My other old school favorite….my mom’s pastry blender. For those of you who don’t bake, it’s the other option for making pie crusts that isn’t a food processor or two forks. It’s used for blending butter cubes into flour in the first stage of making a pie crust or biscuits. When my mom passed away in 2004 (damn you, Alzheimer's!), my sister cleared out the kitchen and randomly divvied things between the siblings. I feel fortunate to have received mom’s pastry blender. Its red handle worn by my mom’s hands and wire "blades" tweaked just a little from years of use (and probably abuse by us kids).
I like to bake but never had much luck with pie crusts – they were always flakey and tasty but not particularly attractive. I’m sure I added too much or too little of something, or maybe I rolled it out too much or too little, overworked or underworked. I never cared much for a food processor either. One Thanksgiving, my mom called while I was making a crust for pumpkin pie. Because I was distracted, or perhaps because mom was sending good vibes, I mixed the crust absent-mindedly with the phone tucked between my shoulder and my ear. That was the first crust that ever turned out PERFECT. Once I inherited mom’s pastry blender, I feel Mom pitching in every time I use it.
So, what old school devise to YOU prefer, even in light of modern upgrades? Maybe you’re a straight razor guy who sharpens with a leather strap? Or you use a rotary lawn mower? Anyone?