How Would Grandma Have Done It?

by Tammy Taylor~

How would grandma have done it? I’ve been seeing this question a lot on social media lately.  But it’s great food for thought, especially for those striving to reduce waste and save a little money too.  You see, plastic and single-use items weren’t commonplace back in grandma’s day.  And yet, grandma got around the kitchen just fine without it.

Sometimes the old ways are really the best ways. Let’s see how grandma would have done it.

Did you ever stop and wonder "How would grandma do this?" Oh yeah, grandma was the queen of "Use Whatcha Got"! She got by fine without plastic & disposables. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Here’s How Grandma Would Do It!

Did you ever stop and wonder "How would grandma do this?" Oh yeah, grandma was the queen of "Use Whatcha Got"! She got by fine without plastic & disposables. #TaylorMadeHomestead Dish Over Thawing Food in the Fridge

Grandma didn’t need plastic wrap to cover thawing food. She simply covered the food with another piece of dinnerware.  I’m often pulling out pre-cooked frozen entrees from the freezer, placing the frozen food on a plate and covering the food with a bowl before placing it all in the fridge to thaw.  Oh yeah, I watched my grandmother do this countless times when I was a child!

Did you ever stop and wonder "How would grandma do this?" Oh yeah, grandma was the queen of "Use Whatcha Got"! She got by fine without plastic & disposables. #TaylorMadeHomesteadCovered Bakeware for Leftovers

I have my grandmother’s CorningWare bakeware and I love it.  But it’s used for more than cooking.  I often bring out one of these dishes to store leftovers in my fridge.  This replaces the dreaded plastic ware I used to store leftovers in.  I’ve got these lovely dishes, it would be a shame not to put them to full use! I much prefer my food to be touching glass instead of plastic.

Did you ever stop and wonder "How would grandma do this?" Oh yeah, grandma was the queen of "Use Whatcha Got"! She got by fine without plastic & disposables. #TaylorMadeHomesteadCanning Jars or Repurposed Jars for Small Leftovers

I have a supply of both canning jars as well as repurposed wide-mouth jars that have been saved for me by family members.  If there’s a small amount of food left over such as half an onion or bell pepper, I often use these small jars to hold them in my fridge.  I love it because I’m once again storing my food in glass instead of plastic.  Plus since the jars are completely see-through I find I don’t forget about what’s been placed in the fridge.  That leftover food is much more likely to be used instead of being shoved to the back & forgotten until it’s only fit for the compost heap.  This has obviously saved us money in our food budget since food is less likely to be wasted.

Did you ever stop and wonder "How would grandma do this?" Oh yeah, grandma was the queen of "Use Whatcha Got"! She got by fine without plastic & disposables. #TaylorMadeHomesteadCast Iron Cookware Lasts Forever

Another beloved item from my grandmother that resides in my kitchen is her cast-iron skillet.  She received this skillet as a wedding gift when she and my grandfather got married in 1934.  It cooked many a delicious meal for her family for decades before being passed to me. And it’s not showing any signs of wear!  I’ll be passing this skillet down to my children and then on to my grandchildren.

Did you ever stop and wonder "How would grandma do this?" Oh yeah, grandma was the queen of "Use Whatcha Got"! She got by fine without plastic & disposables. #TaylorMadeHomesteadRags For Cleaning

Grandma would have never considered buying something disposable to clean even it had been available to her! My grandmother lived through the depression and she was well skilled in ‘Use Whatcha Got’!  I took a que from her and I don’t buy specialty kitchen cloths.  This old T-Shirt of RancherMan’s is cut into dishcloth-sized rags. Heck even the seems are reused to tie things in the garden.  No waste here!

So there are a few simple things our grandmothers did back in the day.  And those same easy steps can be used today.  It’s good for our wallets AND good for the environment!

~TMH~

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17 thoughts on “How Would Grandma Have Done It?

  1. candace

    So much interesting nostalgia from all of you girls. We have a rag cardboard box. One thing I wouldn’t be nostalgic for from my mom’s time and before is feminine hygiene products. I remember hearing them talk about washing out rags every month. But they survived and I expect I would have too. I have my grandmother’s china and we use it for dinners when we have big groups of friends and relatives over. The bird man who lives with me is in line for another set of gorgeous china which will be coming to us soon because his dear mother now resides in an assisted living facility. An addition on the house? Maybe that’s what I need. I save (let’s not call it hoarding) glass jars and lids and am kind of obsessive about it. Not canning jars much any more, I’d rather freeze or dry things now. And I have neighbors who do can a lot and were glad to have many of mine (and my mother’s and my grandmother’s) and then they give them back to me with their great canning efforts. I just can’t get anyone to take those glass peanut butter jars off my hands and I have enough of them for an army and like rabbits they seem to multiply on the shelves of my basement “fruit” room. I do use them for small amounts of bulk bought food.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Sharing those precious canning jars and getting canned delights in return – what a wonderful barter, Candace! And I think it’s funny how your jars multiply – I think I’m having the same problem. Once you see those sparkling jars it’s hard to regulate. They look to pretty in the pantry! And since I’m a dehydrating fool I’ve always got dehydrated food to store. ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Denise Olczak

