Friday, March 28, 2014

I Got The "Bleu"s - My Corning Ware French Bleu Collection

Collection sharing time...!!!!  This is one in progress.  French Bleu is fairly hard to come by, as it was only produced from the fall of 1983 to fall of 1984 (basically 1 year), so my collection has been growing somewhat sporadically.

From Left to Right, Top to Bottom......  The F-5 (1.6 liter) Souffle sitting in the F-3 (24cm) Quiche Baker.

In the back, nestled in an LE-F1-R cradle is the F-1 (2.5 liter) Souffle.

And finally, the F-6 (1.8 liter) shallow baker. (technically a lidless dish, but the lid for the F-2 fits on the F-6 as well)

For years, all I had was the 10 inch (24cm) Quiche dish that I purchased off eBay.  I was actually about to give up on ever seeing another piece, because that seemed to be the ONLY piece ever on eBay.  Then I got lucky one day.  I had crossed the Columbia River and invaded Vancouver, WA.  There, I found both the F-5 & F-1.  The F-6 showed up about 2 months later.

So yeah... This set has taught me patience. 

Where is your CorningWare??

Thursday, March 27, 2014

There is Nothing Nouveau Under the Sun - A Princess House Exclusive Arcoflam from France (by ARC)

I have been debating whether or not to post about this, but it IS "Pyroceram", or at least some form of Ceramic Glass Cookware, just like Corning Ware...  

This is Nouveau...   A Princess House Exclusive.

Made even more exclusive by the fact that it is no longer available in the United States at all, and the only piece available in Australia is a 3.5 quart oval baking dish. This piece in particular is the 10 1/2 inch Saute pan... Which is a piece I have always wished was available in the Corning Ware line. 

Made by in France by ARC, International; purveyors of other ARC-centric glassware goods such as Cristal d'Arques (crystal), Luminarc (transparent), Arcoroc (tempered) & Arcopal (opal) and yes, Arcoflam (vitroceram) cookware.  Which just happens to be what is embossed upon the very locking mechanism of the accompanying handle.

So, though Princess House had exclusive rights to this particular design, the actual product is Arcoflam, made of vitroceram in France by ARC, International who also just happens to have exclusive rights to produce Pyrex in Europe.  However, this licensing agreement didn't happen until 2005.

Now, I don't know if ARC owns the infamous Avon, France plant that began producing Pyroflam after the Netherlander plant closed down (who were making Pyrosil and Pyroflam for the European market), because this company is not really based in Avon, but in Arques; as evident from their original company name "Verrerie Cristallerie d’Arques".

Whether this is actually Corning Ware or, like Narumi's Neoceram, the result of the inevitable foray all glass companies make into the realm of ceramic glass, I have no idea.  But I thought it was interesting enough to begin amassing at least a small collection.  After all, though it may, or may not, be Corning's "Corning Ware" it IS ceramic glass, and that alone makes it pretty darned awesome in my book.

The only issue I have at this point is lack of knowledge.  My 1 1/2 quart saucepan and 1 quart casserole are both missing their lids.  Since I think it's safe to assume that they were not as "domed" as the lid for the Saute pan/steamer, that sort of leaves me in the dark as to what they DID look like.

One of the things I like the most about this Nouveau, is how flat the bottoms are, without being "ground" like Corning Ware was.  They are so flat, that when wet, they actually stick to my counter top. 

If anyone has any more information on Princess House Nouveau, please feel free to share.  

Where is your Corning Ware??

Update:  I found an article in the LA Times dates November 20, 1986.... Evidently Arcoflam hit the Main Stream Market at that time.  I still do not know how long it was available from Princess house before this happened.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Happiness is a Warm Bottom - French White/Bleu/Bisque and Classic Black F2MWCR Cradle

Well, after my original post on French White Cradles, and the fact that I had to snitch pictures from an eBay listing, I began searching for this elusive F Series cradle.  It has taken a little time, and a little luck, but I finally succeeded in finding one.

Behold!!!!!   The F2MWCR....  (cue theme from "2001: a space odyssey")

In English?  The French White/Bleu/Bisque & possibly Classic Black 2 1/2 quart (2.8 Liter) Deep Oval Casserole Microwaveable Warming Cradle.  Whew!   I think I will stick with the F2MWCR. It's faster to say... and type.

It is entirely made of plastic, save for the Granite insert in the center.  It's made in China, so it was from the time when "Crown Corning" started importing accessories.  It still looks a lot like one of those "As Seen On TV" gizmos to me.

The back side has the Microwaving instructions.  
  • 600 - 900W                       = 2 1/2 - 4 minutes
  • 1000-1500W                    = 1 1/2 - 3 minutes
  • Commercial Microwave = 1 - 1 1/2 minutes (scared of that)

Evidently, the Granite piece absorbs microwave energy and heats up, thus warming the bottom of your dish warm, hence keeping the casserole, held within, piping hot while serving.  Probably a little safer than the previous candle warmers had been.

