5 Favorite Old-Fashioned Kitchen Gadgets

We've talked about useless gadgets and useful ones, but these mostly recent tools didn't include some of our real favorite kitchen gadgets. Ingenious kitchen devices have been around for hundreds of years, and we love some of the most old-fashioned ones. So here, from apple peeler to cherry pitter, are some of our very favorite old-school kitchen gadgets.

1 Apple Peeler/Corer - When you're peeling and coring a ton of apples for preserving, this amazing gadget is magic. My father-in-law has a serious love for these; they're just plain fun to use, too.

2 Mortar and Pestle - The mortar and pestle is almost universal gadget, timeless and simple. Nearly every cuisine has some sort of herb-and-spice-bashing device, and most of them look remarkably like the mortars and pestles we still use today.

3 Cherry Pitter - Like the apple peeler, this solidly ingenious gadget wasn't just a convenient device: it was a necessity for farm kitchens putting up pounds and pounds of cherries at once.

4 Meat Grinder - Move aside, food processor. The old-fashioned meat grinder ground sausage and other meats for many, many years before electric gadgets ever came along.

5 Eggbeater - Until the advent of the electric mixer, the mechanical eggbeater or mixer was the most newfangled way a cook could mix up meringue. One of our favorite literary food scenes has a turn-of-the-century Vienna cook insisting that an eggbeater would only come into her kitchen over her dead body.

Useful, useless, or just curious: Do you have any favorite old-fashioned or antique kitchen gadgets?

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Nora Singley used to be a cheesemonger and the Director of Education at Murray's Cheese Shop. Until recently she was a TV Chef on The Martha Stewart Show. She is currently a freelance food stylist and recipe developer in New York.

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