Back in the day, when I was a newlywed, a few pieces of Corning bake ware came my way. At that time, Corning was fond of putting its famous “cornflower” design on its otherwise plain white cookware, and I was never a fan of that silly little flower. I guess Mike’s ex-wife wasn’t a fan either because I found several pieces in his cupboard when I took over the kitchen. And we gained several others as wedding gifts.
My upbringing taught that I should use what I have, respecting the giver’s gift, and not complain or replace. Mother’s kitchen was a hodge-podge of this and that, and I suspect this was true of many kitchens of the mid-century era. Mother valued each piece for its specific purpose and how she came to own it. She added new bake ware seldom and when she did, she didn’t get rid of the old. She also didn’t think in terms of matching pieces. It’s hard for me to realize that I might actually have a kitchen of wonderful things that I love instead of mismatched pieces.
To this day I still use some “cornflower” casserole dishes. I also regularly use avocado green bowls from the same era. You know what they say – the longer you keep it, the harder it is to get rid of it. Sometimes when I examine my mostly valueless stuff, I hear Mike or Frank of American Pickers asking, “Is that something you could part with, Kathy?” To add to my dilemma, I know if I take my “cornflower” pieces to the rummage sale, they will be purchased immediately, along with old Tupperware.
Until I went to make some pre-holiday “Chex Mix” at the farmhouse, I had forgotten all about this very nice Corning roasting pan, similar in design to Chris’ bread pans. This pan, one of the rare late additions my mother made to her kitchen collection, is the perfect size for so many uses, from Chex mix to roasting a turkey. Mother gave it to me because I agreed to roast the Thanksgiving turkey when she moved from the family home.
Looking at today’s Corning Ware, I guess Corning got the message – probably years ago -- because the casseroles and pans are still available but now without the design and called “French White.” I like it. Perhaps I’ll find my way to matching cook ware yet. KW
VINTAGE HOME MANAGEMENT
We may live without poetry, music and art,
We may live without conscience and live without heart,
We may live without friends, we may live without books,
But civilized man cannot live without cooks.
From The Enterprising Housekeeper, 1906