The History of Aprons
I'm sure most of us have watched TV reruns of Leave It To Beaver, My Three Sons, or any of the number of other classic TV shows that portrayed the “perfect mother”. The TV Mom's always were able to manage the whole house, keep the kids in line, cook the perfect meal while always looking neat and clean in her kitchen apron. I have a lot of memories of my mother being pretty close to the “perfect mother” in her kitchen apron, I don't think I ever remember her not wearing one. She would use her apron for more than just keeping her clothes clean, she would carry eggs, potatoes from the pantry, vegetables from the garden or any number of other uses just to save herself some time. My personal experiences aren't close to the “perfect Mother” look. I have never been able to achieve the neat and clean look, I always manage to have flour or something else down the front of my clean apron. I must admit that wearing one helps saves me time when it comes to preparing a meal for company. I don't have to run upstairs quick and change my clothes when they arrive, all I have to do is just remove my apron and I look presentable.
The first mention that I can find about aprons is the Biblical references, in which Adam and Eve sewed together fig leaves to make aprons to cover themselves. Luckily today we have a lot of different types of fabric and styles of aprons to choose from, not just fig leaves. Typically, when we think of aprons, we think of the kitchen and cooking, which is true, but there are other reasons as well. Butchers, glass-makers, blacksmiths and welders are a couple examples that use an apron to protect their clothing as well as themselves when working. Heavier aprons are usually made from leather, canvas or other thick materials and are more practical for craftsmen dealing with sharp tools or hot objects. Aprons were often included in uniforms of household servants as well, from maids to cooks, they were used to help keep their uniform clean and also a symbol of their status.
Remember making an apron in Home Ec?
Remember Home EC? You may be to young to know but we actually use to make aprons as our first sewing project. (Notice that a "Medium is a size 14-16)
The History of Aprons
I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few and because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons required less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.
Remember: Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.....
They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron-but love.
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