Friday, March 03, 2006

Flour Sack Towels

What is a flour sack dish towel? Flour used to come in cloth bags of varying sizes 10, 25, and 50 pounds being the most common. The cloth of these sacks had to be very sturdy and with a very fine weave. It also had beautiful prints to attract the attention of buyers. After the bag was emptied the lady of the house would often take the seam apart and then boil the cloth to soften, shrink and clean it. She would then hem the sides. Then she had a cheap new dish towel or lap apron. Today the sturdy material can be found as ready made dish towels. You can see them here

As a girl I didn't know anything about these towels, but my mom had several that were all white. We would use them to dry dishes, but the thing I remember most about them was that whenever she would bake bread and set the dough to rise in the huge silver mixing bowl she would use one of these towels to cover the bowel. I bought a few of these towels with their delicate patterns a little while ago and I love using them. They are bigger and prettier to look at than many kitchen towels. It is one of those things that helps me to "embrace the work." And it is another connection to my mother and her love for her family.

After my third child was born I also figured I had a large enough family for a large silver bowl. This is known around her as the popcorn bowl. I also use it to make up large batches of things and to raise dough. I find the more connections I make to my tools the more I enjoy the work I do at home.

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