It Ain’t Calphalon

February 20, 2010

Circa 1970's Cookware

Have you seen these pots before?

Maybe your mother had them.  Maybe you got some from your mother. 

Kitty Foreman on That 70’s show had them.  I’m Not kidding, watch a few episodes you’ll see them.  So it is possible you have seen these on TV.

It seems like everyone I show these pots to who grew up in the 70’s still owns or remembers them.

Growing up in Tampa Florida it meant your mother shopped at Winn-Dixie.  Which at that time bore the tagline – “The Beef People”.   In addition to beef, people were apparently buying lots of cookware from there.  I think they offered a different piece each week at a VERY LOW price with like an $8 minimum purchase.

My family did buy their beef at Winn-Dixie.  They didn’t buy their beef at Publix because it was too expensive and had something done to it which caused it to be labeled “proten” and included a little pat of butter.  Pantry Pride was just gross and was mainly where they bought beer and store brand soft drinks (click here for more details about my parents drinking habits).  In other words,  grocery shopping was “sport” during the recession wracked 70’s.  You drove from store to store in your 6 – 8 miles per gallon car to get certain items at the “best price” at 3 – 4 different stores.  I remember thinking one of my friends was RICH because their mother ONLY shopped at Publix.

These are the remaining three I have at my house.  I know at one time there were more.  Sources included my mother, my mother inlaw and a friend’s mother.  Today they are kept as backups in case the stainless steel or Calphalon is dirty.  All the lids are missing and the handles fell off the large pot probably 20 years ago.  I think my mother finally got rid of the last of hers.

So the next time you think you are so poor during this recession – look in your cabinets.  Does your cookware include any Calphalon, LeCruset or comparable brands?  If it does, then shut up.  Our parents bought their cookware at the grocery store.

As always – 

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The "GREEN" Couch - 35 Years Later

I think everyone ‘s parents still have something in their house that in some way is a reminder of their childhood and possibly their life.  It may be a good memory, bad memory or just a trigger that reminds them of their past.

My parents don’t have many as they are generally not packrats with OCD (that was my wife’s mother) but they have one thing that is a constant reminder of the majority of my life.


The green couch was purchased in approximately 1975 or 1976.  So it is now approaching 35 years old.  The primary companion piece is an arc lamp that is now very popular in vintage furniture stores.  I have come to hate them both.

There is nothing wrong with them but come on now, 35 years of use – I think my parents got their money’s worth out of them.  Today the couch and lamp are set up as a “den” or sitting room in the 3rd bedroom of their house but it was only moved from primary use about five years ago.

I don’t go in that room when I visit them.

If you are the right age to be “Dazed and Confused” you remember this couch.  It was what was known in the mid 70’s as a Play Pen couch.  They didn’t buy all the pieces just enough to make a large sectional but it is completely modular and can be reconfigured.  It was a custom piece of furniture when it was purchased 35 YEARS AGO!!! and has never been recovered , just cleaned a few times.

I am an only child so basically this couch is my sibling.  The child my parents had when I was 13.  It is in pictures from, when I was in High School, College, my wedding (I got married at my parent’s house), etc..  This couch is the “Where’s Waldo?”  of our family pictures.

My hatred of the couch is probably rooted in an incident that occured within the first year or so after they got it.

When I was about 14 I took a nap on the couch while my mother was cooking dinner.   Of course the cocktail hour was in full swing at our house out back on the porch.  If you are not familiar with my parents penchant for smoking and drinking in the 70’s click here for a link to a post I did about that.  I was sound asleep and all of a sudden I was awakened by the sound of my Mother screaming and running in the house because, during her cocktail she had forgotten that she had rice cooking on the stove and it was burning.  As I type this I just realized she probably wasn’t coming in because she realized the food on the stove was burning but was probably coming in because someone needed another cocktail.

Now when I say burning, I don’t mean a little scorched.  The air was THICK with smoke.  If you cook rice for 25 minutes, this must have cooked 2 to 3 times that amount.  We are talking scorched pot, ruined food.  The smoke was the kind where firefighters tell you to get on the floor and crawl out of the building.  I could have DIED!  But everyone lived and we probably went out for dinner that night.

A psychiatrist might  tell me my hatred of this couch is transference of my anger towards my mother for almost killing me.



P.S. – My mother is in the room as I write this post we are not estranged.