|It's still cold here.|
So, before we had so much plastic at our disposal, just how did we buy and store food? It’s hard to remember exactly how it was because we took what we had for granted and didn’t know anything else. It might differ some from household to household, and overall change was subtle. And it never occurred to anyone that a picture of an ordinary day in the kitchen – or people doing ordinary things – might one day be precious.
We already mentioned waxed paper, but it bears mentioning again. Back in the day, kids carried sandwiches to school wrapped in waxed paper, as Aunt Chris confirmed. At some point, you could even buy waxed paper sandwich bags, and these are readily available today (here). At our school, we didn’t have hot lunch, so without sealed bags, food odors from bread, tuna fish, etc., were ever-present in the schoolroom – fresh in the morning and stale in the afternoon. Yes, students carried those metal lunchboxes you see in the antiques and collectibles shops, and I suppose some students carried brown bags.
|My grandmother -- Ina Dobson|
|My other grandmother -- Nina Portfors|
A clean muslin dishtowel might be used to wrap cakes and breads. And don’t forget canisters, bread boxes, and cake keepers which protected foods that didn’t need refrigeration.
Crocks were used for baking and perhaps some food storage. Grandma Portfors used a crock as a cookie jar. Beans were baked in crocks, and I don’t know what else. Ina left a number of them at the farm, several with missing lids, making them more or less useless except as picturesque reminders of yesteryear.
I don’t recall that Mother stored food in jars, but today glass is recommended over plastic for food storage as long as it’s manufactured in the U.S. Avoid glass from China. (I’m not sure I’d know the difference.)
I think we can conclude, though, that in the pre-plastic age, food storage wasn’t so great. We used what we had, and it wasn’t an orderly system. Today I still use plastic containers for storage, but the more recent additions to my cupboard are small Pyrex dishes with plastic lids. The lids aren’t microwave proof, though, so the dish has to be covered in another way for re-heating. I also use Corningware and Pyrex with glass lids. KW