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Mar 6, 2013 11:44 AM

what are the culinary items you can't wait to inherit?

HI all I'm a journalist working on a story for a NYC paper about the culinary items people can't wait to inherit (or pass on). I'd love some more stories & tips. Ideally I'm looking for off beat items- so NOT your mother's Kitchen Aid or an old cast iron pot but maybe something quirkier, like a motorized rotisserie... Thanks!

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  1. I tried that a few months ago and got interesting but mixed results - some were offended, thinking that I was waiting eagerly for my elders to die in order to get my hands on a few cheap (but meaningful to me) tchotchkes.

    Check this out:

    10 Replies
    1. Someone doesn't have to die in order for someone else to inherit something. My grandparents (grandma is 87 and grandpa is 92) have been giving things away for the past few years. They have six children, and 13 grandchildren, and they said it's easier to give things away now, than to have people fighting over them after they're gone. They also downsized into a condo 25 years ago and put lots of things in storage, so they have been working to clean out the storage so it's not left to their children to do after they're gone. My mom has gotten some lovely silver serving dishes so far, that my grandmother received as a wedding gift. Also my mom and her siblings have expressed which items they would like to have, and my grandparents get to choose who it goes to. So in that case, it's OK to "look forward" to inherit something.

      My mom and her sister have had a bit of competition for a nativity set. Apparently they both helped paint it when they were very young, and they both want it. So nothing has been done with that one but I'm sure it'll be fine.

      1. re: juliejulez

        Agreed. My mother (still alive) and MIL (died 5 years ago) both made gifts to me and other children for birthdays and Christmas of special items over the years -- some that I'd admired and some that I was not aware of. I use them often and I always enjoy the memory of the gift and its history -- e.g., the silver gravy/ sauce boat from my MIL, which was her mother's (my husband's grandmother's) and the Limoges gravy boat from my mother, which belonged to her mother (my grandmother). I use both at Thanksgiving and Christmas and enjoy the thought that pieces that belonged to 2 very different women, from very different social backgrounds, are both on our holiday table.

        1. re: masha

          Oh that's different. I always understood "inherit" to mean receiving something after the death of the owner. Beforehand is a better method as far as I'm concerned. I have several siblings who live closer to my Mom so I don't expect much despite being the oldest (especially after seeing their frenzy after my father's death); but have managed over the years to end up with a few things she didn't want and offered to me when I was visiting. Can't imagine not having a few heirlooms hanging around for good luck. It's a nice feeling.

        2. re: juliejulez

          I ending up going to eBay to find a similar nativity set to what my parents have. Not wanting to "wait" as it were. It was pretty pricy so I have up. Then my father purchased it for me as an early Christmas gift.

          1. re: melpy

            Yes this one in question is handmade and painted so don't think they'll ever find a replacement :)

          2. re: juliejulez

            Well, technically I do not think you are correct. "Inherit" is usually defined as being a verb that means to "receive (money, property, or a title) as an heir at the death of the previous holder."

            But more broadly, I agree - you can acquire cookware or other property from someone who gives it to you without dying. That was the case for me with my aunt - i "inherited" her cast iron skillet and some japanese dinnerware which I very much love and use regularly. She is still alive - just not cooking any more.

          3. I was the "victim" of reverse inheritance anticipation.

            Shortly after marrying my first husband we were invited to dinner at my new inlaws' home. My MIL had an extensive collection of decorative glassware (depression, milk, hobnail, ruby, etc) displayed prominently throughout the house. She walked me around, explaining all the details of each grouping. She was obviously very proud of her collection so, wishing to show my appreciation, I complimented her on a graceful trio of
            vases. She lit up, ran into the kitchen, returned with a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie and proceeded to write my name on pieces of tape and slap them on the underside of each vase. I was horrified! I later learned that this was a common practice in her home to ensure each of her daughters (i guess she included me as one) was certain to inherit the objects they wanted but it really threw me for a loop!

            PS. The marriage ended badly so I guess she had to break out the Goo-Gone.

            1. re: Pwmfan

              How very odd. Even of she wanted to do this, I would hope she would have waited until you left.

              1. re: melpy

                To the contrary. Even though the marriage didn't work out, I think it's charming that she signaled to you in such an overt way that she definitely counted you as a daughter. I would have thought it a very warm "welcome to the family."

                But then, I know many people who mark their possessions for children and sibs so that everyone knows who gets what. If this were the first I'd seen of this, I'd have been surprised, to say the least. Horrified? Nah, MIL was clearly trying to please.

                1. re: DuffyH

                  The masking tape method is pretty common where I live.

                  In my grandmother's generation, most families were huge. My grandmother and her sisters were full of stories about cousins and friends "fighting" over items in. My great-grandmother used the tape method.

