Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Weighty Proposition - Vintage Corningware vs. New Pyrex

I have heard, from several people, (my mother included) that Corningware is too heavy for everyday use.  This may be true, but I think it's a relative matter.  Not to sound like a chauvinist, but I am a male and I use a lot of copper and cast iron.  So to me, Corningware seems fairly light, or at least, not any heavier than a copper pan.  Granted, it's not as light as aluminum, that's for sure.  I'll be honest though...  The idea of cooking in aluminum freaks me out.  I simply do too much acidic cooking (Tomato, Citrus, Vinegar, Wine) to be able to get away with aluminum cookware.

Non-stick coatings freak me out even more.  True, there are new ones that are "supposedly safe", but I am still not completely convinced. Part of me thinks it's just an excuse to put a "Green" label on an aluminum pan and charge more money for it.  Let's face it, the amount of cheap cookware/bakeware (made in China) on the market boggles the mind.  Most of it will have to be replaced in 2-4 years.  Such a waste of room in the landfill as well as the consumer's money.

That is why I love my Corningware; as "heavy" as some of the pieces may be.  It's non-reactive, non-porous, doesn't stain (unless mistreated), it's easy to clean (though I don't do much shallow oil frying) and acts a lot like cast iron. 

But that brings me back to my original point.  I got to wondering.  I know the 5 quart Casserole (P-84-B, A-84-B) is heavy.  It IS a 5 quart monster, after all.  But I got to pondering the baking dishes.  In particular the 9x13 (P-21) and the huge 10x15 (P-76-"B") and my French White roaster (F-21) which is not 9x13, as the number would supposedly indicate.  I believe that at some point in the late 70s the A-76 (previously P-76-"B" (the "B" was not always present) was dropped from the line and the dimensions of the A-21, which was the P-21 before 1972, were altered to be 12.25x10.5 so it now fell in between the original 2 pieces.  Handles were added as well, and the suffix of "-N" was placed on some pieces. (I saw this on the bottom of my mom's Shadow Iris piece) This may have had something to do with the switch to "metric" about that time cause the bottom of my French White (F-21) has "4.5 liter" printed on the bottom, but I am not sure.

Anywho...  Now that I have confused everyone with strange alpha-numeric codes... Here are more neuron numbing numbers... LOL

I grabbed the Pyrex... (I do not own any "Vintage" Pyrex glass baking dishes... At least I don't think so.)

Sure enough, the 7x11 piece (2 qt) weighed in at 2 lbs 4.9 oz.

While the 9x13 piece (3qt) weighed in at 3 lbs 14.2 oz (just shy of 4 lbs)

Then the 10x15 piece (4qt) came in at a whopping 4 lbs 13.7 oz.  This is the heaviest of ALL the pieces I weighed... Including the French White Roaster. (F-21)

The Corningware P-332 (7x11 "2qt") was a little on the heavier side for it's size. (I borrowed my youngest brother's because I don't have this size) At 3lbs 9.1 oz it's even heavier than the 10x15 4qt (P-76-B).

My P-21 (9x13 "3qt") Corningware dish weighed in at a only 2lbs 7.9 oz (only slightly more than the Pyrex 2qt 7x11)

Heck, my P-76-B (10x15 "4qt") weighs less than the Pyrex 10x15 AND the 9x13, coming in at a mere 3 lbs 8.8 oz

Now, my F-21-B (4.5liter) French White roaster does weigh in at a more hefty 4lbs 5.2 oz, but it still weighs less than the 10x15 4 quart Pyrex baking dish. (not by much though)

So, in essence, for the most part, the Vintage Corningware baking dishes ("P" model numbers at least) weigh less than the Pyrex bakeware that is still on the market.  P-332 is the exception to the rule, of course.  Though I, personally, don't use that size all that often, if at all.  (As is evident, since I don't actually HAVE that particular piece and had to borrow my brother's for this little exercise in weights and measures.)

Pyrex is no longer "actual" Pyrex anymore, being made of tempered soda-lime glass instead of borosilicateWorld Kitchen's excuse for the switch is that tempered soda-lime glass is lighter and more break resistant.  I am not buying it.  And the numbers don't lie.  It's actually heavier than my borosilicate vintage Corningware, for the most part.  I would be curious to find some vintage borosilicate Pyrex and see if the vintage pieces are lighter than the newer soda-lime ones.

I think it's time for me to retire all of my newer Pyrex baking dishes to the Goodwill and just stick with the vintage Corningware.

Pyrex has left the building!  (not my opal glass mixing bowls or refrigerator dishes though, I'm keepin those.... They are vintage pieces and I don't think those were ever made of borosilicate glass anyway)

Where is your Corningware??
~~

3 comments:

  1. I agree totally. I do not want to cook with aluminum, teflon or that new stuff. I use corning for almost everything. I like to put leftovers in small ones with lids to heat up in the microwave. I just bought ,from a thrift store, a pyrex bowl for making jello. I like the shape for that purpose. Now I will have to look at all my pyrex to see if it is too new!!

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  2. Same here, I'm also replacing all plastic storage containers and using the vintage Pyrex in place. My new cookware is Le Creuset and All Clad. Otherwise it's corning ware or vintage copper pots I've thrifted. I only have non-stick for my husband and for eggs and pancakes. Otherwise I never use it.

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  3. Also in agreement. I do not like the non-stock stuff. I do not use any aluminum. I do have a couple of Ovenex muffin tins that i use with the paper muffin liners... i was actually wondering if Corningware made muffin bakers??? Also, I do have a LeCreuset skillet, and some LeCreuset pots, but everything else is Corning ware and a few vintage Pyrex pieces. I especially like the Pyrex white mixing bowls that used to accompany Hamilton beach mixers! Is that the pearl mixing bowls you refer to?

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