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Unusual culinary stuff you inherited


Fat Guy
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My grandmother was a serious fencer, and had an amazing collection of sword-motif jewelry. I got one piece of jewelry -- a tie pin (yeah, guys wear those all the time in the 21st Century) -- and also this:

gallery_1_295_32456.jpg

It's a set of eight sword toothpicks (aka swordpicks). The handles seem to be gold plated, and the blades steel. The rack is pretty cool. Note that some of the swords are foils and others are sabers. I was just having a conversation and something triggered the memory of these unusual items, so I searched through the china cabinet, unearthed them and took a photo. I've never used them. Maybe I will soon.

Who's next?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I don't know how unusual the things I inherited would be considered for an eG'er, but when my good friend Hughie died in his late 80's he was still butchering meat in his basement. I inherited his lovely old meat slicer, a huge scimtar knife and his delicator. A delicator is the machine that you pass a tough steak through and it cuts slices in it. You pass the steak through it a couple of times and you have 'cube steak'.

As my sister says, "oh Kerry, I love those delicate steaks you make me", after having read on the brown paper package 'delicated steak'.

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I was actually miffed that I DIDN'T inherit, but when my Grandmother, who lived in Pittsburgh her entire life, passed away her basement was apparently full of wine-making equipment (barrels, fruit press, corking machine, etc.)

My East Coast cousins just threw the stuff away, not thinking twice that *anybody* could want "that old crap." And, as I heard stories later, she was so devoted to the craft that when her first husband died, immediately after the funeral with guests still milling around, she retreated to the basement to start bottling because "the fruit was ready and couldn't wait and husband Mike would have understood..."

Sorry I only met her twice in my life.

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Here's another item from the archive. This is a set (there seems to be one missing) of silver Chinese-motif place-card holders:

gallery_1_295_90277.jpg

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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(snip)

It's a set of eight sword toothpicks (aka swordpicks). The handles seem to be gold plated, and the blades steel. The rack is pretty cool. Note that some of the swords are foils and others are sabers. I was just having a conversation and something triggered the memory of these unusual items, so I searched through the china cabinet, unearthed them and took a photo. I've never used them. Maybe I will soon.

Swordpicks? Ha! My great-grandparents had the same swordpicks. And they weren't fencers at all, in fact, far from it: one was a rabbi, the other, well, a rebbitzin.

I remember them fondly, and have no idea what happened to them. My mother always had to keep us away from them, lest we duel and lose some appendage.

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My grandmother was a serious fencer...

That's a great opening line! :biggrin:

Who's next?

Do we mean literally "inherited", as when somebody who's died wanted you to have it, or just "ended up with" more by accident than design? :huh:

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I think we should use an inclusive definition of inherited.

In that case, I more or less "inherited" a few drawers full of GF's Mother's stuff, since GF rarely cooks herself. :wink:

The most useful items are a small fork with three sharply curved tines, a serving spoon I've found to be just the right size for adding flour to my mixer, and an odd plastic spatula sort of piece, with oblong holes in the blade portion, that's the best thing I ever found for mixing quick bread batter. (its intended use, and shade of red, make me suspect it was originally a Betty Crocker promo item.)

When my own Mother moved into a senior's apartment cemplex last year after my Dad died she left behind virtually all her kitchen equipment, utensils and dishes. My Sister and cousins chose things for personal or practical reasons, and we gave some to the woman who had provided home-care for my Dad. Of what was left, my Brother took most of it to his farm/hunting camp.

I felt uncomfortable with the idea for some reason, and only have a couple bread pans, an original edition Pyrex measuring cup, and a set of little translucent plastic Jello molding cups we had for as long as I remember.

SB (sorry both his Grandmothers passed away before he started cooking :sad: )

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Kerry, I'd love to see a photo of that.

I think mine is in the storage locker right now as I patiently wait the years for the basement renovation but here is a link to a unit that looks the same. Well not quite the same, mine's cleaner.

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An old eccentric Auntie from Michigan sent me a box of kitchen stuff. Most was cheap and crappy, but there were a dozen lobster crackers and a dozen little picks to get the meat form the claws. Since I live in Boston, I use them for a party at least once a year.

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A china turkey serving platter passed down from my great grandmother - it's circa 1880's. Rather than leave it to be inherited by the next generation after death, each woman in the family, when reaching the age at which they no longer fix Thanksgiving dinner themselves, has passed it along to the most closely related and most active family cook.

That person is then responsible for preparing and serving Thanskgiving dinner every year and inviting the person who passed along the platter - who gets to see the turkey served on "their" platter.

Last November was the third Thanksgiving for which I was the cook - apparently I passed the test because the platter now stays at my house.

