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What's The Oldest Thing You Cook In/With?

Prompted by a very nice CH'er, I am asking folks to identify the oldest thing they cook in or with. Is it Gran's Griswold? A 2010 sous vide bath? An Etruscan clay pot? A precorporate takeover Williams-Sonoma? Next year's Tramontina? A Colonial cauldron? An [shudder] induction range? A T-Rex tooth?

I gonna keep my powder dry on this one. Except to observe that if there's nothing in your kitchen older than YOU are, you're missing something.


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  1. When I graduated from college in 1960 my mother gave me some items to start my apartment kitchen. One of them was a 10-inch cast iron skillet that says on the back, "Piqua ware, the best to cook in." She told me she'd had it for a number of yhears before I was born. I still use it all the time, including tonight. Nothing else works as well for browning meat, and it is very versatile. Since I'm 73 next week, the skillet has to be closing in on 80, and it's still going strong.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jack

      Thanks, Jack. I never had the pleasure, but I've heard that Piqua was also famed for making most excellent *real* Dutch ovens (those would be the ones with feet, a/k/a "spiders"). They're quite collectible, and not just for wallhangers. Hope you get 80 more out of her.

      1. re: Jack

        I bought a piqua ware skillet last fall and love to cook in it.

      2. My husband. Ha, I crack me up. I occasionally use my depression era rolling pin with rolling handles but I don't bake much. Lots of the stuff I use daily is from when my parents got married & got house in 1964 and 1967 respectivly. Pyrex nesting bowls and a Sunbeam hand mixer with enough power and torque that it beats any availabe now.

        1 Reply
        1. re: calliope_nh

          I have a Dormeyer hand mixer from the 50s (it has fins) that can mix anything in seconds. I have a lot of vintage cookware that I use regularly.

        2. I have a Dexter knife that is probably close to 100 years old. It is a slicer/bread knife and is the first knife I grab for slicing meat and bread. It is sharp, takes an edge well, and doesn't leave a lot of crumbs on the board like a serrated knife sometimes does when slicing bread. I bought it for a buck at an estate sale. I also have my grandmother's Vollrath cast iron 10 inch skillet but I don't know how old it is. She married my grandfather in 1922 so I suppose it is from the '20s or '30s. We have an old aluminum 5 quart kettle at our place up north (that's Minnesota speak for cabin in the woods) that my father remembers was my grandmother's go to kettle for just about everything. At first I thought it was too small for her to use to cook meals for her family, then I realized she was not cooking to have a lot left over to put into the freezer because they didn't get their first refrigerator until 1949.

          1. I have an enameled collander that was my Grandmother's, so it may go back to the 1890's-1900's . My Dad was the oldest kid, and he was born in 1922. I also have a lot of my Mom's stuff that she bought when they got married in 1950 KitchenAid mixer w/glass bowl 3-C, Griswold, and Wagner frying pans, and lots of Revere Ware SS pots, plus much more. I like the old gear myself.

            1. When kaleo first floated this question in another thread, I thought there was nothing here older than the 1920s-1930s cast iron skillets (one Wagner, one unknown) ; they were in the kitchen of my mother's household when she was growing up.

              But JohnE's post helped me remember the grotesque but very very sharp carving knife, with a long carbon steel blade and a handle made of some animal's horn. Brrrr.... high Victorian, from my great-grandmother's household in the 1880s. It makes paper-thin shavings of a country ham, though, so earns its spot (wrapped in a dishtowel in the back of a drawer, so I don't have to look at it unless it's in use).

              Some of my favorite mixing bowls are Depression glass: a pale green Hocking with nice heavy base and tall sides, and nesting sets of amber Federal and grass-green Hazel Atlas, all dating from 1932-38.

              8 Replies
              1. re: ellabee

                Yes! I have an old knife set like that, also with the serving fork and sharpening iron - all with those gnarly handles. Can't say I use them, though. You've inspired me to drag them out and give them a try.

                1. re: Languid Lass

                  Hi, Languid:

                  Those "gnarly handles" may well be European stag. If large and in good shape, they can be valuable for any knife requiring a sure grip (as if any don't). The closest approximation (and a poor one at that) is Sanbar staghorn from India/Pakistan.

                  Yet another reason not to eschew "old".


                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    heh. Horns? That's easy stuff.

                    We saw some vintage knives at a flea market using *hooves* as the handles. No, not the hard part, the whole lower portion of a small cloven-hoofed animal's leg. Fur and all.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      I had a knife like that when I was a kid, Does hoof for a handle, another good gift from my drunken uncle

                      1. re: Dave5440

                        Hey Dave5440:

                        You had one too? Mine was a B-17 pilot, Silver Star, Stalaag Luft 3, let me (try to) break teacups with a .22 at about 150 yards with open sights. Good old soul. Yours?


                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          Nope pretty much just drunk, still is , been nearly dead for at least 10yrs. I learned all the gun handling and hunting from the "bad" crowd I ran with. As a side note I'm not sure what they saw over in the old country but my grandfather (2 time pow russian then german) and uncle where/are wicked drunks who had no use for a panty waste like me.

                          1. re: Dave5440

                            Hi, Dave5440:

                            Being from an old German military family (now there's an oxymoron!) myself, I know that gruffness well enough to assure you that's not what they'd say about you to others. Many of these are the kind of guys who picked up rifles and fought close relations for what they believed in America. For many of them, living longer is no blessing, so I'm willing to buy them another round and listen. Even if they're mean drunks.


                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              That's the hungarian side and I won't repeat what he used to say about me to the rest of the family needless to say I didn't see him the last 10yrs before he died, the german g/f died at stalingrad,

              2. im only middle aged.....
                but when my great aunt passed i ended up with her oster model 7 blender...afaik its from the early 70's
                my cousin got the mccoy cookie jar...

