12 May 2010

Revere Ware

Revere Ware. Copper Clad Revere Ware. It is what I learned to cook on. My mom had a full set. Both grandmothers had several pieces. It is pretty much all I've ever used. When I try to use other types of cookware, I usually burn or somehow overcook the food. See, the copper helps distribute the heat more evenly than non-clad pans. And I'm afraid of non-stick coatings, so those are out.

So when I got my house, mom gave me the set from grandma Millie (circa 1990) and she bought me a starter set. New Revere Ware. And while it is still very good cookware, it felt lighter, flimsier than the stuff mom has. And grandma's set was somewhere between mom's old stuff and my new stuff. It appears that Revere is using a slightly thinner metal these days than back in the 70s when mom got hers. But they do still honor their 25 year guarantee.

A few years ago the handle, which had been wiggly for years, finally came off mom's 12" skillet. So she called Revere and they told her they would love to replace it, but they are no longer making that exact size. She could have a 10" skillet or a 12" chicken fryer. The chicken fryer has slightly taller, straight sides as opposed to the sloping sides of the skillet. I thought this would work out better for the way she uses that skillet, but she wasn't as happy with the replacement as she had been with her original skillet.

So one day, several years later, I stumbled upon this little kitchen shop outside of York, Classic Kitchens. This place is great. I think I found it when I was looking for boomerang laminate, not pots and pans. I don't think the full inventory was online back then, just that they had old Revere for sale. So I made a trip to York to check this place out. They had a ton of Revere, some newer, some vintage, some refurbished. And a 12" skillet in great condition. With a hefty, but fair, price tag. It was slightly less than the going rate for new 12" skillets from Revere's other lines. So I got it for her for Christmas. She was very happy.

Revere didn't require her to send the old one back, even though she offered. So she eventually took the skillet and the handle to my grandfather's metal shop and asked him if he could solder the pieces back together. Well, grandpa loves tinkering with hopeless things, so he accepted the challenge. Apparently, the pieces soldered back together pretty easily with stainless steel solder. It isn't super pretty, but it works! So now mom has two 12" skillets and one 12" chicken fryer.

Silly me, I assumed she would give me one of them when I got my kitchen into working condition. At least the chicken fryer that she doesn't really like. Wrong! So, I've been making do with the two 7" skillets that came in the sets and the electric skillet. Which I think is made of aluminum (eek!) and only fits in the dishwasher exactly one way.

This is beginning to get old, so a few weeks ago I went online and checked the inventory at Classic Kitchens. They had several 12" skillets in stock, with varying price tags based on their condition. Since this is a lifetime purchase, I want the best available. I was very excited and ready to start clicking on things to buy, but I told myself that was silly since they are within driving distance, although I don't go that direction very often. Plus, shipping would be way more than the cost of fuel to drive there. And I hoped Marc would be able to find some dishes (huge collection of Corelle) but sadly, none of the patterns spoke to him. He wants square plates with crisp corners, preferably in a color. More on Marc's kitchen later.

I dragged my bff Marc down there with me a couple of Saturdays ago, but I didn't come home with a 12" round skillet. I brought this baby back to my kitchen. A 12" square skillet. A thing of shining stainless steel beauty.

The shop owner is something of an expert and he said he rarely sees the square pans, but he had three or four of them in stock. The only downside is that this is also cumbersome to get in the dishwasher and the other lids are interchangeable. Not so with the square!

I was also a wee bit worried that the corners might not get as hot as the center, but the copper did its job and the whole pan heats evenly. I am very, very happy with it. I don't think I'll buy a 12" round skillet after all. Maybe a 10" some day, but this rounds out my set nicely.


Neighmond said...

Revere ware is the bomb! Ever use the 4 qt pressure cooker?

I got the 12q stock pot, the 8q stock pot, the 12, 10, 9, 7 inch skillets, and six different sauce pans, one with the double boiler in it.

I use cast iron occasionally, but the revere is best for most things!

Is your cook stove gas or electric?

Irishshopgirl said...

I too grew up with my moms revere ware. She still has and uses it. When I got my house I went to the company outlet and bought some pieces. Was told that there is a difference and to look for pieces marked made in USA. I think they say IL on them. The newer stuff is made in china and lighter. I've filled in over the years at garage/yard sales and ebay. enjoy

Oliver's Bungalow said...

I'm afraid of the pressure cooker! Silly, I know, and when my mom uses hers everything turns out perfectly. Maybe one day I'll get over my fear.

I'm hoping to get a better double boiler insert than the cheap one I have and I'd also like a nicer steamer insert than that basket thing. It doesn't hold enough, is a pain to clean and stuff sticks in the post in the middle.

I've always cooked on electric, but I know people who have gas stoves swear by them.