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?