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What's your best yard sale or thrift store cookware find?

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Vintage 1960s aluminum cake carrier with handle and the clever little latch on the bottom at the local thrift: $1.99. I LOVE this thing!

What's yours?

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  1. A 1930's or so potato ricer in flaking orange enamel. Use it at least once a week. The inside is not enameled so I'm not worried about eating metal/glass bits. 2'nd fave is a "bean-x" french bean slicer aka. guillotine. They were each less than 3 bucks! adam

    2 Replies
    1. re: adamshoe

      Years ago at a thrift store in the Maryland suburbs of DC I found three pieces of Le Creuset, unglazed cast iron. I got two French ovens, two quart and five quart, and a gratin pan. All in perfect condition, not a speck of rust or any sign of use. I've never seen unglazed Le Creuset anywhere else. The three pieces totaled about $10. I still use them just about every week if not every day.

      1. re: adamshoe

        Two come to mind: a brand-new, never used Cuisinart hand blender, in box, for $4, at the Goodwill (back in the days when shopping there was fun, before they put all the good stuff online in auctions. @@) And at a thrift store, I found two flame Le Creuset dutch ovens--a 4 qt and a 2 qt. The larger was burnt out some inside; never have been able to restore the finish, but it's still useful for things that aren't like to stick. But the smaller was pristine. I think I got them both for $8.

        The one that got away? One day, as I walked in the door of my local Goodwill, I could see ALL the way across the store, on the top shelf, a Vitamix blender!! Literally as I ran back, I saw someone stop their cart and grab it. SCREAM! The clerk told me it had sat there for five entire days, before the two of us walked in....

      2. Recently found a little Krups espresso maker at a thrift store for $5. Appears to have been used only a few times. Works great and fits the tiny available bit of counter top real estate perfectly!

        1 Reply
        1. re: meatn3

          If you're in L.A... it might have been mine ; )

          I got it as a gift and never used it.

        2. Not cookware, but barware. Leather travel bar, very late 60s/early 70s, with a locking key and a very dated (and oh-so-fun) recipe booklet for Southern Comfort. One dollar. Always a hit at the annual overnight work retreat.

          1. Sabatier 8" chef's knife $1.00 at a yard sale. It was in with a lot of garbage knives; and has been my main knife since I got it years ago. It was old when I bought it.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              I bought a new Sabatier 10" chef's, carbon steel, on Canal St., N.Y.C., quite a few years ago, for $10. At my worst, as a student, I pounded it through frozen roasts with a mallet. It survived and is still doing a fine job.

              Once I found a Cuisinart DLC-7 in a Sally Ann store for $10. Another good buy.

              1. re: jayt90

                What is a Sally Ann store?

                1. re: meatn3

                  Salvation Army charity shop.

                  "She's wearing rags and feathers,
                  from Salvation Army counters"...

                  1. re: lagatta

                    Thank you for the Leonard Cohen reference. I don't think I've ever heard an American refer to the Salvation Army as the Sally Ann - which is common Canadian usage. They don't seem to be quite as prominent on the scene here as in Canada.

              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Once entering an estate sale house I started in the basement and, opening a closet full of restaurant tablecloths, I said to myself, Aha, they had a restaurant so let's go see what's in the kitchen. Where a sign announced that anything in the kitchen drawers was $1. So I went through the drawers and took the three Henckel knives.

              3. Two Donvier ice cream makers, crank-style. At different times. Two different sizes. One for fifty cents, and the other for $2. Love them during the summer, for kids' slushy ice cream treats.

                1. Too many things for one to stand out! I systematically patrol the chic neighbourhoods on my bicycle on a Saturday for garage sales. Rather recent finds include my $1 Crockpot (works fine, knock wood, in any case it has paid for itself) and a long-handled, professional quality tool that is like a big round spoon or flattish ladle with holes in it. Don't know the name in any language. It removes seafood and spring rolls from hot oil in my wok safely, and also pasta from a pot. This and a few other goodies belonged to a local chef who was moving to Asia. Unfortunately almost all his knives were sold - only huge long carving and slicing knives remained, and I have neither the skill (in terms of safety) nor the need.

