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20110602

gimmick of the week

N says that every week I have a new gimmick, and he's right.  Some days I proclaim new routines or desires, other days I bring home oddities; today was one of the latter.  I've been lusting after a French rolling pin ever since I started making pasta from scratch (which is an occasional treat for us, since it's no walk in the park when rolled by hand).  I looked up lots of them online, but it's not exactly a French rolling pin I desired...what I really wanted was the rolling pin described in Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, which described a dowel 1½ inches in diameter and 32 inches long.  The length was the catch.  Since pasta sheets can get really absurdly big, I wanted that extra length.

After not really being able to find what I wanted online for a reasonable price (although there were many options in the $10-20 range, just none as long as I wanted), I went to the hardware store today and picked up a 48in solid oak dowel for under $4.  There was an in-store saw for molding and such that you buy by the foot, so I cut it in two, came home, sanded the ends of the longer piece, washed it and let it dry, and just recently "cured" it with mineral oil.  (I'll do the same with the shorter piece soon too.)  Voil√†! ...or Ecco! or whatever the Italian equivalent is.

This style of rolling pin will be good for a lot of things, from the homemade cereal and crackers that I've been experimenting with, to tortillas and pastry dough.  I think I'll still like my handled rolling pin for things like breads, but we shall see.  My preferences will probably have to do with the mass of any particular project and the desired thinness.

 My 32 in (1¼in diameter) dowel rolling pin.  (Also, in the background, a new comfy chair bought at a sale of recent graduates' unwanted furniture.  It's almost as wide as the moon and I love it.)  I really need to stop collecting things.

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