          4. I have plans to leave everything I own to four younger friends, but nothing is "offbeat" so no details for you.

            1. Well, I don't know how offbeat this is, but I salivated for many years over my mother's 1950's Ecko spatula. When her new husband took over the cooking he gave it to me. I didn't covet it for sentimental reasons. It is hands-down THE best spatula. Ever. I use it every day.

              I'm so obsessed with it that I purchased another on eBay in advance of the day the handle finally breaks, but it doesn't have the same flex. Pity.

              1. I have a tuna masher. Yup, it's the go-to implement for proper tuna salad. It's produced in upstate NY, so if you want to highlight a local producer of a tuna masher - let me know.

                I am not the producer of the masher, or do not know anyone who works for the tuna masher.

                4 Replies
                1. re: breadchick

                  I have a tuna can drainer. We could crank out a LOT of tuna salad. :))

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    Tuna salad truck!!! Tuna cupcakes (well, no, cupcakes are so over. Especially tuna ones.)

                    1. re: breadchick

                      <Tuna cupcakes (well, no, cupcakes are so over. Especially tuna ones.)>

                      You're a riot! :))

                      1. re: breadchick

                        Wish my family thought cupcakes were over. Since I don't care about cake, it has been decided by others that cupcakes will be our cake.

                  2. Well, it's not that offbeat but it is retro: My mother's nesting Pyrex bowls, which she acquired as a newlywed in the 50s -- i.e., the ones in bright primary colors. There will be 2 obstacles - my sister who may also want them and my husband who will object that we don't have the space or need for them.

                    When my MIL passed away about 5 years ago, my SIL took her identical set of Pyrex bowls.

                    There is an entire generation of us for whom these bowls are associated with mixing cookie dough in the big yellow bowl, tuna salad in the little blue one, etc.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: masha

                      I've broken my green and yellow ones, Masha. I only have the blue and the red left. I never use them, I'm so afraid they'll break.

                      1. re: Jay F

                        When my mother was 10 (she's 80 now), she put a trio of nesting Hall bowls (blue with gold rim) on layaway at the five and dime, paying a nickel a week. She gave them to her mother for Mother's Day. When her mom died, she got them back, and like masha's Pyrex, they were used for everything, every day.

                        A few years ago Mom gave them to me and was appalled that I hardly used them. She convinced me that they needed to be used to show them they were loved. So I do!

                        1. re: Jay F

                          I have a different philosophy. I'd rather break something than put it up on a shelf and never use. We're all different.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I don't mind breaking them. What I hate is _cleaning up_ broken glass--to the point, perhaps, of being a bit phobic about it.

                            I don't really need the bowls, either. I have plenty of stainless bowls I prefer to use, and the Pyrex bowls look very nice on the shelf they occupy. I'm thinking of offering them to someone here, actually. I'm getting older, and I just don't need everything I used to think I needed.

                        2. re: masha

                          My aunt has those, and I want them.

                          1. re: juliejulez


                            I even put them in the dw. Mom couldn't believe I was hand washing to preserve what's left of the gold rims. She was so thrilled to get a dw that literally EVERYTHING went in it. Same with with her microwave; if sparks don't fly, why the hell not?

                            Now I have trouble convincing her I do NOT want my plastic ware put in either appliance. Funny, this is about the only place where I'm old school, and she's not.

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              I'm 65 and have my mother's water glasses with gold rims. They've only ever been handwashed and at their age have almost all the gold still on them. I use them regularly at dinner parties.

                            2. re: juliejulez

                              Julie, is it the colored Pyrex bowls you want? If so, contact me at the e-mail address in my profile.

                            3. re: masha

                              Yep, and you can find them at tag sales or sometimes on EBay. Those bowls hold memories.

                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                I've seen them in plenty of vintage shops, but they always want a pretty penny for them.

                                1. re: juliejulez

                                  Mom once estimated she paid about $2 for the set of 3. A fortune at the time, especially for a little girl.

                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                    Don't get discouraged. I have picked up all kinds of Pyrex and never pay big prices. I go to moving sales, church sales, etc. I have now been collecting for 10 years. My best purchase a Pyrex purcolator coffee pot with the blue cornflower and the vintage primary colour bowls at the Salvation Army store. I paid $15.00 for the bowls and $5.00 for the pot. As well I got another set of bowls at a flea market of another pattern for $10.00, the people at the stall practically gave them to me when I told them that I collect Pyrex. And if you are a tea drinker keep a look out for the Pyrex teapot, they make a great pot of tea, and keeps hot for quite awhile. I think I may be encouraging you to shop!

                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                      HA! I can usually find some pretty cheap Pyrex dishes, but those colored bowls always seem to be pricey. I told my aunt and she just laughed considering how much they cost new.

                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                        The primary colour bowls are expensive. I looked for them for 2 years and one day on a whim went into the Salvation Army store where they were selling for $15.00. I have to admit I grabbed them before anyone else could. Sometimes you can find them separately and bring some back together, reunited!