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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ancient Kitchen Treasures, i.e. Kitchen Stuff You’ve Had Forever and Couldn’t Live Without!

Nate and I have been married for almost 13 years (time flies when you’re having fun!). When we got married, we were literally babies and had no money whatsoever. Everything we had to furnish our dark, basement apartment in Arlington, MA was a wedding gift. Which means we didn’t really choose much of anything for our home…some of it we registered for, a lot of it we didn’t. And, the thing is, we couldn’t have cared less. We were so grateful for each and every gift and used it all! (Come to think of it, even our car was a gift from my Aunt Barb and Uncle Mark…a little white pick-up truck fondly known as White Trash, may she rest in peace.)

I still use many of those wedding gifts on a daily basis. It’s kind of amazing how they are standing the test of time! The other day as I was digging around for one of these items, I had the inspiration for this post. I want to hear about YOUR favorite items that have been around forever that you simply can’t live without!

I’ll kick us off with a few of my ancient treasures that I never would have guessed would be treasures when I received them nearly 13 years ago…

  • Steak knives. One of the sets of pots and pans we received (which have since bit the dust) came with a set of steak knives. As you can imagine, they’re pretty darn cheap. But I can’t tell you how much I LOVE these steak knives! They cut GREAT and I can use and abuse them without feeling guilty. I really can’t believe how awesome they are. I couldn’t live without them!

  • Our everyday dishes from Crate & Barrel. We picked out some random white, basic dishes at Crate & Barrel for our registry, along with a set of blue glass bowls. NOT ONE DISH has broken since we got married. And we use them every single day. The white dishes don’t even have those grey scuff marks that often happens with this type of dishware. They are magical. For two clueless undergrads who had no idea what they were registering for, we totally scored.

  • Plastic mixing spoons, ladle, spatula and measuring cups. Again, just random stuff people gave us. I love them all. That spatula has been through a lot with me and has the battle wounds to prove it. And that white spoon? It’s perfect, I tell ya, perfect.

There are definitely a few more items that have stuck around all this time that we still use, but the ones above, well, they are special. 😉

Can’t wait to hear about your ancient treasures!


  1. 1

    There is one item in my parents kitchen that I hope to one day inherit. It is a mandolin that has been in the family for who knows how long. Certainly longer then safety regulations. It is essentially a carbon steel razor on rails. No sense on protection on it at all. Makes the thinnest slices I have ever seen.

  2. I don’t have anything like that…YET! But when my mom got married she got a Bosch mixer, a hand mixer and then a few years later she saved up enough money to buy her own Bernina sewing machine. She still has the sewing machine and I have fond memories of sewing on that and cooking with her using her ancient Bosch and hand mixer! She finally had to replace the Bosch about 5 years ago and when I went home last year there was a new hand mixer in her drawer! As nice as it was, it was a little sad mixing up stuff in the kitchen without the old one!

    • Jane Maynard

      my mom still has her bernina from when I was a kid! she’s always on the lookout to get one for me, too (one of the older ones)…

      love your comment… 🙂

  3. 3

    I have my grandmother’s hand-crank pasta maker. She brought it with her from the Marche region of Italy as a bride. It still works!

  4. Since I have only been married a year and a month none of my wedding presents fit this category and I moved countries last year so everything was pared down but I have a pair of steak knives I drunkenly and stupidly “borrowed” from the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas about 5 years ago that I love and would not give up in the move. They are beat up from being used in a hotel restaurant but that just means if I am hard on them they can take it! I am planning on having them for a long time to come.

  5. I still use a 9×13 pan and 2 knives that I brought to Boston when I moved here from LA almost 24 years ago!

  6. I had no idea what I was doing when I registered for our wedding 9 years ago. I thought people would buy things for me so I picked out the cheapest stuff at the store. Most of it has been replaced by now. A year after we got married though I received a cast iron pot from my mother that I can’t live without. My husband says when the kids grow up they’re going to say, “remember that old green pot mom used to cook everything in.” I hope that do!

  7. I’ve had the same C&B dishes for 15 years! They’re great. I also use my grandmother’s old Russell Wright dishes a lot. I love to use things that bring back memories of my grandparents.

    My beloved old antique rolling pin just broke and rolling out dough just hasn’t been the same since. My stepdad’s father worked at the place they made them.

  8. I have a cleaver that is over 40 years old. Can’t remember how I inherited it but I use it every day for every kind of cutting job and it serves as a bench scraper too.

  9. 9

    I’m 24 now, but when I was like 14 or so, my mom started buying me nice stuff for my future place of my own. I was not really thinking about living on my own at 14, but she said when I am out on my own I probably won’t have a lot of money, so it is good to prepare!

