Monday, December 13, 2010

And the Artifact is...

It turns out this is actually an early food chopper. Yes, before food processors, we used this to mash our food into bits with one of these.

At the end of the nineteenth century, a food chopper like this one typically had a wood or metal handle and one or two sharp blades. As you can see in the picture above, our food chopper has a metal handle and the intersecting blades are rather dull, though age might have something to do with that. Here's another funky dual-blade design from approximately the same period, though I think ours looks sturdier.

Obviously, an artifact like this was used in the kitchen. It may even have been found in businesses like the family owned Lustgarten butcher shop that occupied the 97 Orchard Street storefront space, as re-imagined in our next exhibit.

-Posted by Joe Klarl


  1. I am wondering if this might have been more of a mincer, perhaps to make ground meat out of lesser cuts. The second picture of the dual-bladed design is a mezzluna. It was meant for herbs and maybe things like garlic. It's come back "in fashion" in the cooking world. There are single-bladed and double-bladed versions available with the appropriate "chopping" board. For example:

  2. Great point. The marvelous Pamela Keech, who sources all the objects for our exhibits, says, "Pretty much right on. It was called a mezzaluna in Italy, though, and probably not here in the 19th century. The half-moon chopper is an early form that was used in a wooden bowl called a trencher."


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