During any era, a well-run kitchen usually has a variety of appliances and utensils. Over the years, there can be quite a few changes as to what is considered necessary for basic meal preparation. What was popular 50 or 60 years ago may now be unrecognizable as to its function. 


During any era, a well-run kitchen usually has a variety of appliances and utensils. Over the years, there can be quite a few changes as to what is considered necessary for basic meal preparation. What was popular 50 or 60 years ago may now be unrecognizable as to its function.  

Rural Roanoke resident Elaine Lauffenburger has inherited or collected many of these utensils that are now considered antique. She has filled four shelves of the display case at the Metamora Branch of Illinois Prairie District Public Library with interesting and unique items from the past. Some are still used today with only slight changes. Others may be difficult to guess what to do with them.

Lauffenburger was a city girl who didn’t know how to cook when she married in the 50’s. She watched her mother-in-law in fascination as she beat on the meat before cooking it.  The couple bought their own meat tenderizer that year and it is in the display.  

The iron twine holder is probably not found hanging in many modern kitchens. Aluminum foil and plastic freezer bags make it unnecessary to wrap everything up with twine. The ice tongs are outdated with the electric refrigerator replacing the old icebox.  

The look of the modern toaster has changed a lot. Who can remember seeing a rotary phone lock? However, the flour sifter and various graters are easy to identify.  

To add to the fun, Lauffenburger has included copies of pages from an old Sear Roebuck catalog that advertizes some of the old-time items with pictures and prices from 2 cents to 8 cents apiece.

Go to the IPDPL web page at  http://www.ipdpl.org” www.ipdpl.org to get an overview of the display. Then come to the library through February to see the utensils and try to guess their function.