Comforts for the kitchen
Comforts for the kitchen! There was a time when every other room in the house received thought before the kitchen, as far as comfort was concerned. The kitchen was simply the workshop, and it was large and contained a range, a table and chairs.
But to the housekeeper, who gave thought to matters pertaining to comforts in the house, there was something about the compactness of the dining car kitchen or the kitchen aboard ship that appealed to her. It showed that things could be concentrated and made more convenient as far as steps and time were concerned.
The stove, sink and table are necessary pieces of kitchen furniture, and for years manufacturers of these pieces of kitchen furniture have competed to produce these in varying sizes and prices. But of late years, inventive minds have sought to find labor-saving devices for the housewife. The applied uses of electricity did a great deal, but there are many other things outside of electrical helps that have lessened the drudgery of kitchen work.
The splendid kitchen cabinets which we can obtain nowadays are worth more in the increase of comfort and convenience than the money put into them. No matter how well the kitchen and pantry are provided with shelves, an additional piece of furniture like a kitchen cabinet is a wonderful help and a real joy to the housewife. To those who live in rented houses, where many times there is a dearth of shelf room, the cabinet is most welcome.
Another piece of kitchen furniture which adds comfort and convenience is the stepladder chair. These chairs can be made at home by a man handy with tools. There are many times when steps are necessary to reach a high shelf or clean windows. By opening the hasp which holds the divided seat in place and turning over the back which rests upon the floor, four steps are quickly provided. When closed, it furnishes a convenient chair.
A high stool should not be overlooked by those who are seeking the easiest and most comfortable ways of doing things. Much of the preparation of liuits and vegetables, such as paring, etc., can be done from a high stool at the sink or table. Now that the electric flatiron has done away with changing irons, with the electric and self-heating irons and a high school ironing day can be made much easier than formerly.
Quick and comfortable
The perfect kitchen is one which helps the housewife to do things as quickly as possible in the most comfortable way. The kitchen should be the laboratory of the household, not the place of drudgery. A kitchen 10 by 12 or 14 by 14 is large enough for all purposes in the ordinary house.
A table near the stove where one can reach both at the same time is most desirable. Frequently the position of the chimney and the water supply regulate the position of thw stove or the sink, but the table is movable, and the housekeeper can arrange that to suit her convenience. Chairs are associated with tables in the dining room and the living room, so why not in the kitchen? It is to be hoped that in these days, every housekeeper knows that it is not an indication of laziness for one to sit at her work.
In some old kitchens, the table is one which has done duty for several generations. It is usually too low. Any kitchen table is improved by casters. Two or three small tables at suitable points are much more convenient than one large one. If on casters, they save an amount of time and work.
Kitchen tools & utensils
As for utensils, have them light, durable and, if possible, made of material requiring the least scouring. Aluminum is the ideal material for cooking utensils. Its first cost seems to make it prohibitive to many people, but when once secured it saves in many ways. As it outlasts any other kitchenware, it saves money in the long run, besides saving an amount of labor. Aluminum utensils get hot quickly; they stay hot a long time and are much lighter to handle than any other kind. The pans for cake, muffins or bread or griddle cakes require no greasing. This saves time, and as aluminum is lighter than any metal known, the utensils made from it are much easier and more pleasant to handle. There are many recommendations for aluminumware which appeal to every housewife, not the least of which is the fact that it will not rust or burn.
The fireless cooker has proved a boon to many a housewife. It speaks for itself as a kitchen comfort. It has been demonstrated so many times within the last few years that everyone is familiar with its merits in boiling, roasting, baking, canning fruits and in more other helpful things than we can enumerate. It certainly saves fuel and work.
Among labor-saving utensils we find the bread mixer, an invaluable help in making bread; the oven indicator, which assists in getting right temperature for baking; the meat grinder, which is most helpful for making hash, casserole, etc.; the spatula, measuring cups, potato parer, good knives, a pair of scissors, a set of skewers and a few good brushes. To these we may add the handy kettle which cooks quickly without scorching the food. Then we find a triplicate sauce pan, consisting of three pans in one; it is clover-leaf in shape and permits three articles of food to be cooked at one time, with no more fuel than would to required to took one. Each division may be detached from the other two if desired.
A double frying pan or omelette cooker is another interesting and convenient kitchen comfort. An omelette is prepared, and when cooked and ready to fold, the pan is closed and the omelette folded in perfect shape. This appeals to every woman who has had trouble in doubling an omelette. It has other uses as well, besides being serviceable for warming over two kinds of food at one time. The double pan is uses over one burner, and therefore saves fuel and, best of all, saves dish washing.
Use your space well
With all these helps, work must be lighter. In addition, help yourself. Have all utensils handy. Utilize wall space, reach rather than step. Keep every thing that you use often in sight. A small closet where one may keep brooms, ironing board, mops and things used only occasionally is desirable. The supply closet for reserve groceries, canned fruit, etc., should open into the kitchen.
In these days, cooking and housekeeping need not be drudgery. Have all the labor-saving devices that you can afford to have, and teach your head to save your heels.
Photos: Kitchen c1910 (courtesy LOC)