5 ancient kitchen gadgets that would boggle the minds of today's youth
Kids these days with their smartphones and tablets, they just don't know how good they have it! If only they could see some of the ancient kitchen gadgets that their grandparents used, they would be truly amazed. Here are five of the most fascinating (and slightly bizarre) kitchen gadgets from history. We encourage you to share a few of these pics with your grandkids and see if they can guess what they are!
1. The butter churn
This gadget was used to make butter from cream, and it would have been a real workout for the arms! The cream would be placed in the churn and then churned using a plunger-like device until it turned into butter.
Without getting into the details, butter churns have actually been around in one form or another for 8000 years! The crank driven ones we’re more familiar with date back to the 18th century.
According to Wikipedia, one particularly novel invention of note was the rocking chair butter churn. This device, invented by Alfred Clark, consisted of a barrel attached to a rocking chair. While the rocking chair moved, the barrel moved and churned the milk within into butter. That’s what we call working smart instead of working hard!
2. The old-fashioned eggbeater
Unlike the more fancy-shmancy modern versions which are powered electrically, the one we grew up with was operated by hand. This meant a lot of elbow grease was required to get those eggs beaten into submission!
The first eggbeaters were powered by cogs and gears, and they date back to the late 19th century. According to the BBC, Willis Johnson, first patented the eggbeater in 1884. Originally he intended the device as a mixing machine not intended to whisk the eggs only.
3. The meat grinder
This is a gadget that would have been found in almost every kitchen in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was used to grind meat, usually beef, pork or lamb, into smaller pieces which could then be used in recipes such as sausages, pâtés or meatloaves.
The meat grinder would have been clamped to a table or work surface, and then the meat would be placed into the funnel-like top. A handle would be turned which would then force the meat through a metal plate with small holes, effectively mincing it.
As Wikipedia notes, the first meat grinder was invented in the nineteenth century by Karl Drais. The earliest form of the meat grinder was hand-cranked and forced meat into a metal plate that had several small holes, resulting in long, thin strands of meat.
4. The cheese slicer
This gadget, which at first glance might look like some kind of torture implement, was used to slice cheese into thin pieces. It was particularly useful for slicing hard cheeses such as cheddar or Parmesan.
There were several different forms of the device. Some used simple guillotine type mechanisms, while others would have a wire attached to a handle, which could be tensioned. The cheese would be placed on a cutting board and the wire then pulled across it, resulting in nice, even slices of cheese.
5. The flour sifter
This gadget was used to sift flour, as the name suggests, but it was also useful for sifting other ingredients such as sugar, cocoa powder or baking powder.
The flour sifter would have a metal mesh screen on the bottom, through which the flour would be sifted. This would remove any lumps from the flour and make it finer and easier to use in baking. Some models had hand cranks which could be turned to rotate the mesh screen and sift the flour more effectively.
So there you have it, five ancient kitchen gadgets that we think would absolutely flummox the average millennial or zoomer. We hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane! Did we miss any other kitchen gadgets that would have confused the grandkids? Let us know below.