    Now that I have my own apartment, I am one of the only girls I know who has nice crystal for entertaining, Pampered Chef cooking utensils, a Pampered Chef copper trivet (which is lovely), etc…

    Now if I could only afford a Kitchenaid mixer, then I’d be in business 🙂

  10. 10

    We moved to Japan about a year after we were married (22 years ago now). We were poor, having just barely graduated. Except for some clothes, everything we owned (which wasn’t much) was shipped by very slow boat. It took 3 months to arrive. So to furnish our empty kitchen we bought 4 soup bowls, one pan, one knife, a cutting board and some disposable chopsticks (which I washed). That little knife is still my very favorite. It is always what I reach for first in the knife drawer.

  11. 11

    Sadly, I haven’t been on the receiving end of many parental kitchen hand-me-downs, but I’m unreasonably attached to a little purple glass bowl from my mother-in-law. I don’t use it much, mostly for beating eggs and things like that, but I would totally cry if something happened to it! I also love an antiquated-looking mug with cats on it that my mom gave to me shortly after I moved out.

  12. my kitchenaid mixer & food processor were my grandma’s…and are definitely 80s, but still work great! when my grandparents moved out of their house in 2007 and into an independent living community, she didn’t need much kitchen things anymore so i got first pick since i had just graduated from college. i also have some family china and crystal, and a ton of other baking dishes and stuff that were my mom’s or her mom’s. many cookbooks too. let’s be real- most of my kitchen came from family, and then the only new stuff (everyday fiestaware, oneida silverware, blender, pots *& pans etc.) was from our wedding.

  13. 13

    What an interesting topic! I had not thought about any of that! When I got married, my parents gave me some things that I remembered seeing them use as I grow up. Not realizing that there is “vintage” and “sentimental” value, I donated a lot of it to make way for nicer things. I still regret giving away the popcorn popper I remembered them using when I was a little girl every time I see my sleek and convenient popper! Seriously! I did buy some beautiful Cuisinart Dutch Ovens- but am so happy that I kept one thing from my parents- an old bettered yellow dutch oven. It makes me smile. Love this topic a lot….

  14. 14
    Ada Reid-Watson

    What a fun topic!
    My husband has a wok that he’s owned for 20 years. We use it almost every week to make a stir-fry with leftover meats and vegetables.
    I also have nice family china and silver that became mine when my mom passed away. I cherish it even though it’s totally not my style. What’s funny to me is how small the dinner plates and dinner forks are! People used smaller plates 60+ years ago.

  15. 15

    I was offered my Gramma’s silver (didn’t even know she had any) so said no, but I ask for her cookbooks and all of the recipe clippings she had. We used to sit and read recipes together and these were so much more special to me. I still use the 1951 cookbook which was a PTA fundraiser for the school in her town. It contains her and my mothers recipes.

  16. Growing up, our family LOVED cranberry sauce (all year round!). And, it was always served in a 1970s-era, red Pyrex dish. My mom gave me hers when they retired a couple years ago. I treasure it and use it dutifully when I make cranberry sauce. Last year I had to use a different dish because I tripled the recipe for our holiday crowd. There was almost a riot because I didn’t use THE bowl. Lesson learned. 🙂

  17. 17

    Some dear (and generous) friends went in together on a set of All-Clad pots and pans for a wedding present for us…LOVE them and the pots!

  18. 18

    Someone gave us a steamer that I didn’t appreciate enough up front but came to discover is basically the Cadillac of all steamers. It is Williams & Sonoma stainless steel and I have used it TONS over these almost 12 years. It has a large “basket” for larger quantities and a smaller one for less. I also use the large pot you put the baskets in as a stockpot and for cooking soups. It is fantastic. Like you, we were so grateful for everything we got but I just didn’t know enough to know how great it really was at the time.

  19. 19
    Janna M

    I have 2 of my mother’s harvest beige Pyrex mixing bowls. I love them so much. It makes me feel like my mom is baking with me. If we ever had a fire at the house I would run in to save those bowls.

    We also have a plastic ladle that is slightly melted and has only half a handle. It’s like a perfect ladle. I’ve bought others to replace it but they pale in comparison so the broken stays.

  20. 20
    Jane Maynard

    I am loving all these comments – so much fun! sorry I’m not responding more, I was in the hospital all day yesterday…but just want you all to know how much I love all these comments! 🙂

  21. 21

    When I got married back in 1990 we got a crockpot as a wedding present from my mom( She died later that year). When I left him it was all I took. I am now remarried and have 4 kids and it gets used every week at least once. I think of her every time I use it she swore by it.

  22. Lots of Pyrex mixing bowls! After 18 years they are all still in rotation and I never could have predicted how useful it would be to have so many.

  23. 23

    Ha, I have a set of 6 steak knives I got at my wedding and I use them all the time. For everything! It’s totally the guilt free feeling. I think I have my mom’s hang up about knives. She saved her expensive nice ones for a special occasion, which was never! That’s me.

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