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What's the Oldest Thing in Your Kitchen?


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Last weekend I inherited a cast iron popover pan from 1847.

This 163-year-old pan is an intimidating piece of cookware. It's now in the hands of a fifth generation of cooks, if my kids and I can muster the courage to use it.

I'm talking about a pan that was made during the Polk Administration, when Victoria's reign was in single digits, twenty years before Canada became a country.

As I admire the pitted matte black exterior, the beautifully seasoned compartments, the pure functionality of monolithic iron . . . I'm not surprised it has endured all these years. I can imagine this pan surviving a house fire, or getting dug up archeologically in the far-off future, long after I'm gone.

Who else has some crazy old artifact in the kitchen?

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I *wish* I had a 10" Griswold cast-iron skillet, cast in 1920-1940 when the good iron was still around. They were made in my hometown, Erie PA. They fetch almost $300 on ebay. My grandma worked at the factory in the fifties, and had a full set (like a dozen pieces, sells for a couple grand on ebay), and when she died I think the were donated to the salvation army! I would have paid for shipping to California!

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Some coloured glass liqueur glasses I inherited from my grandmother. I'm sure they have no monetary value, but I'm curious about their history. No one in the family knows where they came from – just that she'd had them forever.

Then of course there's the kitchen itself – the house I'm in was built around 1920. The appliances are all new(-ish), but I wonder about the wiring...

I also have a few old cookbooks that I'll have to check the publishing dates on when I get home tonight. I'm pretty sure one is from around 1920 as well (it has a recipe for squirrel!).

Edited by emmalish (log)

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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I *wish* I had a 10" Griswold cast-iron skillet, cast in 1920-1940 when the good iron was still around. They were made in my hometown, Erie PA.

I have a #8 Griswold skillet that we found in the attic of a house we once owned, but I don't know how old it is. I do use it all the time, and sometimes I wish I had a larger one.

My Sunbeam W-2 waffle iron probably dates to about 1950 or so, but it's hard to be certain. We also have a handheld Sunbeam Mixmaster that still works pretty well.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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I *wish* I had a 10" Griswold cast-iron skillet, cast in 1920-1940 when the good iron was still around. They were made in my hometown, Erie PA.

I have a #8 Griswold skillet that we found in the attic of a house we once owned, but I don't know how old it is. I do use it all the time, and sometimes I wish I had a larger one.

My Sunbeam W-2 waffle iron probably dates to about 1950 or so, but it's hard to be certain. We also have a handheld Sunbeam Mixmaster that still works pretty well.

This link can help you identify it

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I think the oldest thing in my kitchen is...me... :laugh: .

I KNOW the oldest thing in my kitchen is me. :laugh:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Interesting topic. I thought about it and realized that we have n Art Deco toucan, named Oscar, sitting in our kitchen. He's been in the kitchen, first at my parents and then in my kitchen, since I was a little kid. From Czechoslovakia, hand-painted by Erphila, thought to be late 1920s.Czech 007 toucan.JPG

I think my Father named him Oscar.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I've got a sweet #12 Griswold fry pan that I use all the time and if I read the logo right it's a 1868-1913 casting.

The oldest food tool I have in the kitchen (but don't use!) is a 900 to 1200 year old (according to local archeology) stone cutting point. It's siting on the window sill now but we found on a walk up on the mesa behind us. The point was apparently made and used by one of the Anasazi tribes that lived and hunted in this area.

I've also got an old carbon steel boning knife ca. 1920 I use just about everyday.

I guess I'm the next oldest thing and all of the above will long outlive me!

The Big Cheese

BlackMesaRanch.com

My Blog: "The Kitchen Chronicles"

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I have a tin of cayenne pepper that my mother bought the week she got married in 1948. It cost 5 cents (price tag attached) and it is still half full.

I absconded with it last year when I realized that she was still sprinkling it on her devilled eggs. :blink:

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I have a lot of very old cast iron and copper but the oldest thing in my kitchen is this dough bowl carved entirely by hand from a chestnut burl before 1790.

My father's family migrated from North Carolina to Kentucky shortly before it became a state in 1792 and this dough bowl made the trip.

It was carved from what must have been a huge old-growth chestnut burl as it is almost 2 feet long. My dad's mother didn't really know from what wood it was made but when I inherited it in the early 80, I took it to the Huntington to have an arborist authenticate it. You can see where one edge has a place that broke away but that happened sometime in the 1800s before my grandmother was born.

It has been in use since it was made and I still use it.

Dough bowl2.JPG

Doug bowl1.JPG

dough bowl.JPG

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The oldest thing in my kitchen is probably the wiring. The house was built in 1949 and the pipes have been changed, but not the wiring. Come to think of it, most of the kitchen is the same age. As far as cooking utensils, the white porcelain O'Keefe and Merritt freestanding stove/oven is the oldest thing in the kitchen, bought brand-new when my grandmother moved into the house (right after it was built).

