Saturday, May 26, 2012

Camping Must-Haves From Great-Grandma's Kitchen

Walk down the small-appliance aisle at any big-box store, and you'll see a million and one electrical gadgets designed to brew coffee or heat water. You probably own some of them.

But for true Girl Camping versatility, nothing beats the very same kind of large, enameled pot that Great-Grandma used atop the woodstove in her kitchen.

No power? No problem. The enameled coffee pot will provide coffee and heat up water for you under the most primitive of camping conditions. Its capacity yields enough coffee to satisfy all the earliest risers, and enough hot water to do a pan of dishes.

Any heat source will work: campfire, propane camping stove, gas-powered trailer cooktop, or an electric hotplate. For traveling, use the pot to transport your coffee or tea plus oven mitt for handling when hot, and you're all set.

Another staple from Great-Grandma's kitchen, which did not have indoor plumbing: the enameled washbasin. (Note hole in rim, at left, for hanging the basin on a wall when not in use.)

Even if you have a kitchenette and sink in your vintage trailer, chances are you'll prefer to wash camping dishes, pots and pans outside your trailer. The enameled basin is perfect for this, especially when paired with a stiff-bristle dish brush (also like Great-Grandma had) and a pour of hot water from that enameled coffee pot we just talked about.

A basin like this can serve others purposes when you're camping. You can use it for mixing a salad or a batch of biscuit dough. It can be a personal washbasin, or a mini-sink for washing your hair. You can fill with ice and bottled drinks. Or soak your tired feet in it with some warm water and soaking salts. Or refresh yourself on a hot day with a cool-water foot soak. Or set a plant in it so as not to stain a tablecloth. Or...(no end to the possibilities).

Great-Grandma had no choice but to function with utilitarian items such as these--in a way, her everyday life was akin to camping all the time (outhouse and chamber pot included).

But that just means that the enameled coffee pot and washbasin have been put to the supreme test and can therefore be pronounced...



  1. I wondered what that hole was for in the rim of my enameled basin. Holy cow. Thanks GCG :-)

  2. and boy-o-boy did they get a work out this past weekend!
    Happy Trails...until we meet again... around the Glampfire...

  3. I'm going antiquing tomorrow at the big antique show in our town. Thanks for the tips : )

  4. While I don't have a vintage trailer - I do have BOTH of those tried and true camping items and will pack them in the camper tomorrow morning! My husband and I were just talking about making coffee the 'old fashioned' way! And so we will!!

  5. I have a red enamel tea pot and a blue enamel coffee pot. Use them both in my camp kitchen. I also have cast iron skillets - a small one and a large one. They are heavy, but worth every ounce.