A couple of weeks ago my favorite pastry blender broke. It was a really cool design by Pampered Chef (pictured left) and I used it a lot over the past year. I figured I’d just pick one up on my next shopping trip. Well, first I checked the grocery store where I do my non-Costco shopping. It’s a smaller Save Mart store and the section with kitchen tools is small. They didn’t have one.
Next I checked at Target. Surely it would be no problem to find a pastry blender there in the extensive selection of kitchen tools. Nope. Not at Target either. I was a bit perplexed and then it hit me – a pastry blender is not part of a standard kitchen anymore. Really, when you think about it, what do you use it for? Cutting in butter or shortening when making things like biscuits, scones and pie crusts. But who makes those things from scratch anymore? Not most people. So while there are four different sets of measuring cups, a variety of colors of colanders, and ten sizes of cutting boards at Target, there was not a single pastry blender.
I had to go to Bed Bath & Beyond to get one. And even there, in the floor to ceiling display of cooking utensils I found just one offering. There are four kinds of tools for cutting, pitting and slicing avocados, but only one type of pastry cutter. Luckily it was a decent one by OXO brand. Still, it made my kind of sad. My mom has at least three pastry cutters in her kitchen. They used to be standard equipment, like a rolling-pin.
Just more evidence that scratch cooking is a lost art. Something that used to be handed down through the generations. And even if your mom wasn’t a great cook, there were home economics classes in junior high and high school. That taught kids the basics of recipes, kitchen tools and techniques. Today, home economics is gone. People ooh, and ahh at the cooking shows on TV, but they are mostly for entertainment, not for education. Scratch cooking is a lost art. And I want to bring it back!