Breakin’ dishes

The one true way to figure out you have too much stuff is to pack up to move. All of those things stuck way in the back of the kitchen cupboards, in that place over the fridge or in the blind corner cabinet were probably never very useful to begin with, otherwise they wouldn’t be stored in the most inaccessible place possible. Or if they were useful, they have been replaced and you now have two of them because the item in question couldn’t be found when the need for a fish spatula, 5 litre casserole dish, or pot du crème pots urgently arose.

There seem to be two parallel planes existing in kitchens: the abundance one and the scarcity one. It does not seem possible to have a feast without a corresponding famine. And in my kitchen the famine manifests itself in lids, especially the lids for things that are completely useless without a lid. Like storage containers. Every so often I go through the storage area designated for storage containers and throw out the ones that no longer have lids. I have no idea where the lids go and I have never found a lid that is missing a container. I am certain that even if I pack only containers that are fully functional, when I unpack them at the other end somehow lids will have disappeared along the way.

While my containers are busy ensuring their obsolescence, my casserole dishes are busy multiplying. There is some justification for having several different casserole dishes because it is generally not advisable to make a soufflé in a lasagne pan, but that is not the primary reason for casserole dish sprawl. I think the blame for this situation lies squarely in the (recently deceased) lap of S. Donald Stookey.

Mr. Stookey, who died earlier this month just short of his 100th birthday, was the accidental inventor of Fotoceram, or the material that brought us CorningWare. Apparently Mr. Stookey chose his career at Corning Glass because he was fascinated by glass and the attempts of alchemists to harness a material so unique that it is not quite solid, liquid or gas, but rather a liquid frozen in an unstable state. Which kind of explains the number of mismatched glasses I own.

Anyhow, CorningWare’s claim to fame is its indestructibility, or in the immortal words of the commercial “from the freezer to the fire, CorningWare cookware can do it”. Or at least most of the time. I have personally proven that neither Pyrex nor CorningWare nor its spinoff Corel is impervious to smashing to smithereens on a ceramic floor or imploding when moved from a hot stove to a sink full of ice (seemed like a good idea at the time). But I digress. My experiments aside, casserole dishes hang around for a long time and stay perfectly good much longer than our willpower to resist buying that brand new 6 piece set that comes in bright red. So the avocado green versions migrate to the back of the cupboard. Too good to throw out.

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