Saturday, April 07, 2018
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Knowing the Best Brands
I do it just about every Holiday... or should I say I overdo it ever Holiday. Our Easter get-together was wonderful but I was exhausted all week. Except for keeping up with basics like laundry, cooking, dishes, etc., I had to stay on the sofa or the recliner.
I didn't even read either review book, much less write a review on Wednesday. However, each day I was a little stronger and today I could write a blog post... even if it is later in the day than usual. Don't you think wearing ourselves out just once in awhile for special days is okay? Good memories.
Anyway, what I had planned on chatting about today doesn't take any physical strength. I have been thoroughly enjoying the All-Clad skillet I bought at Goodwill a couple weeks ago. That is the inspiration behind today's Living the Pantry Lifestyle post.
I remember when one of Laine's Letters was about how we can make better choices at thrift stores if we became aware of what the expensive brands are, even if we would not buy them full price for ourselves. She had purchased a recent model of an expensive food processor at the thrift store because she recognized it for what it was.
I feel the exact same way about knowing brand names of products and recognizing which are the best to use in your home. When I saw the skillet with the lid sitting on the rack at Goodwill, I could tell it was good quality so I looked on the bottom and saw it was All-Clad and checked the inside of the skillet and found it nearly brand new. It went into my cart immediately.
The cost of a brand new 12" All-Clad skillet with lid in my local retail store is $199.00 plus tax. Although I saw it sold cheaper on Amazon. When I washed it at home, it looked brand new and I have enjoyed it since then.
The skillet I had been using every day for about eight years is a 12" Cuisinart brand which Cooks Illustrated ranks as a "Best Buy" purchase, second in quality only to All-Clad but less than half the price.
I found over the years that a lot of times people are not so much bad cooks or bakers, they just don't use very good equipment. A professional carpenter would not try to build a house with dollar store tools but that is what home cooks do all the time.
I own two other pieces of All-Clad, both purchased when my local kitchen gourmet shop had them half price, which they do for one piece of All-Clad each month. The large saucepan was purchased when I was still working part-time about nine or ten years ago. The 9" saute pan with lid was purchased with Christmas money given by a relative to buy myself some new clothes but ummm... I saw the pan half price and the rest is history.
I cook from scratch every day and anything that makes that easier is better than buying a new outfit at the Mall. I've had other great finds at Goodwill and thrift stores because I recognized the brand such as a Le Creuset tea kettle, Cuisinart food processor, a Nordic Ware heavy Bundt pan, and other baking pans.
I've purchased beautiful china and tea cup sets at Goodwill and thrift stores because I knew which brands were good buys and that some vintage brands were not marked so to buy them for a dollar if I loved the design.
I learned a lot by researching online through the years as well as enjoying spending time at the china and kitchen sections of department stores and specialty stores. Sometimes I look up information after purchasing an item at a thrift store.
For instance, I bought a steamer/pasta pan at Goodwill last year that was Revere Ware and it got me to thinking that I don't hear as much about that brand these days. It was very well respected when I was first married.
So I did some research and found out that (as with so many things), it was bought out a couple times and later Revere Ware was not made with the same quality as the previous cookware. The mark at the bottom of my pot indicates a mid-to-late 1970s manufacture, when it was still of higher quality. If your Revere Ware has a circle around the trademark, it is considered vintage!
I also find that Cooks Illustrated on PBS has great information as does their magazine. If you subscribe to receive emails on their website, they often have a product information you can click on that will even take you to their subscriber only section for the information.
So happy researching and I wish for you many great thrift store and garage sale finds! Back to the sofa but this time to read some of the review book. I am kind of late...
Photo: Not my kitchen but I love it!