    I use my cast iron skillets on my glass cooktop all of the time and have for years. I’ve never had a problem. Also love the Corningware dishes with the glass lids as cooking and serving dishes. From cooking to table to frig…no issue!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’ve heard you can use your cast iron cookware on a glass cooktop, you just can’t slide them around or they will scratch the top. As long as you set them down & pick them up & they say supposedly it’s fine on a glass cooktop. But my baby sis has a glass cooktop and she was afraid to use her cast iron cookware too, so she gave all her cast iron cookware to me. Woo-hoo!! ~TMH~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’ll admit modern day conveniences have their place Kim, but for the most part grandma had it goin’ on!! And she did it all without those conveniences. In my own kitchen I try to ask myself often, “How would grandma have done this??” and just go with it. ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Evelyn Edgett

    I do have some cast iron, but because my house came with a glass topped stove, I can’t use it, except to bake in. I would love to get a regular electric stove, because I miss using my cast iron.

    Reply
  4. Patty

    I have been buying vintage glass ‘refrigerator dishes’ as I come across them at estate sales and thrift shops. I love how they look in my cabinets and in my refrigerator. I didn’t start out with them intending to reduce my use of plastic, but that’s what they’ve done. I also like that many of them are a smaller size, which works better in our 2 person household, and they are much sturdier than any plastic ware. I used to like non stick fry pans, but none of them really stay non-stick for very long. My old cast iron on the other hand, does a much better job (and I think food tastes better cooked in it 🙂 ) I hadn’t thought about ‘how would grandma do it’, but just thinking that phrase brings a smile to my face and makes me want to put on one of my grandma’s cross stitched gingham aprons and cook something from scratch. Thanks for good tips and some sweet nostalgia!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      “Grandma’s cross-stitched gingham aprons”?? #jealous. What a treasure! I love your entire comment, Patty. Vintage dishes, cast iron, grandma’s apron… Thankfully I think these days there’s a feeling of what was old is new again and many folks tired of the wasteful status-quo are going back to grandma’s ways. And what a wonderful thing! ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. Nancy

    My grandma had a, “rag bag”. It was in the closet with her vacuum. This was the bag my brother and I went to if we wanted to make something. (Clothes for my dolls or a sleeping bag for his GI Joe). My grandma also had cast iron but what I got was some of her Revere ware. I was in 5th grade when she passed away, so I got what the aunts and older cousins didn’t want. I love my Revere ware and it’s much heavier than the same brand put out now and even 30 years ago (1980s). When I was first starting out I would go to second hand stores and look for the older ones. I have enamel covered cast iron for my frying pans. I lucked out and got most at a rummage sale one time. They happen to be brown which would not have been my first choice but Le Creuset was and still is very pricey. So I really lucked out with them.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Aaaah yes, the ‘rag bag’, my grandmother had one too, Nancy. Of course since she made handmade quilts all her life she dug quite heavily into that rag bag herself! Good find on your Revere ware – those are amazing. Quality like that will last generations. ~TMH~

      Reply
      1. Evelyn Edgett

        I have two rag bags. One in the kitchen, and one in the laundry room. They are simply two clot totes that hang from pegs, and I shove cut up t-shirts, old wash cloths, and cut up old towels into them for cleaning, dusting, and taking care of the accidents my 20 year old has from time to time. The Redneck grabs one occasionally to check the oil in the truck or to use when polishing boots or cleaning guns. When he gets his ‘man cave’ finished (going on two years now), I will see to it he gets his own rag bag. I don’t worry about getting them too nasty to wash, I can toss them into the burning barrel with no guilt. I recall as a child, watching those Handi Wipe commercials, where they made using an old shirt, rag or diaper to clean with was bad. I thought, “Well, that’s dumb. Why should you BUY something when you have rags to clean with?”

        Reply
        1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

          Like you I don’t worry about the rags that make it out to RancherMan’s shop. I can toss ’em away guilt free since they’ve already done hard time as clothing first, then cleaning rags before finally going out to his shop. And I’m with you too Evelyn about the Handi-Wipe commercials. Really?? Let’s throw THESE rags away so we can BUY those rags… But it was apparently a successful commercial campaign since they sold those things hand over fist! ~TMH~

          Reply
          1. Nancy

            When I was growing up we called our dish and wash clothes dish rags and wash rags. I remember asking my mom once why we called them that. She told me that when she was growing up, my grandma cut towels down as they got ragged. The last stop before going to my grandpa’s shop was either the bathroom for a wash cloth or kitchen for dishes. Hence the reason they were called rags.

          2. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

            Ya know Nancy, when I was growing up we called ’em dish rags & wash rags too but I don’t remember whether they were actual rags or just a carryover name from previous generations. Oh our grandmothers really had it goin’ on, didn’t they?? ~TMH~

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