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 . . . 


  1. Wow! I remember green stamps. Also when the last stamp store in this area shut its doors...sigh...

    1. For a while, you could get them at service stations, too. Wonder if anyone remembers that?