Friday, February 23, 2007

Excerpts from
THE COMPLETE HOME 1906


Excerpts from
THE KITCHEN
The kitchen of our grandmothers was a large, rambling affair, with numerous storerooms, closets, and pantries, the care of which involved a stupendous outlay of time and strength. But the demands of our modern and more strenuous life necessitate strict economy of both, and the result is a kitchen sufficiently large for all practical purposes, with every space utilized and everything convenient to the hand. The amount of woodwork is reduced to a minimum, since wood is a harboring place for insects and germs. Where it must be used it is of hard wood, or of pine painted and varnished, the varnish destroying those qualities in paint which are deleterious to health. The plumbing must be open, with no dark corners in which dust may hide. Odors from cooking pass out through a register in the chimney, and ventilation is afforded by transom and window. Blessed indeed is the kitchen with opposite windows, which insure a perfect circulation of air. So much for the general working plan.
LOCATION AND FINISH
For some reason best known to themselves architects almost invariably give to the kitchen the location with the least agreeable outlook, sun and scenery …………. and so we select cream white, warm, light grays or browns, Indian red, or bronze green—which is particularly good with oak woodwork—for walls and ceilings. Waterproof paper may be used, but is not particularly durable. Far better is the enameled paint, requiring three coats, or painted burlap. Or our thoughts may turn with longing to a white-tiled kitchen, with its air of spotless purity, but, too often, "beyond the reach of you and me." Why not substitute for it the white marbled oilcloth which produces much the same effect, and can be smoothly fitted if a little glue is added to the paste with which it is put on? A combination of white woodwork with blue walls and ceiling is charming, particularly where the blue-enameled porcelain-lined cooking utensils are used, and the same idea can be carried out in the floor covering. White with yellow is also dainty. …….

THE FLOOR
…………A beautiful, snowy hardwood floor, "clean enough to eat on," is a delight, but it has such an insatiable appetite for spots after the newness has worn off that it requires frequent scrubbing—twice a week at least—and on a dry day, if possible, with doors and windows opened during the operation, all of which means energy misapplied. ………. But the housekeeper who chooses the better part covers her floor with linoleum at comparatively small cost, a piece good both in quality and design selling at 60 cents a square yard. In this, too, the color idea can be carried out, the smaller designs being preferable. Neutral tints follow wood-carpeting designs, are neat, and less apt to soil than the lighter patterns. It is a wise plan in buying to allow enough linoleum for three smaller pieces to be placed before stove, table, and sink, thus saving wear and tear on the large piece.

THE WINDOWS
Kitchen windows must he washed once a week—oftener in fly time. A dainty valance, or sash curtains of muslin, dimity, or other summer wash goods, give an attractive and homey touch to the room. Each window should have a shade with a double fixture, fastened at the middle of the casement and adjusted upward and below from that point.

THE SINK
…………….The sink, unless it is porcelain-lined, should be kept well painted and enameled, white being preferable to any color…………………

THE PANTRY
………………….The convenient pantry is equipped with both shelves and drawers, the latter to contain the neatly folded piles of dish, glass, and hand towels, cheesecloth dusters, holders, and cleaning cloths. There are usually four shelves, the top one being reserved for articles of infrequent use. On the others are arranged the kitchen dishes, pans, and all utensils which do not hang, together with jars and cans containing food. Leave nothing in paper bags or boxes to attract insects, soil the shelves, and give a disorderly appearance to an otherwise tidy pantry. Glass fruit jars are desirable repositories for small dry groceries—tea, coffee, rice, tapioca, raisins, currants, and the like—though very dainty and serviceable covered porcelain jars in blue and white are made especially for this purpose, those of medium size costing 25 cents each, the smaller ones less, the larger more. Jars or cans of japanned tin, designed for like use, are less expensive, but also less attractive, and in the course of time are liable to rust, particularly in summer, or where the climate is at all damp. ……….

THE REFRIGERATOR AND ITS CARE
The refrigerator may or may not stand in the pantry, according to convenience, or as there is sewer connection for it. Some authorities maintain that there is grave danger from sewer gas where the refrigerator is connected directly with the sewer, and that, therefore, the only safe way to dispose of the waste water is to catch it in a pan placed beneath the refrigerator, unless the house is so built that the waste pipe can be continued down into the cellar and there empty its contents into a sink…………………


THE STOVE
Of paramount importance is, of course, the stove, and what kind it shall be, whether gas, coal, or oil. Those of us who have grown accustomed to the immunity from those inevitable accompaniments of a coal range, ashes, soot, dust, and heat, afforded by the gas range, with its easily regulated broiler and oven, could hardly be persuaded to go back to first principles, as it were, and the coal range. But when this is necessary, either for warmth or because there is no gas connection in the house, one has a wide choice of first-class stoves and can hardly go astray in selecting one……………

