Favorite Things: A roller rolling pin

Unlike my mother, I have never been much of a collector. Her mind takes just about anything she loves and turns it into a collector’s odyssey, a search-and-find presence of mind that is always with her. She’s done it with antique teacups, with her Fostoria glass, a slew of teapots, flow blue china and porcelain pillboxes. She started me on a collection of little pitchers a few years ago and have I bought one little pitcher to add to it? Nope, it’s all her, and I love every interesting piece she brings home.

But every time I pull out my wooden rolling pin, I think of how I’d like to start a collection of them. A whole drawer full, the top drawer in a prominent place in the kitchen. Or hung on the wall, my rolling pin art.

The only problem with that is my complete devotion to one type of rolling pin and one type only: the roller type, with an internal axle and two handles that make it roll with grace and ease. This is the type of rolling pin my grandmothers used and it’s the rolling pin my mother uses. We save our pins, hand them down the generations so that by now we have Sitto’s and Aunt Hilda’s and Grandma Abowd’s and Aunt Latifi’s too. You can get them lots of places new (this is a nice one), but really the older the better, because they get a smooth, worn patina–the better to channel the good karma of all the bakers that went before me. And they spin with such ease, they’re like…well…butter.

The look of the French tapered pin is wonderful, beautiful. And yet, for me it has nothing over on the roller pin for functionality and for lifting your hands up above the dough so that they don’t knock into it every time you glide across it. I do want to love the way the French pin does its job, though, just so I could buy these.

There are a few other rolling pins made from marble or other heavy weight for candy making or to hold the cold. These can make for a nice and even rollout and require a lot less brute strength to get the job done. I do have to tell myself sometimes mid-roll that if I can stand to go to the gym and lift weights, then I can stand to push down and out on this dough and take control of its destiny. Frances, our teacher at Tante Marie’s, was insistent that we control the dough, and not let the dough control us. You are in charge! Za’atar croissants, here we come.

What type of pin is your favorite? Do you collect? I’m jealous. I might just have to put my mother onto the job. Before you know it I’ll have a drawer full, a wall full, and plenty of beautiful rolled out dough to boot.

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  1. Diane Nassir (my maternal grandmother was an Abood (Jamileh) from Ammun Leb. on April 22, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    LOVE this–I have my Mother’s (early 1930s) right now–in a place of honor in my kitchen-She (and I helped) rolled many many many many dozens of Syrian bread rounds and hundred and hundreds of baklava sheets and lots of pie crusts with that pin-what a history, and what sweet and gentle memories–thank you, once again, for reviving them for me!

  2. Barbara Davidge on April 22, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    My mother gave me my grandma’s rolling pin a few years back, she was a prolific baker and it is beautifully aged and I too like to think it has some great karma, coaxing me along in the kitchen.

  3. Sean Rami Abass on April 22, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Hi Maureen,
    I m like your mother, except my collection seems to be with hats. I have a rolling pin that looks yours.
    It was made in Mexico. I saw a rolling pin that Wolfgang Puck used in the special features section of the DVD of “The Santa Clause 2”. It is a solid wooden rolling pin. It looked so cool, that I instantly wanted to find
    one like it. Still looking. I guess I just need to try harder!. I think you would want one too!
    Best Regards,

  4. Terri Brantley on April 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    My mother was a great pastry chef. She did overcook her meat though. She had a rolling pin that was glass and you filled it with ice! I don’t know whatever happened to it.

  5. Carol Logan on April 22, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Good day Maureen, Read this with a huge smile on my face. I too have my Mothers passed down rolling pin, and the patina is soft, the wood smooth, and the heft is just right for pie crust and filo dough. My Mom passed last July at the lovely age of 98. She was a chef who loved to bake all manner of goodies. However her most “bragged” about treat was her apple pie.. of which she won a blue ribbon at the Barnstable Fair many years ago. People always commented on her crust which she always gave the credit to her “PIN”. Never taking credit to her craft, technique and knowledge in the kitchen. Now I am the proud owner of her “PIN”. However I know I cannot live up to her culinary expertise. But I do have her “PIN” , a great jumping off point!

  6. Geralyn Lasher on April 22, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Still remember being in awe of your Mom’s teacup collection she used ot display on the piano. Probably one of the reason I love my own teacup collection so much! Memories of Miss and Aunt Gladys with every cup.

  7. Patti Corey Pulver on April 23, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    For years I thought a “normal” rolling pin had only one handle, and that handle was fixed to the pin (no axle or ball bearings). That is what my Mom, the other Rose Corey, used and what I learned with. I didn’t realize it was broken until I received one as a bridal shower gift 100 years ago. It is the roller kind, which I love. Even though the marriage didn’t last, the rolling pin continues to work its magic!

    • Maureen Abood on April 24, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      Well that’s so special Patti, and I’m glad you still have your magic pin. Mama knows best!

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