May 18, 2014 — An Update to “Other Small Appliances”

When I first wrote about “other small appliances”  on this page,  I mentioned that some of the early appliances had “screw-in” plugs that were intended to be used in a light socket.

If you were born after 1950, you probably have no idea, unless you have seen some of the old movies that show a SINGLE cord hanging from the ceiling with a bare light bulb – which was the way old homes were “electrified” on the cheap, with the electric wires fastened to walls and ceilings and with a “drop” line for lights or for electric appliances.

I have three Hankscraft egg cookers, ceramic bodies with electric elements to boil water so the eggs cook in steam.   The earliest came with one of those screw-type plugs.  Unless one had a “duplex” or “Y” socket, there was either light or appliance and using both was tricky because if the circuit was overloaded it would burn out the fuse and early fuses were expensive.  If one was renting a room, often the owner installed coin-oprated electric “boxes” so one had to use a coin to connect to the electricity.

This photo shows all three of the Hankscraft cookers along with some egg cups that were manufactured to match.


The one in the center is the earliest.  Model # 599.  It also has a cup on top in which the water was placed – so it dripped down onto the heating element.

Hankscraft #599 early

Hankscraft 599 top cup

Hankscraft 599 interior



Hankscraft 599 egg plate

Hankscraft No 599

and the infamous “plug” which is rarely seen.

Hankscraft 599 plug


Next is the model 815, in which the water was added directly to the cooking bowl AFTER the appliance was plugged in.  Then the cover was placed over the eggs.  It states that after the water has steamed away, the current will shut off.  I’ve tried this and the current did not turn off until well after the element was completely dry.  I would advise using a timer and turning it off manually, if anyone wants to try using one of these.  I don’t have the metal egg plate for boiled eggs in the shell for this one, only the poaching cup.  And there is a chip on one of the little “lugs” that holds the poaching cup in the chamber.

Hankscraft 815-2

Hankscraft 815-3

Hankscraft 815-4

Hankscraft 815-1

In this one you can see the slot that has been cut into the dome so the handle for the poaching cup will be outside the chamber (and is supposed to stay cool) and the handle of course makes it easier to pick up and carry.


Hankscraft 815


Lastly, there is the Model 874, which has the metal egg plate but no poaching cup and there is no slot in the dome so I assume the poaching cup did not have a handle – and might have been awkward to retrieve when hot…

This one says to put the water in BEFORE plugging in, which I think is wise.  It also states that when cooking is done the current will shut off and in this one it did.  Apparently the sensor still works.

This one is a yellow that was popular in the 1930s and in fact matches the Fiesta yellow and has the same ribbed design that appeared on some Fiesta pieces.  I can only find one matching egg cup but I am sure I have a set of 4… somewhere.

Hankscraft No 874-2 Hankscraft No 874



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May 17, 2014 More HALL CHINA stuff.


Small “institutional” pieces (restaurant ware) are much less expensive than other Hall China items, even though many are older and not always easy to find in decent shape.  They are small enough so that one can have an extensive collection and it will not take up a lot of room.  I began collecting these in the 1980s and probably got my last pieces about 8 years ago, shortly before I retired from my job.

I like the little cream pitchers and milk “cans” that were on almost every restaurant table and counter when I was a child.

Also the small individual covered casseroles, the open “gratines” and the neat little condiment containers and the custard cups.  The little black covered mustard pot in matte black is especially cute – it holds about 2 tablespoons or so of mustard – or other condiment.  I have used it for the extremely hot Indonesian sambals which are used in very small amounts.

There is also a brown glaze milk jug – holds 20 ounces – which has an Art Deco design but this was manufactured in the 1950s or ’60s.

Hall smalls

Hall cups

Hall cups marks

Custard & Condiment Hall Mustard pot  Hall Milk jug2 Hall Milk jug

Hall Milk jug3 Hall Milk jug4



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May 16, 2014 Cookie Jars and some more teapot photos

This cute little duck, dressed in yellow raingear, was made by Metlox.  I got him as part of  a “lot” of several diverse items, bowls, etc., back in the ’90s.

