Kitchen Equipment That Lasts

Readers share stories of their long-lasting and beloved kitchen tools.

| April/May 2012

There are lots of newfangled “green” kitchen tools on the market these days, and many are pretty cool. But a key factor in any product’s sustainability is its durability. If something lasts a good long time and is made with an eye to quality, you’ll never need to replace it, recycle it or upcycle it. In the spirit of celebrating all things well made, we asked you: What is the oldest tool in your kitchen? 

When I asked myself the question, I immediately thought of the retro-cool fondue pot my mom found at a garage sale in the early ’90s and the smattering of cast-iron pans my dad has always used. I have no idea how long these tools existed before I did!

We weren’t surprised to hear that the cast-iron pans, molds and skillets of yesteryear are still banging away in today’s kitchens. The oldest cast-iron pans we heard about were April Graham’s 200-year-old muffin pans.

When it came to brand names, the favorites were KitchenAid, Griswold, White Mountain, Sunbeam, Le Creuset, Revere and Vitamix.

KitchenAid is the Nauman family’s favorite long-lasting brand. Tim Nauman learned how to cook from his mother, Carol, and remembers fondly getting to pour the ingredients for her Oatmeal Raisin Cookies: A Favoirite Family Recipe into their yellow 1970s-era KitchenAid.

Many of us look to the kitchen to connect to our past. Lynne Howe’s family uses their great-grandmother’s hand-crank grinder every Thanksgiving to make the family’s cranberry-apple-orange relish. Andi Cacciatore uses Mom’s unusually shaped cheese grater to make her Italian recipes. Brandi Andrews’ family can’t imagine making the family cookie recipe without their old Foley fork. Karen Wilson finds joy in using her mom’s food mill and canner and her grandmother-in-law’s kitchen scales, because these connect her “to those women in my life who taught me the skills I need to feed my family.”

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