Tuesday, 6 August 2013

I’ve A Little Teapot…

I found an article about the top twenty items in 1970’s kitchens. This fascinated me, as I left home as a student, started out as a teacher in a flat in Hertfordshire, and then got married all in the seventies. Here’s the list – with my comments


1. Teapot and cosy (63%) – still have and still use [although my original Brown Betty smashed, this is a replacement]

2. Kitchen scales (61%)still have and still use

3. Tupperware (59%) – still using some original stuff, have added a few Lock’n’Locks in recent years. But mostly cheap ice-cream/takeaway/margarine boxes being recycled.

4. Chip pan (58%) – donated to CS years ago in an attempt to slim

5. Salt and pepper shakers (57%) – grinders not shakers. 1976 originals broke in 90s and replaced.

6. Bread bin (56%) – original plastic one split, now using Brabantia s/steel one

7. Hand-held whisk (52%) still have and still use

8. Casserole dish (49%) still have and still use the Le Creuset wedding gifts.

9. Spice rack (44%) still have and still use

10. Pressure cooker(43%)  still have and still use, bought in 1973 when I was a student.

11. Tea strainer (42%) still have wedding gift – lives inside icing sugar tin for sifting over cakes

12. Mug tree (41%) went years ago, only held 6 mugs!

13. Toasted sandwich maker (38%) gave it away

14. Souvenir tea towels (37%) still have and still use, but many have been recycled into other projects

15. Shaped jelly mould (36%) still have and still use

16. Egg slicer(36%) gave it away

17. Lolly makers (35%) in use, in freezer right now!

18. Food mixer (35%) still have and still use

19. Soda stream (34%) broken, not replaced

20. Electric carving knife (33%)  wedding gift, still have and still use, very useful for slicing a dozen baguettes quickly for church suppers!

6sectionpressure cooker


1. Microwave (70%) yes

2. Electric kettle (69%)  yes

3. Toaster(68%)  yes

4. Saucepan set(57%) yes

5. Knife set (55%) my knives are a mixture, not a set, some date back to 1970s. Kept in knife block and kept sharp by Bob with his steel

6. Automatic washing machine (53%)  yes

7. Wok (49%)  yes [wedding gift from 1970s]

8. Sandwich maker(40%)  no [see #13 above]

9. Blender(38%) yes

10. Hand held blender (37%) yes

11. Tumble dryer (36%) yes – used as rarely as possible, bought 1980

12. Steamer(35%) yes, both bamboo, and 2-part s/steel saucepan

13. Dishwasher(32%) yes

14. Grilling machine (31%) yes, a gift [but haven’t used it for ages]

15. Coffee machine(26%) yes [4 different sorts, all regularly used]

16. Grill pan(26%) yes [came with cooker!]

17. Slow cooker(26%) yes [2 – small one, gift 1982, large one, Aldi sale 2011]

18. Electric scales (24%) yes [they are HIS for breadmaking, I use my original balance pans]

19. Water filter (23%) broke, discarded

20. Bread maker(22%) yes

It is rather frightening to realise that of this list of 40 items, I appear to have owned all of them at some time or another. 5 have been given away and 2 broken and discarded. My tumble dryer is in use, but only rarely. The ‘George Formby’ grill, as my friend calls it, lurks at the back of a cupboard somewhere and may get re-homed one day soon. But the 31 remaining items all earn their keep – some daily, most weekly, and a few just a couple of times a month. Obviously I use the lolly moulds more in summer, and the slow cooker more in winter. Apparently the 70s kitchenware is now considered ‘retro’ and even ‘vintage’ – my stuff must be worth more than I thought!


The article said “Today's labour-saving devices mean that on average we spend just an hour and a quarter in the kitchen each day - compared to nearly two hours in the 1970s. And while 1970s mums cooked at least seven meals from scratch each week, mums of today barely have time to create four.”

The generosity of friends and family down the years means both our kitchens are incredibly well equipped [Cornerstones even has a pressure cooker, and a blender – and a teacosy!] But if I am honest, I would have to say that very few of these items are essentials, although they are all useful.

If things are not getting used here, they should go to a new home!

But why isn’t the electric kettle higher on the list – does it mean that nearly one third of the population is still boiling water in a kettle on the hob?

I am glad I do not need a kitchen boy to turn the spit for me!

turn spit

Are there kitchen gadgets on this list you have/ wish you had/once had, but then discarded?


  1. Your mention of the sandwich toaster reminded me of the old cast iron one my mum used to have that she used on the gas hob. It made fabulous baked bean toasties.
    Our old electric s/w toaster died and the one we replaced it with is hopeless so we never use it. A list of the gadgets people have but never use would be interesting!

  2. Our kettle is the most over worked item in the kitchen! ! Jx

  3. We left all of our electrical stuff in the UK when we emigrated, so I don't have any originals.
    I don't see 'fondue set' on the 1970s list.If I remember correctly,they were terribly chic and popular. We used ours a few times then got rid of it...couldn't stand the thing.
    Jane x

  4. Amazingly, I only had half of the things on the first list, and two thirds of the things on the second - and I thought we had tonnes of kitchen gadgets! On the whole, I think a good sharp knife and a few good pans can do the job of most 'labour saving' gadgets with ease, but I'd give anything for a dishwasher!

    1. You will get one eventually, I am sure. You will just have to press-gang Jon into service more often [or invite your mother to stay]

  5. Interesting! I love my electric kettle. I don't have many of the things on the list, but I do delight in my bread maker. I think it's so great that you still make frozen pops.

  6. Owned most of the first list at some time but lacking 7 items from the second. I wonder if the new fangled instant boiling water taps are replacing wealthy peoples kettles. Was horrified to discover how much they cost when refurbishing our kitchen recently. Also thought it very wasteful to keep water at just under boiling on a permanent basis even when the house is empty all day.

    1. I didn't think about those instant boiler things. They do seem both expensive and energy-inefficient though

  7. I think I spend way longer than this in the kitchen. Don't have many of the modern things. Might score higher on the first list. Must go back and check that! We used our fondue set, wedding present, for the first time last weekend!

  8. No, nine on first list and twelve on second. Interesting!


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