19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Another quiet day. . .
Since Grandma didn’t provide any clues about the direction this post should head, I thought you might enjoy this short essay about can openers in the December, 1914 issue of Farm Journal. Technology was changing the way meals were prepared—and it wasn’t like back in the “good old days.”
The Can Opener
This handy tool, the household pet, we ply with skill and speed; and in the modern kitchenette it’s really all we need. The shining tool that opens cans makes household work a joke; it supersedes the pots and pans, the stoves that used to smoke.
In olden times the toiling wives were always on their feet; they wore away their weary lives preparing things to eat. They fried the meat, they baked the beans, they cooked the spuds. They had no time for magazines, for euchre, or bridge whist.
How fortunate the modern wife, with many a leisure hour! For she can fill with glee her life, and languish in her bower.
And when at evening comes her man, impatient for the eats, she say, “I’ll open up a can of beans or deviled beets.” It takes three minutes by the clock to get his meal in shape; he’s so well trained he doesn’t balk, or try to make escape.
It may be, as hand over hand, he throws the victuals in, he signs for grub that isn’t canned, that doesn’t taste of tin. It may be that his vagrant mind recalls the old-time steak, the dishes of the good old kind his mother used to make. But idle are the man’s regrets, and vain his hopes and plans; this is the age of kitchenettes , and things put up in cans.