How different we are from our mothers

How different our daily lives are from that of our mothers. You only have to go visit the vintage kitchen exhibit at SVMA to see that (Kitchen Memories: Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection thru Dec. 1). There you will find a collection of unique kitchen tools which now qualify as antiques (by definition items over 50 years old) but which rained commonplace in my mother’s kitchen– from the handheld eggbeater to the retractable clothesline,  

And then there’s the hand coffee grinder made of wood which my grandmother used daily but now sits unused on the top tier of my kitchen cabinets.

Coffee Grinder



My husband recently splurged on a Cusinart coffee maker which provides us with up to 12 cups of coffee with the press of a button. The beans stored in the device get ground automatically. All you need to do is empty out the gold mesh strainer containing the previous day’s grinds, and pour in the requisite amount of water, whose level you can determine from a see-through section of the container.  And if you should forget to empty out the previous grinds because say you’re still in a fog from your night’s dream in which you won the lottery, well, never mind, the apparatus detects it and beeps away at you, and stays on strike until you change it. The

Coffee Maker

first time I used it, I had done just that, and so responding to the rhythmic beeps of the thing I figured out intuitively what was wrong. I blurted aloud to the machine, as if it were alive and talking to me with it’s beeps, ” How cool. You are a coffee maker for an idiot; anyone can use you.” And like I said it’s actually my husband’s machine;  I’m primarily a tea drinker. He didn’t take offense, though which I surely did not intend, my words flying from my mouth as an accolade in amazement at this “smart” coffeemaker. And that’s how he took it as I proceeded to dump the grinds from the basket and re-push the start button. I could hear the heating element processing the water. All systems go. The coffeemaker was actually my husband, Bob’s latest toy of which he seemed inordinately proud, since he had plucked it up at Big Lots during our stay at our daughter, Kiva’s apartment in LA. She in turn had been chauffeuring us around her favorite bargain haunts, Big Lots occupying place number two on her “go to” list of best LA deals. The first spot won by the Goodwill in Inglewood where she lives. (That fun experience the topic of another post).

It seems our generation craves machines which make our lives simple, and men involve themselves in purchasing culinary items, ones which are user friendly, and don’t require much thought or effort to use. Presumably then we can direct our minds toward more lofty levels, such as oh I don’t know…just loftier thoughts. Okay, like fantasy football for my husband,  and morning newspaper reading on my ipad while we await our morning brew. How different we are from our mothers.

Share this:

4 thoughts on “How different we are from our mothers

  1. Thanks for sending me this blog subject.
    I hate to say this, but I must be one of those mothers! All those tools, and then some are very familiar to me! In fact, my coffee maker looks a lot like the one you have pictured! I think it’s called the Kitchen Designer’s kitchen, instead of the shoemakers children! I actually love the old tools and have quite a collection gleaned from my mother’s and my aunt’s kitchens. I just used my mom’s wooden handled potato masher a couple of days ago!
    By the way, you are much more conscientious than I about your blog than I. I admire that!

    • Annette, I still use my mother’s wooden handled potato masher also. There is a definite thread of continuity between me and my mom and grand mom exemplified in our using some of the same culinary tools. In this post, I was just thinking about how different my life is from hers, like she had a wringer washing machine in the kitchen and hung stuff up there on the retractable clothesline when it rained back in Roselle, New Jersey. I’m glad you use all the so-called antique tools. And thanks for the comment. I’m trying to put my thoughts out there “on paper.”

  2. Mine was a cast iron sausage grinder from my grandmother. I also inherited her spaghetti bowls and other ghostly implements. Somehow I find them grounding, despite not utilizing all of them. They remind me of a simpler, nourishing time. I’m no pollyanna–life was in many ways more difficult without so many of our modern homemaking conveniences; however, easy and simple are indeed two very distinct ways of being.
    Sometimes l long for the simpler time.

    • You’re reminding me. I also inherited a meat grinder, but think it’s made of some composite metal. I think I gave it to Kiva for sausage making. I agree, the older tools are grounding. A simpler time, I think we all want that. I wonder if modern conveniences take us there. I think it’s possible, but we must also absolutely strive for that as a goal, otherwise we get tripped up in all our sometimes very expensive so-called time savers. Thanks for the comment and thoughtful words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *