Thrifty Thursday: Copper Kitchenware

So, here we are again at Thrifty Thursday and I haven’t had a truly epic score in a while. Honestly I haven’t been thrifting particularly hard either, I’ve been busy lately as I am producing a show and I’ve had several clients that needed things done on deadlines.

This week I needed to grab about 10 baskets for about 10 bucks and so naturally I had to hit up my favorite place and lo and behold I came across kitchenwares worth buying. In addition to these I also got a wok the right size for 2 people for a buck, this allows me to give our HUGE wok to one of my friends who doesn’t have one and put it on a wish list she posted a while back to make healthy food for her family. It also helps me make properly portioned meals for the boy and I so it’s great for everyone. Oh, and a 4qt double boiler, which will be great in a few weeks when I get my epic chocolate making on (expect pics). What can I say, theater makes you do strange things like buy 10 baskets at a time on a ridiculously strenuous budget and then make enough chocolates to feed and army.

Now, let’s talk copper kitchenware and why it’s awesome and how to figure out if it’s worth buying. In general if a copper pot or pan is in good shape (meaning that it’s not bent, damaged, eroded, cracked or otherwise broken) it’s probably worth buying if for no other reasons than that a) copper can be cleaned easily and then used for decoration because it’s pretty, b) copper is in high demand right now so you may well be able to turn it for a profit, c) if you’ve got gas, copper is a wonder metal to use as far as conducting heat.

My find:
3 vintage Revere Ware pieces: a 4 qt pot with no lid, a 1qt pot with no lid, and a colander
Pricing:
7.99, 4.99, 3.99 respectively
Why it’s a good deal:
Revere Ware has a cult following, especially for vintage pieces because they have a copper core (not just a copper bottom) and use stainless interiors and not tin. Solid copper exterior pieces are in higher demand than just copper bottomed pieces, but it’s still not cheap either way if it’s a vintage piece. You can tell it’s vintage because it will have the marking you see in the pictures below. Instead of saying Revere Ware it will say Paul Revere and 1801 with the Revere Ware tricorn wearing head in profile.
These pieces had not been used. Before you ask how I know that, take a look at the pics. They are a little filthy inside, but at the bottom of the two pots you can clearly see the Revere Ware sticker that explains how to not damage the exterior before use. There is no way these have been used to boil water or cook anything and kept those babies intact. If I had to guess these lovelies were decorative, which would explain why the outsides are somewhat clean but the insides are so very dirty, especially if they were on a shelf. These babies just need a rub down with copper cleaner on the outside and a good thorough cleaning on the interior to be ready to go.
Why it works for me:
At 4qt the pot isn’t huge, but it’s a great size for making food for 2 people or for making a side dish. The smaller handled pot is great for creating sauces. The colander is a gorgeous colander and we don’t have one and the strainer we do have has needed to go for a while. We also have a pot rack, so these will be gorgeous being displayed to the world.

Whether you like it for looks or you like it for superior conduction of heat and even cooking, copper is a great choice that withstands the test of time quite well, which is great because new these pieces would have topped $200.00, and I’m serious on that. On E-Bay I would have been lucky to get these for under $150.00, so under $20.00 was a no brainer.

Don’t forget when you’re on the prowl for copper kitchenware that copper is easier to clean than silver and don’t be afraid to pick up items that are not shiny, brown or green can be easily removed with proper copper cleaner. Also know that hand hammered copper is eternally en vogue and looks fabulous. If you’re a food blogger (even an amateur one like me) these will make for some seriously attractive food pics. Also, a piece doesn’t have to be Revere Ware to be a perfectly serviceable piece, these just happened to be both.

Finally, the best part about copper is that if it has a scratch or a dent or something that doesn’t functionally alter it, it can still be cleaned and just has battle scars which I think makes it more attractive than a set of absolutely perfect pots. Vintage pieces are allowed to have a little wear, it gives them character. You’re also totally allowed to mix and match, copper is usually super expensive so don’t be afraid to slowly upgrade some of your pieces. As a real chef would use whatever finish is best for the job and would have a non-stick egg pan, several copper pieces, an iron skillet, a piece or two of enamelware, and whatever else made them happy. It’s really about function when it comes to cooking and form is a bit of a bonus.

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