                2 Replies
                1. re: srsone

                  Oh, I love it when people put the word "only" before "middle-aged." ;)

                  1. re: Isolda

                    only gen x....the 13th generation
                    and my 3 yo keeps me young....my wife says its like having 2 kids instead....

                2. My grandmother's 1950's vintage electric rotisserie. Roasts a great duck!

                  I also have my grandfather's meat cleaver. He was a professional meatcutter (the word butcher was NEVER uttered in our house) so it's a seriously heavy, mean-looking blade. But I never use it - every time I'm tempted to try I remember those missing finger tips of his and back slowly away...

                  1. My grandmother's VERY old roasting pan. It has a high cover with a little swivel vent & enables me to make Julia Child's "Steam Roasted" geese & ducks with pure ease.

                    1. I have several items from my mother-in-law that are from the 1930's, if not earlier - rolling pin, meat cleaver, knives, crank meat grinder, cast iron skillet, and my favorite, a "granny fork" which I had never seen before, but is the perfect thing for turning bacon in the skillet.

                      1. I've only used this once, because of the lead content, but I have a late 18th century teapot brought over during the Canton-trade era, then decorated here as was common at the time.

                        This topic reminds me that we need an "Antiques Roadshow" style board on this site, in which people can post photos and descriptions of their cookware and serving pieces, and other users can provide feedback on it.

                        For example, I think my rolling pin is mid-20th century, but I really don't know for sure. And some of my nice serving dishes say "made in occupied Japan" on the bottom, so the era of their manufacture is obvious. It would be fun to have a dedicated board for people to share their stuff this way.

                        Mods, are you listening?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Isolda

                          You're welcome to do that here on the Cookware board if you like, but the value of your antiques is getting pretty tangential to food so it's not something that's likely to get a new board.

                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                            I'd like to respectfully suggest that Isolda doesn't so much want to know the value of her older things, as their age and/or provenance, and perhaps how others are using them now?

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              Yes, that's it! I couldn't care less about the intrinsic value of the kitchen things I use. I already know their worth to me. But every once in a while, I do wonder how old something is, esp. stuff I get at yard sales. And sometimes I wonder what something is, esp. antique serving pieces whose purpose is now obsolete. For example, how do people repurpose their grandma's ice cream forks?

                        2. My grandma's cast iron skillet. My mother is 85, and she says that grandma already had that when she was born. I would love to pass it on to my own grandchildren.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Kathleen M

                            Same here! My grandmother died at age 80 in 1962 so mine's a tad older. I also have a smaller one from a friend's grandmother but I think it's a lot younger.

                          2. Good one. I had to go downstairs and check around. While an older item may have escaped my immediate attention, the two most frequently used (weekly, if not more) are a forged solid steel oyster knife (reportedly 1860s era from my great-great grandparents) and a wooden-handled, bronze and steel Gilchrist No.31 ice cream scoop from around 1900. Both still work like a charm.

                            1. This is a fun topic. I don't know why I am contributing though, as I have very little very old kitchen gear. But, I do have my grandmother's tinned steel 1 cup measure--which I do not use--, and her meat mallet, which I do use. I have no idea how old it its, but it looks to be perhaps my age. I also have her tempered glass bacon masher. You place the flat lid-like glass disc over cooking bacon to keep it from curling. I imagine that she got it decades and decades ago from Miles Kimball. I own a Corningware pie plate, a set of tiny appetizer cheese knives, and a milk glass bowl and saucer for gravy, all from my wedding shower in July 1970. Oh, I almost forgot my Old Hickory cooking fork which I bought in the basement of F. W. Woolworth in downtown St. Louis in 1970. It is probably the first cooking implement I ever bought for myself. I wish I could find a way to have the rivets tightened! But I still use it.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: sueatmo

                                The rivets can be tightened by tapping them down with a hammer to expand them in the holes. Make sure that the backside is backed up by something solid, like a good size chunk of steel.

                                1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                  Hi, BIGGUNDOCTOR:

                                  You are right if they are conventional rivets (one piece, peened over), but it is likely they're cutler's rivets (flat-headed male and female). If there's no more "there" there with the cutler's, you have to drill them out and replace them. Any knifemaker can do this for sueatmo for very little money, maybe even put a favorite piece of wood on for scales, make it good for another 40 years.


                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    You guys! I should have known to ask here about this. Unfortunately I don't know any knifemakers. Do I find these people in the yellow pages? What has happened is the hickory handle has shrunk, loosening the rivets. I've occasionally looked on ebay for a similar fork, but it is hard to know how to search. The brand is Old Hickory, which I think might be a Chicago Cutlery brand. And, to Bigg, thanks for the info, but honestly we don't have any hunks of steel hanging around our house.

                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                      Aloha, sueatmo:

                                      Where do you find a knifemaker? You're asking one.

                                      Would you like me to fix your fork?


                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Yes! How do we arrange this? By the way I am not at home until August.

                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                          Hi, sueatmo:

                                          I'm happy to help. When you can, send me some photos of your fork. I'll take a look. Unless it's a hidden or half-tang with an oddball kerf, or has a ferrule, it should be very easy. Then you just decide what wood you'd like and what finish you want for the rivets (usually brass, nickel-silver or SS). You can also alter the thickness of the handle, make it more or less rounded, add a through-hole for hanging, etc. I have a lot of this stuff laying around. Unless you want something exotic or elaborate, I'll do it for you free.