                  On another note, I LOVE duralex glasses: only have two "gigogne" but a whole lot of "provence" in different sizes. They are no longer made, and many, many people miss them dearly.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lagatta

                    Those flat perforated ladles are known in english as skimmers or spiders, though spider may refer only to the wire mesh ones.

                  2. a 60 y/o glazed Le Creuset-style cast iron pot, with $800AUS in it.

                    At a pre-garage sale rummage-through, at a friends deceased father's house.

                    Returned the money, kept the pot. Use it for everything from slow cooked pork to oven tuna bakes.

                    Alqways makes me think of what might have been in all those other pots/canisters/boxes that we threw away and never opened.

                    1. Set of Perfex salt and pepper, $ 7 for the pair; 1940's commercial butter cutter, weighs a ton, works like a charm and cost $ 4; Maille pottery mustard container large with cork for $ .50, they sell for 40-60 Euros in France.

                      1. Two vintage All-Clad CopperChef pans. One 4qt and one 3qt sauce pan. Free.

                        At the end of the school year in college, some students left these out with the trash by the garbage chute at my apartment building. I still use them.

                        1. Four assorted heavy duty Magnalite pieces-talked them down to $10 for the lot.

                          1. In another thread I've mentioned the two 9.5" Mauviel 2.5mm copper stainless lined splayed saucepans that I picked up in the clearance section at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $19.98 each.

                            Around 10 years ago I bought a block of seven Sabatier 4-star Elephant carbon steel knives plus a steel at a stoop sale in Brooklyn for $40. The knives were probably a wedding gift, were hardly used, and were caked in vegetable oil, which I stripped off. After a few years, I decided the 10" chef's knife didn't feel right to me and sold it for $80 on eBay.

                            Maybe 11 or 12 years ago, they were renovating an apartment in the brownstone where I lived, and I noticed the contractors discarding a 25x25x1.5" side-grain maple butcher block, and I've been using it as my cutting board ever since.

                            1. Last week I bought a Gaggia Gelateria for $12 at a local thrift store-it works beautifully and here in Tucson its almost always ice cream weather.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Tucsongal

                                A full set of Le Creuset for $10.00 (at a yard sale).

                                1. re: beauxgoris

                                  WOW, are they mint conditions? If so, I want to move in your neighborhood;)

                                  1. re: hobbybaker

                                    ^^They were in very good condition. Used but not abused, no scorched enamel (on the ones that were used), no chips, etc. It was back when I lived in Upstate NY. I had to leap over a crowd of other people to get them, they were all in one large box. I paid and left (more like ran to my car). I didn't even look at what else they had - too worried they'd change their mind! 10 years later it still serves me well.

                                    1. re: beauxgoris

                                      Although I haven't checked yard sales that often yet, I understand how you are thrilled and ran like crazy! I know the feeling the ultimate deal is coming up to you! My luckiest LC was I paid only $110 for my 6.75 qt OVAL at WS outlet on New Years Eve. It was 60% disc and a first quality; so I am satisfied still today. Actually, my neighbor picked up the same model for $10 at a yardsale and blagged what a waste of my $, but it was really old, scorched & chipped, and discolored .... nothing like usable at least to me. I do not want to pay even a buck for it!

                                2. re: Tucsongal

                                  Thirty years ago at an auction in Maryland I got a Simac Il Gelataio ice cream machine for $35 (they retailed then for $400). It made spectacular ice cream but the thing must have weighed 100 pounds and took up space so it got donated when we progressed to a retirement apartment. I still miss it.

                                  1. re: Querencia

                                    I got one at a thrift store in north central Iowa about 10 years ago for $2.50. It was priced at $5 but I was shopping on a Tuesday when every item is 50% off the tag price. I loved the compressor but cleaning was such a PITA. I finally broke down and bought a gelato maker where the stainless freezer bowl is removable and washable. I took the 'ice cream boy' to the local catholic charity thrift store where it was probably priced at $25. :)

                                3. My beautiful, efficient Dualit toaster. $5.

                                  1. Here I am reviving an almost 4-1/2 year old thread, only because I didn't want to start a new thread, but still wanted to brag.

                                    Today I took my father to the doctor's office and on the way home we stopped at a thrift shop, one which I had not been to for a long time. We found a 10" Wusthof Classic Slicer and an All-Clad 10" Copper Core Fry Pan. The knife was $1.50 and the All-Cad skillet was three bucks.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: John E.

