The Charm of Ancient Culinary Tools

by Melody Kettle

Every time I visit my grandmother, I leave with some fantastic culinary relic. Maybe a Vornado hand blender, an old rolling pin, a salt box, a cast iron popover pan, or a wall mount coffee bean grinder. 

Most recently, I acquired a manually operated, clamp-to-the-counter, Cavatelli machine. 

Grandma called me to basement.  She opened the narrow door to the tiny room under the stairs, and a pulled a ribbon that hangs from the ceiling to turn on the single light bulb.  She grabbed a box from the shelf, “Look at this,” she said and handed it to me, “do you want it?”

It took me a moment to process what was in the rectangular, blue and white cardboard box.  I soon realized and said, “Yeah! This is great!”

“Where did you find this?” I asked.

“At a yard sale for $2. How could I leave it there?”

I’m glad she didn’t leave it there, as I now have a new-old toy. 

I have a hunch that this new-old toy will outlast many of my newly manufactured toy. To that end, Grandma and Grandpa have been making toast with the same toaster for the last thirty years, while I have purchased, and disposed of, at least four toasters in the past eight years.

Also worthy of note, Grandma has been using the very same, manually operated, spice mill for fifty years! I've had my electric mill for five years, and it’s on the fritz.  KitchenAid stand mixers? Forty years plus for Grandma, I’ve already had to replace the "Professional 6" I purchased in 2003.

Nonetheless I now have a reliable, sturdy, old, Cavatelli maker.  So now, I need a reliable, old recipe.  Have you ever worked with a cavatelli maker?  Do you have a great cavatelli recipe you'd like to share?