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Diana Bulls

Vintage Kitchen Gadgets & Gizmos

IN THE January 3 ISSUE

FROM THE 2015 Articles,
andDiana Bulls,
andFood Fun,
andHometown History
SECTIONS

by Diana Bulls


Christmas is over. The wrapping paper and ribbons have been cleaned up and the presents have been put into use. Maybe you were the recipient of one of the newest juicers or coffee makers–hopefully not the one that was recalled–or some other kind of clever kitchen device that has been advertised on late night television. My husband, who loves French fries, received a potato cutter from the cats. (Yes, in our family the cats shop for Christmas.)

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Kitchen Collectible: Cookie Cutters

IN THE December 20 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andDiana Bulls,
andFood Fun,
andHometown History
SECTIONS

by Diana Bulls


Christmas is just around the corner and I bet most of you will be baking at least one batch of cookies. It doesn’t matter if they are sugar cookies, gingerbread men, or snicker doodles. It doesn’t even matter if they are made from scratch or out of a refrigerated package or a box mix. When Christmas arrives, there had better be cookies. (I mean, you do want a visit from Santa. Right?) Yes, Christmas is definitely cookie season.

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by Diana Bulls


Just about everyone I know has at least one cast iron skillet in their kitchen (or maybe in their camping equipment). Most of these pans were family hand-me-downs, but the more astute cook has actually searched them out at yard sales or thrift stores. Besides skillets–in all sizes–there are griddles, Dutch ovens, pots, waffle irons and muffin pans. In fact, cast iron was the world’s first “non-stick” cookware.

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by Diana Bulls


I think I have shared with you before, how fascinated I am by things “Made in Japan” during the 1920s and 1930s. I have, at one time or another, collected pitchers, tea sets, dogs, birds, small celluloid toys, holiday decorations, party favors or anything else that caught my fancy.

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by Diana Bulls



One of my fondest childhood memories of summer is homemade ice cream. For no particular reason, other than it was hot, Mom would mix up a batch of ice cream and Daddy would get the old White Mountain, hand-cranked freezer out of the tank house. The filled freezer container would go in the wooden bucket, and Daddy would layer in the ice and salt, and finally the cranking mechanism.

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by Diana Bulls


Last month, I confessed my obsession with buttons. This month I have to confess that I am equally obsessed with stoneware crockery. It doesn’t matter to me if it is a bottle, jug or jar, I love them for their various shapes, colors and decorations. Before refrigeration, crocks were used in American kitchens to hold foodstuffs such as butter, salted meats and pickled vegetables. They were America’s major house ware from 1780-1890. I use them to hold kitchen utensils, flowers, magazines or kindling. I don’t care if they aren’t in perfect condition.

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by Diana Bulls


Ever since Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden, humans have been trying to fashion coverings for their bodies. Fig leaves progressed to animal skins (much softer and less itchy), and eventually to woven cloth. And along the way, a plethora of sewing accessories have come into being, opening another opportunity for collectors: the fascinating history of fashion and the evolution of how garments were created.

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by Diana Bulls



Here we are, Easter almost upon us, with spring just around the corner–well whatever we call spring in central California. When I think of spring and Easter (the secular holiday, not the real one), it’s not long before I am thinking about eggs, specifically deviled eggs. Honestly, can you have an Easter picnic or get together and not have deviled eggs? Not in my family. In fact, Thanksgiving is the only time the family gets together when deviled eggs aren’t there too.

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by Diana Bulls


Reamers–a useful little kitchen gadget–have been around for a long time, but their heyday only lasted through the 1930s and into World War II.

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by Diana Bulls


Today there are not many Americans who think about how to store food. Nearly every household has a refrigerator, a freezer and a variety of plastic or metal storage canisters. Food comes from the grocery store in cans, bottles, boxes or bags–ready to just put away in the frig or pantry–with little concern about hungry critters

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by Diana Bulls


Those who know Jim and I well, know that we love history and all things historical which includes our family genealogy. Jim’s mother, Minnie Bulls, could almost be a professional genealogy researcher and, fortunately, my relatives were really good record keepers.

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by Diana Bulls


And so are rat lovers. Most people take one look at us, with that beady-eyed, long-tailed critter coiled around our neck and are totally grossed out. That’s pretty much what Robin Rushlau of Dresden, Maine thought. “I had friends who had rats–I wouldn’t even look at them. I thought they were the creepiest pets ever.” But all that changed when she let her daughter pet sit for one while the owners were on vacation. “I couldn’t believe how wonderful he was. At the end of the two weeks I wouldn’t let him go back.”

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Host a Mother’s Day Tea Party

IN THE May 11 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andDiana Bulls,
andFood Fun
SECTIONS

by Diana Bulls


Nothing says Spring or Mother’s Day, like a tea party. Drinking tea was once a lost ritual in the U.S., but it is now making a comeback. The specialty tea market has grown and tea shops can be found all over, even in cities like Fresno! Tea can be sweet or savory, spicy or fruity and it has depth and flavor. Tea is for people of all ages, and especially for those people who like to feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.

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by Diana Bulls


Tea time and Mother’s Day seem to go together, so I immediately thought about the simple tea infuser. Once nearly extinct, but now making a comeback, this lowly little item was a necessity for brewing the perfect cup of tea. Infusers were around for a long time before the invention of tea bags. Sometimes called a tea ball or tea egg, by the time of Queen Victoria, no respectable British household would be without one of these, but before we get in to the nitty-gritty of tea infusing, we need a little history lesson on tea itself.

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by Diana Bulls



Most of us pay little or no attention to salt & pepper. They don’t cost much and are easily obtainable at any grocery store. Every household has a container of salt & pepper on the table or in the cupboard, but it wasn’t always this way. At one time, both salt and pepper were literally worth their weight in gold! Modern salt mining techniques and expanded pepper growing regions have made them an everyday item rather than a luxury.

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Methodist’s Hold Annual Book Sale

IN THE February 23 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andDiana Bulls,
andEvery Other Book
SECTIONS

by Diana Bulls


The First United Methodist Church of Reedley will be holding their 13th annual book sale February 23-March 2 in the church social hall.

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by Diana Bulls



Fresno true crime writer James A. Ardaiz joins us here at KRL this week for an interview, along with a review of his book, a chance to win a copy of the book (details at the end of this post) & information on his upcoming book talk at the San Joaquin Valley Chapter of Sisters In Crime on February 2, 2013.

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Practical Kitchen Pets: Pie Birds

IN THE November 10 ISSUE

FROM THE 2012 Articles,
andDiana Bulls,
andFood Fun,
andHometown History
SECTIONS

by Diana Bulls



So, you have taken my advice from past articles and have started poking around in your grandmother’s (or mother’s) kitchen drawers, and you found this ceramic thingy. It sort of looks like it was half of a salt and pepper set, but then again, there is only one hole on top and it’s way too big. Lucky you; you have found a pie bird! It is one of those whimsical, days-gone-by kitchen gadgets that is still practical enough that every pie baker should have one.

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