                              2. My husband's grandmother's cast iron skillet.

                                1. 1. my grandmother's pyrex blue > red > green > yellow nesting bowls
                                  2. The French Chef Cookbook from my mother, c. 1973

                                  Stuff I bought new in the 1970s:
                                  copper bowl for egg whites
                                  stainless steel mixing bowls
                                  electric hand mixer
                                  2 Le Creuset au gratins

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: Jay F

                                    i want a set of primary color pyrex bowls...my mom had a set...we used them all the time...

                                    shes only down to the red and blue ones now...

                                    1. re: srsone

                                      I got my mom's.
                                      Wait, my grandfather's 10 gallon crocks for making kapusta! (saurkraut)

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        You reminded me that I have my grandmother's cabbage cutter in the basement. I also have an assortment of Red Wing crocks that my dad collected. I remember as a child having a difficult time picking out the potato/cheese pyrohy from those made with kapusta as my grandmother always mixed them together as she cooked them.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          I always went for the cheese or mashed potato, pork pierogies are now my favorite, the kapusta ones come in fourth.
                                          ps I wonder who got the mandolin?

                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                            I must confess that even though I have the giant cabbage mandolin, the last time it was used was by my father who preferred to make his sourkraut in quart jars. I was a bit picky as a child and only ate the potato pyrohy. I'm still not a huge kraut fan.

                                          2. re: John E.

                                            JohnE. What do you mean by Red Wing crocks? If you are from upstate New York and you mean Red Wing jam, jelly and preserve crocks, we need to talk.

                                            My family sold out to Red Wing in 1956 when American Preserve of Philadelphia thought it too expensive to bring apple and grape concentrates down from NY (and a bunch of union problems) that prompted my dad and uncle to sell to Red Wing. We all made out very well.

                                            1. re: Chefpaulo

                                              I don't know about John E. but my family is from Red Wing, Minnesota where there was a pottery. I have one Red Wing crock from my great aunt, but can't use it because it's cracked.

                                              1. re: 512window

                                                I grew up in rural Minnesota not near Red Wing, but my father collected their crocks. At one time he had over 60 of them from the small butter crocks to a 45 gallon crock. Most of them were 5, 10, 15, and 20 gallons. He sold most of them too cheap too long ago.

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  They are definitely a collectable now. A friend of my brother collects Red Wing, belongs to a Red Wing pottery collectors association, and attends their annual meetings.

                                                  I figure if I get broke, I can sell the pot to him. It's a 5 gallon one.

                                        2. re: srsone

                                          The whole set would be handy. My mother's yellow one is still in action here. She must have had the set, but I only remember seeing the red and the yellow in my childhood.

                                          1. re: ellabee

                                            i checked ebay...a set of them is about 40$ on there

                                            and the set of refrigerator dishes...

                                          2. re: srsone

                                            The same two I have ;) The red was my grandmother's, and the blue my great-grandmother's. I have dozens of other vintage items in my kitchen that I use regularly, but most I bought myself--Depression era kitchen glass and pottery, and lots of Pyrex and Fire-King. My F-K jadite butter dish is a bottom I found at an antique mall for $, plus the clear top I found while cleaning out Great Aunt Helen's kitchen.

                                            She was about 19 when the Depression hit, and it fell to her to negotiate with creditors on behalf of the family business. She had an entire cabinet full of unmatched pieces of things, and that's where I found the butter lid I was missing. Extremely happy to find it too!

                                          3. re: Jay F

                                            My grandmother gave me the red, blue and green bowls that she got from her mom. My sweet boyfriend got me the yellow bowl from eBay for Christmas. They are my favorite kitchen items!

                                          4. I'm not sure which of these is the oldest but they are all from the 1920s-1930's. I regularly cook with these Griswold pieces I've collected. A number 12 skillet with heat ring, a number 9 griddle and a number 6 skillet along with their stove top waffle iron which I love. Yes they are all much older than me LOL

                                            1. A beat up tin rectangular cooking pan that my aunt gave me when I moved into my first apartment three decades ago (and it was well loved when she gave it to me). Perfect size and shape for nachos for one, chicken wings, ribs. And something about it makes it let go of the stickiest melted cheese and sugary marinades like Teflon but you can still scrub it and make it shiny. Unobtainium, maybe?

                                              1. Grandma's cast iron fry pan, her glass hand juicer, and a cookbook from 1948.

                                                1. A Russian samovar from 1884, complete w/ draft stack, brought over by my grandfather. From my wife's side and 19th century wooden potato masher, a 50's "tea bread" slicer, a Sheffield carving knife, my uncle brought back from England during WWII, a very old bone handled silver carving set and, my favorite, a solid silver scalloped "pumpkin spoon". Old cast iron of unknown vintage. A collection of beer brand name, old style "church key" beer can openers.

                                                  1. I have a silly one! My rice cooker is older than me (not saying much, since I'm not yet 23), and I'm reasonably sure it's the oldest thing in my kitchen. My family isn't much of a cooking family, so I have not been the recipient of many hand-me-downs (alas) except some stuff that my mom never used and was happy to donate (crock pot, some unbelievably dull knives, the aforementioned rice maker-- she's even tried to gift me the bread maker, but I don't mind making bread by hand, and it would make me happier if she just used it...). The rice maker was, I believe, a wedding present, which dates it to about two years older than myself. The best part? After I told my mom how useful it was and how pleased I was to be its new owner, she went out and bought a new one herself. XD This is, of course, after letting the old one sit in a closet for twenty years.

                                                      1. The oldest cooking related item I have, but don't use, is a canning jar that belonged to my grandmother's grandmother. My grandmother would have been 106. It is stoneware and has an ear of corn painted on it.
                                                        I have some silver flatware that dates to 1860 as well as some ironstone that I use.
                                                        I have what I think is a home made knife with star shaped rivets that is pretty old.
                                                        I also use a wire handle fork and spatula that my grandmother got for a wedding present.
                                                        I have some old cast iron pieces and hand grinders, one iron covered in green enamel that I think is a nut grinder.

