Archive for the ‘Interesting’ Category

Some of the vintage pressure cookers come with an indented bottom, while some are flat.

Revere Ware originally came out with these pressure cookers in 1946 (see the Revere Ware history site).  The original design had a pressure gauge and there was a small rubber gasket underneath.  This proved problematic and in 1948 they came out with a revised design that used a dial gauge.

The manual for the original pressure gauge model shows a flat bottom.  I have two specimens that also have a flat bottom.  We can presume that the indented bottom variety came out after 1948.   Looking at all available vintage pressure cookers on Ebay (that have pictures of the bottom), plus my own specimens, they clearly come with the indented and non-indented bottoms:

Indented bottom: 7
Flat bottom: 3

The vintage gauge-style pressure cooker manuals do not discuss an indented bottom or show pictures of the bottom, so there is no help there.  From the relative quantities of indented vs flat bottom pressure cookers in the wild, I would presume that at some point earlier in the full production life of these pressure cookers, they switched to the indented bottom because it was preferable for some reason.

Does anyone know when they might have made the switch and what might be better about the indented style bottom?

Pressure cookers are back in vogue

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Those of us who have been using our Vintage or other Revere Ware pressure cookers for years know how useful they are.  I find them much better at cooking artichokes than simple steaming.  My mother still makes (what she calls) Spanish rice in her pressure cooker (54 years old) that is fantastic.

It looks like the culinary set is taking notice of the lowly pressure cooker (once again) as evidenced by an article in the Weekend Edition of the Wall Street Journal (The Pressure Cooker is On).

CHEFS ARE EMBRACING a green technology that makes cooking faster, flavors more intense, braised meats more tender, stocks richer, whole grains easier to handle and root vegetables more flavorful. The good news for home cooks: This transformational piece of equipment is not a pricey Pacojet nor a complex sous-vide setup. It’s a common, relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use pressure cooker.

Chef John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Miss., said he once disdained pressure cookers as emblematic of “the great culinary shame” of the 1960s and ’70s, the era of canned food and quick casseroles. But now he uses a pressure cooker to braise pork roasts, short ribs and beef blade roasts, and considers it essential for maintaining the shape and texture of legumes. “The greatest upside of the pressure cooker is the intensity of flavor,” said Mr. Currence.

Jason Fox of San Francisco’s Commonwealth uses a pressure cooker to infuse lemon verbena into plums and to make a roasted chicken broth in just 30 minutes. “Under pressure, everything stays in there, it’s not evaporating,” Mr. Fox said.

“Modernist Cuisine,” a five-volume work on innovative cooking published by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold in 2011, boldly states that pressure cookers are the best equipment for making stocks—a cornerstone of classical cuisine—because they can cook at high temperature without boiling, which causes fats to emulsify and makes stocks cloudy. Phillip Lopez of Root in New Orleans said he read “Modernist Cuisine” voraciously and was surprised by its endorsement of a piece of equipment he considered fit only for canning. Soon after, at an International Culinary Center conference in New York, Mr. Lopez found he wasn’t alone. “Everyone was talking about them,” he said.

Mr. Lopez soon developed a method for infusing Japanese dashi broth with the aroma of burned hickory wood by cooking it under high pressure for an hour. He also tosses in a small amount of expensive or exotic ingredients, such as star anise and black cardamom, and uses them to turn veal shanks and other tough cuts of meat into luxurious, potently spiced dishes.

Kuhn Rikon, a Swiss maker of high-quality pressure cookers, reports that sales have increased by about 25% since 2000. In the past five years, a multitude of pressure cooker cookbooks have hit the market, including a 2009 reprint of Lorna Sass’s definitive “Cooking Under Pressure.” Several websites, including the encyclopedic missvickie.com, offer recipes and tips.

Often confused with slow cookers, which cook at low temperatures over lengthy periods to allow for unattended cooking, pressure cookers actually function in the opposite way. They work by creating an environment in which water boils at a higher temperature than in a conventional pot. Steam inside the cooker forces its way through the food, cooking quickly and at high heat. Because there is no heat loss during cooking, and because food cooks so much faster, pressure cookers require far less energy than conventional cooking. Stews and braises that might require three hours in an oven take as little as 15 to 30 minutes; risotto takes about five.

