Thursday, April 23, 2009

Passport to Matrimony

At home and abroad, Americans boast about pie. It has apparently always been so. Way back in the clipper era, sailors brought home, not only heart-shaped boxes crusted over with tiny rare shells, but the pie-jaggers they had carved to while away the doldrum days in outre-mer. These implements of bone, often furnished with as many as three wheels, but marvelously precise all the same, sped the fancy cutting of lattice in many a New England cottage. Whatever the nation, skill in pastry making has been regarded as a worldwide passport to matrimony. In Hungarian villages, for example, no girl was considered eligible until her strudel dough had become so translucent that her beloved could read the newspaper through it.--Joy of Cooking, 1967 printing

I read the above excerpt this morning and was intrigued. I never knew that sailors carved kitchen utensils. I did a little bit of searching and found the picture of the pie-jagger on an auction site. It is also called a jagging tool, pie trimmer, or crimper. I found an online book that confirms the Joy of Cooking quote. It says that one sailor-carved pie-jagger was inscribed: Good Pie Well Made.

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