The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that,it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears. When company came,those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.. And when the weather was cold Grandma wrapped it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. From the garden,it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the Autumn, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, to tell us it was time to come in for dinner. It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes. Grandma would also set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters now set theirs on the window sill to thaw. They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.
Although Tea Cosy’s are back in fashion again the first documented tea cosy in Britain was in 1867 and it was probably the Duchess of Bedford, who by establishing the activity of afternoon tea in 1840, increased the popularity of tea cosy.
They then flourished during the late 19th Century and were also starting to be used in North America at the same period.
It is defined by Wikipedia as ‘a cover for a teapot, traditionally made of cloth or wool, which is used to insulate the tea, keeping it warm while it brews’.
Cloth tea cosies often have padded inserts which can be washed separately and many are hand knitted looking just like a woollen hat with a bobble on the top.
You can buy tea cosy’s from most places now including Amazon who sells the hand block printed ones, but you will find really original ones on Etsy like this Maroon and blue bobble style large tea cosy for £4.99, which is lovingly handmade by refugees from the Middle East.
Or this unique and original Succulent Tea Cosy -The only watering needed is to make your pot of tea. The grey wool ‘concrete planter’ cosy is double layered for extra warmth and the succulent leaves are hand cut so every plant is different, and available from Not on the High Street for £29.95
Of course this original design of tea cosy are the ones that I remember most, available from Etsy at £11.99 This tea cosy has been hand knitted in a quality aran yarn, making it soft and cosy, perfect for keeping your fresh brew toasty warm.
I have to say I would find it hard to say which was my favourite gadget of the 70’s as there were so many iconic devices that I would still us them now.
Can you remember the Breville toasted sandwich maker, the Swan Teasmade and the Soda Stream. Hostess trolleys, the pressure cooker and the stand mixer?
I loved the toasted sandwich maker put I do remember it being a bit of a beast to clean and as for the Swan Teasmade well, I am not ashamed to say that I still have a Teasmade but not the original 1970’s one. I just love the fact that |I can wake up in a morning and have an instant cuppa.
The Soda Stream which was invented by Guy Gilbey (of the gin dynasty) in 1903. The reincarnated version is black and sleek. You do have to cough up around £50 for the basic model, but long-term, it could save you cash.
The Hostess trolley was another of my well used items of the 70’s and to be honest if I had the room I would have kept it as it is still useful when having parties but that was back in the day when ALL vegetables were overcooked and soggy so leaving them in the hostess trolley didn’t ruin the flavour at all.
Do you remember the pressure cooker ? It used to frighten me to death, I was sure it was going to blow up every time I used it and as for the stand mixer well I have some friends that still have their Kenwood stand mixer. The only piece left of that I have is the bowl used with the mixer which I still use when baking cakes.
What was your favourite 1970’s kitchen gadget, I’d love to know?