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House Appliances

While today and 25 years ago a housewife’s day is spent all over the house cleaning and doing laundry etc. a great part of her day is spent in the kitchen. For the housewife of 25 years ago, this photo illustrates some of her basic equipment besides the “Fogon” (fire hearth).

Let’s begin at the right hand side of the photo. This large gadget was called a “bol”. It was a flat round wooden vessel with raised edges. It was mostly used to knead your flour into a fine dough for your sweet or salt bread or your tortillas and Johnny cakes. When dad made “chicharon” with pork meat and skin, it was also placed in this large “bol”. Perhaps a Maya world for large bowl. The small bottle – shaped object is a coconut grater. At the end is a piece of metal with sharp teeth like a hand saw. You sit on the board and skillfully maneuver one half of a coconut in its shell to grate a fine meat, which produced milk for the various recipes or even used to make coconut oil. (Wow, super nice and cholesterol full). The circular object at the top is a waffle iron which was heated over a fire or a hot charcoal.

Just below the waffle iron is another coconut grater used mostly by the creoles. It is basically flat piece of metal with holes punched with a nail. The holes were sharp at one side and the coconut meat is grated with swift and firm rubbing actions. This was also uses to grate sweet potato to make pudding – “potato pound”.

Next is the number one utensil hand mill used to grind cooked corn to make the dough for the corn tortillas. Before going to school in the morning the children (that’s me included) used to grind 3 or 4 quarts of corn and the dough was used for many recipes that I need a special chapter for that issue. (Soon we’ll see the myriad- uses of corn. By the way the “Molino” or corn mill is upside down, just washed and rinsed the cup at the bottom is where the corn was placed and the handle, well take it positively, developed fine muscles. Even young ladies had great biceps and triceps. To end I will say that I have one bad memory of this grinder because my brother, The Crusher caught my fingers while I was pushing down some corn in the grinder. I still have crooked fingers and a split nail as proof of it. But what hurt me most 25 years ago is that my brother laughed while I cried with pain. But I know he did not mean it. Boys will be boys and I still love “The Crusher” (+).

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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