Rolling Pins

Over the holidays, we took on a project that we have been talking about for a year and a half - freshening the kitchen. This entailed painting, new handles and new floor. In this process everything had to come out of the kitchen, then put back again. That meant thinking about my rolling pins again - perhaps unusual these days, but a part of my kitchen. Here's my rolling pin story...Rolling pins don’t seem to be a staple in kitchens much anymore, especially Baby Boomers and younger. But my grandmothers had rolling pins that they used and used – wooden, one had painted handles and one did not.

My rolling pin experience goes back to Christmas cookies with my friend and her two young sons and rolling out gingerbread. After a few years of Christmas cookie baking together, they gave me a Teflon coated rolling pin for Christmas. More on the Christmas cookies in a few months.

Some how I ended up with a collection of rolling pins. I have my Grandma Helen’s rolling pin – wooden with natural handles. I have a great plastic yellow one with red accented handles straight out of the 1950’s. I actually saw it one day at a local thrift store, it was $12.95 and I decided it was too much. I went home and got the latest edition of Martha Stewart magazine that day, and low and behold it had an article about rolling pins! And there was a picture of a plastic yellow rolling pin with red ascents on the handles just like I had seen at the thrift store earlier in the day! The article said that style was very collectable. The next morning I high tailed it back to the thrift store hoping the rolling pin I saw the day before and thought was too much would still be there – it was! What had been too expensive the day before was suddenly a treasure and a bargain a day later. I rescued a few well used rolling pins from thrift stores, and I remember one I bought at a yard sale that was the woman’s mother who had died recently. The rolling pin seemed twice the width around than the others I had, and she only wanted $3, so I felt I needed to save it and took it home. Then I bought a brand new French rolling pin (with no handles at the ends, just tapered), just because. I have a tiny, baby rolling pin I got somewhere along with way for our Christmas cookie baking when the boys were young.

My friend Donna knew I had a rolling pin collection, so a few years ago when her Aunt died Donna rescued Auntie Mary’s rolling pin – wooden with green handles – from the donation pile and gave it to me. Donna knew I would cherish it and care for it well.

When I moved to Phoenix to marry my Handsome Husband (HH) about five years ago, while decorating after I moved in I was trying to figure out what to do. The ceilings were high in the kitchen and there were canned ceiling lights. So my Honey came up with a fabulous plan! Tie monofilament line around the canisters of the lights and tie the other ends to the handles of the rolling pins! We hung them from different angles and directions, and had about ten or twelve suspended from the kitchen ceiling – they were so cute! They looked especially good at night, because of the high ceiling; we had room to put decorative things on the top of the upper part of the kitchen cupboards along with accent lights. So in the evenings, the monofilament line disappeared and all you saw were the rolling pins “floating” in the air. We called it our “Harry Potter” kitchen. I loved it! When we moved back to San Diego, we bought a home built in 1949 so no high ceiling. I’m still trying to figure out something clever to do with my rolling pins.

The most recent rolling pin in the collection was acquired in summer 2007. We went to visit HH’s cousin and her husband in Sacramento. We had such a nice time. His cousin and I even spent an hour in a beautiful kitchen shop in downtown Truckee on day – we had a great time. At the end of our visit she had pulled out what was her (and HH’s) grandmother’s rolling pin – the beloved Grandma Baker. She had it sitting on the counter with a recipe card tied to it with a note to me explaining whose it was and that she felt it was time to pass it to someone in the family (that was very generous of her) who would cherish it as much as she did, and put it in a place of honor in her kitchen. I was so touched, I was speechless.

Right now I have all my rolling pins in the kitchen in a make-shift display, all stacked in rows of about three and nestled on top of one another. It looks fine, but will not be the final “display” point. I’ll keep you posted on any changes…I’m actually kind of waiting until we paint the kitchen and redo the floor before I commit to a final display design for my wonderful rolling pins.Now that the kitchen "freshening" is done they are strategically stacked in an open cabinet so you can see a side view and front view. They look fine, although still waiting for a brainstorm of a display idea!

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