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.
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!