Sang Yoon, chef of Father’s Office and Lukshon in Los Angeles, says he is puzzled that even more cooks haven’t come around. “The pressure cooker is an awesome thing because you can literally beat the laws of physics,” he said. “It is a simple device that modifies atmosphere, which means you can do all sorts of playful things.”

From the list of pressure cookers they’ve reviewed in their test kitchen, you’ll pay anywhere from $50 to almost $300 for a pressure cooker, or, you could just get a used vintage Revere Ware pressure cooker from Ebay for a little as 20 bucks.

Incidentally, the electric model by Cuisinart they’ve reviewed is strikingly similar to one Revere sold in the last decade, and obviously something they simply branded from another company, probably Cuisinart.  I’ve got one but have yet to try it.  The combination of electric and pressure cooker is very appealing as perhaps a better Crock Pot (yes, I’ve got a vintage one of those too).

Mystery pressure cooker insert

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Customer Kathy inherited a pressure cooker with some interesting inserts.  Does anyone have an idea if they belong to the vintage pressure cooker (they don’t appear in the manual) and what they might be for?

New vs Vintage Revere Ware

Monday, May 14th, 2012

A call to our customer service line highlights the quality difference between vintage Revere Ware and the new stuff nicely.

Vintage:  You are using the cookware that your grandmother used, was used by your mother, and is now yours.  Other than a new handle, it still works great.

New: You lift a pot off the stove.  Part of the bottom of the pot sticks to the stove (melted).  Part of it falls off onto your linoleum floor and catches the floor on fire.

What is this called?

Friday, October 7th, 2011

A customer recently send us these photos of a skillet with extra handle and domed lid, wondering what the official name for this piece of cookware is.  If you know what this is called, please let us know in the comments or email us here.

Extreme Revere Ware handle repair

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Here is a project sent to us by a customer.  He was determined to fix a friends favorite sauce pan that had been without a handle for 20 years.  The problem was not only that the particular style of handle (the type used in the first few years of production) was not available, but that most of the metal that the handle attaches to had broken off.  This just goes to show that perhaps NO piece of cookware is beyond repair to the truly determined.

We have documented a simple if imperfect adaptation of the vintage style handle we DO sell to the early production pans, but for those looking for a better solution, this project should be inspiration; it is clearly possible to modify the spline that the handle attaches to to fit the “newer” vintage style handles we DO sell.

Thanks to Jim for documenting this project and sending it to us.

Sauce Pan Handle Project

This project involved putting a “Large” sauce pan handle on a “broken” handle stub of an early model Revere Ware 7” sauce pan.

The Problem :

Before: This “early” model sauce pan had a broken handle bracket.

After: Welding  approx. 3” of  ¾” x.065” stainless steel strip to the handle .

This is the finished handle fix –

Note:  The original -early model- right tab was wider than ¾” and had to be ground away to match the ¾” wide stainless strip added to fit the ¾” wide handle niches.

Note:  The dimensional detail of the added piece was accomplished by creating a piece of  light cardboard that fit the handle recesses and then transferring that to a thing piece of sheet metal and from that, it was transferred to the stainless piece for the handle. .

Left Side Detail:

Left Side A. The Left Side tab was basically unchanged.  However, we did weld the left tab to the new handle material for the purpose of strengthening the entire handle system.

Left Side B.   Blue Tape indicates the area of bakelight removal in the handle halves.

Note:  The black marker over the original strengthening rib where the handle is attached to the pan.  This rib interfered with the handle and therefore required some relieving of the handle with a Dremel tool to get clearance and allow the seam of the handle halves to mate up without a crack between them. (  See Blue Tape – Above  )

Left Side C.

Also the left side handle had to be relieved ( notice the semi-circle of blue tape ) and some of the handle cut away where the Tab was welded to the new handle material.

( See Blue Tape – Above  )

Right Side A.

