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Food + Cooking

Revere Ware


As I grabbed one of my pots last night to cook some rice, I thought, no foodie would believe I rely on several old Revereware saucepans at home. Most people expect my batterie de cuisine to be composed of only high-end brands, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Hanging on my pot rack is an eclectic collection of old cast-iron skillets, some well-used Le Creuset pots, five Revereware saucepans of differing sizes, and, okay, one All-Clad skillet. The Revereware pots are hand-me-downs from my mother and mother-in-law, along with a couple my husband bought at flea markets and brought to the marriage from his bachelor loft. (I had a hunch we’d be compatible when I saw Revereware pans hanging in his apartment.) We both have nostalgic feelings for these icons of our middle-class 1950s and ’60s childhoods, when our mothers prized their Revereware and routinely polished the copper bottoms.

My vintage pans are from that era, before planned obsolescence in manufacturing became part of the business, and though they may not have the heft and engineering of an All-Clad, they are much heavier than the current Revereware, with thicker-gauge steel. The handles are made from some early composite material that is sturdier and more pleasing to hold than the slippery plastic of later years, with visible screws and, later, rivets that have kept the handles intact. These pots did yeoman’s service when my mother was feeding a family of six, and they are still going strong for my family of four, though what’s being cooked in them has changed a bit. Fifty years ago, they held a lot of white sauce for creamed chicken on toast, while these days they are more likely to hold an Indian dal or an Ecuadorian potato soup. And no, I DON’T polish the bottoms!