Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Hoosier Cabinet

As mentioned in a previous post, one of my treasures is my Hoosier cabinet, a birthday gift from my husband several years ago. We saw it in a local antique mall and couldn’t stop thinking about it, so a couple of days later we returned to the mall, loaded it in the truck and brought it home. It fit into its kitchen space perfectly – as if it were made just for that spot! We’d seen Hoosiers in various states of disrepair, but this one just needed door/drawer handles and a good cleaning.

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The early kitchen was typically a mix of tables, freestanding cabinets, etc. In 1899 the Hoosier Manufacturing Corporation was formed in New Castle, Indiana, with John M. Maring as President. They produced the handy kitchen cabinets known from then on as “Hoosier” cabinets. There were other producers of this basic cabinet, such as Sellers of Elwood, Indiana, but the cabinets were always best known as "Hoosiers", no matter who built them.

This ingenious design came in 3 basic sections. The base was designed with drawers and/or doors, and was often on casters for easy moving around the kitchen as needed. Above that was the shelf – usually enamel – that was designed to slide forward, creating a convenient workspace. The top had doors that opened to storage shelves. Many Hoosiers had flour bins with sifters and/or sugar bins, as well as metal bread drawers. Sneath Glass Company made glass spice containers for the Hoosier, as well as cannisters and a salt box.












These cabinets were very popular through the early 1920s, when built-in cabinets became the norm. Production fell off, and now those lovely pieces of kitchen furniture are usually only found in antique or used-furniture stores, often at prices well above their original prices and often in less than perfect condition. We’ve even seen some that have been “refinished”, which negates any historical or antique value they would have and makes them much less attractive.

The pictures above are of my Hoosier. Do you have Hoosier cabinet stories? Did your grandmother or mother have one? If she did, I’m sure she counted herself a very lucky person to own a piece of history!

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Today’s Recipe Experiment:

HOMEMADE POTATO BISCUITS
1/2 cup instant potato flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup hot water
1/3 cup cold water
2 cups biscuit baking mix

Stir together the potato flakes, sugar, butter and hot water; stir in cold water and baking mix. Gently smooth dough into a ball on a floured board; knead 8 to 10 times. Roll out dough into a 10” x 6” rectangle; cut into 12 squares. Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes until golden. Serve warm. Makes one dozen.

(Recipe from Gooseberry Patch Christmas Kitchen, published in 2008. This spiral-bound cookbook has hard covers, and includes 200+ pages of recipes in categories from “Food for Family and Friends” to “Sweet Memories”. All through the book you’ll find fun hints for holiday decorating, serving food and gifts. The book is available from Amazon starting at just $2.50.)

Note: These biscuits didn’t rise a lot, but had a nice texture and tasted really good!

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As a reminder, my website http://www.thecottagepantry.com is your easy connection to Amazon.

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Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

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