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Family Heirloom Kitchen Items


Chris Amirault
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Over in the fried chicken cook-off, several people have referenced their beloved, handed-down cast iron skillet. Coming from a household where my folks weren't very interested in cooking, I felt a sense of envy for such a thing.

Last night, my partner Andrea's folks and grandmother came to Providence to visit their new granddaughter, Bebe Esme Castañeda. They brought with them a magical item: Andrea's great-grandmother's molcajete from Mexico via Bisbee, AZ. It's got to be at least eighty or ninety years old, and has the look of an item that was used hard and well for decades.

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It's hard to explain the power of a thing, but as I held it in my hands, I felt honored that we were being given it. We're known as cooking nuts (what a surprise -- :wink:), so this was not meant as a trinket to keep in a dusty hutch. Everyone knew it was ours to use.

I'll bet that many other eGulleteers have similar items, a utensil worn smooth from a grandparent's hands for which they now reach daily, say, or a pot dented but still perfect for a family favorite meal. I'd love to hear about and see them.

edited to add photo -- ca

Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Actually, Chris, I have some very large blue and white speckled pots from my husband's grandmother dating back to the early 1900's ... they are deep and huge and I use them only for my soup and matzo balls at Passover .. will get them out of my basement for next week's chicken soup prep! and I do think of her lovingly as I use them ... a nice, loving lady from Russia ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Actually, Chris, I have some very large blue and white speckled pots from my husband's grandmother dating back to the early 1900's ... they are deep and huge and I use them only for my soup and matzo balls at Passover .. will get them out of my basement for next week's chicken soup prep!  and I do think of her lovingly as I use them ... a nice, loving lady from Russia ...

Blue and white! Are they enameled? I'd love to see them....

Leave it to you, Melissa, to post instantly an absolutely perfect example of what I was trying, marble-mouthed, to say! The idea that they are not only treasured but also integrated into a particular family holiday and ritual -- that's just wonderful.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Tupperware. In all the lovely 70's color schemes. :-)

Also, received 2 cast iron skillets from Grandma on mom's side, but have not used yet. They look pretty well loved, and one is an unusual shape - an omelet pan rather than a regular frying pan, so that drew me to it. I do wish I had gotten into food at a young age, as she died just a few years ago and looking back I realize that she cooked a lot and made great stuff over the holidays. Mmmm, raisin pie...

Andrea

http://tenacity.net

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

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Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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mine is no beauty

I inherited my grannys big old cast aluminum pot, it's wonderful, heavy and almost non stick, I use it for everything, soup, mince, casseroles and making sweets, even sugar comes right off this thing.

it's a big old ugly pot, but I love it :wub:

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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My maternal grandmother's le Cruset three quart dutch oven. Lovely shade of turquoise. It was a wedding gift to her in 1933.

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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My Family Heirlooms:

gallery_15459_856_125595.jpg

Many, many cookies, pies and biscuits from that rolling pin. I also have some cookie stamps. My sisters also have some trivets and other stuff. Unfortunately everything else went to Goodwill. :sad: My kitchen is already overflowing with gadgets it is insane but I just had to make room for these.

N.

"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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i've been the recipient of the following items still in use in my kitchen:

from my grandmother a copy of the handwritten cookbook her mother-in-law gave her one christmas. this had been adapted for modern ovens and added to by my late mother. i use the oatmeal bread recipe every thanksgiving and aunt bye's hermit recipe for christmas. it also has my favorite green tomato mincemeat for the fall. i passed the original of my great grandmother's cookbook on to one of her other great granddaughters who was also named for her.

from johnnybird's grandmother - a small cabinet that was on the landing between the kitchen and basement in her house for 55 years. it originally was used for her potatoes and onions but has been repainted and used for catfood. can't think what i will do with it when my allie is gone. also two ceramic bowls that are beige-ish with pastel bands on them.

from my mom - the quart revere ware pan with cover she received as part of a wedding present...now 53 years old and one item i use almost everyday. i still "polish it's face" (clean the copper bottom) just like i did as a child at least once a week.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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i've been the recipient of the following items still in use in my kitchen:

from my grandmother a copy of the handwritten cookbook her mother-in-law gave her one christmas.  this had been adapted for modern ovens and added to by my late mother. i use the oatmeal bread recipe every thanksgiving and aunt bye's hermit recipe for christmas.  it also has my favorite green tomato mincemeat for the fall.  i passed the original of my great grandmother's cookbook on to one of her other great granddaughters who was also named for her.

from johnnybird's grandmother - a small cabinet that was on the landing between the kitchen and basement in her house for 55 years.  it originally was used for her potatoes and onions but has been repainted and used for catfood.  can't think what i will do with it when my allie is gone.  also two ceramic bowls that are beige-ish with pastel bands on them.

from my mom - the quart revere ware pan with cover she received as part of a wedding present...now 53 years old and one item i use almost everyday.  i still "polish it's face" (clean the copper bottom) just like i did as a child at least once a week.

Photos! And what in the world is "green tomato mincemeat"? I gotta know......

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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From my grandmother, a roasting pan that was patched during the great depression. It's still a kick ass roasting pan.

From my father, a recipe box full of recipes from his grandmother

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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My mother has my grandmother's "pasta pot", one of those big yellow stockpots. She also has her "lasagna pan", a white enameled cast-iron (I think - it's heavy enough) rectangular roasting pan.

I didn't even THINK about asking for her rolling pin till I saw the photo above. Knowing my aunt, it's gone to Goodwill (or trash!) by now (My grandfather just passed away last month, so my mom & aunt have been going through their house).