I tried multiple pieces, but it really is designed specifically for the F-2 Casserole; none of my others fit into it.

My assumption is that this was originally available as a set with a French White F-2 because of the era it was made, but it's possible it was still available with French Bleu and French Bisque.  I do not, however, believe this product was available after the late 80s, meaning that it predates the Classic Black (1990).  Though I am not completely certain of that.  Then again, this was an add-on and could only be purchased separately, since I have never seen a box.

Where is your Corningware Cradle??

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Puttin' a Lid On It - Corning Ware Petites and Lids

I'm sure you have seen those cute little petite pans (P-41 & P-43) floating around town in various thrift stores.  Though most of them are devoid of their covers, more than likely because they were purchased that way, there are covers available.  Several in fact.

Let us begin with the most sought after... The infamous P-41-GC (Glass Cover).  Originally made in the USA, they are being reproduced in Thailand and sold at the Outlet Stores, though these new lids are marked as P-40-C.  So remember, when shopping on eBay for glass petite lids, the numbers give them away.  P-40-C = Replacement Petite Lid from Thailand..... P-41-GC = Vintage Petite Lid.

Corning also made several plastic covers, though these are known as P-43-PCs (Plastic Covers)... I don't know why they switched from the 41 to the 43 designation for the plastic covers.

There are two versions of the same design.  The type that leaves the lugs exposed.  The original 1st generation style was made of the same opaque plastic as the cover for the P-315 bread dish (seen on P-41-B).  Sadly, these have a tendency to yellow over time.  The 2nd generation release of this type of lid was made of a clear hard plastic (seen on the P-43-B).  While these didn't discolor, they cracked easily.

Eventually Corning released the "3rd Generation" plastic lid, still marked as P-43-PC.  These are made of a softer, more rubbery plastic that covered the lugs. They are also still available at some Outlets.  (I just bought 5 of them at the Outlet in Centralia, WA a couple years ago)

Fear not though, for even if you have none of the above covers for your Petites, I will let you in on a little secret.  The reason they were originally sold without lids is that they were designed to be flipped over and used as lids themselves.

This is the reason for the strange design of the lugs on the Petites.

Where is your Corningware??

Thursday, March 20, 2014

About Town With Corningware - American Oil Star Promotional

I cannot find any information on this pattern other than the fact that this was a promotional design for American Oil (AMOCO) customers, similar to the way Shell Oil had the Green & Blue Macrame made as a promotional for their customers. 

I have seen several different pieces in this pattern. The above picture is from a 1 3/4 quart Saucepan at the Good Will, but there are many others.

The 1.5 quart oblong loaf pan (P-4-B)

(courtesy of eBay)
a 1 3/4 quart (P-1 3/4-B),

(courtesy of Etsy)
a 1 quart (P-1-B)

(courtesy of Etsy)
 the 9 inch skillet (P-9-B)

 (courtesy of Etsy)
 some petite pans (P-41),

(courtesy of eBay) 
and even a 1 quart Saucemaker (P-55)

(courtesy of eBay) 
and a 2 quart Bread Pan (P-315)

Other pieces known to exist are the P-309 Pie Plate, the P-43 Petite pan as well as the P-10-B 10 inch Skillet.

As far as I have been able to discern, unlike the Shell Oil Medallion pattern, the American Oil pattern predates 1972, so all pieces are P-series.

Where is your Corningware??

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fade to Black - My Corning Ware Classic Black Collection (French Black)

I figured it was time that I actually share some of the pieces I have collected over the years....   This is my Classic Black Collection as of March 2014.  Mind you, this it subject to change at any given moment due to thrifting.  For though this is supposedly the "entirety" of what was made in Classic Black, I have a sneaking suspicion that there is an F-1-B (2.5 Liter) Souffle, an F-12-B (1.8 liter deep) casserole and quite possibly even F-16 (500ml) Ramekins or an F-14 (4.5 deep roaster) or F-21 (4.5 liter shallow open roaster) floating around out there. One never really knows when it comes to unraveling the mysteries of Corning Ware.

From Top to Bottom....
Left: F-2-B (2.8 Liter) Casserole sitting in the F-4-B (2.5 Liter) Open Roaster

Middle: F-6-B/MC-6-B (divided 1.8 Liter) serving dish behind the F-6-B (shallow 1.8 Liter) with Lid

Right: F-5-B (1.6 Liter) lidded Souffle sitting in the F-3-B (24cm) Quiche dish
Where is your Corning Ware??

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Consulting Compendia and Codecies - Corning Ware Cook Books

A reader brought to my attention, that I have not covered any of the illustrious Cookbooks that were published regarding Corning Ware Pyroceram and it's awesomeness in the kitchen.  So I thought I would touch on the ones that I know of, which are the ones that I have.... There may be more, I am sure there are, but these are the ones that I have found over the years.  Actually, one of these just arrived in the mail the other day.  It's strictly for research purposes, because it's a microwave cookbook...  Hmmmmm.

