Can you imagine baking cookies without your stand mixer? Or making waffles by having to heat the griddle over the open flame of your stovetop? If you can, then you would have made out great with vintage kitchen items. But if you need electricity for your appliances, or one appliance that can do multiple tasks, you're better off in the current state of kitchen tools.
The era of the 50s, 60s and 70s emphasized the vintage housewife ideal and hosting the most perfect dinner parties. If the place settings weren't just right, the proper platters and serving trays used for the right things, and leftovers wrapped up just right, you'll be the talk of the neighborhood for weeks. Talk about pressure. Good thing that era was equipped with plenty of tools to pull off the perfect evening.
It seems the 70s loved their gadgets, and had almost a different one for every task. There were even tools that seem irrelevant in today's world. New items can be found at various stores in the mall or local brick and mortar shops, but if you're in the market for a vintage item, the internet is your best bet. Think you can identify vintage kitchen items? Take this quiz and find out!
A cookie press is a contraption that you stuff cookie dough into and then pump the lever so that the cookie dough comes out the other end in whatever shape you've put at the bottom. They came with different disks that imprinted different shapes.
Cake breakers look quite scary with all the spokes, but they are just used to cut into cakes like angel food cake, or other ones that aren't strong enough to stand up to the weight of a knife. It's like a cake comb.
Breadboxes were decorative objects kept on the countertop that loaves of bread would go into in an attempt to keep them fresher for longer. They were made of wood or some kind of light metal like tin, and came in all kinds of designs.
Butter molds would let hosts put softened butter inside, and then refrigerate until solid. When turned out, the butter would take on the design on the mold and be fit for the perfect dinner party.
A cone sieve or strainer sieve was commonly used in farmhouses, and it was immensely helpful for homemade jams and tomato sauces. It has a cone shape with a wide opening, and often came with a stand so the user didn't have to hold it while pushing stuff through.
A condiment serving tray was one piece with bowls attached to it, that would come with little spoons. You could put it in the center of the table and fill it with whatever condiments suit your dinner menu.
Deviled eggs were a classic appetizer of days past, and still are to this day. This platter has indentations in the shape of an egg so the egg halves can sit right inside and not topple over.
Trivets are made of all kinds of materials now, but back in the day they were made of iron. They could either be cast iron or wrought iron, but the sturdiness could stand up to even the heaviest casserole dish.
Making poached eggs, especially for a crowd, is no easy task. But with a specially designed pan, it is a little easier. The best ones were made of copper and could poach up to five eggs at a time.
A food mill was basically the old fashioned version of a food processor. It was used to make things like applesauce, baby food and yes, mashed potatoes. You would turn it one way to mash, and then turn it the other to clean the paddle.
A French butter dish was a unique little tool that allowed butter to stay cold, but also be spreadable. You could put cold water in the saucer and butter in the lid, which would keep the butter cold but allow it to get spreadable.
French fry cutters, while sounding like something that would only be found in restaurant kitchens, were actually small items that the home-cook would utilize. All you had to do was place the potato on the grates, and pull down the blades to cut the fries.
Nesting pastry cutters were used for things like cutting biscuits, pie dough and other pastry doughs. They came in all different sizes, and came as a set that could sit all inside one another for easy storage.
The hand mixers that we've come to know get electricity to do the work, but the old school ones had to be cranked by hand. The crank would make the gear turn, which would make the beater spin.
Ice cream sandwiches are an easy, handheld treat enjoyed in the warm days of summer. These items let people make them at home and enjoy ice cream sandwiches all year long. You could even make your own cookie and customize the treats.
The rolling meat tenderizer serves to poke little holes in meat, which breaks up tissue and ligaments in order to make meat more tender. Today's version are more like puncher holes versus the rolling version, but they work the same.
While aluminum does build up a layer that protects the metal from reacting with water, it is not commonly used for ice trays anymore. Plastic or silicone are the material of choice for modern day ice making.
A nutmeg grinder looked sort of like a pencil sharpener and a meat grinder put into one. You would put the pod in the top, and the us the handle, kind of like rolling up and down an older car window, and the pieces inside would grind it into a powder.
