Dozens of historical kitchen gadgets and cleaning tools will be on display at the Saratoga History Museum starting May 20 in a new exhibit called “Go Ask Your Grandmother.”
The items, which date back to the last century, are part of the museum’s special collection.
“I think exhibits are always interesting because they can prompt memories. … They provide an opportunity for education,” said Saratoga Historical Foundation President Annette Stransky.
“Grandmother” includes more than 50 items sourced from local families, Stransky said. Most items are food-preparation tools or items used to clean the house and wash clothes.
“Recipes used to be more casual,” Stransky said. “You might remember your mother preparing your favorite meal with a dash of this and a pinch of that, but nothing was written down. It wasn’t until 1896 that the first cookbook — ‘The Boston Cooking School Cookbook’ — introduced standard measuring spoons and cups.”
Other common kitchen items have unique histories. The Lazy Susan, a rotating tabletop tray, may have gotten its name from Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Susan, who complained about always being served last at the table.
“The story behind the item catches my eye vs. the actual” item, Stransky said.
Visitors can see wooden beetles that were used to mash potatoes in the early 1900s, or pie birds that kept moisture out of pies as they cooked by creating a vent in the pie crust.
“Go Ask Your Grandmother” exhibit is scheduled to close on Aug. 28.
The museum, located at 20450 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road in Saratoga, is open 1-4 pm Fridays and Sundays, and 10 am-4 pm Saturdays. Admission is free.