I don't have it yet, but my mom turned up an old Mixmaster that belonged to my grandmother. I'll be getting it next time I see her, but I don't know the era or if it still works well.

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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I was going to post a picture - but the way I used to post them doesn't seem to work any more (haven't posted a picture in a long time). Keep getting an error message that my domain extension from Image Gullet is invalid. Any ideas? Robyn

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I love this pot. I wrote about it in my foodblog that I did about this time last year. For those of you that take a look, the strawberries that you see in there are at their peak right now. They are really great this year.

i5127.jpg

If you are wondering where the line between food enthusiast and food nerd is, I think that I just found it. I actually took a picture of a pot. BUT THIS IS NOT JUST ANY POT! This is my grandmothers pot. It is a Drip Drop Baster (patented 1913, according to the stamp on the bottom of the pot). This thing came to me with the roll of a pair of dice and that was one lucky hit. All of the grandchildren rolled dice for all of the stuff in my Grandmother's house that my mom and her sisters didn't want or need. It sounds weird, but it was really fun and I think all of us will remember that afternoon for the rest of our lives. I scored lots of stuff (including a table with these really ornate lions feet that was hauled in a wagon by my great, great grandfather from Georgia to East Texas in the 1840's) but the pot was the best. It has an insert for roasting and is of carbon steel construction (it is kind of a pain to keep shiny as you can tell from the photo, but it has a very thick bottom and cooks like a dream. The lid fits tight and the fact that I am cooking in a pot that my Grandmother cooked out of right after she got married and my Mom and her sisters ate out of when they were kids is just too much come times. I love that pot. I got some awesome tin cookie cutters that are God knows how old-they are shaped like barn animals-I love those things. You know you're eating good when you are eating sugar cookies shaped like chickens, cows, ducks, and mules. laugh.gif

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Cookie cutters from grandmother and great grandmother, check. I scored big on that one. There must be 70 of them.

Linens. 4 sets of those "days of the week" embroidered flour sack dish clothes, to augment the two sets I received when I got married -- one set from each grandmother. As well as other tea towels that she embroidered and appliqued.

My great grandmother's wooden spoon. :wub:

My great grandmother's 11" pie pan for Her Custard Pie.

But, in a weak moment, when we were cleaning out my grandmother's house, I said to my sister "sure, you can have the three cast iron skillets." Foolish.

My grandmother's cake carrier that has a pie holder on the top of it.

Plus my great grandmother's recipe box. I have actually laminated each card as I use it since they were written in that easily water smudged fountain pen in that spidery cursive.

Better take some pictures tomorrow and post them. One of the tea towels is priceless.

But, most of all, I have memories. Of waking in the middle of an August night, to find my grandmother in the kitchen canning tomatoes and making tomoto juice. Racing with her to the field to pick sweet corn to shuck and stick in the already-boiling water. Taking lunch to the men in the field as they combined. Learning how to kill a chicken and how to cut it up in no time flat.

I also came into a set of china, but I never use that. It is all about the stuff I use on an almost daily basis.

Edited by snowangel (log)
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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What I have is my grandmother's cookbook, Chatelaine's Adventures in Cooking.

gallery_24715_1084_136429.jpg

(more pics in image gullet).

She wasn't a very good cook (when in doubt, add gravy!! although she made great cookies), but her cookbook is more precious to me than the darling Belleek sugar and creamer :wub:

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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My large, old Jadeite [Fire-King, Jeanette and McKee] collection. I redid my kitchen in 2003 and designed a portion of the cabinetry with glass doors and subtle lighting to showcase it.

Makes me smile every time I look at it.

I inherited my Grandma's big wooden bowl. I use it to grate the potatoes and onions into for latkes at Chanukah. Yes, I hand-grate them. No food-processor! I also have her half-moon [mezzaluna] chopper, and her glezala te [tea glasses]. These items are utterly precious to me.

:smile:

Erica

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My maternal grandmother's le Cruset three quart dutch oven.  Lovely shade of turquoise.  It was a wedding gift to her in 1933.

I'm dying to see this.....

I'd love to share it with you! Give me 24 hours......I'll post a photo!

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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But, in a weak moment, when we were cleaning out my grandmother's house, I said to my sister "sure, you can have the three cast iron skillets."  Foolish.

Susan, that's what I was thinking of when I proposed this thread.... :sad:

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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If you are wondering where the line between food enthusiast and food nerd is, I think that I just found it. I actually took a picture of a pot. BUT THIS IS NOT JUST ANY POT!

Thanks for sharing that and bringing us back to your blog, Brooks. Of course, anyone who would post to this thread crossed that line a while back!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I have my great-grandmother's cast iron griddle. It's handle is like the handle on a bucket, not like on a pot. My great-grandparents emigrated from London to Canada in 1902 and it came with them.

No picture because my former-machinist spouse tried to make it all shiny when we were first married. It's not totally ruined but it will take another 100 years to get its patina back.

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I have so many things I would be hard pressed to list them all. My family NEVER throws anything away that might possibly be useful for some reason, some time in the future.

I inherited that pack-rat gene from both sides of the family in force.

Cast iron spiders/skillets, pots, griddles, a huge old heavy copper jam pan with rounded bottom.

Pickle crocks, milk crocks, butter crocks. Silver, china, lots of kitchen glassware for cooking, storage, and so on.

Appliances such as my grandmother's electric roaster, toaster (which started me on collecting them), waffle iron and mixer.

Odd kitchen gadgets and utensils that still work.

Whenever I use any of these items it reminds me of my grandmothers, my great grandmother and various aunts and other family members who passed the items on.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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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