Sunday, April 19, 2015

All That Pyrex

My friends all know that I collect vintage Pyrex. As I mentioned before, this is often met with amusement, scorn, occasional support (my friends Phyliss and Kristin have proven willing to drive for hours to visit antique stores and flea markets just to look for it), and also often with questions. Here are the three that come up most often:

"What do you do with all that Pyrex?"

I display it and I use it. I don't understand why this is so hard to understand for people, but it is an eternal question, and I think it comes down to snobbery. If I said that I had a set of fancy wedding china, and that I displayed it in a fancy china cabinet and occasionally used it, the response would be more along the lines of, "Oh, yes, of course. This is what one does with fancy wedding china." Since I'm just using and displaying Pyrex, which was sold as everyday dishes and which a lot of people remember (or are still using) from Mom's and Gramma's houses, the response is more along the lines of, "That's so weird." The weirdness factor might also be because I sometimes get overly excited about finding some, but finding it is exciting for me. If it's not exciting for you, just scroll on down.

"Don't you have enough Pyrex?"

This was most recently asked by Mom while they were visiting last week. The simple answer is that no, I don't. I would like to finish my white Town and Country refrigerator dish set, because it is only half completed at the moment. (I don't care about the colored Town and Country refrigerator dish set. I only like the all white with pattern one.) I would like an Early American 404, because it is the only mixing bowl out of the set that I'm missing. I've never seen Brittany Blue in person, ever, at any store, so I haven't been able to decide if I like it and want any or not. (I thought I would like Colonial Mist and Horizon Blue, and when I finally saw them in person I didn't like either one. I didn't think I would like Shenandoah, and when I saw it in person I thought it was pretty and bought it immediately.) I feel like I might want an Orange Fiesta, a Vintage, and maybe a Midnight Bloom, but I won't know until I see them and see what people are charging for them.

Do I need these things? No.

Do I want them? Yes.

"Do you even use all that Pyrex?"

This is kind of like the first question. I was thinking about it this week, at the tail end of my vacation, so I decided to keep track of how much I used while I did some pretty average weekend cooking: I made a mac and cheese, and I'm currently baking a banana bread.

The mac and cheese ended up using five pieces of Pyrex:

mac and cheese (1)

Starting just below the cheese:

My beaten egg is in a Pyrex Family Flair creamer. Family Flair dinnerware was introduced in 1957 and continued until about 1960. It was not produced in white, even though my creamer is all white. Instead, someone has dishwashered my creamer to death between 1957 and now, and all the paint came off, so I have no idea what color or pattern it was. Since it was stripped down to the glass and was a couple of dollars at the antique mall, I bought it, and I always use it for adding beaten eggs to something. It holds about four eggs, it has a spout for pouring them out, I can put it in the dishwasher, and using it to beat eggs doesn't dirty a measuring cup, which I will probably need in the same recipe for measuring liquids.

Below the creamer is a one cup Pyrex measuring cup. I have three of these of varying ages. They're not vintage (one might be from the 1980's, so it's arguable?), and they can all go in the dishwasher.

I'm mixing up the mac and cheese in an Amethyst 325 mixing bowl. It's hard to see how purple it is because of my black countertops, but take my word for it, ok? That's a three dollar thrift store purchase, and I've started looking for the clear mixing bowls fairly recently because I can put them in the dishwasher and because I stop using my patterned, milk glass mixing bowls when I complete their sets and put them on display. (Or use them for other purposes. My Hex Signs 404, for example, is on the dresser in my bedroom, because I keep my bow ties in it. Around the kitchen, I throw my change in an Empire Scroll 043, keep my bananas in a pink 503, hold envelopes and notecards in a red Hostess bowl, etc.) I can't have a kitchen without mixing bowls and I've collected most of the patterns that I like, so I need some working bowls.

Just above the mixing bowl you can see a Pyrex lidded butter dish. I have a clear one because it was a dollar at the thrift store, and also because they didn't make the white glass patterned ones in any of the patterns that I like or collect. There's a couple that I would buy if I saw them because I can sell them to someone else in the collectors groups I belong to, but for the most part if I see a Pyrex butter dish at a store I shrug and move on.

That's only four pieces, though. The fifth was the clear glass 221 I baked the mac and cheese in:

mac and cheese (2)

I have a stack of 221 dishes. I have a clear and an opal (all white), which can both go in the dishwasher, and a Desert Dawn, a Lime, and a Turquoise, which cannot go in the dishwasher. They're the perfect size for cornbread, a small cake, brownies, mac and cheese, vegetables, etc. and I have so many because sometimes I need more than one at a time.

I guess I could have eaten the mac and cheese on a Pyrex plate, but that would have been excessive. I only use my Pyrex plates when I think they look good with the food.

The banana bread used four pieces of Pyrex:

banana bread (1)

I mixed up the batter in that Old Orchard 403. I don't collect Old Orchard, but that bowl was three dollars and I mentioned above that I needed some working bowls for my kitchen as my other bowls came out of usage rotation.

I'm also using my other two glass one cup measuring cups. Good thing I have three, right? One of them has the oil, and I'm mashing up the overly ripe bananas in the other. It's good for that because it has a handle and a wide mouth, so it's easy to hold onto while I mash with a wooden spoon.

Like the mac and cheese, the last piece used was the baking dish:

banana bread (2)

That's an Opal loaf pan. I also have one in brown glass (a gift from Mom many years ago when I moved into my first apartment; it predates me actually collecting Pyrex), and both of them can go in the dishwasher.

And that's pretty much all of the Pyrex I've used this weekend.

Hopefully that answers all of the questions.


Anonymous said...

Slightly off subject, but your mac & cheese and banana bread look amazing. Be a doll and share the recipe? :)

Marcheline said...

Don't let them bully you out of your Pyrex collection, Joel. You just hang in there and collect your little heart out. Why do people always want to come in and get you to do something other than what YOU want to do? I can't stand that! Let's all go to their house and ask them if they need all THEIR favorite shit. Who would even do that? Sheesh.