                                                        1. Have my Moms bread knife and cutting board from the 30's in daily use; Mme Zoe's Aunt Agnete's cast iron casserole is still in weekly use - came from the farm that the family homesteaded in North Dakota when they emigrated from Denmark. Also use my Mom's fish forks and knives set with ivory handles - also 30's vintage.

                                                          1. Having used and loved a Lodge skillet for years, I recently acquired a couple of pre-loved Griswold griddles that are 70-80 years old because I needed some different form factors in cast iron and wanted the machined surface.

                                                            The oldest things for cooking that I bought new are the 9" Lodge skillet and some Le Creuset pieces. They're all about 20yrs old, dating to when I had my first apartment and decided I had to start to learn how to cook. Engineer father taught me that tools were a worthy investment.

                                                            There are other older things in my kitchen that I use for eating, but not for cooking: I have a large collection of mid-century, depression-era and older American tableware. The oldest piece is about 105yrs.

                                                            1. I'm 49 and originally got married in 1981. Although I've upgraded to AllClad, I still have all of my original Revere Ware that I bought back in 1981. A few weeks ago I was making whipped cream for strawberry shortcake & my new bf, who is 60, laughed at my GE hand mixer which is 30 years old. I also have flatware and a KitchenCenter from 1981.

                                                              I have silverplate flatware for at least eight that I use as often as possible. My grandmother bought it at an estate sale so I'm not sure exactly how old it is..

                                                              1. Great question. I've got a rotary beater that predates my parents, my grandfather's oyster knife (so beat up but SO dangerous!), and a wonderful heavy child's drinking glass - it's even vaguely frosted from use on the rim and base, and has tiny air bubbles in the glass. Something my mom grew up with as a kid in the 50s. I treasure it - it's really something to think that I have a little piece of my aunt and uncle's childhoods.

                                                                1. Someone has to bring up end on this one -

                                                                  I'm not sure that i have anything older than I am. I have a Sabatier 8 inch knife that is probably 20-40 years old, which means that it might or might not be older than I am.

                                                                  It's not that I dislike old cookware or anything. It's just that no one has left me or given me any old cookware and I'd have to go searching it out. Which I haven't.

                                                                  I have played with several much older knives - a Sabatier from the 50s, some old Dexter Russells from I-don't-know-when, and some depression era Chicago Cutlery. I sharpened them for their owners. Some of them were pretty cool. But they weren't for sale.

                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                    This puts me in mind of a related question: What are the oldest active implements in your kitchen that you bought yourself, brand new? In my case that would be a couple of Sabatier knives and a set of Le Creuset cookware that I got when I moved into my first solo (no housemates) apartment at age 28 in 1980.

                                                                    It was actually my interest in cooking that led me to move out on my own - I was getting into throwing elaborate dinner parties and wanted complete control over who showed up at my table.

                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                      :: What are the oldest active implements in your kitchen that you bought yourself, brand new? ::

                                                                      A Descoware [enameled cast iron] 2-qt casserole that I bought with my second paycheck in late June 1974; it was on sale for $26. at Kitchen Bazaar in DC -- a store that I think is still there, on Connecticut Ave. Let's see, at $.70/year, that's been a pretty worthwhile purchase! [I no longer have the carbon-steel Sabatier that I got with the first paycheck; sorry, cowboyardee...]

                                                                      The casserole base is bare iron cut in a sort of waffled pattern, making it a handy stovetop as well as oven pan. It baked bread and souffles, cooked soups and stews, and was my only 'saucepan' for a good while. In fact, for most of a year my cooking equipment was the knife, a foot-square maple chopping board [WAY too small], a 9" 1920s cast iron skillet, the beloved casserole, and a wooden spoon.

                                                                      Because I learned about the power of baking soda as a cleaner soon after I got it, the casserole's inside is still bright white and slick, and cleans up like a dream. Just yesterday made scalloped potatoes in it. The outside is the same yellow as Le Creuset of its era ["Dijon"]. I see lots of Descoware on ebay, but rarely this model with the bare, waffled base and the lid with porcelain knob handle.

                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                        My p-38 can opener from '67-'68 in 'Nam!
                                                                        In the summer of '78 we were backpacking around Europe (ten years later and still humpin' a backpack!) and in Norway I bought a CAST IRON heart-shaped waffle iron and continues to lug the thing around Europe. Then we moved to Stavanger Norway and I went to the Hoyang factory and bought at the factory, 2 cast iron fry pans and 1 pot w/ lovely mahogany handles, a Dutch oven, and 3 copper stainless clad pots. I still cook every day on them.

                                                                        edit.: I also have a Russian style tea glass w/ ornate silver holder that I "liberated" from the Trans-Siberian Express, the winter of '69-'70. and an electric samovar that I brought back too.

                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                          i had a p-38 when i was a boy scout ...dont know whatever happened to it..

                                                                          67-68 i wasnt born yet tho.....

                                                                          1. re: srsone

                                                                            I'm young at heart. My wife made me take the P-38 off a chain around my neck. Agreat little tool, I use it every now and then, just to keep in shape.

                                                                          2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                            Oh, man, I had a P-38 and we had some good times together. My girlfriend's dad gave us each one when we were setting out with backpacks for Mexico and Europe in 1979.

                                                                            Not sure where it ended up but I would love to get another.

