Lifestyle & Human Interest

The Beautiful 'History' of Aprons Will Take You Right Back to Grandma's Kitchen


With the introduction of microwaves, smart phones, washing machines and other handy items, we’ve lost a bit of our connection to certain time-honored traditions. If you hand an elderly person an iPhone they might have a difficult time figuring it out, but a kitchen and home cooking is a mystery to just as many young people.

If food couldn’t be microwaved or ordered online and delivered to a doorstep, there would be a lot of young adults who would have to scramble to prepare themselves food.

Perhaps that’s why many millennials have such strong, food-related associations with grandmas and moms. If you’re a starving student, there’s nothing quite as comforting as going home for the holidays and having real food and all the delicious leftovers you could want.

One staple item that many people think of when they imagine their grandmas and home cooking is an apron. They’re certainly not as common today as they used to be, but any serious cook should have at least one.

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There’s a post called “The History of ‘APRONS'” that’s been circulating on the internet and has brought back fond memories for many people. A version of it appeared in a book called “East Texas Serendipity” and some online sources credit it to a “Tina Charlene.”

“I don’t think most kids today know what an apron is,” it begins. “The principle use of Mom’s or Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few.”

“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, she 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, she walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.”

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“It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.”

“REMEMBER: Mom’s and Grandma’s used to set 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.”

Now, aprons are used as more of a cute accessory than for the reasons mentioned above, though there are certainly some kinds of aprons (like egg-gathering aprons) that are still alive and well. Even today, nothing beats an apron for protecting your clothes, especially when frying something.

Do you have any fond memories of apron-wearing relatives? Do you make a point to don an apron now and then?

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking