Easter Dinner 2018

My Easter meal planning this year was inspired by two things: 1) the desire to use my Pyrex pink daisy divided dish (because pink and daisies are so Easter), and 2) the beautiful rainbow carrots and red fingerling potatoes we got in our produce box this week. The divided dish will be perfect for a berry and whipped cream dessert, and the carrots and potatoes will be roasted and tossed in a carrot top pesto.

For everything else, I’ve pulled together the most Easter-y pastels I could find in my collection: lime green, gold and sunny orange.

Rough menu:

  • Spice rubbed rotisserie chicken (recipe)
  • Roasted carrots and potatoes with carrot top pesto (recipe)
  • Brussels sprout quiche (recipe)
  • Simple salad with kumquat dressing (recipe)
  • Parker House rolls
  • Assorted berries with fresh whipped cream

 

Pictured: Pyrex Pink Daisy Divided Dish, Pyrex Lime 024 Round Casserole, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Lime 232 Oblong Open Baker, Corning Ware Butterscotch Round B-2 1/2-B Saucepan, Corning Ware French White F-3-B Quiche Dish, Fire King Gravy Boat

10 Tips for Thrifting Vintage Pyrex

Hunting for vintage Pyrex in thrift stores has become one of my favorite pastimes. The thrill of seeing a piece on the shelf, the rock-bottom price tags, the satisfaction of cleaning a grimy dish and returning it to sparkling condition — it all adds to the fun of collecting. Here are 10 tips for making the most out of your thrifting experience.

  1. Go early and often. Many thrift stores stock their shelves multiple times a day, seven days a week. Collectible items like vintage Pyrex get snatched up fast, so the best way to get lucky is to hit up the stores frequently.
  2. Prioritize. It’s hard to scan for multiple items at once. Pick one type of Pyrex to look for — say, casseroles vs. mixing bowls — and focus on that first.
  3. Take another pass. On crowded shelves, great stuff can be missed. When you’ve finished looking up and down the aisles, go back through at least once.
  4. Look in unexpected places. Pyrex can turn up in the holiday section, in the plastics, in the cookware — a quick glance down the “wrong” aisle can turn up gold.
  5. Watch your competitors. Is anyone else shopping the same aisle? The items people pick up can clue you in on whether or not they’re looking for Pyrex. You might need to move fast to beat them to a coveted dish. Conversely, if there’s nobody around you can take your time to scrutinize every shelf.
  6. Check carefully for flaws. It’s better to discover chips, scratches or color loss (aka dishwasher damage) in the store rather than at home post-purchase. Then make an informed decision about whether or not you want to buy.
  7. Don’t overlook lids. In many cases, the lid is harder to find than the dish it fits. When you see a lid without its mate, it’s often worthwhile to grab it now and match them up later!
  8. Do some research. Try to get a feel for which patterns or sizes are common and which are harder to find. Should the dish have a lid? Is it part of a set? Could you get it for less on eBay?
  9. Ask for a discount. Don’t be afraid to ask (politely) for a better deal, especially if an item is damaged.
  10. Be choosy. It’s tempting to buy every piece you come across. But the reality is that most vintage Pyrex is not all that rare — you can find a lot of great dishes over time if you’re patient. Remember, chipped Pyrex should not be used in the oven, so chips take away from a dish’s value and utility. Dishwasher damaged Pyrex will never regain its shine. Some pieces you find might be severely overpriced, even in a thrift store. Keep all of that in mind, but if you love it, buy it!

Christmas Dinner 2017

Keeping up my new tradition of documenting my holiday cookware

I’m not hosting Christmas dinner this year, but I still get to contribute to the cooking for a big family meal. I happen to have a lot of these Corning Ware mini casseroles, so I’m planning to put them to use for some individual gratin potatoes.

After seeing these casseroles repeatedly at thrift stores, I started collecting them to use as everyday dishes (when I got to 12 I cut myself off). They’re a great size for snacks, salads and recipe prep, and I’ve been dying to find some time to use them for baking. So tomorrow, gratin potatoes, and next maybe some creme brulee or chocolate pudding!

Pictured: Corning Ware French White F-15-B Oval Casserole (x12)

7 Must-Have Pyrex and Corning Ware Dishes

Much as I would love to collect every piece of vintage kitchenware that I come across, space constraints demand a more practical approach. I try to buy things that I will actually cook with, and if they have multiple uses, even better. Of course, I must admit I own more ovenware than any one person really needs, because I also collect dishes that interest me or that have a pattern I haven’t seen before. I’ll get around to using it all … eventually!

That got me thinking about which pieces I really couldn’t live without. I managed to narrow the list down to seven items that get the most use in my kitchen:

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Pyrex 404 Round Mixing Bowl (pictured in Verde)
This is the largest of the nested mixing bowls (4 quarts) — perfect for batters and doughs. It’s also a nice size for serving salads, rolls, chips, etc. Plus it’s ovenware, so you could totally bake a casserole in it.

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Pyrex 024 Round Casserole (pictured in Holiday Casserole)
I’ve used this shallower bowl (2 quarts) for marinating chicken, as a serving piece, for storing leftovers in the fridge, and for baking casseroles. Plus: It seems fairly easy to find lids in this size.

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Pyrex 472 Round Casserole (pictured in Spring Blossom)
This is my favorite size (1 1/2 quarts) for hot or cold party dips, or small side dishes like cranberry sauce. You could also eat out of it.

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Corning Ware A-5-B Saucepot (pictured in Spice O’Life)
This is Corning Ware’s largest pot (5 liters), great for soups, chili, roasts and the like.

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Corning Ware A-10-B Skillet (pictured in Pastel Bouquet)
This one shares the same lid with the A-5-B, which is handy. I’ve put it to use as a frying pan, for braising meats in the oven and as a baking dish.

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Corning Ware A-3-B Casserole (pictured in Country Festival)
This holds about the same amount as a 13x9x2 pan (3 quarts; the conversion works better for casseroles than for cakes). It’s an all-around nice size for cooking and serving.

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Corning Ware Grab-It Bowls (I’ve only ever found these in white, although some patterned versions do exist)
These make great everyday tableware — for cereal, soup, salad, etc — but they are also a perfect size (15 oz) for individual casseroles like pot pie. And being Corning Ware, they can go under the broiler, in the freezer and everywhere in between. How can you beat a cereal bowl that you can also put on the stovetop to heat up soup, melt butter or fry an egg? Grab-Its also have both glass and rubber lids available, making them handy for storing single-serving leftovers.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2017

I love cooking for Thanksgiving, but I love planning the cooking even more: looking for recipes, thinking about logistics, choosing the right dishes, coming up with a schedule, etc. I think I like cooking projects more than the cooking itself.

So when I saw this article on The Kitchn about organizing serving dishes for Thanksgiving, I knew I wanted to do something similar. I had already been thinking about setting out my vintage cookware in preparation for the big day, but now I needed to take pictures.

I think this will be a new tradition for me, documenting the mix of dishes I use for holiday meals. For this Thanksgiving, I am going with a variety of greens and floral designs, drawn from my favorite Pyrex and Corning Ware patterns.

Pictured: Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition A-3-B Casserole, Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition P-43-B Petite Pan, Fire King Gravy Boat, Pyrex Lime 024 Round Casserole, Pyrex Verde 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 045 Oval Casserole, Pyrex Spring Blossom 043 Oval Casserole, Pyrex Spring Blossom 72 Butter Dish, Pyrex Spring Blossom Pitcher

Free Printable Thanksgiving Menu

Inspired by Fire King’s Gingham Garden pattern, this printable menu template will bring some vintage charm to your Thanksgiving table. The text is editable so you can add, subtract or change categories as needed. Here’s a closer look with and without menu items (yes, that’s pretty much our actual Thanksgiving menu this year — no turkey!):

Download the Word document here: Thrifted Kitchen Thanksgiving Menu Template. Enjoy!

Pictured: Pyrex Woodland 77 Gravy Server with Saucer

Best Pyrex Stacking Ideas

Vintage Pyrex is so pretty, it’s a shame to store it inside a kitchen cabinet. Instead, collectors often arrange their wares on open shelves, carts or hutches using a technique designed to show off each individual piece: stacking.

My own stacking preference is a mix of form and function: I want to be able to see and enjoy the patterns and colors, but I also want easy access so that the items in my collection are actually usable for cooking. So, precarious towers of Pyrex are not my thing. Another consideration: preventing rattles and other noises.

One fun thing about stacking is that it gives you an opportunity to mix and match complementary pieces. Recently I finally acquired enough round mixing bowls to put together my own custom set: (from top to bottom) Spring Blossom (x2), Spring Blossom 2, Verde.

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Since the mixers are nested bowls, you need a little something between each one to lift it up and make the pattern visible (I used folded sheets of bubble wrap). There are lots of ways to do this for different sizes and shapes of Pyrex, so here I have gathered the best ideas I’ve seen on the internet, on social media and in collector groups:

  • packing peanuts
  • bubble wrap
  • Ziplock containers
  • ramekins
  • bags of rice, beans, popcorn, etc.
  • empty packing tape rolls
  • inverted lids
  • glass tumblers
  • cheap plastic bowls
  • Jell-O boxes
  • chunks of lumber
  • slices of pool noodles
  • tuna cans (or similar)
  • berry baskets
  • paper bowls
  • small plastic food containers (e.g., sour cream, margarine, yogurt, deli containers)
  • cut up egg containers
  • squares of non-skid rug protector (for stability)
  • styrofoam blocks
  • floral foam blocks
  • old washclothes
  • canning rings
  • plastic coffee cup lids

Of course, these methods can work for any kind of vintage kitchenware, not just Pyrex. Corning Ware, for example, stacks really easily on inverted lids. Over the weekend we installed some new shelves to house my collection, so stacking all kinds of dishes has been on my mind.