Friday, October 14, 2011

Don’t You Dare Use Your New Potholders in Your Old Kitchen!

Planning & Remodeling Kitchens, c. 1975

Now that you’ve crocheted up some new anthropomorphic, tea-partying potholders, you need a new kitchen to show them off. Besides, you probably burned down your old kitchen attempting to simultaneously crochet and deep fry parsley.

But you don’t need just any old kitchen. You need a seventies kitchen. Bright, modern, spacious... Wait, what’s that ominous figure in the corner of the room?

Aaaugh, aliens!

Your new seventies kitchen will also help you welcome our new alien overlords.

For more seventies scullery snark:

Despite the cheery cover on this home remodeling book, the seventies were not really about modernity or spaciousness. They were about Authenticity. Rip off that drywall! Expose those beams and brickwork! And if you can’t, then at least cover everything in sight with wood paneling. Lies will not be tolerated. It’s about Keeping it Real.

It was also about keeping Mom in her place.

Seventies kitchen designers loved “pass-throughs”. These handy-dandy holes in the wall allowed Mom to stay in the kitchen and pass food out to her family on the other side, like a short-order cook or a prison cafeteria.

The one above is particularly well designed as the family can use the sliding door to seal Mom off from sight, when they get tired of her showing off her prison tats.

Whereas in this kitchen, dinner orders can be conveniently shouted at Mom from above. If Mom attempts to ignore him, Dad can always tip a fern over on her head.

Yes, the war of the sexes was alive and well in the seventies. And really, keeping Mom segregated from the rest of the family was probably for the best.

Any moment now this woman is going to turn around and bury a butcher knife in her husband’s chest. “Don’t tell ME how to cook, you micro-managing S.O.B.!”

One the plus side, no one will mess with her in the prison cafeteria.

Only in the seventies could hanging your antique kitchen tools from a row of flimsy screw-in hooks seem like a terrific idea.

Many an unfortunate seventies-era housewife was brained by falling mallets and skewered by BBQ forks as she cooked up hot dog casseroles for the family. But concussions and kitchen lobotomies were a small price to pay for the convenience (and authenticity!) of having all her kitchen implements ready at hand.

I advise that you invest in kitchen hard-hats before installing your very own kitchen utensils of Damocles.

Of course, some kitchen implements are just a little too pointy to dangle directly overhead. A Mom needs to be able to reach out, grab a knife and stab it into... dinner, of course. And that’s what the handy-dandy magnetic strip is for!

These days, not only can you use that magnetic strip to hold your assorted implements of culinary death, you can also use it to wipe your credit cards. Unfortunately, demagnetizing the stripe on your Visa card will not erase the debt on it.

In the seventies, however, a kitchen knife was not as dangerous as a tin of Campbell’s Soup.

Yes, Junior is about to learn a valuable lesson that gravity is a heartless kitchen witch.

Seventies Do It Yourself Furniture! The perfect way for a seventies guy to demonstrate his commitment to recycling. After all, getting back to the Earth is far more important than any petty concerns about his wife wasting hours of her life cleaning encrusted food and grime off chicken wire.

Rumour has it that the above photo was Exhibit A in the infamous Seventies divorce case Kramer vs. Kramer.

How convenient, you have to stand on the table to water your plants! And if your guests complain about baby spider plants landing in their food, just assure them they’re extra roughage. After all, spider plants are non-toxic, not like that English Ivy... Yeah, you might not want to put your chair right under that one.

Still, despite the risk of poisonous plants in my food, knives dangling overhead and the sheer impossibility of ever adequately cleaning exposed brickwork and stucco, I can’t help but want a seventies kitchen of my very own.

My breakfast nook needs a fireman’s pole!


  1. Glad to see you back - will there be a book on sale soon?

  2. Glory be!!! Thank you for the delicious post!!!! Just this morning we were discussing the seventies house with the metal spiral staircase and two crazy running children....

  3. Another great Post! I do so enjoy your take on things!

  4. My mother's kitchen had drawers: the 'knife drawer', the 'spoon drawer' and the 'funny shapes drawer' (which had things like sieves and cookie cutters in it). We were very careful when we reached into the knife drawer....

  5. I just found this blog, and I am crying reading it. You're a genius! (and these "vintage" ads, patterns, etc. are to die for! {or from...}).

    Great blog!

  6. Love your blog! Just found it and have been devouring every post!!!! Please, give us more...... I LOVE your humor.

  7. Anony 1: With luck I'll be posting something about that very soon.

    Karen: You're welcome! My grandma had one of those houses with a metal spiral staircase, too. Ah, the memories... the painful, painful memories... ;-)

    Angry Bunnie: Thanks!

    Anony 2: Reaching into drawers of knives was important survival training for living in the seventies. Today's children are soft. Soft!

    Anony 3: Thanks!

    Kathy: I promise I'll be writing much more over the next few months. I'm glad you're enjoying my blog.