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Mint, Sage, Caraway and Thyme: 1942

Mint, Sage, Caraway and Thyme: 1942

July 1942. "Birmingham (near Detroit), Michigan. Herbs and kitchen utensils in a house in Birmingham." 4x5 inch Kodachrome transparency by Arthur S. Siegel for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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These old implements

They remind me of my grandmother's 'polenta' paddle, which I still use for stirring pasta. Polenta is basically corn meal mush. The paddle is a wooden device similar to the spatula-like thing third from left, but made of wood and about 2 inches wide by 1/4 inch thick. The one I have is over 100 years old, as my grandmother got it when she was first married in 1908. I got it when I moved into my first apartment in '73.

Can't remember how many times I got my butt warmed with that paddle!

Scarborough Fare?

They must've run out of parsely and rosemary.

Wabi, sabi

Perfect examples of the Japanese qualities of wabi and sabi. The enjoyment of the slight imperfections in objects which are in everyday use, especially those which are hand-made, and of the honest wear which accumulates on such objects.


I'm pretty certain some of those utensils are probably still in use by someone. Some of my favorite kitchen gadgets are those that belonged to my mom and grandmother in the '30s and '40s. They are still in great condition, whereas a lot of what I bought when I got married in 1969 only lasted a couple of years.

Utensil Rings

The four utensils on the right had an identical threaded metal ring screwed into each handle end to allow it to hang on a hook. The ring on the end of the small skillet was too big for the hook, and it appears a bit of force was used to make it fit. This was clearly a time before stainless steel. I like the detail of the rough plaster wall - I'd love to see the rest of the kitchen. Any related images?

Metal and mint

I love photos like this, which provide a glimpse of daily life in the past. Those are great utensils! Looks like they had all ready been around for quite a while, by then, but still had lots of use left in them. I watch secondhand stores for such things, and have several I use. I'd like to know how she used that mint. I'll bet it was from her garden!

Still in use

Change the handles of some of those utensils to red and white and you can find them in my kitchen.

"Nice rack" - ?

No. Actually, no. Nobody had to say that.

Well used tools

I like the patina of age and use on the various cooking utensils. The handles tell that these have been used often to make meals for whomever they belonged to, and their family. The small pan was probably used to melt butter or lard.

Secret Ingredient

I sure hope that is gum on the shelf!!!

Nice rack

Someone had to say it.

Secret Ingredient

The wad of chewed gum on the shelf is a nice touch.

Point of order

I found myself wondering why the caption was in a different order than the bottles, but then I deduced that this was taken in Scarborough.

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