Tyler Florence Cookbook Winner & New $100 Food Gal Contest Giveaway

The family rolling pin.

The rolling pin above is as old-school as it gets.

It’s not in vogue like those slender, tapered, elegant French rolling pins coveted by today’s bakers.

The red color on the handles long ago started fading away in spots.

It may be worse for the wear, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

You see, it was my late-Mom’s rolling pin.

I’m not even sure when she acquired it. All I know is that for as long as I can remember, it was stored in a cupboard in our family home, along with all the other baking equipment.

As a kid, I’d rifle through that cupboard till I found it, then roll out dough for peach pies in the summer or fanciful decorated cookies for Christmas in the shapes of stars and snowmen.

Nowadays, that rolling pin is tucked away in a drawer in my own kitchen. Whenever I take it out and place my hands on the smooth wood that’s seen so much use, it just feels so wonderfully right.

And that’s why I can never fathom replacing it.

Contest: Now, it’s your turn. Tell me what’s the one kitchen item you could never give away or live without?

The best or most memorable answer will win a $100 gift card to an any CSN online store. After all, at this time of year with gift-giving at the forefront, who couldn’t use one hundred smackeroos to put toward the purchase of anything from new bedding to extra serving platters to wine glasses to even bar tables and stools.

Contest is open only to those in the United States and Canada. Deadline to enter is midnight PST Nov. 27. Winner will be announced Nov. 28.

Tyler Florence Cookbook Winner: In my most recent Food Gal contest, I asked you to tell me what you wanted celeb chef Tyler Florence to teach you if he came to your house for a day.

Here’s the winning entry, which wins the copy of Florence’s new cookbook, “Tyler Florence Family Meal” (Rodale):

Congrats to Bria, who wrote, “Oh lord, I love Tyler Florence. This looks absolutely incredible, possibly my perfect brunch food. I would have Tyler show me how to make something that takes a really really long time. Like a 60-hour slow sous-vide short rib, or a 24-hour smoked Boston butt or something. Anything to get him into my kitchen, and stay there all weekend. That is the g-rated version of my actual answer.”

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  • I love this post, and I love the whole idea of the rolling pin and all of the wonderful memories associated with it. What a treasure *kisses*.
    p.s. i dont qualify for the contest, but my favourite kitchen thing is most definitely my kitchen aid. I wanted one so bad for so long and i always feel so happy when i see it. Mine is apple green. I call it my “kitchen bling.”

  • I have an apron that belonged to my grandmother. She always wore an apron, but I never do. Except on Thanksgiving. I’m cooking at my brother’s house this year, and I’m bringing the apron!

  • Haha! Wonderful! Thank you so much, I can’t wait to cook some goodies from this book!

  • An old battered and burned wooden spoon. I can’t even tell you how many times my husband has tried to throw this item away. It just fits in my hand so comfortably that it feels like an extension of me.

  • I can’t do without my stone molcajete! I have a nice big one that is finally smooth enough from 20 years of grinding. My sister has my grandmother’s molcajete and that was my grandmother’s second one. She ground so many items so often she cracked her first one!

  • I have an electric beater that I owned since high school. It’s so old that the beaters are rusting up but I still use it. I just bought a new one but still haven’t had the courage to throw the old one away…

  • Who could live without an Omelette pan- and single cup coffee filter? Eggs are not just for breakfast you know!

  • My husband the cook!!

    (Last night’s kitchen story: I came home from work and saw that he’d been experimenting with some Thanksgiving-worthy vegetable side dishes and — sweet! — he’d saved the leftovers for me in bowls in the fridge. Chard and Kale sauteed with garlic and pine nuts in one bowl, Brussels sprouts roasted with bacon in another. I spooned up generous servings of each and ran upstairs to tell him what a great job he’d done … only to find that I’d stolen from his offerings for today’s office potluck. Oops! Won’t say whether he made me put it all back…. )

  • How marvelous you have your mother’s rolling pin! And still use it.
    There’s one kitchen item I could never live without and they’re old. A set of those wonderful heavy cast iron frying pans. They were my grandmothers. They are the best!

  • It would have to be my All-Clad stainless steel saute pan, which was a Christmas gift nearly ten years ago. I thank my partner every time I use it because it’s just an amazing piece of kitchen equipment. It looks as beautiful as it did when I got it and there’s nothing that sticks to it that I can’t easily clean off. I love that pan. But I have to say that my 99-cent plastic pot scraper comes in a very close second as my favorite piece of kitchen equipment. It goes hand in hand with the saute pan. Whoever invented that should get a medal!

  • I couldn’t live w/o the compost bucket anymore. I’ll never go back to carrying scraps over the floor. My favorite setup was a pro kitchen w/ about an 8″ diameter hole in each work area: just push the bits over to the hole. Now I use a medium size stainless bowl w/ no cover – empty it into the outside bin every day and you don’t have to worry about pests.

