. Even a few beans can be toxic, and beans can be as much as five times more toxic if cooked at 80 °C (175 °F) than if eaten raw, so adequate pre-boiling is vital. This risk can be avoided entirely by using canned cooked beans, adding them towards the end of the recipe's cooking time. This is great to remember if you use the slow cooker often.
If you talk about the history of slow cooker and their evolution, you must first go to the iron pot. A person used to hang an iron pot over fire for many hours in order to get the food cooked. The food was simmered in the iron pot and was even buried under coals to get the dish cooked. The iron pot, in its own way, was the first slow cooker.
In the early 1960s the West Bend Corporation developed an electric bean cooker they called the Bean Pot. It was a crockery bean pot that sat on a warming tray. The Naxon Utilities Corporation of Chicago came up with their own bean cooker which they called the Beanery. It was a self-contained unit that was a forerunner of the modern slow cooker. The Rival Company bought Naxon in 1970 and reintroduced it under the Crock-Pot name in 1971.
This began Rival's exploration into the world of slow cookers. The company found that many types of foods cooked wonderfully with this same method. Once this was discovered, twenty-five thousand cookers were brought out and sold to the public as the first official Crock-Pot during 1971.
In 1974, Rival introduced removable stoneware inserts. The brand now belongs to Sunbeam Products, a subsidiary of Jarden Corporation. Other brands of this appliance include Hamilton Beach, West Bend Housewares, GE, Magic Chef, and former American Electric Corporation.
Crock Pots today come in a variety of sizes, designs, colors, and complexity. You can buy a tiny cooker which plugs in to melt a pound of Velveeta for cheese dip to 7 qt. multi-setting crock pot which turns on and off by timer. You can even find a triple slow cooker server with three removable pots and separate controls. So chop your meat and veggies, add a little liquid, and presto, in eight to ten hours you have a meal…and hopefully a finished manuscript.
Join me in two weeks as we discover that other wonderful appliance, the microwave.
Today’s writing prompt: Janie stared at the particles of food which coated her once clean kitchen. Could a Crock Pot explode? She glanced at…

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Our September contest is over and we have a winner!

Matt Owens is happily married with two great little boys. He runs a ministry to children for a living, and lives in a land flowing with turkey and coyotes. Though he loves writing fiction as often as possible, he also writes about how to stay sane in children’s ministry at www.kidminsanity.wordpress.com.

Congrats Matt! Read his winning story below...

Sarah’s hands trembled as she pushed through the crowded Wellington bus to embark on the first stage of her pilgrimage to discovery.

At the front of the bus, the driver was staring at her. Sarah imagined the driver was a porpoise. Then she realized he merely looked like one.

“Impatience isn’t virtue,” she patronized.

Stepping down from the bus, she squandered her footing and fell headlong onto the curb.

Cheek on the street, she saw many feet passing. The street was splendidly busy with buckled brown boots, white slippers, children’s shoes, a spattering of knitwear, and something horrible – a pair of rather gnarly, grotesque feet. They were overly hairy, and the toenails had want for care. As she hadn’t been used to seeing such literal down-at-heel standards on feet, she imagined the worst of the rest of them.

A small, silver-haired woman squealed in panic, “See here, no time for lying about.”

An arthritic-looking elderly man shouted, “But don’t be bashful. Not a moment to spare. Not one.”

Aghast at all this, and fairly frightened at being half under the bus, she fainted.
The world about her was hazy and dark. She remarked out loud, somewhat dreamily, what a dreadful place this was: it smelled harshly, was too warm, hadn’t enough light, needed more flowers, ought to haven’t been so rummaged, and the sort.

She’d been face down on a dirty couch, and, looking about, saw those bizarre feet again.

“Lordy, but I’ve spent all my time in Wellington looking at feet such as these,” she muttered.

Attached to the feet were two short legs. From there sprouted a concise body, wrapped in a knit sweater and shrouded in a shawl. There, two appendages – arms, if it were true – flapped madly. “Damned gadflies.”

Sarah squelched out, “Come away from the drapery foul creature, stunted troll, fiendish spook!”

“Ye talkin now, what?” it said. “Save yer pluck for yer wee pilgrimage.” And this thing laughed haughtily.

Another voice bellowed from an adjoining room. “Perhaps it wants to know about the door.”

“Ye Kraken,” it replied. “Of course she wants to know about the door.” Then, turning to her, “Sarah, is it? Hardly a suitable name.”

It now seemed this monster was simply the elderly woman from the street.

“How do you know my name? And what door?”

“The door, what? I’ll tell ye. It’s there –“ she pointed hastily. “Ye must go. Can’t do to be late.”

“Late, for what?” Sarah asked.

Another monster – the old man – raced to Sarah’s side and helped her get up.

