Old Stuff I Own – Part Deux


Deux means 2 – or II.  I used a little French there, because we Anglophones marinate in it up here in Canada, and to attract a higher class of reader – not that there’s anything wrong with the ones I already have.

My first “old stuff” post was about knives.  This one is about food.  It’s not difficult to see where my interests lie, although I would never lie to you.








I’m not sure how to identify this apparatus.  If I say “food processor” people think, electrified gadget.  This is a food processor, only, people-powered.  My Mom just called it a grinder, and I was the teen-aged, or younger, people who used to power it.
















Like, you should start assembling it today, to have it ready for tomorrow.  The main body used to screw to the simple, plank counter-tops, back before every home got patterned, arborite counters with big, rounded, no-drip edges.  I have a large cutting board, or the cut-out from the double sink, which I screw this to.

Once the main body is secured, the large central feed-screw is inserted, then the slotted disc is placed over the end, with the wing tab in a small slot, to keep it from rotating.  Then the perforated disc with the ovate center is placed over the screw’s protruding end, which forces it to turn.  The long rod, with the threaded end is pushed through, toward the operator; the handle is fitted over the triangular end, and held in place with the wing-nut.  (No, not me!)

This thing was manufactured about a century ago.  It is cast from “white metal”, a zinc/tin alloy.  This is not the specific one that my Mom owned and I ran.  This is a substitute that we managed to find at a yard sale, shortly after we were married.  We’ve owned it for 45 years, and it was an old bugger when we bought it.

When my Dad decided that he wanted to put himself in a retirement home, he sold his house off, as-is, with everything inside.  Many little mementos and knick-knacks were lost, including Mom’s grinder, and his Second World War Armed Service knife, although I did find and rescue Mom’s stash of dollar coins, and discontinued two-dollar bills.

All kinds of stuff can be run through this old baby.  Ring, or slab bologna (baloney), or even wieners can be ground.  Add salt and pepper, sweet relish and mayo (We use Miracle Whip.), and mix, to make a low-cost meat-salad, sandwich filling or cracker topper.

After dicing up some of the left-over Easter ham, for an Austrian ham and noodle casserole, I later ground the balance to make a similar ham salad, and have ground leftover beef roast, to make hash with.

Mom and I ran a lot of vegetables through ours, to make relish and chili-sauce, six-quart baskets – bushels – of cucumbers, onions, peppers and tomatoes.  The biggest problem was the liquid that gets forced from the veggies.  I worked with a galvanized pail, sitting on a large towel, beneath the dripping handle.

All food must be firmly pressed down into the feed auger, taking great care that finger tips are not added to canapés.  That would make for very unappetising appetisers.

It must be carefully cleaned after use, because there are lots of little nooks and crannies where bits of food can lodge, rot, and later cause sickness. It must also be carefully dried.  Parts like the cutter discs are not zinc alloy, nor are they modern stainless steel.  They are merely old mild steel, much subject to rusting.

While they are handy, there are many jobs that this old baby can do, that modern “food processors” can’t.  After many years, Kitchen Aid added a power takeoff at the front end of their big mixer, much like farm tractors, and began selling meat-grinder attachments.  They are all-stainless, and retail for about $100.  They take almost as long to assemble and clean, but are smaller, and don’t process as quickly.  They do though, sit higher off the counter so that a larger collector bowl can be used.

We bought one, but eventually the daughter “permanently borrowed” it.  I can have it back in the time it takes to drive to her place, but, as long as I have the patience and arm-strength, I still prefer to do things the old-fart way.