Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Does your kitchen have 38 pieces of flair?

Awhile back, I mentioned my Hoosier cabinet. I have been too busy to get the kitchen froo-froo enough for pictures, but I did manage to snap a few shots of my Hoosier cabinet, for those who have been following along. I will round up my troops and see if we can get our clean on, so that I can do the full kitchen post this week.

Once upon a time, kitchens didn't have cabinets. Since servants were no longer employed by most, the housewives were now taking over kitchen duties. Women began wanting a snazzy, modern kitchen. So in the early 1900s, freestanding cabinets began being produced. Most had a porcelain worktop, roll-down doors and a flour compartment. The flour compartment contained a large sifter that would hold a giant bag of flour. Many also had a tin bread drawer, and spice jars/racks. Eventually, they went crazy and began adding broom closets on the sides!

The most well-known company to build these cabinets was Hoosier Manufacturing in Indiana. By 1921 20 million households owned a one of their cabinets... which meant 10% of homes had a Hoosier-made cabinet... therefore, Hoosier became a generic term for these cabinets... and most of the other companies who made them (Sellers, Boone, Napanee, etc.) also happened to be in Indiana.

Later on, cabinets would be installed permanently in homes. These cabinets could go from floor to ceiling, with no knick-knack space at the top or toe-kick at the bottom.

But, a special place in my heart goes to my very own cabinet, made by Quaker Maid. Even with all the spiffy options in kitchens today, my cabinet is really the best. All my spices are in one place. I don't use the pull-out work top, but we do use the tin bread drawer!

On a side note, at one point, cabinets often had a zinc work surface... these were discontinued when it was found that the zinc was toxic and leeched into the food. Makes me wonder why zinc counters have become popular again? Wouldn't they be toxic, too?

The long compartnent on the left is where the flour sifter once was. Mine does not have the original sifter, so I have my sugar, flour, etc. in canisters in there. Behind the top doors are all my spices. Back then, they had various collections of spice jars. Today, these can be rare and valuable. I collect them off ebay every now and then when I find a bargain. All the stuff on top has just sort of gathered up there. I am not one for the TGI-Friday decorating style. (My kitchen doesn't need 38 pieces of flair!) But I need to do some editting and get rid of the clutter that seems to happen.

The tambour door rolls up and down. These can be damaged over time, so it is nice to find one in good working condition. Sometimes these housed a hanging sugar jar, which is neat thing to pick up on bargain when you can. I found some inexpensive jars at Target that I use for my boy's cereal. I pick up the gigantore bags and refill the jars. They are not "antique," but I wouldn't mind if my son accidentally broke one! My antique spice jars are another matter!

3 comments:

Unfiltered Meghan said...

"Look, we want you to express yourself, ok? If you think the bare
minimum is enough, then ok. But some people choose to wear more and we
encourage that, ok? You do want to express yourself, don't you?"

puck said...

Yeah. You know what, yeah, I do. I do want to express myself, okay. And I don't need 37 pieces of flair to do it!!

Unfiltered Meghan said...

I love you.