  • Congrats to the winner!

    You are lucky! I never got passed down anything ๐Ÿ™ …I don’t think I can give up my Chinese wok. I do everything in there including cooking all the pasta dishes and steaming!

  • I have a wooden spoon that I brought with me from Brazil and somehow very attached to it. Since then bought so many more wooden spoons, but this baby still my favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I thought I couldn’t survive without my immersion blender. But this summer in Ireland I survived on cooking with one dull knife and regular dining utensils like forks and tablespoons. So, I guess I can cook without any special kitchen utensils after all.

  • I couldn’t live without my dishwasher. My boyfriend and I are currently living without one, and dirty dishes have become the single biggest threat to our relationship. Otherwise, on a more kitchen-y level, my whisk. I would be happy to upgrade to a Kenmore stand mixer though!

  • Judith Neuman Beck

    Food. Literally.

  • Aww that is a lovely story… and definitely warrants never replacing that rolling pin!

  • my small ceramic pot. I got it when I first moved to Canada at 17 and still have it 9 years later. One of the few things that have traveled 3 homes in 3 cities. My appreciation for this reliable pot just grew and grew as I boil, stew, steam, fry meal after meal in it.

  • Aww I loved the picture and story of your mum’s rolling pin! I can imagine how much it means to you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • my pastry cutter gets more use than any other tool in my kitchen. yeah, it’s kinda old-school, but it sure does the trick. bonus–i get a nice forearm workout in the meantime. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Our cookie press, it’s an old sturdy aluminum one my mom got for a wedding present 30 years ago. Simply a necessity, especially during the holiday season!

  • I have a number of items with sentimental value from my late grandmother, when we were dealing with her estate some years ago I loaded up my suitcase with old stained pyrex with cute old-fashioned designs, utensils, and silverware, whatever I could get in one suitcase that reminded me of her. I love all of it but my most cherished piece is the most utilitarian: a flat, very thin and flexible metal spatula, that gets lots of use, and is often just the perfect thing to separate cookies from a cookie sheet. I always think of her and her cookies when I pull it out of our utensil bucket on the stove.

  • A colander that I have from my Mother. Every time I use it I think of her. No one is allowed to touch it because it is very dear to me.

  • my mom’s set of old, worn, tried & true pyrex mixing bowls. the primary colors of each bowl are faded from all the wear and tear of mixing, storing, marinating and whatever else we decided to use them for. I was absolutely crushed when I broke the smallest blue one and tried to replace it . . . but there was no replacing the love and food that was in the life of that bowl . . . I have the remaining 3; yellow, green and red and am more careful about making sure these don’t get dropped so that they have more food and life in them from my mom’s spirit to share going forward.

  • The one thing that I can’t live without in my kitchen is my mothers old sifter. There are so many memories carried in that sifter. Cakes baked and decorate, mouthwatering cookie recipes invented during high school , pies baked. Bake sales, family celebrations, Christmas cakes, the list goes on.

    When I look at that sifter, I am instantly transported back to the kitchen I grew up in, with the bench seating, the olive green vinyl table cloth, my grandmother standing by my side washing dishes.

    It isn’t a sifter. It’s a homecoming.

  • the glass bowl.. I remember mixing cookie batter in it with my mom when I was like THREE!
    I remember how I always told her I wanted to mix it and I would spill everywhere, but my mom still let me do what I wanted..

  • Have to have my daily dose of rice. So I coulldn’t do without my rice cooker.

  • My grandmother’s old cookie gun. I have the fondest memories of watching her make sugar cookies with it every Christmas, complete with every kind of sprinkle imaginable. She died of Alzheimer’s a few years ago, and in the last coherent conversation I had with her, she told me she knew how much I had liked it and that she wanted me to have it. I only use it once a year, but every time I take it out, it brings a tear to my eye.

  • My grandmother’s old cast iron 10″ skillet has perched proudly on the back burner of my stove for the last 20+ years. I’ve used it on the average of 4-5 times a week all of that time …it’s shiny black and symbolizes to me family, love, and timelessness.

    It bakes cornbread and biscuits, simmers stews and gumbos, holds dressings and one pot meals, and is as familiar to me as my arm.

    My 22 year old daughter has just called dibs on it. I am so glad she understands.

  • Contest is now closed. Come back Monday to see who won.

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  • My grandmother’s rolling pin It’s made from a solid piece of wood–I believe an uncle of mine made it for her in wood shop way back when. It’s way older than me, and everytime I use it, I remember all the times I saw her use it. She’s gone now, so it keeps her and my memories of her alive and well in my heart. =)

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