Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Antique Wooden Dough Bowl

Know what this is? Oh, I guess I just told you in the title!

This dough bowl has been passed down through the generations on my mother's side of the family, and now I am its caretaker.

This thing is old, old, old. It was already an antique when Mom got it back in the '60s. I remember she kept it tucked away on the top shelf of her sewing room closet amidst her fabric stash. It was out of the reach of we curious children there, where it wouldn't get further damaged or broken.

It's had that split in it as long as I can remember, and there are some other discolorations and wear. It shows a lot of character, I think. This bowl was obviously well used and loved. It's quite large, measuring 23 x 14 inches.

So what in the world is a dough bowl? Well, generally, it was used to knead and raise bread and other dough. My Southern great-grandmother would have made a lot of biscuits in this bowl, I imagine.

Although I don't know whose bowl it originally was. If Mom did tell me way back when, it didn't stick in my mind. I was a kid and those things, unfortunately, tended to go in one ear and out the other. Now she's gone, and Dad doesn't remember either.

At any rate, it's hand carved. I wonder by whom? That rough patch on the underside of the bowl seems to be a naturally-occurring part of the wood it was carved from.

I found some fascinating information about the history of dough bowls, sometimes called trenchers, at, in an article about dough bowl carver Leon Neal of North Carolina, who said:
In my grandmother's time...the family dough bowl was a critical part of the family food preparation, highly used and highly treasured by the best cooks. It was not uncommon for a future husband to carve a wooden dough bowl for his bride as a wedding present. It was also common for a young female to desire a carved wooden dough bowl for her "hope chest" so that when she married, she would have a very desirable kitchen tool (other "hope chest" items were things like handmade quilts and other family heirlooms). A mother's dough bowl was usually one of the items in an estate that was most sought after--typically left to the oldest daughter--and there have been more than a few siblings who have stopped talking because of a mutual desire for the same dough bowl.
Interesting, huh? Fortunately, I don't think there was any family friction over this dough bowl. That kind of thing I think I would have remembered!

Finally, Dolly the mannequin was tired of hanging out in the basement on such a nice sunny day and wanted to model the vintage crocheted apron I found at the thrift store recently. How could I resist?

Thanks for visiting, and happy Vintage Thingie Thursday, friends! Be sure to make the rounds to all the VTT participants and Suzanne at Colorado Lady!


Postcardy said...

Your dough bowl has a lot of character. I love both the bowl and the apron, but the apron doesn't seem very practical with all those holes.

Michelle said...

What a fascinating bit of history. I've never heard of a dough bowl before. Cool that you have your family's dough bowl.

Oh, that apron is awesome! It's so pretty, I bet no one ever used it as such.

LV said...

I truly enjoyed the story and history of the dough bowl. People used those a lot way back when. I have not seen a crochet apron before. It is very pretty.


I love your story of the dough bowl, it reminds me of my mother-in-law. I love the crochet apron, it's just darling!

GaAm said...

Very cool bowl and very interesting apron. I imagine the apron was probably one of those that busy housewives would "throw on" to replace the soiled one when company dropped in during canning season and they didn't have time to change their clothes completely.

SueWis said...

Love the dough bowl and the apron. Do you use either one?

Coloradolady said...

What a jewel in that apron and bowl. I really was drawn to this post as you have such a treasure that has been passed down through your family. That is so special to me. Have a wonderful VTT!

Jeanne said...

I haven't heard of a dough bowl, but I bet it's neater then using a large flat wooden board.

Ann said...

What a treasure you have in that dough bowl! How wonderful to have pieces from your family.:)
Also, that apron is so pretty.
The Tattered Tassel

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage said...

What a terrific dough bowl...and apron!

I remember my grandmother making bread in her wooden dough bowl when I was a young girl. She told me the story of how a young man, who was courting her, had made it for her.

She ended up marrying my grandfather instead, but kept the other guy's dough bowl gift. LOl

My mother now has it, and I've asked that it be willed to me. We'll see. I have four sisters.

