Rolling pin and slab
Bread is a staple foodstuff in many societies, and takes different shapes and forms depending on its intended use and the local culture. Alongside leavened bread, flatbread made with flour, water and salt is the most common, especially in Asia. Chapati, a circular flatbread made with wheat flour, is a staple in north-Indian cuisine and is often used instead of a fork or spoon to scoop up mouth-size bites.
The rolling pin and slab are traditional utensils and indispensable for making chapati. This example from the Museum collection is from the Punjab region and dates from the 1940s, although similar designs are still in use today. The rolling pin, called a 'belan' in Hindi, is made of wood and has two solid grips. The slab, called a 'chakla', has a base and a round smooth platform made of terracotta. Both instruments are easy to use: A small ball of dough is placed on the slab and gently patted flat with the palm of the hand. The pin is then used to roll it out into a thin round to be cooked on a 'tava', a metal griddle.