Lee Harrelson

It’s all in the machinery.

It’s true: Kitchen tools can make or break the cook. That’s why Southern home cooks have an arsenal of hand tools—mixers, colanders, juicers—that they treat more like family. And they should, because these inanimate objects are more than just metal and plastic. They’re imbued with memories. They slice, they mash, they blend, they create cohesion where previously there was none. They usher disparate ingredients into beloved recipes, into dinner, into cake batter, into cheese straws. All that is to say: When one of our tools disappears, we get pretty torn up about it.

According to Phillip Rhodes’ recent Garden and Gun article “Endangered Species: Real Southern Cheese Straws,” the cheese straws we Southerners know and love are teetering on the brink of extinction. The culprit? A disappearing cookie press.

Rhodes reveals that the press in-the-know Southerners have been using for decades—the Swedish-made Sveico cookie press—has been discontinued by its manufacturer. It has disappeared from shelves, and with it has gone the classic Southern cheese straw. If you know the Sveico, you know that no other press will do. Its distinctive shape and ease of use made cheese straw aficionados of us all, and its disappearance is a tragedy to cheese straw lovers everywhere.

If you’re one of the lucky few in possession of a Sveico cookie press, we’ll direct you to take advantage of that coveted status and whip up a few of our favorite cheese straw recipes for your friends and family as soon as possible. It’s the least you can do for a region in a cheese straw crisis. For a classic app, try our perennial favorite Cheddar Cheese Straws recipe. For a twist, this recipe for Prosciutto-and-Manchego Cheese Straws can't be beat.

Head over to Garden and Gun to read the latest on the state of the Sveico cookie press as well as the few places you may still be able to find one of your own.

WATCH: How to Make Homemeade Cheddar Cheese Straws

What’s your go-to Southern cheese straw recipe? Are you one of the lucky few with an heirloom-status Sveico cookie press?