Be sure to stop by my cottage and peek at the details of the three linky parties I'm starting up in June.

Have a great Memorial weekend!

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

Tara Beaulieu said...

I really like your old bowl- the wear and tear on it truly do show how hard it was worked and loved by all its various owners. Such history- if it could only talk! Happy VTT and thanks for sharing with us!

fitty's pinky rose cottage said...

the apron is so pretty! and to have it in good condition is awesome! and the bowl, that one is one precious treasure! an inheritance! thanks for sharing and have a good week!

Unknown said...

Love the bowl! And it is great that you have at least part of the story behind it. Neat!


Unknown said...

Wow, that is such a neat bowl. I love the apron too. Thanks for sharing your treasures!


Ulla said...

The bowl is a real treasure, but the crocheted apron is one of the strangest things I can imagine.

Miri said...

What an unusual family heirloom! Its a real treasure and I loved hearing about the importance of wooden bread bowls historically. Its wonderful that your family knew of its significance!

I don't think I've ever seen a crochet apron must have been for show only--it certainly wouldn't work for me cooking! :)

Sue McPeak said...

What a treasure you have in the dough bowl. I so enjoyed the history and pictures. I'm sure my Grandmother had one as she made the best home made breads. My Mom was the youngest girl, so I bet her sister would have gotten the Family DoughBowl. Now I bet my cousin has it...I'll have to check. I have several crocheted aprons...they are works of art and so pretty...I wouldn't cook in one, tho...well maybe when using the big a mess can one make with FLOUR...LOL!

viridian said...

I agree with the above - the bowl is a real treasure.

Susan Freeman said...

Love that dough bowl!!

Susan and Bentley

Unknown said...

The dough bowl is a wonderful treasure! I have a lot of aprons and have never seen a crocheted one. It is beautiful :)



Just wanted to pop back in and say Thank you for visiting and leaving your sweet comment on my Vintage Thingies Thursday...Wicker Pram! I was so excited when I found this wicker pram with the red and white gingham hood and red wheels, I knew, of course, that I had to add red geraniums.

NancyC said...

I love that rustic bowl! Pretty apron, too!

CC said...

Love your bread bowl...that's what my mother called I would have loved to have it. Mama always made her breads,biscuits and dumplings in her bread bowl, always stirring and working the dough by hand. She made the best biscuits I've ever had.. I also have a crocheted apron that I don't think has ever been used..they're pretty, but not very practical..
Happy VTT..have a wonderful weekend.

Sally Annie Magundy said...

Oh I love your dough bowl! I can remember my mother bought an antique piece of furniture called a "dough box". I need to research that! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

Happy VTT,

GardenOfDaisies said...

What a beautiful dough bowl!! My daughter just called me yesterday from her summer college class she is taking in rural farm country in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, and she was telling me all about her day and then suddenly said... "Mom I have to go. I've got to go punch down the dough." It was bread making day on the farm and it was her job to do that. I can't wait to hear her stories when she returns. I imagine her working in a big wooden bowl like that.

Ann said...

I don't remember my Grandma using a dough bowl like this but I really love it. What a wonderful keepsake to own. My grandma used an old crockery one. Your apron is so unique, I sure wouldn't want to get anything on it. Happy VTT

Jane said...

What a wonderful family heirloom! I can only imagine all the bread that was made in that old wood bowl. Family treasures like these are my very favorites.
That's a great apron that you found at the thrift store too!
Have a great weekend.

Serendipity Handmade + Vintage said...

What a coincidence -- I made pastry dough today for the first time in 100 years and I certainly do not have a great bowl like this one! That is really a wonderful keepsake and I would definitely use it.

LOVE the apron -- saw and photographed a similar one just last week and will probably upload it to the blog or to Flickr next week.

Diann said...

Awesome bowl! And what a great apron. I have never seen a croheted apron before. What a fun find!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day!


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