                                      Hi, John:

                                      Well, there was this 3-DAY old thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/979966

                                      Nice scores on the slicer and A-C CC.


                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Ha, I missed that one. I got to this thread only by doing a search on thrift store finds.

                                      2. re: John E.

                                        Now I'm envious (though I'm happy for your good fortune).

                                        You can do a lot of things other than frying in that little pan. I have an old Revere Ware one about the same size, but the bottom on the All-Clad is much thicker. I use my pan for rice and other grain dishes (not wanting to make too much at once; really want to avoid throwing food away) and even small-scale braises. You can definitely do any of those in such a solid little pan.

                                      3. A nested set of four depression glass mxing bowls -- green translucent glass by Hazel Atlas, a ribbed design with a very thirties look. At a local antique mall and (unusually) seriously underpriced at $25, especially given their pristine condition.

                                        So useful for prep bowls, mixing, cheese domes, fruit/veg bowls, and, when not in use, the stack is decorative on an open shelf. The glass has a different, slicker feel than other depression glass I've touched or own.

                                        1. 6 filth caked All Clad items, 8,10,12" skillets and a few saucepans.

                                          Took 5 hours to clean them, $20.


                                          1. I need to get up earlier.

                                            I live in a small tow n in the Midwest and I
                                            m pretty sure there are treasures to be found.

                                            Given my slovenly ways, I have still managed to find many Homer Laughlin dining pieces. Hamilton Beach mixing bowls. Ball jars.

                                            My weakness is for linens though. Table cloths, napkins, aprons. Especially the hand-stitched/embroidered.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: pedalfaster

                                              I share your weakness, but I don't limit it to hand-stitched or embroidered -- we have a basket full of random napkins in daily use.

                                              Somewhat off-topic -- the Christmas table cloths and runners that show up at garage sales are great for sewing gift bags or other crafts that require a big swatch of fabric.

                                            2. Rubbermaid tote taped up and marked $14.96 - AS IS

                                              Wagner Ware waffle Iron
                                              Griswold #8 skillet
                                              Gris. French waffle iron
                                              Griswold 1890s era 14" griddle (only marked "Erie")

                                              The other shoppers couldn't figure out why this fool was so giddy about his rusty finds. "Careful or you'll need a 'Tetris' shot!" one warned.

                                              1. In terms of cookware? A "Cordially Yours" machine, like-new condition, with documentation, for a couple of dollars. This little gadget was marketed briefly in the US, Hammacher-Schlemmer as I recall, maybe 20 years ago. You put vodka plus xxx in it, plug it in, and in eight hours it makes a quart of excellent liqueur---raspberry or chocolate or coffee or whatever flavor you chose, for about $5. For some reason, this machine was not popular with the liqueur industry people and they successfully lobbied to have it killed, so it rare in the US. A joy to own.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                  I think it may have been more like 30 years ago or more. There was a year when several of my parents' drinking circle got one for Christmas. Remember finding the coffee flavored the best of bunch.

                                                  Also occasioned a conversation in which my father made comment that became a saying in the same circle:
                                                  "It takes one HELL of a lot of cherries to make cherry heering."

                                                2. All of my 30 odd pieces of Wagner ware and Lodge. What used to be 2-3 dollars for a carbon encrusted door stop, turns into 30-95 dollar pan.

                                                  1. The other day I bought this large spatula for $2.25, it retails for $36. It appears to be unused.


                                                    1. My three sets of pyrex square store boxes with glass lids in primary colours. I paid fifteen for the set and recently gave them to my niece as she has now become a pyrex fan.

                                                      1. A vintage red Le Creuset skillet (about 14") - the ones with the wood on the handle. It was in excellent condition and $12.

                                                        Not sure if Craigslist counts but I got a 5 1/2 qt round Le Creuset French oven for $90. Excellent condition - flame color.

                                                        I have gotten all my Duralex Picardie glasses (in various sizes) at my local thrift store, for .99 cents or less.

                                                        1. non-stick All Clad panini pan/press for free from a garage sale

                                                          1. A very old ice cream scoop. It has a brass trigger to eject the product, a tinned scoop and a wood handle.
                                                            As a project, I polished it up and stained/waxed the wood handle!