The Suitcase Lady


November 17, 2009, 10:16 pm

I was about to roll out a pie crust the other day when I stared down at a half dollar size hole in the middle of my pastry cloth. “Time to get a new one,” I begrudgingly thought. Then I realized that after 45 years, the pastry cloth had earned its retirement.

Shortly after, I was visiting friends in a large city and stopped in an upscale kitchen equipment store that fills two floors of a gracious old home. After checking various locations for pastry cloths, the young clerk informed me that, “We don’t have those things.”

The next week my husband was at our local Fleet Farm picking up 50 pound sacks of animal feed. He also brought home a pastry cloth that he readily found in their kitchen aisle.

With the holidays approaching, my new $2.99 pastry cloth will begin work soon. I will enjoy using it as I have heeded a piece of pie making advice from Julia Child. In one of her mid-century TV shows, she declared that many people don’t want to buy a big bucket of lard just to make a few pie crusts. “You can produce a decent pie crust,” she intoned, “by using a pie crust mix and adding two tablespoons of butter.” Ever since, I have produced good pie crusts with a 69¢ box of Jiffy Mix and two tablespoons of butter. And I don’t have stockpiles of lard around for which I have no other use. I am not into deep frying turkeys.

Of course, I could buy the lard and put the remains of the bucket in the Tooley Cafe. The raccoons would love me.

5 Comments for this entry

  • Ann Piehl

    I’m glad to know where I can get a new pastry cloth. I have my mom’s along with a board my dad rigged up so the cloth snaps on tight with elastic. The last couple Christmas cookie sessions have made me wonder what I was going to do when the cloth disintegrated!
    Thanks, Mary.

  • LoieJ

    You made me think of the wonderful kitchen store that USED to be in the city just north of you, but it is no more. :-(

  • Mary

    Fleet Farm is the place to go for things that are old fashioned and practical!
    PLUS….you don’t come home with things not on your list.

  • Marilyn

    You’ve got not The Little Engine That Could but The Little Toaster That Could.

    As for pastry cloth, mine from 1953 turned up with multiple holes recently but not from wear,from a whitefaced mouse. There were telltale signs left behind.

    As always I enjoy the result of your creative mind at work.

    By the way, was that totally altruistic of Russ to pick up the cloth?

  • Mary

    Yes, Marilyn, Russ really was totally altruistic. I know he was not thinking about the cookies and pies that will spring forth from that pastry cloth.