Whenever I haul out my food processor, Howard clamps his hands over his ears and a look of fear rises into his eyes. It’s a 1960s or 70s model, I believe, and it was handed down to me by my mother. It’s a big workhorse, to be sure, but it sounds like women screaming when it runs. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure the cats clamp their paws over their ears, too.
My shrieking, free love-era food processor isn’t the kind of antique tool I want to talk about today, though. I’m thinking WAY back, to the time when electricity was still only something God sent out of the clouds when he was angry; when kitchen tools weren’t made of that sissy stainless steel and teflon stuff, but of iron or copper or tin. I started thinking about this recently when Mom sent me an e-mail about my grandmother’s old cherry pitter (above). Here’s an excerpt:
“My neighbor asked me if I wanted some yellow sweet cherries. She was given a bucket full and had been pitting cherries all day and was tired. She said her fingers were sore and she just didn’t want to fool with any more. I said sure, I’ll take them. She handed me a bag of about 3 lbs. of cherries. Within ten minutes I had them all done. My secret weapon? Grandma’s Enterprise Cherry Stoner No. 2.! I don’t have a clue how old it is, probably older than Grandma because she got it from her mother, I think. It’s one of my most prized possessions and when I am done with it, it is yours. Grandma would have been very proud of you and I think she would have wanted me to give it to you.”
I poked around on the Internet for antique kitchen tools, because I was curious about whether there’s a community of collectors. Of course there is! There’s a community of collectors for just about everything. I read that some people call them “culinary antiques” or “vintage kitchenalia.” Check out this link to a site that talks about all of the many different objects considered worthy of collecting. I’ll bet we all have at least one old kitchen tool in our homes that we inherited from a relative or found somewhere.
Do you think these new appliances they are making today are going to be handed down to our great-grandchildren? I would bet not many will! Do you have an old kitchen tool you still use?