                                                                          3. re: BobB

                                                                            : : What are the oldest active implements in your kitchen that you bought yourself, brand new? In my case that would be a couple of Sabatier knives and a set of Le Creuset cookware that I got when I moved into my first solo (no housemates) apartment at age 28 in 1980. : :

                                                                            I bought two Sabatier knives and a set of Le Creuset in 1979. I replaced the knives with Wusthof stainless in 1984 or so, and Le Creuset replaced my very worn-out set per their lifetime guarantee in 1999. I wish I'd kept the Sabatier, but I gave them to a friend.

                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                              My 20 year old Cuisinart FP. It's still going strong, although it does leak sloshy things. One of my daughter's friends asked if it was an antique. To a 16 yo, I guess it would be.

                                                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                                                My Cuisinart is from 1984 and still going strong, although I've replaced the plastic and "S" blade on it twice. The disc slicers, all 14 of them, are still in great condition.

                                                                              2. re: BobB

                                                                                My old stuff is all self acquired, mainly in the mid-80's. I have two cast iron skillets purchased at the Marin flea market (RIP), a Braun food processor, and a kitchenaide mixer, the latter two purchased at a thrift shop. My parents have a couple of classic items, still in active use, that I have my eyes on--a heavy duty wooden mandoline and a hand crank meat grinder that clamps onto a counter.

                                                                              3. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                My oldest are two copper soup pots, tin lined from Prunier from the late 19th century l bought at a flea market in Paris and, oh my, carried back. Still have a bunch of Dexter 48910 carbon steel knives. One of which is my go to chef's knife. Other's are just in reserve.

                                                                              4. I use and cherish a 12" cast iron skillet that my paternal grandmother got when she got married in 1930. She gave it to me when she stopped cooking. It is still a joy to use and slick as a whistle, as she would say.

                                                                                1. I'm not sure because I have a vintage rolling pin made out of bird's eye maple & I don't really have any idea how old it is. I also have a nordic ware bundt pan my mom gave me that she bought when she first got married - so it's probably about 50 yrs old. I use both of them all the time. I also have some vintage Libby Iced Tea glasses that I think date from around the 70s, but not sure. I think that's probably about it. Most of the hand me downs, especially on my dad's side, went to his two sisters. My mom has some of my grandmother's kitchen items, but again, her two older sisters got most of it. My mom's mom was a great cook and a very talented baker, and I really wish I had one of her rolling pins. I love old rolling pins and having one of hers would have really meant something to me. Oh well.

                                                                                  1. >What's The Oldest Thing You Cook In/With?

                                                                                    My hands, I guess, would be the oldest things...

                                                                                    After that a few mixing bowls my wife's had about forever, & the first handmade coffee mug I bought in 1974.


                                                                                    1. Stir sticks. My step-dad owned a bar, so it started there. Then he and my mom would travel and get stir sticks from different places. Does anyone even use real stir sticks anymore? I love the whimsy-ness of them.

                                                                                      1. "What's The Oldest Thing You Cook With?"

                                                                                        Does my wife count?

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                          I splurged on a couple of Wusthof Classic knives for my single girl apartment in 1970. They're still in use even with wooden handles. Dansk enameled steel casseroles from the early '70s. My fine mesh skimmer has been used extensively since 1971.

                                                                                        2. If you were to ask my wife, the answer would be ME!

                                                                                          1. I have a cast-iron double griddle from circa 1890, and a "Mrs. Smith's" tinned steel pie tin. And an old Henckels "hard chromed steel" sharpening steel that has to be from around WW2. I also have a Heinrich's 'pure nickel' saute pan that's from the 1910's-20's.

                                                                                            1. I put the finishing touch on my knives on a stone in a walnut box, that was for sharpening straight razors.

                                                                                              1. I have a single-speed Waring Blender with a dark green claw-type base and a cracked black lid. I can't find anything on google images that matches it. It's out in the garage, since use my immersion blender for just about everything. Mom got it at an estate sale at the retirement facility she was working at, along with an old toaster oven, that eventually bit the dust.

                                                                                                Other than that, my collection of college blue plastic from the mid '80s. I used to have a caddy with all types of utensils, and it appears that I only have a spatula from that set, but I still have quite a stack of mixing bowls and a colander. All in matching blue plastic.

                                                                                                1. My peeler and my garlic press have been with me for almost 20 yrs. I take the garlic press to Germany every summer.

                                                                                                  1. I love old cookware and have many old things, but the one thing I use regularly for which there is no "newer" version in my kitchen is my grandmother's pizzelle iron. It's about 90 year's old.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: pastina

                                                                                                      :: my grandmother's pizzelle iron ::

                                                                                                      What a treasure! I just had my first pizzelle this spring, and have been meaning to ask to see the iron my friend who baked them uses.

                                                                                                    2. I have a Griswold cast iron pan that was my Grandmothers. It's older than my mother, which puts it around 75 or 80 years old. I also have some cast iron from my parent that they bought in the 60's. The Griswold is wonderful, almost non stick. I adore it.

                                                                                                      1. I have an oak cutting board that my grandmother passed down from her father. She told me that he had made it from a tree on his property. I'm guessing late 1800's, early 1900's. I've used it for years, but for the last 30 years have only used it for bread. I don't recall my sons ever putting the bread on any other cutting board at the dinner table, (or using it for any other purpose) so I guess it has gotten to be an unspoken tradition.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                          Hi, jmcarthur8:

                                                                                                          Good story. So... I bet you're eager to replace that old piece of oak with a new, colored chunk of polyethlene, right?

                                                                                                          Just kidding, of course. If, as my mom said, cooking well is an act of love, then cooking well with some beautiful, well-loved thing with a history makes it a joy--even something as simple as slicing bread. As you know.


                                                                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                            Kaleo, you made me teary- eyed! Thank you.
                                                                                                            That old piece of oak has a lot of life in its cracks and banged up edges.