THE TABLE AND ITS CARE
The table should stand on casters and be placed in a good light as far from the stove as may be. The latest product of the manufacturer's genius in this line contains two drawers—one spaced off into compartments for the different knives, forks, and spoons for kitchen use—a molding board, and three zinc-lined bins, one large one for wheat flour, and two smaller one for graham flour, corn meal, etc. When one considers the economy of steps between kitchen and pantry which it makes possible, its price, $6.75, is not large, while it obviates the necessity for purchasing bins and molding board. Our friend, the white table oilcloth, tacked smoothly in place, gives a dainty top which is easily kept clean with a damp cloth—another labor-saving device, which stands between cook and scrubbing brush. A zinc table cover is preferred by some housewives, as it absorbs no grease and is readily brightened with scouring soap and hot water. Separate zinc-covered table tops can be had for $1.50. The marble-topped table is not desirable, for, though it undoubtedly is an aid to the making of good pastry, it stains easily, dissolves in some acids, and clogs with oils. …………………

THE CHAIRS
The first aid to the cook should be at least one comfortable chair, neither a rocking chair nor one upholstered, both of which are out of place in the kitchen; but one low enough to rest in easily while shelling peas or doing some of the numerous tasks which do not require the use of the table. A chair of this kind has a cane seat and high back and can be purchased for $1.25, the other chair to be of the regulation kitchen style at 55 cents. The second aid is a 24-inch office stool at 85 cents, for use while washing dishes, preparing vegetables, etc. This sort of a stool is light, easily moved about, and means a great saving in strength. Though it has sometimes been dubbed a "nuisance" by the uninitiated, the woman who has learned its value finds it a very present help and wonders how she ever did without it.
THE KITCHEN CABINET
Occasionally it happens that a house is built with such slight regard for pantry room that we are constrained to wonder if, at the last minute, the pantry was not tucked into a little space for which there was absolutely no other use, and there left to be a means of grace to the thrifty housewife, whose pride it is to see her pots and pans in orderly array and with plenty of room to shine in. At this point there comes to her rescue the kitchen cabinet, which not only relieves the congestion in the pantry, but adds in no small measure to the attractiveness of the kitchen. These cabinets come in the natural woods, and should, as nearly as possible, match the woodwork of the kitchen. Many have the satin finish which renders them impervious to grease, and all are fitted out with molding boards, shelves, cupboards, and drawers of various sizes. So convenient is a cabinet of this kind, and so economical of steps, that it might well be called "the complete housewife." First and foremost, it accommodates the kitchen dishes, plates, platters, and saucers, standing on edge of course, with cups hanging from small hooks, and pitchers, bowls, etc., variously arranged. Then come the jars of spice, sugar, salt, tea, and coffee—all groceries, in fact, which are in most frequent use. Where the decorative design in both jars and dishes is carried out in the blue and white, with a utensil or two of the same coloring, the effect is truly charming, though this is, of course, a matter of individual taste. The cupboards are handy hiding places for the less ornamental bottles, brushes, etc., while the base, which is really nothing more nor less than a very complete kitchen table, usually has a shelf for kettles, stone jars, etc. A good cabinet can be had for $10, a more commodious one for $16, and so on. The cabinets without bases range from a tiny one, just large enough to hold six spice jars, at $1, to one, with five drawers, shelves, and cupboards with glass doors, for $6. Any price beyond this simply means elaboration of design without additional increase of capacity or convenience.
KITCHEN UTENSILS
……………Scouring has gone out with the heavy ironware which required it, in whose stead we have the pretty porcelain enamel ware and the less expensive agate ware, both of which need only a thorough washing in hot, soapy water, rinsing in boiling water, and careful drying. ……………. Kitchen crockery is being rapidly supplanted by the porcelain enamel dishes, which, though rather more expensive in the beginning, are unbreakable, and so cheaper in the long run. They are even invading the domain of the faithful yellow mixing bowl and becoming decidedly popular therein, being light in weight and more easily handled. …………….Never buy anything of copper for kitchen use, as the rust to which it is liable is a dangerous poison. There is one utensil only which is better to be of iron—the soup kettle—as it makes possible the slow simmering which is necessary for good soups and stews. ………….The following list may be too extensive for some purposes, not suited to others, but out of it the new housekeeper can select what she thinks her establishment will need, and estimate the price of stocking her kitchen with those necessaries which make for good housekeeping:
1 dozen individual jelly molds........................ $0.60
1 griddle............................................. .35
1 small funnel........................................ .03
1 large funnel........................................ .06
1 gas toaster......................................... .55
1 coal toaster........................................ .08
1 gas broiler......................................... .65
1 coal broiler........................................ .32
1 six-quart iron soup kettle.......................... 1.50
1 skimmer............................................. .14
1 small ladle......................................... .09
1 porcelain enamel dipper............................. .40
1 porcelain enamel sink strainer...................... .40
1 towel rack.......................................... .10
1 clock............................................... 1.00
1 purée sieve, with pestle............................ .18
2 galvanized iron refrigerator pans................... .50
1 dozen dish towels................................... 1.20
6 dishcloths.......................................... .30
1 set of scales....................................... .95
1 vegetable slicer.................................... .25
