…On the tenth day of Christmas my green friend gave to me ten kitchen towels…nine milkweed plants…eight chocolate bars…seven bales of straw…six coffee plants…five bamboo toothbrushes…four stainless straws…three pairs of socks…two recycled pallets…and a new electric car!
Many years ago I decided to turn my kitchen into a more eco-friendly kitchen by changing my habits. Paper towels were always a pet peeve of mine anyway. I always thought it wasteful to wash one’s hands, grab a couple paper towels to dry them and then toss into the garbage. Paper towels instead of cloth napkins are another waste, Cloth napkins can serve many purposes and be used over and over again. When too stained for guests they can be used for cleaning or various other household jobs. Finally, if they were cotton, which most of mine were they could be composted.
For years I have kept heirloom embroidered linen tea towels in a drawer. It seems young people don’t want these “old” things so I decided to start using them around my house, mainly in the kitchen. It makes a chore like drying china or glasses feel less tedious using these special towels. I also like lining a bread basket with a decorative towel when hosting a dinner party. So instead of taking up space in drawers I enjoy using them!
Kitchen and tea towels are much more versatile than paper towels! You can grab a cloth towel to put under a hot plate, use one as a makeshift bib, polish dishes, glass or silverware, clean windows, dust or wrap a loaf of bread in one to keep it fresh. So that’s my history of kitchen towels but there actually is a history of kitchen towels!
Here is some Kitchen Towel history from CottonCreations.com Some of you will remember and others will gain a new insight as I did! This history lesson gave me a whole new perspective of the lovely embroidered tea towels I use in my kitchen!
“Tea towels originated in 18th -century England as an accessory for the rich made from soft, lint-free linen, a fiber derived from the flax of linseed plants. The soft linen texture of the fabric made them a versatile tool for the lady of the household to dry her bone china, delicate tea sets and other prized possessions too precious to trust their servants with. They also came in handy during tea tome when they were seen wrapped around tea pots for insulation and preventing inelegant drips or draped over a plate of freshly baked pastries just before serving time. Not only did tea towels serve a variety of functional purposes, they were also a way for ladies to create art and show off their embroidery skills, designing each towel to match the rest of their kitchen’s table linens and creating a beautiful heirlooms to be passed down generation after generation.
Over time, with increasing availability of textiles and sewing material, factories began mass producing these towels along with many other household linens during the Industrial Revolution. The tea towels progressed through this process and became available for consumer purchase in a wide variety of fashionable styles and colors that easily coordinated with any kitchen’s décor. It was at this time in the 19th century that tea towel manufacturers began using cotton materials for its’ softness, durability and absorbency.”
Not only did my green friend gift me useful kitchen towels I also received a free history lesson! If reducing waste is part of your New Year’s resolutions this is an easy way to add to your transformation!
Thank you for taking time to read my post! Please come back tomorrow for the Eleventh Day of a Green Christmas! If you’re curious about the history of the Twelve Days of Christmas you can find that here. Join me tomorrow and see what my Green Friend gifts me…I’m sure it will be fun, educational, or possibly edible! Whatever the gift I know it will make a positive impact on the environment!