                                                                                                            The poly cutting boards are used for everything else. Except bread.

                                                                                                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                              jmcarthur8, Aloha:

                                                                                                              I am happiest pointing out how akamai (smart) others are. But you are very welcome.


                                                                                                        2. I have older things but my 1950 jiffy juicer is used alot-whenever I come across one at an estate sale etc -I buy it for a friend-great item and its 9 years older than I am.

                                                                                                          1. I have a 28cm Cousances frying pan which I recently purchased on the bay. I believe it is from the times before Le Creuset acquisitioned the company. The outside is orange enamel (including base) whereas the inside is an ash grey shiny enamel. I haven't tried cooking in it yet and am slightly skeptical how the shiny enamel is going to perform when it comes to frying but I have read that the Cousances enamel is apparently one of the best. Fingers crossed.

                                                                                                            1. I bought a dutch oven right after i got married for a lamb shanks recipe that I wanted to try out. Other pots have come and gone, but my dutch oven has remained a constant presence in my kitchen, used for braised veal, osso bucco, rib roasts, julia's beef bourginan (probably spelled wrong, but you know what i mean), and - of course - my husband's fave: the lamb shanks!

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                                                                                                                On a regular basis, I use the inexpensive collander, with 4 legs and made of thin metal, my seat of Pryrex colored mixing bowls and a few other things that I bought in 1957 when I got married. We didn't have any money, so they were relatively cheap. I have a new heavier collander in my vacation home that I could use here, but I love the old one too much to switch.

                                                                                                                The collander and the bowls outlasted my marriage by many many years.

                                                                                                              2. The oldest things I have are a pair of heavy copper tin lined saucepans from the 1800s.

                                                                                                                The oldest electrical appliance I have is a 1930 chrome KitchenAid model G mixer.

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                                                                                                                1. re: Leolady

                                                                                                                  You reminded me that we use an old toaster, a Sunbeam T-35. I guess I didn't think to mention it because I was thinking of cooking utensils. I do like the old toaster though. It must have been a cost cutting move for Sunbeam to quit making the self-lowering toaster.

                                                                                                                2. my grandmother's china may be older, but generationally I have some pot holders her mother (my great grandmother) crocheted long before I was born.

                                                                                                                  1. Well you included my piece in your example list, it's my Grandmother's Griswold frying pan. Possibly older than that is the stag horn handled butcher's steel from F. Dick that was my Grandfather's, but could have belonged to my Great Grandfather as the three generations prior to me all owned grocery stores. But you don't exactly cook in or with that particular item. There are some old carbon steel butcher knives, but they are probably not over 60.

                                                                                                                    1. My aunt recently gave me this strange wooden "knife" that looks like a miniature machete that belonged to my grandfather. I asked her if he actually used it or was it just decoration. Her reply was, "OH! Every. Single. Day. He used it to spread honey, jam, butter, and the like."

                                                                                                                      He had it when she was a kid so it's at least from the late 40's/early 50's but could be older. It currently hangs on the wall in my kitchen and is back in action as our "spreader."

                                                                                                                      1. Oh, I have you all beat. On my windowsill sits a piece of fossiliferous chert, found in a field in Indiana, The rock itself is old, of course, but it was chipped and worked about a thousand years ago by some aboriginal Hoosier. She probably used it to crack marrow bones and hickory nuts--I use it to crack the skins off garlic and mash it to a paste with salt. And every time I use it, I think of that woman, and wonder what she would think of me using her tool.

                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: sparrowgrass


                                                                                                                          I have three old pieces -- not prehistoric, but they all came from Indiana! :D

                                                                                                                          One is not THAT old - it's a funny little wire whip/paddle that my grandmother used to fold dry ingredients into the egg whites to make angel food cake -- NOTHING else works as well as that.

                                                                                                                          Next is the cast iron skillet that HER mother used, and that she thought her grandmother used. The forge marks are gone, so I'll never know just how old it is.

                                                                                                                          Finally, the cast aluminum stew pot with a wire-bail handle and a hard black plastic knob on the lid (I *think* it predates Bakelite, so early 1900s, I'm guessing). It belonged to my great-grandmother on the other side, and we call it "the chicken and noodle pot" because that's usually what was to be found bubbling away inside. (Either chicken and noodles, or stewed green beans with onions and bacon...take your pick)

                                                                                                                          All of these are so much more than age or monetary value to me...when I cook with them, I get the chance to cook with these three fabulous women once again, even though they've all been gone for years now. (I was one of the lucky ones -- I actually KNEW my great-grandmothers. -- all four of them!)

                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                            I just used my pot exactly like that (I got it about 30 years ago but the source escapes me) to make a butternut barley and kale risotto tonight! I hadn't used it in a while but, I do love it and was reminded of its excellence about 2 hours ago.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                              We have our grandmother's cast aluminum pot at our cabin. It is from the same era that you describe. The knob on the lid was made of shellac. Bakelite was first used in the 1920s. The knob on my grandmother's kettle was pretty much gone so we replaced it with a bolt coming out the top. Last deer season I replaced it with a knob made for kitchen cupboards. The knobs came as a pair so I used the other one on the lid for the stainless steel kettle that my mother always used to boil potatoes and pasta. The steel is so thin I don't remember her using it for cooking anything other than that which used boiling water. I also don't ever remember a knob on the lid. She just grabbed the screw on the lid using a towel. It wasn't that my father was not handy (he wasn't) I'm sure he never noticed and she never said anything about it.

                                                                                                                            2. re: sparrowgrass

                                                                                                                              Hi, sparrowgrass:

                                                                                                                              "all beat"? We may need to scrape together the money for a couple carbon dating tests.