A pot strainer would go right on the top of the pot so that when you need to drain the water from pasta or potatoes, you don't need to clog your sink with a stranger or colander, and could keep your items right in the pot they cooked in.
The Soda Syphon turned regular water into soda water, perfect for mixing! Even served as sparkling water with citrus juice was nice. There are modern versions available, as well as newer ones meant to look like the vintage one available for purchase.
A slicer served many purposes. It was a hand-held tool with wires running the length of the tool. It was used to slice tomatoes, cheese, eggs, pretty much anything you could think of.
Baking molds looked like smaller, thinner waffle makers, but they were actually used for thin cookies like Pizzelles. It was a patterned mold that you would put the batter in and then cook over the stove.
Wooden dough bowls is where you would place your bread dough after it's been mixed so that it keeps its shape and rises up and not out. Nowadays, they are used for decoration or to hold trinkets like keys and spare change.
Decorated tin labeled storage containers were popular in the 50s, 60s and 70s. The designs changed based on the times, but they were always labeled with words like "sugar," "coffee," and "flour."
Punch bowls aren't seen much anymore, but they were all the rage in previous decades. Coming equipped with a matching label and glasses, guests could serve themselves whatever beverage you've mixed up.
A hand-cranked coffee grinder works almost like the nutmeg grinder and hand mixer. You put the whole coffee beans in the canister, and use the handle to crank the blades inside, which grind the coffee to your liking.
Egg separators were mostly flat tools with some cutouts around the side to let the white slip out while leaving the yolk in a little indented part in the center. This was great for those who didn't want to separate the eggs in their hands, or risk puncturing the yolk doing it in the shells.
Gelatin molds were metal, often tin or aluminum, that you would pour your liquid gelatin dessert into and let it cool in the mold. Un-molding the gelatin was an event in itself and led to people wanting to test is jiggle.
A flour sifter was a hand-operated tool. You would put the flour in the canister, and then pump the handle that would percolate the main part of the sifter to let the flour through and break up the chunks. It made for super light and fluffy cakes and cookies.
Fondue, the melty, cheesy goodness, was a staple in the 1970s. So much so, people would have parties dedicated specifically to it. The set would come with the main bowl to melt the cheese in and the skewers for all of the dipping foods like bread and fruit.
A recipe card box was a staple in any mom's kitchen. Family recipes, friend's recipes, recipes created at home or copied out of a favorite book were stored in these wooden boxes for safe keeping. The best recipes were always covered with food.
A vintage food chopper was a knife of sorts, but it was a curved half-moon shape that would allow the user to rock the tool back and forth over things like vegetables and herbs in order to cut them into small pieces.
The green bean slicer works much like the other hand cranked tools on this list. All you had to do was put the green beans in the top and crank the handle to put it through the blades to end up with thin slices of green beans.
An ice crusher was the tool of choice for making snow cones and crushed iced at home. Just put big cubes of ice in the contraption and crank it until the ice comes out smaller and fluffier. Top with sugary sweet fruit syrups and enjoy!
Tupperware was the only thing worth storing your leftovers in. They came in a variety of sizes, colors and shapes. The who's who of the neighborhood had almost every item in the collection, and would most certainly not leave them behind at parties.
A meat hammer is like a cube with spikes on it attached to a long handle. Each side of the cube has different levels of spiking, and which one you use depends on what cut of meat and how tender you want it.
A spurtle is a funny name, but all it really is is a wooden spool or dowel that is used to stir thick things like oatmeal, porridge, grains, etc. There are some that are more paddle shaped, but most are just straight or knobbed at the end.
Fresh cherries come with pits, and those are things you don't want to chomp down on. Using it is as easy as cherry pie. You just place the cherry length wise into the tool, and press down. The needle-like part will push the pit right out.
There were a couple versions of stovetop toasters. One looks like a small waffle maker with a handle that you hold over the stove to heat up. The other kind was a four-sided tower, almost like a bug zapper, that you would stick bread to the side of to toast.
Pickling crocks, often made of stone or ceramic, could stand up to the acidity of a pickling brine. They also looked pretty, and you could serve the pickles right out of the crock. Pickling your own cucumbers was much cheaper than buying them.