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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I suspect the oldest thing we have may be this Rogers & Bro. silverplate tray that belonged to my great-grandmother--

3607441965_600a85b061_o.jpg

We have some silverware and crystal that is fairly old, but I don't think we have anything that my great-grandparents on either side would have brought from the old country (Romania, Poland, and Russia).

This is a Griswold #9 skillet that I think is the one my paternal grandfather, according to a story my father told, used to use every day to make eggs, onions and potatoes when he came home from his shift driving a cab--

3846921389_c179433bfb_o.jpg

If my grandparents got it around when they got married, that would have been in the 1930s. I remember my grandmother also had a larger cast iron skillet that she used quite regularly, but I suspect one of my cousins has it. I also have her hammered Club Aluminum dutch oven that must have been from the same era.

This isn't as oldest thing I have, but one of the old things I like using occasionally is my dad's chef's knife, which he bought around 1970. I've been reshaping it, and it's just about usable now. I can't seem to link to the image, but I posted an early before/after shot and bit more about it on my sister's food blog.

Some things I'm not so sure about are some of the Mauviel copper pieces I've bought on eBay. They haven't been in the family, but the designs have changed so little over the years, that they could be quite old. I suspect the only identifying marks would be some of the hallmarks and stamps on them. The stockpot in my avatar was purchased new from Zabar's, so it's of relatively recent vintage, but I saw an antique one from the 19th century that was completely indistinguishable from it.

I also have a German-style "Professional Sabatier" 12" chef's knife that could be from an old forging, possibly as early as 1910, though the brand dates to the 1960s and 70s.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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This link can help you identify it

It would appear, then to be most likely from the later, less desirable years. Oh well. I still find it to be a useful pan. At least I won't be tempted to try and sell it. That means it was probably bought by the previous owner of the house when they moved in (early 50s).

Edited by Moopheus (log)

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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I have a lot of very old cast iron and copper but the oldest thing in my kitchen is this dough bowl carved entirely by hand from a chestnut burl before 1790.

That is so cool.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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I have these two cast iron gem pans, the top one is marked with the letter 'R' and the bottom one is completely unmarked. The bottom one has gate marks on the middle two cups (on the underside) while the top one as sprue nubs on the outer four cups. As far as I know, this means that these are from the 19th century. While cast iron made this was was popular in the 1700's, the small size of these pans means they were probably for use in a home of modest means, and people didn't have ovens in their houses until stoves became popular in the mid-1800's. An older item would have been used by a professional bakery, and probably larger, with more cups.

Anyway, I love these! I love making brownies in them, since everyone in my house is a 'corner lover' and this means that everyone gets lots of chewy crispy edge. Cornbread is also wonderful from these, and very attractive to serve to company.

BB 003.jpg

BB 004.jpg

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The oldest food tool I have in the kitchen (but don't use!) is a 900 to 1200 year old (according to local archeology) stone cutting point. It's siting on the window sill now but we found on a walk up on the mesa behind us. The point was apparently made and used by one of the Anasazi tribes that lived and hunted in this area.

And here I was thinking "Cook Like a Victorian" was Old School.

I knew there would be some interesting responses -- I really like Andie's burl bowl and Darienne's toucan. All that silver and iron, too. I can think of a few old houses with original stone hearths in the kitchen area. Not many people cook that way anymore.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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A stainless steel spatula with a rosewood handle, a wedding gift to my mother. It was made in America circa 1950, nothing special at the time, but it's still good to use. I remember learning how to fry eggs with this spatula when I was a kid. Then I acquired it during my college years when I foraged in my parents' house for things to furnish my own apt. I think my mother gave me permission to take it. :rolleyes:

spatula_1656.jpg

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The thing that comes immediately to mind is my grandmother's Henkels chef knife - french style and probably from the 1920s. Also a few Brown Betty teapots probably made late 19th century or very early 20th century.

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I have a 100-year old Brazil nut pod in my kitchen.

That's about it, unless you want to count the shard of the one, true cross that I use for skewering vegetables.... :biggrin:

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Sadly, none of my old cookbooks have publishing dates listed. The two I swiped from my mother are The Purity Flour Cookbook and the Five Roses Flour Cookbook (23rd edition). The ooooold cookbook that a friend bought me is called Common Sense, but the cover is blank and the first 13 pages are missing, so I can't even tell who the author is (the entire book is completely falling apart, and was just held together with a rubber band when he first bought it – but has all these wonderful newspaper clippings and handwritten recipes tucked in the pages – it's awesome).

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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