                                                                                                                              I have two stone pounders/pestles that eroded out of a bank by my beach house. I use them to smash crab legs. Middens nearby have been dated as far back as 3,000 years. But who knows, maybe the "Made in China" stickers fell off?


                                                                                                                              1. re: sparrowgrass

                                                                                                                                Now that, I would really enjoy using. Thanks for sharing.
                                                                                                                                I wish folks would attach more photos.

                                                                                                                              2. Besides the Wife (who right now is in Disneyland w Daughter and Gdaughter) .........Nothing.

                                                                                                                                1. In actual regular use, a few bits from the 1950s. A c. 1950 Griswold cast-iron skillet that we rescued from the attic of a house we once owned (this attic also provided a pile of "Blue Heaven"-pattern dishes we still use). A c. early 50s Sunbeam W-2 waffle maker--makes great waffles, and also a Sunbeam Mixmaster. Most of the rest of it is 15-20 years, from when we were first married.

                                                                                                                                  1. It's probably the Mirro Cookie Press set from the 1940s that my mom used every year to make holiday cookies. I would help her, of course. :-) My favorites were the long ridged "ribbons" which got sprinkled with multicolored nonpareils all along their length before baking. Mom wasn't particularly fond of baking ... in fact the cookies are the ONLY thing I can remember her ever making as far as baked goods go .... and so she only did it for the holidays. Which made the use of the cookie press even more special!

                                                                                                                                    I have since tried all the modern versions thinking they would be an "improvement" : the current Mirro, the trigger type, even the battery operated ones. Ended up either tossing them or giving them all away. The original 60-plus-year-old model still turns out the best cookies. Except that I use it far more often than just once a year. And yes... the ribbon ones are still my favorite shape. :-)

                                                                                                                                    EDITED TO ADD: I'm not sure if this qualifies as cookware but we also use the set that was my mom's "good china" (probably bought right after their wedding in the late 1940s) more or less every day. It depends on the piece, because it's no longer a full set, but the bowls and dessert plates usually turn out to be the perfect size for certain things we make regularly. These were, like the cookie press, things that were only used once or twice a year for special occasions during all the years my parents were alive. Both 60+ years old now.

                                                                                                                                    I wish I had some cookware or utensils from my grandmother but the only thing I ever recall her making was reservations. :-) All kidding aside, I never once saw or heard of her cooking anything, though I am sure she did when she was younger, meaning before my dad and his brothers were out on their own. But after that, I have a feeling she singlehandedly supported the restaurant industry in first NY and then Florida, LOL.

                                                                                                                                    1. I have my grandmothers hand rotary beater. I believe it's over 70 yrs old as my Mom said it was there before she was born. Also I do have a cast iron cauldron! Also inherited from my grandmother. It's one of a set and my Mom has the other one. She made everything from soap to gumbo in that thing. Even boiled clothes in it at one time before they got their first washer. It's been there as long as the beater And big enough to fit two adult bodies in. Ask me how I know...LOL

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: DAVESGIRL

                                                                                                                                        Hi, DAVESGIRL:

                                                                                                                                        How do you know? You and Dave been inside, have you?


                                                                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                          LMBO - yes. Yes we have! It got a bit creepy and we couldn't get out of it fast enough!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: DAVESGIRL


                                                                                                                                            You need to put that big cauldron to good use... I have distant cousins (adoptive) in the Cook Islands who like to say: "My grandfather ate your grandfather", and even though it's false from a generational perspective, it's true.

                                                                                                                                            Seriously, if it is that large, this was probably cast as a wash boiler, tallow pot, or something similar. Or did your family own a castle with a drive-through cooking hearth?

                                                                                                                                            Post a pic if you will; I'd love to see it.


                                                                                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                              "Tallow pot" is a term ive heard my grandma use maybe thats what it is? It is used from time to time but only for family functions ( we have a huge family) it stays in NC on the Outerbanks in that same spot my grandfather stationed it. The problem is its heavy as all get out and i doubt I will ever move it up North where I am since im in a city with limited space. It also takes 3-4 people to help clean it - hence being used from time to time. I will take a picture of it the next time I'm in town which is fairly often. There was a smaller cauldron (1 person capacity) that was lent to a passerby who asked to use it for a family gathering and promised to return it. Grandma gave it to him and never saw it again. (they did things like that back in those days but people would return things as promised!) granddaddy was NOT amused! LOL

                                                                                                                                      2. My kitchen consists of mostly stuff I got at the thrift store (plus stuff I got on sale at Marshall's, etc, and some nice stuff I saved up for). I'm not sure how old my things are, but I'd say:

                                                                                                                                        -Cousances cast-iron skillet (the pan I would save if my house burned down, even though it would probably survive anyway, but I need to save it because the seasoning is sooooo good).

                                                                                                                                        -Descoware flame saucepan that makes me feel like Julia Child

                                                                                                                                        -Mouli grater aka "don't tell anyone but I love this more than my microplane"

                                                                                                                                        Not really mine, but I love cooking in my mom's cast aluminum cookware. Can't find stuff like that anymore.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: caseyjo

                                                                                                                                          Hi, caseyjo:

                                                                                                                                          You can't? Here's something for you if you like aluminum, but act fast! eBay Item # 190618787881


                                                                                                                                          1. re: caseyjo

                                                                                                                                            I have a bunch of my mom's old Club aluminum. I love it too.

                                                                                                                                          2. Theres nothing older than me in my kitchen. :(

                                                                                                                                            Im a first generation American so my parents couldn't really bring their old cookware so they have none to pass down to me. Plus they are strongly against buying anything used. Oldest thing I use is probably a baking dish my aunt and I used to use when we made brownies. I was probably around 10 when we first got it. Sad part is....this is post 2000s so its not really old anyways. Well...I see it as old seeing as this was from my childhood but now that I think about it, its barely old. We dont have any cookware left from the 90s. My parents got rid of all that and now we're stocked with relatively new cookware.

