Sunday, May 31, 2020

Looking at my Corning Ware

As I was putting away the dishes and came to this venerable Coringware casserole, my thoughts went in two directions.

First I remembered my Aunt Mildred--one of my father's sisters.  This casserole is one of a set Mildred and her family gave to John and me as a wedding present almost fifty-seven years ago. Mildred had helped me learned to sew and had also let me mess up her kitchen mixing up cakes and frosting, so she chose a most practical gift--one that I continue to use.

I can still see the three white casseroles with their little blue cornflowers sitting on the piano bench in my parents' house, a  trio of Plain Janes amidst the gaudy display of crystal, china, and silver. (It was the custom of that time and place and social set to display wedding gifts so that friends of the Mother of the Bride could come by and make invidious comparisons. The bride's trousseu was also available in a bedroom, tastefully laid out for viewing by close friends of the MotB. And as I write this, I feel like an anthropologist, describing strange tribal rituals. Which, of course, they were. Maybe they still are, somewhere.)

But I digress. The point I would make is how appreciated the three Corningware casseroles were and are. Most of the crystal is broken; the china and silver doodads are packed away, but the Corningware is in constant use.  I'll have to make sure it's passed on to Josie, along with my grandmother's iron skillets.

The other direction my thoughts went as I studied the casserole (have you ever looked at your cookware?  Really looked at your cookware?. . .sorry, digressing again.) The other memory was that of an afternoon Home Ec class at H. B. Plant High School--maybe 1959 or '60. 

A sales rep of some sort was there to introduce to us future homemakers an amazing new product--Corningware! He enthused over its versatility--stovetop, oven, freezer--and to show how unbreakable it was, he dropped a casserole on the floor and jumped on it. I don't recall that any of us were anything but bored by the presentation--we all assumed, I thnk, that our futures would be full of miraculous new stuff, like on the Jetsons. Or that someone else would be doing the cooking.

I remember too that the sales rep mentioned in passing that a countertop appliance was being developed that could cook food in a fraction of the time of an ordinary oven. A baked potato in just a few minutes! We looked at each other with raised eyebrows.  Now that was just unbelieveable.

Yet here we are-- sixty-some years later-- and I use my Corningware in my microwave. My old high school is integrated now and I doubt they still play Dixie right after the Star Spangled Banner. Computer Science has probably replaced Home Ec and Shop. . . I could argue all three are useful for everyone . . .

See where really looking at stuff can take you?


estaminet said...

I have that same set of Corning Ware. I inherited one piece and collected others, mostly on eBay, and use them all the time.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

What a wonderfu post. I, too, have the Cornig Ware I got at my bridal shower 52 years ago. Yes, it is indestructible and the memories flow back with each use! Thanks for the memories!

NCmountainwoman said...

I also have some Corning Ware, a wedding gift. But my favorite gift is a cast iron set with a Dutch oven and two skillets given to me by a dear aunt. She went to the trouble of seasoning them for me. Newer cast iron may be prettier, but these black skillets still do the job. And bring such wonderful memories.

Vicki Lane said...

There is NOTHING to touch a good old iron skillet. On the few occasions we have spent tie at the beach, I always took my iron skillet. And what a gift of love--to preseason the skillets for you!

Barbara Rogers said...

I've got 2 corning bread pans that my sister didn't want any more...most of my casseroles have been misplaced (usually through pot-lucks where they forgot to come home with me.) So I have just one large one that doesn't have the cute blue flowers on it...nor a lid. BUT, I obtained several dinner plates and salad plates. They have outlasted the little bowls that matched and broke when they hit the ground. Somewhat unbreakable at any rate.

jennyfreckles said...

Nice memories. I noticed the other day that my local vintage shop (closed for now of course) has a set of stainless steel pans in the window, labelled as 1970s. I have one large pan of the very same make and design, that I use nearly every day. Yes, it was a wedding present and more durable than most, in constant use since 1973. I wonder whether I should buy the rest of the set when the shop reopens! I reckon they've got many more useful years ahead of them.