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Aug 4, 2010 02:14 PM

China cap or chinoise. If you have one, do you use it and for what?

In cleaning out late MIL's basement,I came across this. I'm aware that they're for pureeing which isn't something I do a lot of and usually use FP or immersion blender. I can see that this would keep seeds (I'm thinking tomatoes) and other detritus out but that doesn't knock my socks off. If you have one, do you actually use it and for what purpose? It kinda fascinates me and I think I associate them with REAL cooks :)

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  1. Wow, I envy you the stand and the wooden pushers! All I have is the chinois itself. I also have a fine strainer of the more typical shape and tend to use it more because it's easier to push the solids around with a rubber spatula. I didn't know about the pusher thingies and the spatula can't get to the bottom of the chinois. I use it for straining custardy liquids to remove any strands of egg. I don't really mind seeds in my berries but that would be the most common use, I think.

    1. Wow, That is a find! I do not think it is a true Chinoise, rather a type of food mill, based on the size of the holes. Tomatoes for a strained sauce is the first thing that comes to mind. The Chinoise I have, are in 3 different diameters but all have the same very fine mesh; used for straining stocks mostly.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ospreycove

        Yeah, when I did a little search they made a distinction that the China cap had larger wholes than the Chinoise.

        1. re: c oliver

          To the best of my knowledge, chinois and China cap are interchageable terms. Though the device is always shaped like a large empty ice cream cone, there are variations in the overall construction. Some have mesh attached to the collar and a protective metal strap that guards the pointed end. Some are made of sturdier stuff and come with or without a stand. Many are sold individually and you have to buy the pestle and stand seperately.

          In any case, your late MIL's looks very much like a twin of my mother's chinois, which came as part of a rather large collection of Wearever aluminum kitchenware she bought in the 1930s. It had everything from a very large lidded roasting pan, varied sizes of lidded pans, a Dutch oven, an orange juicer, the chinois, and a whole bunch of other cooking equipment. Mother would sometimes line the chinois with several layers of well rinsed cheesecloth when she wanted to sieve something with the least possible solids passing through.

          Look yours over and see if it says "Wearever" on it anywhere. If it does, then search for more vintage goodies! You've hit culinary pay dirt!

          1. re: Caroline1

            The stand and the sieve are marked Wear-Ever No. 8 which is this:


            The piece that's sitting on top is Wear-Ever 1044 1/2 which, on first research, I'm not finding but it doesn't appear to be part of it. And the piece lying down on the left has no mark. These were all together in a box with a large Warner CI DO-type thing which I need to look into also.

            MIL was born in 1920 and married in 1943. Could have been her older sister's or even her mother's. Because it was in the garage totally separate from other things that were in her kitchen and basement, I'm thinking it came from her sister. Not a lot of other treasure though I did keep a piece of Guardian cookware and a tray.

            Thanks, C1. I'll definitely beholding on to these.

        2. re: ospreycove

          chinoises can have different size mesh.
          this example of the OP (like the one i have) is a chinoise -- a strainer/ sieve -- not a "mill."

          i also have proper food mills with different size sieves -- three in fact, each with different size holes than the others.

        3. I don't know whether mine got lost in a move or was "borrowed" without permission, but I want it back! Yes, they're good for anything you would use a food mill for, but generally they make the work a lot easier. They also work great as a strainer for stocks and such, not to mention doubling as a colander for draining pasta or veggies. Oh, and they make GREAT mashed potatoes! Well, more like "riced" potatoes. It's like using a potato ricer, but again the chinois is a lot easier to use. And the potatoes come out absolutely lump free. I keep looking at the prices on them and praying mine will show up. <sigh> Fat chance.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caroline1

            You hit it! The best in the world mashed oh so creamy potatoes - dreamy silk like. I wish I had a bowl right now! Beautiful sauces,soups, and I lost mine in a move too. : (

          2. Plus one for the mashed potatoes......add Cream of Corn Chowder.....with Fresh Crabmeat, of course.

            1. My. I have never seen those wooden pushers. I have a china cap. For some unknown reason my husband kept it when we sold our restaurant sooo many years ago. Apparently he thought he would be making stock every day. ~laughs. It sits on the garage broom cabinet along with other giant kitchen things like steamer pots and other things I do not use. But in fact they are handy dandy things if you are inclined towards grand projects. AND you can buy filters for it. Why filters? - you can drain fryer fat thru it and reuse the oil. China caps are good for draining stock. That one you have there looks like you could handle a 12 gal stockpot - if you wanted to. You know what else you could use it for - if the holes are big enough you could make a boat load of spaetzle. Super easy with that dandy stand you have and those cutesy pushers. Goulash and spaetzle for an army! And, dare I mention this? - hmmm... you can also can also strain egg shells from eggs you have dumped into a giant blender (whole - with the shell). That is what restaurants do. Should I have mentioned that?

              Myself - I would push berries thru it to ditch the seeds. Maybe I will pull down that old thing after all.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                hey sal! two intriguing bits of your info stood out to me:
                1. i can get a filter (YAY!), because cleaning this after making stock is a real PITA; and
                2. eggs -- shells and all -- in a giant blender? wow.

                looking for a source for the filters, i came across this interesting discussion:

                1. re: alkapal

                  Great site. Never heard of it before.