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Favorite old kitchen tool

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Do you still use an "old fashioned" kitchen tool or gadget?

For example, I just read an old recipe from my 8th grade cooking class which called for beating the mixture until smooth with a rotary beater. This got me to thinking about what gadgets I may still be using that my Grandma may have used. There are only two that I still use - - an old wooden potato masher and an old wooden rolling pin with a clothes pin replacing a long-broken handle. hmm? And yes, for the record, I do have a marble rolling pin and a new potato masher.

Old favorites never die, they just get pushed back in the drawer or cabinet...
post #2 of 11
Oh, absolutely. My hand-cranked rotary beater is about 30 years old, and I use it frequently for beating eggs, making batter for the few things I do bake, beating hot chocolate, making chocolate pudding (like the recipe you posted elsewhere). I don't have any electric kitchen tools ... except for the Cuisinart and a couple of blenders.

Actually, I'm looking for a very specific old rotary beater to supplement the one I now have. Been cruising eBay and have found a few, but have not had the winning bid on those I bid on :(

I also use a lever-operated citrus press for squeezing orange and grapefruits, and for making large batches of lemon or lime juice. It's a big, heavy, professional model that should last me the rest of my days.



I used to have a couple of electically operated vegetable juicers, but they wore out, and at some point I'd like to replace them

shel
post #3 of 11
A big wooden bowl, and a chopper thingy with 2 large parallel crescent-shaped blades and a wooden handle. They belonged to my grandmother. Very useful for chopping cabbage for coleslaw.
post #4 of 11
I have my great grandmother's iron skillet that I still use, 45+ years old
post #5 of 11
I have three things I absolutely love, all from my grandmother too.

One is a vacuum pressure coffee maker, the kind with two chambers, like big chrome-steel balls, water boils into the upper where the coffee is, then when the pressure changes sucks it back down to the bottom. Bakelite handles I think? Makes great coffee!!

Another is my big set of flour sack/sugar bag kitchen towels. They evoke for me an earlier period where people struggled and made use of everything (they're made from the sacks that flour and sugar used to be bought in back when). They have been hemmed by my great grandmother, and are nice big 100% cotton kitchen towels, some with lettering from the flour or sugar still on them. They're a great size, our modern tea towels and kitchen towels are so much smaller.

Last but certainly not least is what I call my "redneck mandoline." It is a very dangerous slicer, sort of mandoline style, but absolutely no protections, a completely open blade, adjustable for height, and that's it. You look at it and say they could never sell these today, as there would be too many lawsuits. Works great, I can sharpen the blade as I like, so it cuts great paper thin veggie slices or whatever. I'd love to get my hands on another if I ever saw them.

shel, I love those orange presses. I used to live in a funky old house in L.A. (Norma Desmond-esque), and there was one permanently installed in the simple kitchen. BTW (and sort of on this topic) all that was in that kitchen was one of those old cooker/fridge/sink units all in one (say 5 feet long in all, counter height, including small fridge, stove, and little sink unit, cupboard under the sink), enamelled white. There was also a built in stone fireplace stove, with built in racks, oven, etc., and the orange press on a butcher block adjacent to the fireplace, and absolutely nothing else. I'm sure someone's had a go and put all this modern stuff in there, but I loved it just the way it was, and wouldn't have touched it for the world. It reminded me of how simple we used to live before we got so into all this food, all these major kitchen renos with all the gadgets, etc.
post #6 of 11
great- grandfather's scimitar, from his grocery - butcher store of the early 1900's. still holds a good edge.
post #7 of 11
Apple peeler, citrus press. Use them a lot.

Then there's my "labours of love". The first is a 300 odd pound solid maple butcher's block, comprised of old-growth dovetailed maple blocks with the end grain running vertical. Judging from the style, I'd have to say it dates from the '50's or earlier. I "inherited" this block when we bough a run -down chinese restaurant, but it was in very sad shape, the top was hollowed out a good 5" deep, a small dog could have curled up and slept in that hollow. The block had to be taken apart and machined, then put back together again. Block lost almost 6" in height and shed a few pounds. Turned a new set of longer legs for it.

The second labour of love is another maple piece, this time a 5' baker's table. This one was originialy 3" thick but again, was hollowed out in the middle. I had to rip the whole top back into strips, joint them, and glue them back up agian, reversing some of the front and middle strips so the bottom is now the top. Because the ends of the table were so chewed up, I knew I'd loose almost 6" of length if I trimmed them clean and square again, so I made some breadboard ends from my stash of western maple and kept the length to it's original 5', but the thickness went down to 2". The legs of the table were pretty much toast so I made a "undercarriage" of 2x4 material, with all joints a through-mortise and wedged construction. I like that table, use it every day, thump a lot of dough around on it.
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post #8 of 11
I have six items my grandfather bought for my grandmother a week after their wedding in 1910: a wooden potato masher (cylindrical on the bottom, nicely and-lathed handle); a granite-ware saucepan; her single-bladed mezzaluna (hochmesser) and its hand-turned wooden bowl; her 2'X2' square wooden board for making noodles and bread dough; and her tapered wooden rolling pin.

I clearly remember her using most of these items in my childhood.
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post #9 of 11
My favorite is an old, wooden handled eggbeater my wife got from her grandparent's farm up in Idaho. Amazingly simple, it still turns out the best egg whites, whipped crean and such. For about a quarter of a century I was a system administrator in the Computer Science department at the University here, so I'm certainly acquainted with modern technology, but some things are just hard to improve upon.

On a related note the car I drive around town is a clapped out, decrepit Triumph Spitfire that is probably older than a good portion of the folks reading this.

Newer is not always better.

mjb.
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Mezzaluna, it sounds as though we have "twin" potato mashers...

Shel, we used to have a juicer like yours and now you've got me wondering what happened to it. I'll have to check to see if Mom still has it. As I recall, it worked wonderfully! Hopefully it's on the bottom shelf of her "vegetable cellar".

Which brings to mind another thing of times gone by -- The first vegetable cellar I remember was a room next to the coal bin at Grandma's house. The walls were lined with shelves on which were stored all the canned items put up the summer before. The room was pretty cold and that's where bushels of apples, potatoes, squash, were kept along with a few jugs of apple cider and some of Grandpa's home made beer and rootbeer. :crazy:
post #11 of 11
The OrangeX that I have is very heavy, and there are smaller and lighter versions available. IMO, the citrus press is just about the best way to make the juice. The model I have is designed to strain out some, but not all, of the pulp. The strained puld can, of course, be added back to the juice in any desired proportion. Seeds get strained as well.

The press never damages the white layer of the skin, as some other methods do, resulting in a juice with no bitterness and a smooth, frsh taste.

shel
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