Metlox DUCKMetlox DUCK1 Metlox DUCK2

This is a “Cattail” cookie jar made by Universal potteries and sold through Sears.  The Cattail design was very popular and is seen on many items.

Cattail cookie Cattail closeup Cattail cookie1Cattail cookie3

And this is a large cookie jar with a Basenji – received as a gift years ago.

HPIM6353 HPIM6357 HPIM6355


These are some of the teapots in my previous post – closeup views as they did not show up well in the early photos.

Both made by Hall China.

HPIM6368 HPIM6373

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May 14, 2014 More TEAPOTS! From storage

Got some of my teapots out of storage today. These were carefully wrapped and boxed up in 1999 and have been virtually inaccessible since because of a bunch of heavy items in front of the shelves on which the boxes were stored. Today those big items were hauled away (donated to Grace resource center) and I had free access to see what has been hidden for fifteen years. I know there are more, but it was quite warm and I wasn’t able to spend longer digging through boxes.
Most of the teapots are Hall China. One is an H. J. Wood, Burslem, EnglandScan-140515-0001



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May 12, 2014 Antique coffee roaster now on ebay.

Coffee Roaster3

I’ve owned this old coffee roaster (also can be used for chestnuts) for quite a few years – never used it because someone had given it a coat of black paint and in my opinion it needed to be removed prior to exposing it to heat.

I think it was painted to keep it from rusting and to make it look more presentable for display.

This one has a ring that holds the “axle” that allows the roaster to be turned, using the handle – which is long enough to keep the hand well away from the heat, something not as evident on some similar roasters…

It holds at most half a pound of coffee beans – that is, it will hold more but they need to be loose in the drum to roast evenly.  I put some coffee beans in the drum and figured that the optimal amount would be about 6 ounces but it could be stretched to 8.

The drum is 6 1/2 inches long and 4 1/4 inches in diameter.

Coffee Roaster

Coffee Roaster5

Coffee Roaster6 Coffee Roaster2 Coffee Roaster4


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May 11, 2014 – Foolproof 2-ingredient cream biscuits.

These are virtually foolproof.   Note:  Most biscuit recipes are cooked at a higher temp – 450 and above, for a shorter time.  In my opinion this often leaves the center of the biscuit a bit soggy and I don’t like the texture, especially if they are no longer hot.

Self-Rising flour – – 2 cups (Make sure this ingredient is fresh, otherwise they won’t rise.)
Heavy cream – – 1 cup  (Absolutely must use HEAVY cream or Manufacturing Cream because this substitutes for the fat in other biscuit recipes.)

Mix just till blended – turn out dough onto floured board
fold and knead 4 or 5 times.
Pat out into half inch slab.
Fold in half and press out or roll to 1/2 inch thick.
ALLOW TO REST FOR 5 MINUTES Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
With a sharp biscuit cutter cut into rounds
OR with a sharp knife cut crossways into squares.
Transfer to a baking pan with sides just touching.
Bake for 12 minutes – turn pan back to front
Bake another 10 minutes or until biscuits are the color in
the second photo.
They should split naturally – because of that “fold” before cutting.

Optional:  Add a rounded tablespoon of sugar to the dry ingredients, or a bit more, to make a sweeter biscuit (cut larger) which is great for strawberry shortcake (or other fruit mashed, sweetened and served on cake or shortcake.)





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I will be adding some bits and pieces to the Page: All the “LITTLE” things, UTENSILS, etc.

Here are some of the “utility” or “cooking” forks I have collected (and used) during the past 50 years.  As with many of the other items, I have more but it requires a bit of a search to winkle them all out of their hiding places. I have a Victorian toasting fork – which I actually had my hands on just a few weeks ago – which has now gone missing.  Not in the drawer where it has lived for many years – along with several other items from that era.  Weird. This group includes a “pusher” fork at the far left – it has a device that pushing whatever has been impaled on the tines, off onto a plate.   There are cooking forks with two three and four tines, a serving fork with a green bakelite handle.   The all metal fork 6th from the right is a “pastry-blending” fork, quite thick and intended to cut fats into dry ingredients.  I never found it to be that easy to use but the idea is good and I believe they are still being made.  These were made between 1930 and 1990, except for the chef’s fork with the extra long tines and 3 rivets in the handle that I purchased in 2001 and the “extension” fork that I bought a couple of years ago (along with a matching spoon).