My dad's father was a butcher but his Dexter boning knife - which has been sharpened down to a width of about 1/2" - won't become mine until my dad is no longer using it to cut cheddar cheese into slices (he never did cook but he loves cheddar cheese).

My cousin got the life size Mr. Peanut costume when my uncle died but I only wore it to work at age 13 - I was never in line to inherit it.

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Hmm does a mismatched set of individual Salt dishes with teeny spoons count as unusual?

I like em and use them for holidays

I also got all the other cut glass in Nana's home

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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I also got all the other cut glass in Nana's home

God help me, my mother was a cut glass fanatic. I have more vases, bowls, ashtrays and candy dishes than you can shake a stick at. More importantly I have two enormous wall sized mirrors with cut glass edging that hang in my dining room and bedroom respectively.

My mom was an Olympic level tchotke collector. Mercifully, she divested herself of a lot of the glass animals and silly figurines before she moved to Philly in 1988. I did inherit all of the beautiful antique barware, two sets of china, the good silver and a few kitchen items that I treasure. The one thing I'll never get rid of is the old wooden pepper mill that sat beside the stove in the house I grew up in. I have several better and far more functional pepper mills now, but I know that one had belonged to my father prior to their marriage. It's one of the only things of his I have. I lost my father at the age of five, and though I still remember him, that pepper mill is something I'll never ever get rid of. Even though it only sits beside my stove now. It's kind of like having him there watching me cook. :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
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I have my grandmothers butter churn. Not the plunger type but the one with a handle that turns the gears to turn the paddles. Old but I do remember when she got it from Ward's about 1940. The previous one had worn out.

I also have a dozen of her demitasse spoons and a partial set of the salt dishes as mentioned by rooftop 1000.

Are yours blue?

Edited by BarbaraY (log)
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only for you Steven

here is most of them

gallery_23695_426_256204.jpg

along side a teaspoon for size reference

tracey

wow that picture came out weird

Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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My grandmother was a serious fencer, and had an amazing collection of sword-motif jewelry. I got one piece of jewelry -- a tie pin (yeah, guys wear those all the time in the 21st Century) -- and also this:

gallery_1_295_32456.jpg

It's a set of eight sword toothpicks (aka swordpicks). The handles seem to be gold plated, and the blades steel. The rack is pretty cool. Note that some of the swords are foils and others are sabers. I was just having a conversation and something triggered the memory of these unusual items, so I searched through the china cabinet, unearthed them and took a photo. I've never used them. Maybe I will soon.

I just saw a set of those at the Long Beach Antique Mart yesterday.

I received my grandfather's butchering knives, cleaver, steel, sharpening stones, and heavy wire brush. all F. Dick except the stones. He was a butcher for Safeway in the 30's. I also received the big goblet he liked to eat cornbread and clabber out of.

I was given three huge cast iron dutch ovens used in my uncle's sheep camps, my mama's iron abeleskiver pan.

Edited by Susie Q (log)
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These are the pretty little demitasse spoons. There are a dozen of them.

gallery_31806_2688_136897.jpg

Although the bowl appears to be tarnished in the photo, they are a golden hue.

Edited by BarbaraY (log)
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I got my grandmother's popcorn popper. Sundays after church she and my grandfather would have a typical "Sunday dinner" mid-day meal, then just have popcorn in the evening. He liked to have milk with his, something I started doing as a child when I spent weekends with them, and still occasionally do today when I make popcorn at home.

It's a long rectangular metal box, with vent holes in the top and a (rusty) raised spot with holes where you'd put a pat of butter to melt and flavor the corn. The top slides back and forth via a long rod threaded through the (long) handle. I think it was originally meant to use in a fireplace, but I only ever remember her using it on the stove.

Count me as one of those who's never liked microwave popcorn and always prefer to pop my own (though I have and use one of those whirlybird poppers).

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I've got a few things that have been given to me that are special. From my great grandmother, I have one of those Club aluminum saucepans. I think she got it from a supermarket promotion. I don't use it for much, as it gives off a metallic taste, particularly when I touch it with a metal utensil. But it reminds me of my great grandmother, who was a great cook, and the source of my bad cooking habits. (We use to tease her that she was "up to her elbows" in whatever she was cooking/tasting.)

My mom has given me some of her Griswold cast iron pans, but I haven't figured out how to use them properly yet.

The best has to be a spaetzel maker, which mom gave me. I don't know where she got it, but it didn't get much use. I use it occasionally for spaetzels, but more often for mashed potatoes, which it excels at!

I guess these aren't too unusual, but they are a treasure to me!

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He liked to have  milk with his, something I started doing as a child when I spent weekends with them, and still occasionally do today when I make popcorn at home.

On the Good Eats "popcorn" episode Alton Brown suggested popcorn with milk and something to sweeten it for breakfast in lieu of store-bought corn-based cereals.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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