Who doesn’t love fluffy, delicious potatoes? If you have trouble cooking the perfect potatoes, you should take a page out of your great-grandmother’s cookbook by adding this simple ingredient – sugar.
“Add to water when boiling them a pinch of sugar as well as salt. When potatoes are done, water should be poured away and saucepan replaced over the fire for a short time, shaking the saucepan occasionally to ensure equal dryness of potatoes.”
Are you directionally challenged? Do you not have access to a maps app on your smartphone? Well, then you might find this tip useful. Here’s the caveat — you need to be wearing a watch. [Editor's note: A what?!]
“Point the hour hand at the sun and then lay a piece of wire, or a blade of glass crosswise between the hour hand and the figure twelve. The end of the wire between the twelve and the hour hand points due south.”
If you’re really desperate to light a match in the wind, I’d suggest finding a way to block the wind (with your other hand, perhaps) to keep the flame alive. But some people have other tips, and this one is fairly interesting:
“If thin shavings are first cut on the match towards its striking end, as shown in the picture. On lighting the match the curled strips catch fire at once; the flame is stronger and has a better chance."
Preserving eggs is tricky. If only there were a simple, modern way to ensure that your eggs stay fresh for a long time…. Can’t think of anything, so here's a century-old egg preservation tip:
“By simply putting these into a box or tin of dry salt-burying the eggs right in the salt and keeping it in a cool dry place – it is possible to preserve them for a very long period. No air whatever should be allowed to get to the shell.”
Oh, that’s right! I remember it now — a refrigerator. You can keep your eggs in a refrigerator instead of burying your eggs in salt.
Sure, you can buy your own fire extinguisher, or you can get a bit crafty and fashion one yourself. For a DIY fire extinguisher, you’ll need one pound of salt, a half a pound of sal-ammoniac and two quarts of water. “Bottle the liquor in thin glass bottles holding about a quart each. Should a fire break out, dash one or more of the bottles into the flames, and any serious outbreak will probably be averted.”
There’s a reason why “the best thing since sliced bread” is a common phrase: sliced bread is the best, and slicing your own bread sucks. However, if you find yourself in a position where you have to slice your own bread, you should remember this helpful 100-year old tip.
First, plunge your knife into hot water, and then wipe quickly to dry. “It will be found that the heated knife will cut soft, yielding new bread into the thinnest slices.”
You know how tumblers sometimes get stuck together, and they’re almost impossible to pull apart? Well, this isn’t a modern problem, because people were struggling with stuck tumblers 100 years ago too. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to this sticky situation: “Put cold water in the upper one and place the lower one in warm water. They will be found to separate at once.”
Forget digging into your skin with a pair of tweezers to extract a splinter: just do what your great-great grandparents would have done instead!
To remove a pesky, painful splinter, simply “fill a wide-mouthed bottle with hot water nearly to the brim, and press affected part of hand tightly against mouth of bottle. The suction will pull down the flesh, and steam will soon draw out the splinter.”
When you need some clean water and for some reason don’t have access to a Brita, you should remember this (somewhat) useful tip.
First, gather a clean zinc water pail, drill a hole through the bottom and pull a small pipe through it. “The water percolates through the layers of fine and coarse sand, and clean picked gravel and stones, with which the pail is filled, filtering through to the bottom in a clear state.”
Going to the store to grab a Brita sounds way easier, but to each their own.
Even back in the good ol’ days, people couldn’t find reliable house sitters to keep their plants watered, so they came up with this handy solution.
First, fill a pail with water and place it so that it sits slightly above your plants. Then, “loosely plait two or three strands of wool together, immerse completely in water, and place one end in the pail, weighted, and touching the bottom. Rest the other end on the soil: a separate plait of wool is advisable for each pot.”
Boom. Your plants won't die while you're away and you don’t even have to let someone you barely know into your home.
Want to be able to tell the difference between butter and margarine without tasting it? Well, you’re in luck, because some people figured it out 100 years ago.
“Rub a little of the suspected compound upon a piece of paper and set the paper alight. If it is pure butter, the odor will be dainty and agreeable, while the presence of Margarine is made known by an unpleasant tallowy smell.”
Thanks for the useful butter tip, old cigarette company!
There’s nothing quite like a beautiful bouquet of freshly cut flowers to brighten a home…until the flowers start to wilt, that is.
Luckily, you can extend the life of your cut flowers by plunging the stems into hot water and keeping them there until the water has cooled down. Allegedly, “by that time the flowers will have revived. The ends of the stems should then be cut off and the blossoms places in cold water in the usual way.”
Obviously, this is the most important, most relevant life hack on the list. If you take anything away from this article, I hope it’s how to draw a duck without lifting your pencil. To accomplish such an impressive feat, simply follow this diagram.
“When you have once got into the knack of doing it, your skill in this direction will cause some amusement amongst your friends.”
So much amusement! You’ll be the life of the party with your duck drawing!