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YWCA Kitchen: 1927

YWCA Kitchen: 1927

Washington, D.C., circa 1927. "Y.W.C.A. kitchen." The new Y building on K Street Northwest at 17th. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Age verification

You know you're getting old when you think that that's how garbage cans are supposed to look.

Ashcan alarm clock

I too called them ash cans but my introduction to another use came at the Great Lakes boot camp in the late 50's when Drill Instructor Chief Large (strange how some names remain in your consciousness many years past any need to remember) took an empty Coke bottle and rolled it around the can while yelling, "Drop your #$%ks and grab your socks."

One of the few pleasures of boot camp was having the late watch and being the one to perform what the Chief had taught us so well.

Ashcans, Top Cat

My dad and his parents referred to this type of galvanized garbage can as "ash cans." I guess the name went back to the days of coal furnaces and stoves, when you'd need a fireproof place to dump all the ashes.

Whenever I see one of them, though, the first thing I think of is the 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series "Top Cat." TC would call together the gang by clanging two ash can lids together...we used to love doing that as kids, much to the annoyance of our parents. Top Cat also lived in an ash can...although his was equipped with a TV antenna.

Sanitary Conditions

Stockpots on the floor right next to the mop buckets. And a bottom-fill sink in that work table. None of that would fly today.

Re: Those garbage cans

Back in the 40's and 50's our metal garbage cans looked like the two in the photo for about 2 weeks. After that the dents grew larger and larger and eventually the lids wouldn't fit. The garbage men in the DC area would bang the cans against the "wing" of the truck every time--no plastic bags back then. Gave my father something to complain about.

Menus: 1931

The following menus are extracted from Aunt Sammy's Radio Recipes Revised, Bureau of Home Economics, U.S. Department of Agriculture [Government Printing Office:Washington] 1931

Dinner menus for February
Scalloped oysters, five-minute cabbage, pickled beets, jellied fruit; Lima beans in tomat sauce with crisp bacon, mashed rutabaga turnip, lettuce with tart dressing, fruit, chocolate drop cookies, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, scalloped parsnips, turnip greens, pickled cherries, Washington pie..

Dinner menus for April
Cheese souffle, spring onions on toast, browned parsnips, olives and radishes, rhubarb Betty, pork chops, savory cooked lettuce, parley potatoes, chili sauce, jelly roll; fresh beef tongue, wilted dandelion greens, fried potato cakes, banana pudding...

Dinner menus for July
Cold sliced meat, potato salad, rolls, peaches and cream, iced coffee, tea, or chocolate; fried or broiled chicken, new potatoes, peas, currant jelly, strawberry ice cream, vanilla wafers; broiled ground beef on toast, lima beans, fried tomatoes, Spanish cream...

Dinner menus for October
Scalloped onions and peanuts, spinach, hot biscuits, catsup, lemon pie; cold boiled ham, succotash, carrots, cold slaw, green tomato pie; cream of vegetable soup, oven-toasted bread, grated cheese and lettuce salad, apple sauce, hot gingerbread; roast chicken, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts or some other green vegetable, crabapple jely, peanut-brittle ice cream, sand tarts..."

Buffalo Chopper

Buffalo food choppers are still in use today. That's the earliest model I have ever seen. We bought one new in 1966 and it still works great just need to sharpen the blades now and then. They were the food processors of their day.

I hope there are wheels somewhere for the mop buckets under the sink. They look fairly heavy empty.

And the bottom of those pots are really clean. That took some elbow grease.

Those garbage cans

are exactly like the ones we used back in Newark until Rubbermaid and Hefty replaced them. Garbage trucks had no compactors. The heavily muscled "garbage men" would throw the full can up into the high walled truck, where another man stood to dump them and toss them back overboard. Those guys earned their pay.

Showroom Quality

That kitchen almost looks unused.

Heavy metal

Love the machines of the day. Built to last. One is hard put to find a bit of plastic. The knobs are probably wood or Bakelite.

The Buffalo

a perfect name for that torture device.

A mixer and a...?

Okay, the rear machine on the left is a mixer (and bread-dough kneader.) But what's the near machine?

There appears to be a wheel inside an enclosure, and a lower shaft arrangement that might possibly be a worm gear to turn the bowl. So what, something like a grain grinder? A particularly complex and Goldbergian vegetable chopper? An industrial-strength garlic mincer?

[It's a Buffalo meat grinder. - Dave]

Missed a spot

The kitchen looks great, but the windows are filthy.

Clean with a capital C!

Now THAT is a clean kitchen! No germs there.

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