A Slice of Life

The old cookbooks, like this one from 1941, were close to 900 pages, with chapters covering a range of domestic concerns, like Menu Making, Table Setting, Carving, Spices and Useful Facts about Food. The American Woman cookbook cover 1931_mixer and homemaker

The heft was also attributable to the photographic illustrations. In this cookbook, a List of Illustrations three pages in length is provided at the front. It was while flipping through the illustrations that I came upon this display

A Kitchen Collection to Gladden the Heart of the Most Ardent Gadgeteer

Gagets and gageteer 1941 Am Womans Ckbk [640x480]

Gadgeteer! How fabulously descriptive. Most of the gadgets were familiar; of some, I’m clueless.

I do not lack for gadgets. I’m especially attracted to those with colored handles.

Gadgeteer_3 items [640x480]

These pie crust rollers are among my favorite utilities.

Gadgeteer_pie trimmers faceup [640x480]

On the backside of the green handled one, you can see the company, Vaughn’s, and the descriptive name: Pie Trimmer and Sealer, circa 1930s-40s.

Gadgeteer_piecrust trimmer Vaughn [640x480]

Looking at the pie tools led me to think about pies, and the purity of the recipes of 1941. A pie was made from scratch, and that included the sifting of flour.

These Sifting Sisters from the Fifties have a tiered interior, which sent the flour through a series of three screens and produced ultra fine flour. Sifting seems more fun with a gadget so well designed and adorably adorned.

Sifter Sisters both 1 [640x480]

Baking a pie is a messy production, and domestic armor is a must. My new friend knows this. Meet Beth Howard of The World Needs More Pie.

Beth Howard_wearing Kaen [640x480]

This photo was taken in Beth’s kitchen – can’t you just hear that screen door slamming as Beth shuttles pies down to her roadside stand. Beth lives in Iowa in the American Gothic home. Her journey from LA to this new life through the conduit of pie is chronicled in a book that publishes next spring. Meantime, do visit her website and welcome her to the Apron-Hood.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!


  1. I had this cookbook at one time and just loved all the same things that you did. I also love my vintage kitchen items. Still dreaming of a 40’s style kitchen, maybe someday.

  2. I have this old cookbook and being a child of the 40’s I have a passion for all things vintage for the kitchen. I can still see my mother in her kitchen baking every Saturday with those vintage sifters, and other tools, not to mention while wearing her apron made from feed sacks. I love your blog.


  3. I have this cookbook! It was my Grandmother’s, then my Mother’s, and now mine. The binding is loose, but all the pages are there save maybe one in the beginning of the book. There’s even one or two pages where I scribbled and pasted gold bond stamps! And I also have my mom’s old sifter. 🙂

  4. Wow, I loved every word of your blog this time! So many interesting articles and facts and pictures! This old cookbook will now be on my list of antiques to find. It looks fabulous. I’m just dying to open the cover and peek inside!

  5. I love old kitchen gadgets, too! I have a farmhouse kitchen and a large collection of vintage recipe books. It’s so much fun to bake in the way our grandmothers did! Love your blog!

  6. My grandmother gave me this cookbook before she died and since she was a young wife and mother in the 40’s she used it for cooking and baking quite a bit. And, she always made her piecrusts from scratch. Love this post!!

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