What is the oldest, most beat up pot or pan that you use frequently?
Many years ago, my father found himself at work in Manhattan near a street sale being held in front of one of the last Horn & Hardart's restaurants. He came home with two heavy-duty, well-used stainless steel roasting pans, with flared sides and no handles, and gave one each to my perplexed mother and grateful grandmother, who recognized that the pans were of high quality in spite of dings and burnt in stains in the corners that might never come out. The both used those pans for years, and I now have my grandmother's pan. I can't find anything like it from any restaurant supply store because all roasters now appear to have handles. It is still my favorite pan to roast a chicken in, and even an acid bath would never get it perfectly clean. I find it funny that I love this pan although I have a extensive collection of expensive cookware from various manufacters. It sits in its place of honor right next to my Mauviel I think this thing can get handed down like a cast iron skillet from generation to generation. It's been in my family since the sixties!
What old, beat up pot or pan do you like to use?
I have a heavy aluminum 3-quart saucepan with a vented lid, that my MIL started housekeeping with in about 1945. The brand name on the bottom is Laurel, about which I know nothing. I've been using it for 25 years, while other pots have come and gone. For some jobs, such as cooking rice, I reach for it before I reach for the All-Clad!
I bought a cast aluminum dutch oven with a tight fitting lid (along with other pots, pans, and lids) at a yard sale 30 years ago. I paid $1 for the box. I have yet to find anything better than that dutch oven, b/c you can cook on the stove or the oven, and nothing sticks. BTW, that same box came with 4 seasoned cast iron skillets.
I have a set of awesome Le Creuset enamel coated cast iron pans that were a Wedding gift to my parents over 50 years ago. The only reason my mom gave them up was that they were getting to heavy for her. They have one or two chips - but work like a charm.
I also think my beloved cast iron skillet belonged to my grandmother. I have no clue how old it is.
My parents got married in 1945 and purchased a set of Ware-Ever pots and pans that we used forever and ever. These have been some of the most durable cookware I've ever seen. Most of it lasted up until a few years ago. We still have the Dutch oven and that shows no signs of wanting to give up the ghost.
Ware-Ever is a very commonly found in a lot of commercial kitchens. Next time you're in a restaurant supply store check the line out. It may be exactly what you're looking for, and it may be that they simply added handles to the pan you've already got. We've got several Ware-Ever roasting pans at work (with handles) as well as other cookware and they are exactly as you describe...beat-up, dinged, stuff that doesn't come off not matter how hard the pot washers try. They're great and they keep cooking and keep turning out good food.
Oldest: I have my parent's pre-WWI rice pot made in Japan and made of some weird metal that I use daily.
Beat up: they've all been thrown under the bus.
The best pans I have that I use for just about everything are my 8 inch and 6 inch "Griswald" cast iron pans that were my Omi's (grandmother in german). I don't know how old they are but they must be at least 50 years old (I've been using them for almost 25 years - she died in 1982). You wanna talk about well seasoned pans!! Also, I get to think about her every time I use them. She was a great lady and a great cook. They will definitely go to my son (10 years old) as he is learning how to cook.