Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Nut Grinder

My old, reliable, pretty, comforting nut grinder.  There are many adjectives I could use to describe my little nut grinder but these are the first that come to mind.  

My nut grinder is old.  The only thing in my life that has been with me longer is my 82-year-old father (of which I am grateful).  I remember using this nut grinder when I was a very young girl helping my mother cook.  I won't say how old I am, but I know my nut grinder is at least 55-years-old. 

My nut grinder is reliable.  The metal grinding mechanism has never faltered.  And how many thousands of times has that handle with the worn-smooth wooden knob at the end turned?  Ten-thousand turns?  Fifty-thousand turns?  I often wonder.  

My nut grinder is pretty!  Although it was probably a lot prettier thirty or forty years ago, the flower decal is still there, almost in its entirety.  I'm very picky about hand washing it and I make absolutely sure it is thoroughly dried as soon as I've rinsed it.  I don't want to take a chance on any rusting.  I know the red paint was much more vibrant years ago and some of it has worn off, but it is still a pretty little thing, don't you agree?  

My nut grinder is comforting.  Whenever I use my nut grinder (and I use it often) I am taken back to my youth, helping my mother cook something wonderful.  I'm sure she and I had some important conversations while I was turning that handle.  And in later years when I would visit I would still help her make something wonderful, and we would have some important conversations while turning that handle.  

What is the best thing I like about my nut grinder?  The way it grinds nuts. Perfect pieces that are not too small, not too large... just right.  Every time.  

Some time ago I thought I should upgrade my nut-grinding activity to something faster... like a food processor.  If you've ever tried to grind nuts in a food processor it is nearly impossible not to over-process (powdered nuts) or under-process (mostly large pieces, some small pieces, very inconsistent). Then several years ago a friend gave me a spring-loaded up-and-down thing with an x-shaped blade that bangs around on a plastic base.  The results were even worse than the food processor.  So I abandoned the "new and improved" gadgets and went back to my nut-grinding roots.

For those of you who have had the culinary pleasure of eating our almost-famous Lavender Pecan Cookies (and for those of you who will enjoy them in the future), every single Texas pecan is ground in my old, pretty, reliable, comforting nut grinder.  Yes, I grind all those toasted pecans by hand, sitting at my kitchen island thinking about my mother with every turn of that well-worn handle.  Even though Mom is gone, she still has a hand in helping me make Lavender Pecan Cookies.  Thanks Mom!

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