Let's start with what I consider the utmost in praise for Vintage Corning Ware.  There is no one, other than maybe Julia Child herself, that could elevate Pyroceram to such a degree as this man.   Yes, it's James Beard... As in THE James Beard...  He produced a small paperback cookbook pamphlet of selected recipes utilizing Cookmates and "The Counter that Cooks" that was titled  "James Beard Cooks with Corning" (1973).  Straight forward and to the point, just like the man himself.  No mincing words, just mince the  onions.

This brings me to the next pamphlet...   The Counter That Cooks, and it's Cookmates.  My copy is from 1971, but the counter that cooks had already been around for several years.

It has all the information on how to operate "The Counter That Cooks" ......

along with a list of the sizes in which the flat ground bottomed  "Cookmates" were available.

Luckily, there are also recipes... and while the cooking settings may be a little different, they seem to work fairly well as long as you remember that "High" heat in the book means Medium-High at the most on a modern range top.

Don't have a Corning "Counter that Cooks?  That's OK, you can come close to the same effect with one of the Electromatic Skillets and the small instruction manual/cookbook that came with it (1963).  These are often available on eBay.

For the most part, it contains instructions for the use of the Immersible Warming Tray.

The Percolator...

And the Skillet...

But there are recipes within as well...

There are older copies of this booklet.... One with the Black Trefoil pattern on the front (1960) that is devoid of any information on the Immersible Warming Tray. (Evidently it was released a little later)

And a "Blue Washed" cover (1961) ...   Also lacking any mention of the Immersible Warming Tray.  Each one of these booklets has different recipes in it, though they ALL have a recipe for cooking bacon (cause EVERYONE loves Bacon) and the Coffee related beverages are all the same. 

There is also a special version of this booklet that leaves out both the Percolator and the Immersible platter in lieu of the Dutch Oven.  For a short time, the Electromatic Heater Base was available with both a the Skillet AND a specially flat ground bottomed Dutch Oven. As a result, there is a special Instruction/Cookbook for this "set"... This is why some of the Electromatic Skillet Heater Bases have the chrome "guard", to keep the Dutch oven (which has a slightly smaller foot print) from sliding off the heater base.

The recipes are divided by color for the dish to be used.

as you can see here.

The next Pamphlet is all about the Corningware Roasters... It's called "Does it pay to cook from Scratch" (1976?)...

 It was produced at some point during the A-series roasters (A-18, A-21, & A-76) as it even mentions the new sizes.

Strange title, but it has a couple of tasty recipes....  (Though honestly, I have a better recipe for Moussaka)
Corning really got into the act of Microwave cookery (1981?)... This 44 page booklet, which is the one I just ordered on eBay, covers the proper usage of Microwave Plus cookware and contains several recipes.  I thought it would be great for research purposes.

The forward was written by Cornelius O'Donnell, who I am about to introduce you too in the next book.

There are instruction for converting standard recipes to Microwave recipes, but I plan on doing the opposite and convert these microwave recipes to conventional ones.  LOL

Pamphlets, brochures and booklets are all well and good, but lets get into some actual Cookbooks.

First we have Cornelius O'Donnell, who wrote the forward for the Microwave cookery booklet as well as publishing a myriad of recipes in the newspaper over the years.  Eventually he published a cookbook of his favorites...  Cooking with Cornelius The Corning Cookbook (1982) is a must have.

I got an added bonus when I purchased my copy of "Cooking with Cornelius".  Tucked inside the flap, was a brochure containing 8 Fritatta recipes to be executed with the Corning Ware Rangetoppers.  Score!

Then there is this one... The Cook Choice Cookbook (1979).  It covers both Corning Ware and Pyrex, but it's still a great one.  The three ring binder style allows for you to add your own recipes to this great cookbook.

It also includes a forward by Cornelius O'Donnell... (this guy was BIG into Corningware and I can TOTALLY relate)

What I like about it is that it includes Use and Care instructions for both Pyrex and Corningware.  But the BEST part, is that it contains both Conventional and Microwave instructions.  Rock on!

Later, Corning produced the "All Seasons" cookbook quadfecta (2000).

It was a boxed set that consisted of 4 cookbooks that were geared towards seasonal eating.

The set includes...

"Fresh Flavors of Spring"

"A Bouquet of Summer Tastes"

"An Autumn Harvest of Goodness"

"Hearty Choices For Winter" 

These have some GREAT recipes in them.  They are a little more "up to date" with the way Americans cook today, as opposed to being more retro selections like some of the others.  However, this cookbook actually covers the many products Corning was affiliated with after the Borden, Inc purchase.

So there you have it... These are the book I am aware of that cover cooking with Corningware.  Most were produced at some point in the 1970s, other than the Electromatic Pamphlet of course, so the recipes are slightly "older" in style and flavors with the exception of The James Beard one has more "classics" in it.

Where is your Corning Cookbook??