Pastry Cloth and Roller Cover
Today I used my grandmother's pastry cloth and rolling pin cover for the first time. When I first saw it, I had NO idea what this thing was. When it was suggested to me by mother that I could roll dough out on it, I simply scoffed - using whole grain doughs, the dough I work with is generally very sticky.
Well, today I'm making the <a href=http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2009/03/30/tangy-english-muffins/">Tangy English Muffins</a> from Wild Yeast's blog. I took that cloth out and rubbed flour down into it, rolling it into it using the covered rolling pin. This worked SO MUCH better than a floured counter or floured parchment (which I used to use to keep my counter clean as I could just fold it all up and throw it away). The dough didn't pick up much extra flour at all, the way it does from a floured counter, and there was nothing shifting and moving about and dropping onto the floor.
I can't imagine why these things went out of favor. I can only assume that they didn't really 'go out of favor' so much as people simply stopped baking.