FORKS Next up!   KNIVES!

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Just a couple of photos to show off ‘some’ of my vintage appliances en masse.

Some dusting is required…   There are toasters (both pop-up and floppers), a very early toaster oven, waffle irons and sandwich presses, coffee brewers, a Calkins “breakfaster”  and a rather colorful drum – with Egyptian designs.



HPIM6301 HPIM6303

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April 21, 2014 – My Favorite Food Blogs

There are a lot of food blogs out there in “etherland” – some are sporadically maintained (like this one) but others are faithfully added to nearly every day and often with wonderful recipes, tips and good ideas.

Some are fairly “exotic” while others can best be described as “down home” or mundane, but all have interesting recipes that range from extremely simple to fairly complex.

Some are “health conscious” – trending toward the low fat, low sugar tradition while others are “organic” or “gluten free” or some other designation that purports to be “healthy.”   For me the jury is still out on some of these.  I go along with the fact that some people are very sensitive to wheat/gluten and do better on restricted diets.  Others have problems with GMO foods, particularly GMO corn and soy products that seem so pervasive in a huge number of prepared foods, baking mixes and in products that, to me, have no business containing EITHER product.

I mean, why should there be soy protein in YOGURT?  Or cornstarch?  I’ve been making yogurt for decades and the product is perfectly FINE without any additives.

Zocalo Gourmet

The Kitchn

Buns in My Oven

Smitten Kitchen

The Kitchen Daily

A Canadian Foodie

Steamy Kitchen

Quirky Cooking  (Mostly Thermomix recipes)

PureWow Recipes

Polish the Stars

The Prairie Homestead

Lambs’ Ears & Honey

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April 12, 2014 – I baked a traditional Dundee Cake – which goes great with TEA!

Dindee cake6

My great grandmother, my grandmother and the rest of my family, loved Dundee cake, which is not flavored as strongly as many “tea” cakes – no vanilla, no citrus zest, no cocoa, no herbal additions.  The addition of the dried fruits and peel add just a hint of flavor, which allows this to go well with tea, coffee, summer fruit drinks, etc., there are no “competing” or jarring flavors.

Here is the recipe – I have “modernized” it a bit (and reduced the size as the original made three large cakes for a large family) that I “inherited” from my grandmother.


  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4 EGGS  Large
  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour All-purpose
  • 2/3 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Sultanas – golden raisins
  • 3/4 Cup Mixed Peel
  • 1/2 Cup Currants   (Zante)
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 TBS Sliced Almonds


Grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan or line it with parchment paper.  (I now use the disposable paper baking molds, 8 inch round, which do a beautiful job – they are available from Amazon.)  You can also use smaller pans or molds for a taller cake – or use a loaf pan or pans.

Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Use a medium-large bowl – 2 quarts or larger or the bowl on a stand mixer.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat the mixture until all are blended in and the batter is smooth.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together

Add the sultanas, mixed peel and currants to the flour mixture and toss to coat the pieces and make sure they are not clumped together.  (They are not traditional, but dried cranberries are lovely in this cake.)

Add the flour and fruit mixture to the batter, 1/3 at a time, stirring well until blended before adding more.

Add the milk and beat until completely blended.

The batter should be fairly stiff but if it appears too stiff, or dry on the surface, add 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of milk, blending well after each addition.

Transfer the batter to the cake pan, spread to edges and level the top.

Sprinkle on the sliced almonds.

Place on center rack in pre-heated oven and set timer for 80 minutes.

At the end of this time check for doneness with a “cake tester” or better yet, a probe thermometer – the finished temp should be 205°F.  If the cake center has not reached this temp, continue baking for an additional 10 minutes and test again.

Remove from oven, place pan on cooling rack for 50 minutes.

Invert onto one plate and then turn it again so it is right-side up on your serving plate.  If using the paper mold, just strip off the sides and transfer directly to your plate leaving the bottom in place.

Lightly sift powdered sugar over the top after the cake has fully cooled.

Dindee cake

Dindee cake1

Dindee cake2

Dindee cake3

Dindee cake4

Dindee cake5

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