The right side tab of the handle required the Tab be ground away so it was only ¾” wide to match both the new handle extension width and the bakelite handle niche.  Also bakelite had to be removed at the front of the handle where the strengthening rib interfered with the handle fitting flush to the tab.

( See Blue Tape — Above )

Right Side A.

This piece of .040” thick  x  ¾” wide  thick sheet metal was cut to fit the handle and used as a pattern for the shearing of the stainless piece that was .065″.

The stainless piece was then welded to the handle and ground flush.  Then the hole for the hanging ring was drilled after the handles were mounted and fitting well. The result is below.   ( The black line being the weld joint area. )

The Finished Pan….

The project was not all that involved and went quite smoothly.   Sheet metal snips, Dremel tool,  bench grinder, files, dial calipers, vice  and drill were the home shop tools involved.  I did take the stainless strip to a metal shop for shearing and welding.

Brands, now and then

Friday, December 24th, 2010

An article in the latest Consumer Reports brings to light the sad state of another vintage brand, Pyrex, which is also owned by World Kitchen, which owns the Revere Ware brand.  While the cheapening of Revere Ware began long before World Kitchen owned the brand (the good stuff was made before 1968 and World Kitchen purchased the Revere assets in 1998) this article goes to show that World Kitchen definitely isn’t about honoring the spirit of the brands it owns.

In the case of Revere Ware, today’s cookware is made with a much thinner layer of stainless steel and copper than the vintage cookware was.  The thinner copper layer is not nearly as good at spreading the heat as the thicker layer in the older cookware, resulting in more hot spots and burned food.  Here is an example of the difference:

(Image courtesy of Classic Kitchens and More and The Shine Shop)

In the case of Pyrex, today’s glassware is made of tempered soda lime, while the vintage glassware (and current European glassware) is made of borosilicate.  Borosilicate glassware handles temperature changes much better than soda lime glass does.

Exactly when the changeover occurred is still up for debate, but there is some evidence that it happened about when World Kitchen took over the Pyrex business.

Revere Ware & the recession

Monday, September 6th, 2010

In my experience, thrift stores have always been a good source for used Revere Ware cookware and I have gotten most of my extensive collection from thrift stores.  As a general rule, at a miminum you could count on there being a good selection of Revere Ware lids, should you need a replacement.

But the last year or so I’ve noticed a curious thing; less and less Revere Ware at thrift stores.  I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to assume that more people are bargain hunting and depleting the stock of available cookware at thrift stores.

But, on the other hand, the stock of Revere Ware on Ebay keeps growing and growing.

I am guessing the same recession mentality that is driving people to buy cookware on the cheap may be leading people to try and sell whatever they can to make money, including their old Revere Ware.

The trend clearly means that Ebay is the place now to get add to your Revere Ware collection or to replace a ruined pan, and with our new parts, you can keep them looking and working well for a long time to come.

As we mentioned in a previous post, we recently created a tool to help you find the specific Revere Ware piece you are looking for on Ebay: www.revereware.org. This tool downloads all the Revere Ware Ebay listings every 30 minutes and categorizes them by type and size to make it easier for you to find that 9 inch lid or 3 quart sauce pan.

World Kitchen building sold

Friday, June 11th, 2010

On a slow news day, I guess this story makes sense.  World Kitchen, the owners of the Revere Ware brand (among others, including Pyrex, CorningWare, and EKCO) just signed a new 10 year lease on their building in Chicago.  The building was recently sold to a group of REIT investors.

Revere Ware and memories

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Revere Ware is useful stuff that still has a place in a modern kitchen.  But given that Revere Ware cookware can last a long time, it also comes with a rich history.  Hardly a week goes by that I don’t receive comments (and thanks) along with orders about how someone is buying parts for the Revere Ware they received on their wedding in 1947 or was handed down to them from their parents.  In fact, I was very glad to replace the Bakelite parts on my 80-year-old mother-in-law’s Revere Ware.

So it is great to find the occasional pictures of people using their Revere Ware when they first got it, like these from a couple in 1955.