Sunday, December 12, 2010

Slowing Down Christmas Baking With The Nut Meat Chopper

Do you remember a time before food processors?  How did we chop up all those nuts for our Christmas cookies?  Most people probably used a knife and cutting board.  We used a special gadget called a nut meat chopper.

I have great memories of chopping nuts while we made Christmas cookies.  So rather than pull out the food processor and whip up the nuts in a flash, I thought maybe my kids would enjoy the slower pace of chopping the nuts with the chopper.  They loved it!

My great-grandmother Retsch, a German immigrant, gave this to my mother when I was a child, so it was neat that the kids were using something given to us by their great-great grandmother.   

The top part of the chopper, which screws onto the bottom, appears to be made of tin and most of the paint is worn away.  The part with the words "nut meat chopper" slides up and can be taken out for easier cleaning.  The handle knob is red-painted wood.  The bottom is glass with a few numbers on the base.  After some research, I found that this is a Hazel-Atlas nut meat grinder made in about the 1930s/1940s.

The Hazel-Atlas Glass Company was founded in 1902 in Washington, Pennsylvania, as a merger of four companies.  The company manufactured huge quantities of "depression" pressed glassware in a wide variety of patterns throughout the 1920s,'30s and '40s.  In 1957, Hazel-Atlas, the third largest producer of glass containers in the U.S. became a subsidiary of the Continental Can Company.

You can find these nut meat choppers being sold on Ebay.  Our nut meat chopper may not have a lot of monetary value, but the memory value it creates is priceless!

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