Not that I have the space or anything, but I've started a new collection: vintage copper cookware. I'm obsessed. It all started with a few skillets I found at my local Goodwill. The pans were cheap and unmarked, but pretty. I hung them on the wall.

But lately, copper has been popping up at my regular thrifting haunts on a regular basis. And I can't resist! I'm buying it like crazy! I now have the three little pans I started with. Small, medium and large sauce pots/pans, and a big, heavy sauté pan (all with lids, natch).

I heard tell of people finding copper awesomeness at thrift stores in the past, but I never thought I would get so lucky. The stuff I've been finding has been tarnished, but it turns out, cleaning copper is super duper easy. Lemon juice and salt, plus a little patience, gets it shining in no time. Of course, it doesn't look "like new" but a little patina is right up my alley anyway.
So my point? No point! I just want to urge you to consider hunting down some vintage copper cookware. Mine comes from all over the world and most of it is marked. I have a piece of "Paul Revere-ware" from the States, a pot from Portugal, another from Chile and one from France. It's all slightly different, but you would never know it wasn't a real set. Plus, it's beautiful and fun, and great for cooking. Copper is super conductive and I find it very easy to use. Cooks meat perfectly, for example. Responds very quickly to temperature changes on the stove dial.

Yes, the tinning on the insides will wear out over time, but even though my new/old pans have been around for awhile, the tinning in them seems fine. And besides, copper cookware is WILDLY expensive new. (The Mauviel line, carried at Williams Sonoma, costs $2,800 for a 12 piece set. I already have many more pieces in my collection, in practically new condition, and I paid less than $10 per piece.) 

Think about that. You could buy a single pan from Williams Sonoma (or register for one as a wedding gift, putting the burden of purchasing an idiotic $300 piece of metal on your poor friends), or you could keep your eyes peeled at your local Goodwill and get something that will work wonderfully, look amazing, and cost less than $10. No one will know the difference!


12/26/2012 5:02pm

hi Jen. Your collection is impressive. Ive seen pots at goodwill too but have been afraid to buy them because i heard you have to replace a tin lining. how can you tell if your pot is lined with tin or stainless steel ?

12/26/2012 5:05pm

Hi Carlos,

You know, I don't really know how to tell the difference between a tin or stainless steel lining. I usually just look to see if the lining seems intact and then I don't worry about it. Whatever the pot is lined with (which is a different colour than the copper - always a silver-tone) is food safe, as far as I know...

Sorry not to be more help! I use my Goodwill copper a lot and so far, we've had no ill-effects, my advice is not to worry about it too much, but I'm no expert. :)


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