                                                                                                                                            tbh, Im not sorry none of our stuff is old. I like new better. They're prettier to look at haha. If Im to buy vintage, its going to be clothes.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: yeahboiii

                                                                                                                                              E, yeahboiii, Aloha Kaua:

                                                                                                                                              You just wait. Your future will bring discovery of the past. And wonders with it.


                                                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                Love that line!

                                                                                                                                                I think I may have something even older than that cauldron and egg beater. My grandma passed away in 2010 and I inherited her sugar bowl and matching creamer which were wedding gifts. I wouldn't say they are crystal but I know they are glass and very pretty. So they were married somewhere around 1929 but no later than 1931, which would make it around 80ish. I wish I had something passed from their parents to them but there are just too many of us and you pretty much take what you can get. It's still a great piece of my history!

                                                                                                                                            2. Love this thread. My oldies are a cast aluminum dutch oven with a black know and a really handy heavy wire lifter, my mother's wooden bowl and couble bladed half moon chopper (for chopped liver, of course) and her eggbeater that we used in the '50's when I was very little to beat cookie/brownie dough ingredients. I also have my Great Aunt Jennie's dining room table (not technically in the kitchen) but, I'm told she got it around the time of WWI.

                                                                                                                                              1. I have my grandmother's cast iron hoe cake pan. It's flat like a griddle with a slight lip and about the size of a dinner plate. It was already old when I arrived on the scene in 1939! They would grease it with bacon drippings or lard and pour in a batter of just white corn meal and salt. My other grandmother omitted the salt.

                                                                                                                                                1. My grandmother's cast iron cornstick pans

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                    Do you use them? I tried to use mine years ago (20+) and the clean up was horrendous. Never touched them again.

                                                                                                                                                  2. I am nearly 63 and my parents were still using their stuff as I began my kitchen in the early 70s. Most everything I got back then is still in regular use - carbon steel knives, tinned copper and French steel pans, Mason-Cash bowls. Buy good stuff. It lasts. I certainly don't cook with it but still use my Great grandmother's silver, probably from the late 1800s, and her old blue and white Canton china (which, interestingly, tests as not having lead issues).

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                                                                                      Hi, tim, Happy New Year:

                                                                                                                                                      You are lucky to have had such kitchen-wise parents. We should all be so lucky--and wise.


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                        Hear! Hear! Happy New Year to you, as well.

                                                                                                                                                    2. It's not older than me, but I often use my grandma's Kitchen Aid mixer from the 1980s. I've had to replace a couple parts, but I use it at least a few days a week.

                                                                                                                                                      1. My chinese cleaver I bought in china town Victoria about 45 years ago and a set of graters my mother used in her kitchen. BTW can anyone tell me when these graters were made.ball park? Please see photo/s The graters are stamped 'BEST PAT.' Thanxs How about putting up some photos of the 'old' stuff?

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                          Hi, Puffin3:

                                                                                                                                                          I have a big box of these graters, and think they're great--you can gate right into a real bowl, not on o a board or in a hard-to-reach/clean FP.

                                                                                                                                                          I'm not sure about date, but they are tinned steel. I would guess 1900-1940, although we had tinned iron pans in USA back to the early 1800s.


                                                                                                                                                        2. I have a bunch of old equipment that was my grandmother's... rolling pins, bowls, spoons, etc. I also have her old fashioned hand cranked cookie press made of copper (which was possibly my gr-grandmother's), and some cookie cutters of hers that are from the 1920s or 30s.

                                                                                                                                                          1. hmmm....the oldest thing that I can think of is a nylon spoon with a flat bottom that I just know came from a gas station - ok, I'm dating myself here - back in the day when gas was 27 cents a gallon and you got a gift with a fill up. I love it and have used it I'm guessing for almost 40 years for making scrambled eggs - the flat bottom is good for scraping up the cooked mixture. For years I shopped the gadget wall in various retail establishments wanting to replace it - just on the principle of upgrading my collection. But I could never find the flat bottomed utensil I was looking for. So it stays in the drawer. Now recently I started using a silicone "spoonula" for stirring my eggs, and was recently thinking I could donate the spoon, but I think I'll hold on to it as a souvenir of a long gone time!

                                                                                                                                                            1. My dad's electric knife. Probably from the 70's. Recently found it wrapped up in the garage!

                                                                                                                                                              1. I have one - just one - Lodge cast iron pan from the early 1900's. It was my great grandmother's. Sadly, I once had a full set that my non-cooking spouse sold at a yard sale while I was on a biz trip after we first got married. The family story was that my great grandfather worked at a mill that provided the raw metal for Lodge and got them as a gift from a friend who worked at the Lodge TN foundry. I think it's all made up, except for the fact that the dutch oven-style pot has been around as far back as I've ever been able to verify through family members who are all now long deceased.

                                                                                                                                                                I don't cook in it though - has more sentimental that use value since the rest of the set's no longer with me.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I have two patterns of vintage (not antique) dishes that I collect. I believe they're from the early 1960s and were both done as giveaways in supermarkets with the stamps. I use the dinner plates occasionally, and I use the serving pieces every time I have a formal meal (like Thanksgiving etc).

                                                                                                                                                                  I also have my grandmother's entire collection of depression glass, and I have added to it. She passed away when I was 13 so I've been collecting it since. I don't use some of the more frilly pieces that are in pink, but I do have some cobalt pieces I like to use sometimes. I use the sugar and creamers for flowers :)