Sometimes I’m guilty of romanticising the past.
Things seemed so simple in my gran’s day. Kids raced billy carts in the streets, mothers chatted over back fences. Dads came home at five o’clock, and after a dinner of chops and potatoes, the family listened to the wireless.
There was no online bullying, no one stressed about ‘carbs’ or wrung their hands over what school to send the kids to.
I like to believe that gran had it great when she was my age. But then I look around my house and realise great is relative.
From where I sit, writing at our kitchen table, I can see 8 appliances Gran would have killed for had she been the violent type. If I could be bothered to walk a few metres and open the laundry door, it would be 10.
Air Conditioner: It’s 39 degrees in Brisbane today. Only the dining room is air conditioned so family meals are taking longer than ever. There might even be board games tonight.
Dishwasher: This broke down last year and because of a shortage of parts we washed dishes by hand for a week. It was like camping, but without the fun bits.
Fan-forced oven: Gran had an oven, sure. But it was either hot, or off.
Sandwich press: I remember gran making toasted sandwiches, but in a frying pan, which meant washing up. See ‘dishwasher’ above.
Food processor: Cooking in Australia in the forties and fifties had a reputation as being somewhat bland. I’m not surprised. I don’t think I could be arsed making my own pesto by hand, could you?
Gas BBQ: Pop was a big one for barbecues, but barbies back then meant wood, kerosene, beer and burned meat. No wonder Gran was ‘meh’ about it as a cooking alternative on hot nights.
Fridge: Gran and Pop had fridges. But those fridges didn’t have ice-makers and water dispensers. They also didn’t keep things that cold, and it was tricky to tell if that icicle-laden lump hacked from the wall of the freezer compartment was a bit of flathead or a rump steak.
TV: A blessing and a curse. But more blessing than curse, I reckon. No wonder Gran and Pop were the first in their street to get one. Gran didn’t watch it that much, but she said it was good to put framed family photos on. It’s probably a good thing Gran passed on before today’s flat-screen slimline jobs. Where would she put the pictures?
Washing machine: This is the pointy end. Gran had five kids. Those kids wore cloth nappies. No wonder people had their babies toilet trained by 12 months.
Vacuum cleaner: I remember Gran did have one, but it was only slightly smaller than a VW Beetle and quite a bit noisier. As such it was rarely used and Gran preferred to drag rugs onto the clothesline and beat the bejesus out of them with a broomstick. Hard floors were mopped with such a cocktail of chemicals that no bacteria could survive the onslaught. Of course, no one in the family could breathe for an hour after the mopping had taken place, but that was the price of good hygiene.
This post was sponsored by Karcher, makers of commercial quality steam cleaners. Steam cleaning is the natural, clean and environmentally friendly way to clean and works without any chemicals at all. Steam is the ideal alternative to conventional cleaning methods.
So, would I swap lives with my Grandmother? Maybe. As long as I could take my sandwich press with me.
Would want to live as your Gran did? Which appliances would you miss most?