The Not So Ancient Pot


There are much older pots than this one. There are some from almost before humans began to evolve, but this is the oldest one in my kitchen and it has served me for nearly 50 years. I know fifty years is not a long time, not really, but to me it is a lot of cooking, a lot of eating and a lot of pot washing.

See how the pot still shines? It still shines because I was taught to wash and clean your cooking utensils as if they were golden rather than stainless steel. I was taught that a good cooking utensil is as important as a good cook.

This pot was given to me on my wedding day a long, long time ago by my Auntie. She said she thought we would have this pot the rest of our lives.  I thought she was kidding. I really did think she was kidding, but all along she was right.  She was my mother’s sister and my mother was always right, so it goes along with the familial rightness.

Oh, Aunt Shirley, you should only know of all of the wonderful hearty meals that have been cooked in this pot.  When I first saw this giant, I thought I would never use it.  Five hungry children and a hungry husband and a hungry wife later, I filled it plenty of times.  Now that the children have grown and the husband and I have been cutting our food intake for health reasons, the pot is still full many, many times. This pot just cooks and cooks and will perhaps for hundreds of years to come. 

I know the young folks like those new fangled pots with ridges, grooves and glass tops. But ridges and grooves are traps for left over food to fester and the glass tops break and have to be replaced.  The newer pots are so fragile that one bang and they are misaligned. The top never fits tightly again and your food dries out before it cooks to termination. I even have some pots and pans from my grandmother and was lucky to get them a few days after she passed. They cook as perfectly now fifty years later as they did the day I got them.

I think it is interesting that people have found uses for old pots and pans and in that way recycle them.  They say you can take them on camping trips. I do not camp. You can plant them.  No drainage.  You can use an old pot as a Halloween Candy holder. We do not have kids coming by as they all go to the mall. You can use the pot if it has a decent appearance to hold kitchen items you use on a regular basis. It might even work out as a lovely kitchen decoration. If I used my ancient pot for a holder, I would have to practically put my whole kitchen in it to fill it up and then, I would never find anything because it would most likely always be at the bottom. They say I could actually use some of my old banged, nicked up pots and pans as play kitchen for my grandkids.

Get a grip here folks.  They say I could use an old pot to hold cooking themed gifts for a new homeowner. I say, “no way, modern kids in their new homes like the new modern wares. If I came in with an old pot in any way shape or form as party of a gift, they would know that the one screw loose I had, has now become two and getting mighty close to becoming institutional.”

One last item on how to recycle old pots and pans is to donate them where they are needed.  Great idea I just donated them to myself. I will use them and they are very needed by me. It makes my life a bit easier to pull out an old familiar face.

I have purchased new pans from time to time and I have to tell you the ills of each one of them. The green specked frying pan leans too much to it’s left side.  It is not even. I have to play tricks with the cooking, but I’ve worked that one out.  The orange one, pretty though she may be, has a hump in the middle of the cooking area and even cooking does not occur, but I have worked that one out, too. The yellow one is good for nothing. It is too thin and easily over cooks in no time flat. I bought it because my hands hurt sometimes and it is hard to pickup the heavier, yet wonderful pans.

Forget the thin saucepans. Do not donate them. Take all of them to the dumpster. Do not give them to any charity center; why give something so unusable to anyone?

This entire preface came about because I made a most incredible soup in this not so ancient pot tonight. The soup seemed to have all of the nearly fifty years of cooking somehow embedded in the flavor and texture of this soup.  Actually, it did have the gravy and left over from a Thai restaurant we had eaten in about a month prior, chicken from a barbeque place weeks prior, a meal we had last week and a bit of stew left over from Tuesday, chard, green, red and orange bell peppers, onions, leeks, and kale from yesterday’s trip to the market, plus the leanest ground turkey, barley, and special spices my mother brought back from her Caribbean trip umpteen years ago. I know I always check for bugs and worms, besides any of those critters are good boiled beyond recognition and add a speck of extra protein. I know you did not want to hear this. I decided to use up the end ounce of a particularly good salad dressing and finish off the cube of butter, so into the soup they went. With all of that glory going on the soup wins a prize. It wins first place tonight and it will win again tomorrow night as well.  Sorry I cannot give you the recipe, but you do get the drift.

Posted by Sheila Clapkin on October 6, 2010 at

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Keith
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 12:06:53

    Yummmmmy! After reading this I’m considering going to the store and combining new groceries with what’s in the frig for a nice soup on this very rainy day! Thanks for the suggestion and cooking ideas.


  2. sheila rutherford
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 15:51:07



  3. Ellen
    Oct 29, 2010 @ 10:43:47

    Oh Sheila

    How wonderful….reminds me of my moms pots……almost 70 years old

    I made soup monday and threw in a bunch of leffovers also…and started to pack up freezer bunches for future and got one ready for mom and than stopped…she is gone
    See you today?


    • Sheila Clapkin
      Oct 29, 2010 @ 11:29:47

      I know just what you mean; oh mom is gone, oh dad is gone. Oh how I wanted to call them and tell them something wonderful.
      Gosh, how memories collide with our daily routines.


  4. Ellen McHugh
    Dec 20, 2010 @ 05:57:46

    thanks so much for sharing that. I loved it.

    See you Jan 3rd


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