I've already devoted an entire blog post to extolling the virtues of cooking with Corning Ware: if you're not familiar with pyroceram, I recommend backing away slowly before the pretty pictures lure you into a thrift store.
And since I've already explained why I adore thermal-shock-resistant pyroceram, I shall not endever to justify the reasons you may find me frantically rummaging through your local thrift store, muttering about little blue cornflowers.
Instead, I shall devote this post to a few of my favorite pieces. And I will provide a little guidance for those looking to build a collection of their own. As you can see by the photos, I've amassed white a kitty of cookware. Fortunately for my kitchen cabinets, I'm only looking for a few more items - like rubber lids and French White ramekins.
Before you beat a path to your thrift store and clear the shelves into your shopping basket, here's a few things to keep in mind:
- You want the original Corning Ware made from pyroceram. You can identify pyroceram Corning Ware by examining the piece for manufacturing stamps like the ones below:
- New Corning Ware is made from fired, glazed stoneware and cannot tollerate extreme temperature changes. Stoneware can be identified by a manufacturing stamp similar to below:
- French White Corning Ware may be the most confusing because the original pyroceram version looks very similar to the new stoneware sold at your local Walmart. The pyroceram you want will have a smooth-finished bottom and should have a manufacturing stamp such as this:
Now, onto my favorites pieces.
Blue Cornflower 2 1/2 Quart
The piece I use the most is my Blue Cornflower 2 1/2 Quart casserole dish. It's the perfect size for making a big batch of oatmeal on the stovetop or baked in the oven. And with the matched sealing rubber lid, I can transfer the dish right into the fridge with enough oatmeal for an entire week of breakfasts. I suppose this could also be useful for making small batches of apple sauce, mac and cheese, soup or (gasp!) casseroles, but I love it for oatmeal.
French White Roasting Pan
The next dish on my list has to be this enormous French White roasting pan with lid. This is perfect for exactly what it's called - I can roast a whole grocery cart of veggies, squeeze in a big turkey, cover and roast a beef bourguignon (eh-hem! I have yet to do this) or turn on two range burners and reduce a sauce from whatever has been roasting. And because it's not metal, bring on the tomatoes!
Blue Cornflower Loaf Pan
Next has to be my Blue Cornflower loaf pan - perfect for baking crispy loaves of homemade bread. Or if I really have a beef craving, it's the perfect size for crispy-edged meatloaf. I only have one of these, but I want two. Thanks to pyroceram material and thin sides of the loaf pan, it conducts heat evenly and crisps beautifully.
Blue Cornflower 5 Quart Dutch Oven
Now that I've started buying whole organic chickens and roasting them myself, I could never give up my Blue Cornflower 5 Quart dutch oven. When I first found this piece, I wasn't entirely sure what I should do with it. But when I bought my first 5-lb chicken and went searching for a roasting pan, this was the perfect fit. The glass lid covers the chicken, trapping in the juices, while still allowing the skin to crisp without burning. Forget aluminum foil.
Blue Cornflower Roasting Pan
If you've read my Waiting for Brioche post, you'll understand why I feel very strongly about finding the perfect baking pan for sticky buns - the perfect bun is a true obsession now, and I find the only pan I use for these buns in my Blue Cornflower roasting pan. It bakes such lovely buns and tolerates temperature shock so gracefully, I decided to pick up a second pan. That way, I can have one for making sticky buns and another for freezing off batches of lasagna!
Simply White Grab-it Bowl
As silly as my white grabber bowls may appear (and they're actually called, "grab-it" bowls), I LOVE their size and utility. When I'm browning vanilla with a little cream, or reducing balsamic vinegar with bacon for a salad dressing, or baking a single-serving of mac and cheese, I reach for my grab-it bowls every time.
Still scratching your head? Don't worry: All Corning Ware posts are clearly labeled so that innocent readers can breeze past unscathed!