Domestic Life 1912

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Bill DeSena

Guest
Let's not forget to check the departing visitor for stolen or mistakenly packed items in their baggage and also hire a weight lifter to help pick those bags up and load them into the trunk. On arrival make sure to park as far away from the airport as common sense, security and economy allows so that we can get in a years worth of exercise carrying those overstuffed bags the 20 miles or so to the terminal. Oh yes, after a cavity search, we can wait in the terminal/disaster station with our departing guest making polite conversation with the carpet as our departing visitor cell phones everyone they ever knew telling them their iteniary. If the flight is delayed by sneaker wearing morons with smelly socks that cause the fast food worker come security specialist to cancel baording; we can ffer to empty our few miserable dollars into a cash register and buy one of those wonderful lunches at an airport concession and marvel at how anyone can make food that badly. Unfortunately the glowing warmth of memoriries our visitor may take with them may include their erstwhile host departing quickly after 2 hours or more to sprint the 20 miles back to the parking lot where the headlights are barely glowing as the battery does a last farewell and dies.

Cheers
Bill
 
Apr 11, 2001
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A real Edwardian kitchen- this is the Astor's own Beechwood kitchen stove. I doubt JJ ever ventured here. It is on the South end of the house and features zinc-topped tables to keep food warm. The copper pans are not original- the real ones were given in WWI to the war effort.
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Ice tongs can be seen to the right front of the photo.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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JJ Astor was quite an inventor in his spare time. Along with a bicycle brake, he devised this alarm system which has wires which fit into the cracks of the floor and would give warning of burglers at night. Some of the Irish maids were terrified they might be electrocuted if they walked on it.
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This is in the servants'hall at Beechwood.
 

Kris Muhvic

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Sep 26, 2008
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Hello!

As I was doing my own scullery, I recall that in the days of iron or steel (pre-stainless) stoves, a daily ritual was wiping down the stove so it wouldn't rust! A product called "stove black" or "polish", like a shoe-polish for stoves, was habitually applied. Once gas ranges were common, with their enameled exteriors, polishes went by the wayside. I'm not sure of when the change occured; probably gradual: from wood/coal stoves to gas and then electric. I have to say, Shelley, Astor's stove unit would take up most of my kitchen! I can imagine a counterpart to a "Mrs. Bridges" yelling at poor Ruby across steaming stock pots!

Take care-
Kris
 
May 12, 2005
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Kris and Shell,

I am fascinated by this thread though I admit I am as lacking in knowledge of historic kitchens as I am of modern ones. I can toss a salad, make sandwiches, have even fried an egg and heated soup on a stove. But beyond this I am a waste of space in any kitchen.

Randy
 

Kris Muhvic

Member
Sep 26, 2008
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Randy-

A few years ago I was just like you and "survival cooking"! Don't worry about it; you seem to be doing just fine.

The thing I love about this thread is how the "historical" can inch it's way into the "now": who doesn't have memories and stories of how -fill in the blank- was done in the old days? For example, often we hear than one is NOT supposed to put hot food in the refridgerator. Well, back in the days of iceboxes (common term on the East coast still, but the old wooden, porcelain lined, chunk of ice thing I speak of) hot food would expedidite the melting. With the modern fridge, this is a non-issue. But the caution lingers on!

Someday Shelley and I will treat you to an Edwardian feast! You'll be in charge of clean-up...hope you don't mind! HaHa!

Take care-
Kris
 
May 12, 2005
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Hi Kris

...A few years ago I was just like you and "survival cooking"! Don't worry about it; you seem to be doing just fine...

Well I don't care about food. Though I once let it rule me. I am pretty disciplined and can live off soup and salad for days on end - and do! And if that doesn't do the trick, there's always the detox. Nothing remotely Edwardian in that!

"...Well, back in the days of iceboxes (common term on the East coast still ..."

And I thought that was a good old southern term. We all call refrigerators "iceboxes" here, too.

"...Someday Shelley and I will treat you to an Edwardian feast! You'll be in charge of clean-up...hope you don't mind! HaHa! ..."

Washing dishes is no problemo. I've always accepted it as a fitting sentence for being such a loss as a cook!

