Vintage Household Tips
From an otherwise no-earthly-account maid I learned a simple trick which I feel is worth all the wages and energy I expended on her. Before cooking cranberries, cut each berry in half crosswise, hold the colander under the cold-water faucet, turn on the water with pretty good force and wash out the seeds. After doing this it is not necessary to strain the cranberries and the bitter taste that cranberry sauce so often has is lacking.
An Extra Hand:
I recently saw a tailor using a simple but admirable device for holding pins. It was sort of third hand and consisted of a bicycle clamp covered with cloth to which a pin-cushion had been sewed. The clamp was fastened on the left arm and held the pins always ready.
A small economy that counts in a family of children is this: instead of buying single dimity spreads for single beds, spend a trifle more and get double ones. The extra cloth at the end and side can be cut into ten bibs that will not require ironing and yet look well. Another economy is to buy double-sized comforters for children. They will cut into three crib-size comforters, only one of which will have a seam down the middle.
Durable Crib Sheets:
I had trouble in having constantly to mend crib sheets for they would soon tear where they had to be pinned down to keep the baby warm. Now I make my sheets for baby’s crib of twenty-four inch bird’s eye using two widths for a sheet. This material stands about four times as much wear as the cotton and at the same time is not ungrateful to the baby’s touch.
Fruit Jars for Cereals:
I keep my cereals in glass fruit jars. To mark them so that the newest arrival “from the old country” working in my kitchen can recognize the few signs familiar to her. I soak off the labels from the cereal boxes and the printed directions, too, and paste them evenly on the jars. This makes the pantry neat, expedites cooking, and if one lives in an apartment, where an invasion of water bugs or the like is not to be escaped at times, keeping the cereals in glass containers insures cleanliness. Other foods sold in paper packages can be kept in the same manner.
Cleaning the Vacuum Cleaner:
After shaking out all the dust possible from the bag of my vacuum cleaner, I carry the entire apparatus into the back yard, attach the wire to the back porch light socket, open the bag at the top without disconnecting it from the cleaner and start the motor. This blows out all the finer particles of dust and cleans the bag more thoroughly than any amount of shaking. If the cleaner is in daily use and the dust is emptied daily in the usual way, this treatment once a week will keep the bag in good condition.
The Electric Fan vs. Onions:
I have discovered a small electric fan set at such an angle that it strikes the hands and utensils used in preparing onions, horseradish and the like eliminates “smarty” eyes and at the same time helps to clear the odors from the kitchen.
To Keep Cereals Fresh:
If you rip off the waxed-paper covering around cereal packages, you destroy its usefulness. Instead, with a sharp knife cut the waxed paper all around, two inches from the top and slip it off carefully. Open the package in the usual way, take out what you require, close the box carefully and put the waxed paper again over the box. This keeps the box air-tight and the cereal fresh.
Fried Chicken Deluxe:
A lady who is famous for her fried chicken told me recently the secret of its crisp brown deliciousness. She sifts one-fourth teaspoonful of baking powder into the flour in which she dips the chicken before frying. I find that this procedure is equally as good for breaded dishes. I beat the baking powder into the egg; the latter becomes thick and foamy, seems to hold more crumb and take on a beautiful brown.
When I buy a new oil-mop or when I newly wash and oil an old mop, I place a clean dust-cloth in the bottom of the can in which the mop comes, put the mop on top and cover it with another dust-cloth. The cloths will absorb the excess oil evenly and thus I always have on hand one or two oiled cloths to use as well as the mop. The cloths, like the mop, must be kept in a closed tin to prevent evaporation of the oil.
Peanut Butter Sandwiches:
My little boy is very fond of peanut-butter, put it in a small bowl and add to it, a few drops at a time, a few teaspoonfuls of hot milk, beating until the consistency is that of thick cream. Then spread between thin slices of bread.
The Baby Cure:
My husband and I being childless and living on a ranch, decided to borrow a little one for a month last summer from one of the Los Angeles orphanages. She proved to be amusing and lovable that the time lengthened into three months and is business had not called us East, we would surely have adopted her. She was fat and rosy as you please and didn’t want to return her to “bad ole Yos Anges.” Upon our return we went in quest of our little girl, but someone else had taken her, so we brought home a little boy and I assure you this kiddie does us as much good as the time in the country is doing him. Just try the baby cure for grouches and gloom-bags and I’m sure you’ll soon forget these are such things.