Doing Things Grandma's Way: Old-Fashioned Ways of Living
Remember when Grandma used to have the whole house smelling good with her cooking? She spent hours in the kitchen seasoning meats, kneading dough, and making homemade cookies from scratch. I remember those days of helping to knead the dough for biscuits and pies, peeling the potatoes for potato salad, and boiling water so she can make iced tea. When is the last time you made fresh iced tea or lemonade? I don't remember her using Comet to clean the tub, or buying 409 to clean the countertops. Grandma, or Nana, had her own ways. We used to call our Grandma "Honey."
Here are 10 old-fashioned ways that remind me of Grandma's ways. Maybe some of these will jolt your memory about your ow Grandma's ways.
1. Snapping Snap Beans
In Grandma's house green beans, or should I say snap beans, did not come in a can. She bought them fresh and by the pound. Then we (the grandkids) had to wash and rinse them off, snap the ends off of them, then put the beans in a huge pot - all under Grandma's watchful eye. Grandma would then make us watch her as she seasoned them telling us how much water to put in the pot - memories anyone?
2. Real Pots and Pans
Grandma didn't have a Cuisinart; she had good old-fashioned cast iron pots and pans. Several had broken handles so you had to be careful handling them, but they worked just fine. I remember her frying chicken in an old large cast iron pot. They worked well in the wood burning fireplace too. On cold days when there was not enough room on the stove she'd stoke up the flames in the fireplace, put on a pot of homemade soup, and she was in business. That was the best food in the world to us.
3. Toast in Quantity
To toast our bread we either put it in the oven or we used Grandma's two-sided toast holder - I bet this brings back memories for some. Because there were usually more than two people eating breakfast in the morning, the oven was our best bet for making toast. Why? Because we could put at least 10 slices of toast in the oven, although we had to watch the toast so it wouldn't burn. I don't remember Grandma having a toaster anyway.
4. Vaseline as Shoe Polish
When we went to church on Sunday our shoes were so shiny - from Vaseline. That's right, Grandma had us to shine our shoes with Vaseline; no shoe polish for us.
5. Barbecuing in a Pit
I don't remember a grill at my Grandparents' house either. What I do remember is my Grandfather having dug a hole in the ground, lining the hole with old bricks, filling the hole with coal or wood, then putting an old grate over the hole and presto there was our grill or BBQ Pit. We'd sit around the open pit and smell that meat cook. Grandpa had a long homemade "spear" I called it, to turn the meat. Grandpa's and Grandma's wasn't as neat as the photo you see here, but you get the gist.
6. Homemade Flower Petal Tea
Grandma's tea was not Lipton, for sure, but it was delicious. I don't remember Grandma buying tea bags, but what I do remember is her going out into her garden and picking flowers and making tea. It sure was good during those Ohio winters and my favorites were Rose Petal Tea, Violet Petal Tea, and Lilac Petal Tea. During the winter months she had dried flower petals. This is how I remember Grandma making her tea (per Grandma, use the flower petals ONLY):
- Pick flower petals
- Shake the petals to remove the bugs and dirt
- Rinse the flower petals
- Separate the flower petals and place on a towel
- Boil water in a pot
- Place the flower petals in a tea cup (about 5 to 7 petals, don't quote me)
- Pour the boiling water over the flower petals
- Add honey to taste
HOORAY FOR Grandma!
7. Saving the Oil
I know some of you remember that old coffee can on the stove full of used cooking oil. I say bring that coffee can back in style. If Grandma re-used cooking oil, why can't we? We didn't know back then that it saved money. We didn't get sick from Grandma re-using cooking oil.
8. The Way to Wash Collard Greens
Collard Greens in a can - say it ain't so! My Grandma used to use a mesh fabric bag put her collard greens in, then fill the kitchen sink up with cold water, then put the bag filled collard greens in the kitchen sink to soak and wash her greens - somebody say, YEAH! I think it was bar soap actually that she made the soap suds to clean the greens. My family never questioned Grandma's methods, we just couldn't wait 'till the collards were ready to eat.
9. Baking Soda
When toothpaste was scare at Grandma's house there was her old staple, Baking Soda. Yes, it was a bit salty but it did the job. Baking Soda is an excellent deodorant as well. Grandma frowned on stinky kids. To make her laundry detergent go further she mixed her laundry detergent with Baking Soda.
Last, but certainly not least is the dreaded item Grandma used to use on cuts and scrapes; the all but forgotten - Mercurochrome. Remember the brown liquid in the small square bottle? Is it sold anymore? I think that stuff was made especially for children because I didn't see any of the adults using it.
If you think of something your Grandma did or does, please share it. Let us remember or give us a good laugh.