2 butter paddles...................................... .12
1 can opener.......................................... .08
1 potato ricer........................................ .25
1 apple corer......................................... .05
1 chopping bowl....................................... .15
1 tea kettle.......................................... 1.05
1 ice pick............................................ .12
1 pair scissors....................................... .23
1 scrub brush......................................... .20
1 sink brush.......................................... .08
1 mop handle.......................................... .38
1 oil can............................................. .35
1 whisk broom......................................... .15
1 small porcelain enamel pitcher...................... .26
1 two-quart porcelain enamel pitcher.................. .55
1 cake turner......................................... .08
1 porcelain enamel wash basin......................... .28
1 potato scoop........................................ .18
1 towel roller........................................ .10
1 rolling-pin......................................... .15
1 four-quart porcelain enamel saucepan, with cover.... .57
1 eight-quart porcelain enamel bread bowl............. .72
1 gravy strainer...................................... .18
1 nutmeg grater....................................... .09
1 spatula............................................. .25
1 egg beater.......................................... .10
1 dish mop............................................ .05
2 iron baking pans.................................... .20
1 collander........................................... .35
1 ten-inch porcelain enamel bowl...................... .35
2 eight-inch porcelain enamel bowls................... .48
3 five-inch porcelain enamel bowls.................... .33
1 fryer and basket.................................... 1.50
4 bread pans.......................................... .60
1 two-quart double boiler............................. .95
2 dish pans (agate)................................... 1.10
1 omelet pan.......................................... .10
1 porcelain enamel teapot............................. .65
1 porcelain enamel coffeepot.......................... .85
6 porcelain enamel plates............................. .78
1 porcelain enamel platter............................ .40
1 porcelain enamel platter (small).................... .35
6 porcelain enamel cups and saucers................... 1.14
Dredging boxes for salt, pepper, and flour............ .35
3 pie tins. .......................................... .12
1 galvanized iron garbage can, with cover............. .50
1 large dripping pan.................................. .17
1 small dripping pan.................................. .15
1 lemon squeezer...................................... .05
1 molding board....................................... .40
4 layer-cake tins..................................... .16
2 porcelain sugar jars................................ .50
6 porcelain spice jars................................ .60
1 half-pint tin cup................................... .05
1 six-quart milk pan.................................. .23
1 four-quart milk pan................................. .17
3 wrought-steel knives................................ .48
3 wrought-steel forks................................. .48
1 egg spoon........................................... .08
1 dozen muffin rings.................................. .46
1 biscuit pan......................................... .25
1 round fluted cake tin............................... .12
2 basting spoons...................................... .24
6 kitchen knives...................................... .50
6 kitchen forks....................................... .50
6 kitchen teaspoons................................... .48
3 kitchen tablespoons................................. .15
3 asbestos mats....................................... .15
1 chopping knife...................................... .20
1 wire dishcloth...................................... .12
1 flour scoop......................................... .19
1 sugar scoop......................................... .10
1 meat grinder........................................ 1.50
1 soap shaker......................................... .10
1 flour sifter........................................ .25
1 coffee mill......................................... .50
2 measuring cups...................................... .15
1 meat fork........................................... .09
1 larding needle...................................... .10
2 brooms.............................................. .60
1 long-handled hair broom............................. 1.45
1 dustpan............................................. .12
1 scouring box........................................ .50
1 draining rack....................................... .10
1 bread knife......................................... .25
1 cake knife.......................................... .20
1 meat knife ......................................... .55
1 peeling knife....................................... .10
1 bread box........................................... .70
1 cake box............................................ .70
1 three-quart porcelain enamel saucepan............... .36
1 oblong loaf-cake tin................................ .15
1 jelly mold.......................................... .30
1 wooden spoon........................................ .05
1 salt box............................................ .25
1 pepper box.......................................... .10
1 graduated quart measure............................. .16
3 small vegetable brushes............................. .15
1 dozen glass fruit jars.............................. .60
2 two-quart porcelain enamel saucepans................ 1.00
1 grater.............................................. .18
1 paper scrub pail.................................... .25
2 two-quart agate pans................................ .36

The book in its entirety may be read at
THE COMPLETE HOME
Chapters are…..
CHOOSING A PLACE TO LIVE
FLOORS, WALLS, AND WINDOWS
LIGHTING AND HEATING
FURNITURE
HOUSEHOLD LINEN
THE KITCHEN
THE LAUNDRY
TABLE FURNISHINGS
THE BEDROOM
THE BATH ROOM
CELLAR, ATTIC, AND CLOSETS
HANGINGS, BRIC-A-BRAC, BOOKS, AND PICTURES
THE NICE MACHINERY OF HOUSEKEEPING …what to do on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.
HIRED HELP

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