JUDGING VINTAGE COOKWARE©

If you prefer to begin with THE STORY OF COOKWARE, click on https://dearfriend.buzz/category/cookware/?order=asc

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Carry a magnifying glass to read manufacturer’s names and metal content which may or may not be on all used and vintage cookware. You probably have no recourse for returns or refunds  in flea markets, thrift shops, estate sales or charity bazaars. Selections may be limited, prices erratic, and other information, a ‘guesstimate’ of the seller…..but just maybe, you’ll find a treasure.

How old is the cookware?
Be guarded about used cookware, especially if you don’t know the former owner. If you find scratched non-stick linings, warping, dented edges so lids don’t fit properly, loose handles and chipped enamel—–pass.

But, if you find a wonderful but ‘beat-up’ copper pot or kettle and fill it with flowers in your fireplace—or use it as a wine or beer cooler, none of the above matters. But if you want to use the same copper kettle for cooking, all of this matters, very much!

Did you get an honest answer about the age of the cookware?
With the exception of 1950’s-60’s stainless steel pans with a thin cladding of copper on the bottom (that does not diffuse heat very well), age of used cookware is hard to judge. Component materials and condition of the cookware is more significant.

Can you identify the metal or metals used to make the cookware?
It’s difficult to verify the metal or alloy of some older cookware. If you can’t identify the metal, be wary of using it for food. If the brand name is known, contact the manufacturer — if they’re still in business.

How long does cookware last?
Good cookware can survive several generations.

Inferior cookware won’t last one generation.

Country of origin:
Many nations have long produced quality cookware to showcase native dishes, e.g. fondue pots from Switzerland, paella pans from Spain and stir-fry pots from Pacific Rim nations. As  a retail buyer, a lot of the cookware I carried was imported. If cookware made in developed countries is in good condition, it’s probably okay for cooking.  

Handles, lids & edges:
Dented edges keep lids from fitting tightly; steam must be kept inside the pan in order to develop succulent juices.  Handles must be firmly riveted through the pan, and must not wiggle.  Interior rivets must be smooth so food can’t cling, making the pan difficult to wash.

CAVEAT EMPTOR:
Sellers of used goods love to ‘make up’ stories about products.

Pat Breen: EYEWITNESS TO QUALITY

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