Best,
Randy
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
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South Florida
I've actually cooked on a woodstove, and it's a very interesting experience, especially baking bread. It's quite a challenge to keep a pot boiling for pasta, I'll tell you. You gotta have that kindling handy, and plenty of it, but not so much that you cause a chimney fire. But the food that's cooked on a woodstove has a lovely flavor that you can't get from gas or electric - and certainly not from microwaves! (Personally, I blame microwaves for all the acid reflux disease - all those radio waves bouncing off the esophagus as it goes down, burning the lining and making it more susceptible to irritations from seasonings and spicy foods.) I guess I'm still the pioneer at heart, as I enjoyed the woodstove and would welcome having one around, especially if I could live in a cabin in the mountains again.

Kyrila
 
Apr 11, 2001
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The Glenwood woodstove was around right into WWI days. This one is about 1900 vintage and is in the Lizzie Borden kitchen. It was originally wood but is now piped for gas as we must cook on it for guests. Lots of work to keep the chrome polished.
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Lizzie burned her dress but did little other cooking! The closet is where she pulled out that dressed covered with "brown paint" before stuffing it in the stove.
 
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The Vanderbilt kitchen was a dream- light and airy and the domain of The French Chef. This was on the tour of the Breakers
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The kitchen was in a ground floor wing- an innovation.
 

Kris Muhvic

Member
Sep 26, 2008
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Randy!

I was not aware that "icebox" was a term used in the south... I only heard it out east. Funny thing; regional terms, I wonder now about "stove" vs. "range"? Seemingly interchangable, yet words have a way of becoming habit.

About my thing: "survival cooking"- I just meant that you're taking care of yourself; which is fine indeed! Sorry, I don't want Anyone going though an Edwardian detox(!)...for that I'll do the dishes!

Take care-
Kris
 
May 12, 2005
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Hi Kris,

Yes we say "icebox" as well as other old fashioned phrases. We also have a habit of "fixin' to go" places or "fixin' to do" things down here. We are always "fixin'" something or other!

Stove or range? It's definitely "stove" in Texas.

As to my taking care of myself - that's very nice of you to say. But the detox is one of the reasons I have done so well! I recommend it to all who don't mind starving themselves 3 days a week with a liquid diet! It's horrible the first time round but you get used to it and it really does help, not just for weight loss and/or maintenance, but for cleansing the system and the mind. I credit it with actually "curing" my diabetes.

Now go on chattering about old kitchens. I will be listening and might learn how to "Edwardianize" mine. If I can't fill it with heaps of food for those frighteningly full dinner courses, I can at least make it "look" the part.

My best,
Randy
 
Jan 28, 2003
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The housemouse site, great! Thanks. This wonderful thread is being reinvigorated thanks to Shelley's reorganization of the Gilded Age section. I'd never seen it before. I've just uncovered a fireplace and discovered a meat roasting 'thing', and I intend to have a go with it! Alert the Fire Dept. .... And on the subject of part of this thread - Izal - I know it. If recommended for 'feminine hygiene' - well, it would amount to culpable homicide in my opinion.
 
J

João Carlos Pereira Martins

Guest
I'm sure somebody else had done this question before but I would like to know the kind of treatment between a couple of 1912. I mean, in public a couple should had shown some formality but I heard some of them called each other "Mr." and "Mrs." or "Sir" and "Lady". Were this formal treatments used in private life too?!

Regards, JC
 
V

Vikki Aris

Guest
I'd have thought it depended on the relationship between the couple themselves. But I think it was quite common for them to call each other by first names or pet names in private
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Jan 28, 2003
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Married couples calling each other Mr. and Mrs. is rather more 18th century, Joao.

In Jane Austen's 18C Pride & Prejudice, the moderately well-off parents of the heroine call each other Mr. and Mrs. Bennett in front of other people. What they called each other in more private moments is not revealed, but possibly "My dear" would satisfy both custom and affection. Their daughters, however, seemed to call their partners / spouses by their christian names, which suggests times were already changing. They still tended to refer to them with others as Mr. though. Sometimes it seems that, amongst close peers - sisters, friends etc. - they referred to them by only their surname e.g. "My dear Bingley ...". So this convention, in England, was changing over 100 years before the Titanic disaster. What is true, however, is that in 1912 some of them still might have referred to their husbands / wives as Mr. / Mrs. in conversations with comparative strangers, or people of a lower social order.

But how times change. I answered the phone the other day to hear a cold-calling salesman, in a call centre in Bangladesh, cheerily ask,
"Is that you, Monica? Mohan here!"

Now, even though I'm perfectly used to everyone here in face-to-face situations immediately calling me "Mon" - from the postman to the local MP - I did find this rather annoying.