They shoved Sarah roughly beyond the couch and into a parlor.

She was appalled at their discourtesy. “How do you mean?”

In the shadow on the wall the old man reached his withered hand and took hold of something. Twisting, he wrenched it back.

A warm, green light spilled into the parlor.

Before she had a chance to share her offense, she was pushed into it, screaming.

“Narnia awaits,” said the old man.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Common Household Items - Welcome to Grandma's Kitchen

Grandma’s Kitchen (1950’s - 1960’s)

Somewhere along the road to Grandma’s house, we drove through a time warp, at least a decade behind everyone else in the country, or so it seemed. Grandma lived in a tenant farmhouse amid cotton and cornfields. Until I was fifteen years old, they had no indoor plumbing, which meant water had to be hauled in from the well. 

In the early years, they had a torpedo bucket (yes, it looked like a torpedo or a bullet) which we lowered into the well by turning a spindle by hand. When we raised the filled torpedo bucket, we slid a lever on the bottom to release the water into a regular water bucket. We repeated this until the buckets were full.

We carried the water buckets into the kitchen and set them on the water table in the corner. A dipper hung on the wall beside the table. Everyone drank water from the same dipper. Everyone--friend, foe or family. If you took more water than you could drink, you didn’t pour the “leavings” back in the bucket of clean water, you poured it into the washpan, also located on the water table. The washpan was for washing your hands. Everyone used the water in the washpan until it was dirty. Then it was thrown out. 

Grandma did have electricity in simple form. Light bulbs hung from the center of the ceiling in each room. You pulled on a string to turn on the light. She had a refrigerator in one corner of the kitchen. A gas stove occupied the opposite corner and a round wringer washer sat in between. These were her only appliances. 

Next to the stove, Grandma had a Hoosier cabinet (see inset picture above). It looked like a breakfront and had a built-in flour bin and sifter on one side. After sifting the flour, she pulled out the shelf to mix and roll out her biscuits. Grandma made fresh biscuits every morning. And one very important ingredient in those delectable biscuits sat next to the Hoosier cabinet in a five-gallon can--lard. 

Another, smaller breakfront held her dishes. These were of many and various designs she’d managed to keep in one piece over the years. And most of the glasses in the breakfront were former snuff glasses. This tells a lot about Grandma. She dipped snuff until her death in 1988. We learned not to look in the peanut can. Those of you with any knowledge of snuff or chewing tobacco will get that.

On the opposite side of the kitchen from the gas stove, a small pantry closet was always well-stocked with canned goods, mostly home-canned. Grandma loved her garden and put up hundreds of pints and quarts of vegetables every year. What she didn’t use, she gave away to family as long as they promised to return the jars. Her canner was a large blue enamel pan. She didn’t have a pressure cooker until much later. As a child, I loved to open the curtain that served as a door to the pantry to gaze at all the beautiful jars of food, especially the jams and preserves. 

There was no sink in Grandma’s kitchen. She washed dishes in a dish pan on the table after the meals had ended. She’d heat water in a kettle and fill the pan, add dish soap and enough cool water to keep from getting burned. Another dishpan was for rinsing. She set the rinsed dishes in the drainer and I would dry them with a flour sack towel. 

Besides her aqua-blue Formica table and plastic-backed chairs, the only other thing in the kitchen was the potbellied stove. This was only used on really cold mornings. Most days, the gas stove did a fine job of warming things up while baking tasty biscuits. Grandma didn't seem bothered by any lack in her life. For me, it was sometimes painful to work so hard when I knew an easier life, but it was a wonderful experience filled with memories as warm and tender as those biscuits.

I have listed a few of the common household items in Grandma’s kitchen. This is by no means an all-inclusive list. 

Common Household Items in Grandma’s Kitchen:
Major appliances                                 Dishes      
Gas Stove/Oven                                    Plates, bowls, cups, saucers, etc.
Refrigerator                                            Mixing Bowls
Wringer/Washer                                    Platters
Gadgets                                                 Jugs
Whisk                                                     Substances
Spatula                                                  Baking Soda, Corn Starch, Baking Powder
Nutcracker                                            Apple Cider Vinegar
Manual Can Opener                           Lard
Bottle Opener                                       Soaps
Ladles                                                    Detergent
Butter Churn/Dasher                           Borax
Crock                                                     Starch
Canning Jars & Lids                           Peroxide
Cast Enamel Canner                          Rubbing Alcohol
Broom                                                    Coal Oil
Dust mop                                              Cast Iron Skillets, Dutch Oven
Whiskbroom                                         Cookie Sheets
Dust pan                                               Cake & Pie Tins
Scrub brush


This week's prompt:  Grandma sent me to the Hoosier cabinet to sift out a cup of flour for the teacakes. As soon as I turned my back to do her bidding, my brother . . .