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

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: 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.

              1. 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.

              2. 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.

                                              3 Replies
                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                  Sadly it had a bit of pitting. It lives on my grill now as my "pizza stone".

                                                2. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                                  You lucky dog. As Mom use to say, "I'd would've give my eye teeth for that!"

                                                3. 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!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: subal

                                                                Sounds gorgeous! Could you post a pic?

                                                              2. I'm a thrift store junky. A fair amount of my kitchen gear consists of vintage finds.

                                                                One of my best purchases over the last year was a perfect condition KA mandolin for $8. It is light years better than my old cheap one. I don't use a mandolin often and just never could justify having much money invested in it. Very glad to have this new one!

                                                                1. Pretty sure I've posted finds on OTHER, similar post. Today found MORE Foodsaver bag stuff. Almost full roll of bag material and almost full box of quart (I think?) bags... $ .50.

                                                                  Though not used that often, think my BEST find was at a Good Will store. For $5, I came home with a square, cast iron (interior) & blue enamel (exterior), grill pan. Exterior in PERFECT shape and only minor gunk in the grooves... easy to clean up and reseason. It looked barely/gently used with NO rust. Pretty sure they're WELL over $100 brand new?

                                                                  1. Last week I found boxes of extra large paper cone filters made for restaurants to filter used oil. A box of 100 was 50 cents. They will be great for filtering stock!

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                      Sounds like something I'd buy thinking cheap and there HAS to be something I can use them for!?!

                                                                      1. re: kseiverd


                                                                        I'm really tempted to go back for more! They are tall enough to fit in my China cap when I need a finer filter. Would be great for jelly making.

                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                          That's a neat find and creative thinking - love it, would not have crossed my mind to buy those.

                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                            I love these filters. They do a better job filtering stock than anything I've used. I went back to the thrift shop a week later and the rest had been sold...Glad I bought enough for the next five years or so!

                                                                      2. I think my all time find is my big mauviel copper paella pan that I practically stole - in all honesty I am a thrift junkie and everything that is in my kitchen that was not a gift or vintage cast iron was thrifted

                                                                        today I fell victim to one of the big thrift store follies - a juicer (I already own a bread machine LOL)

                                                                        I know, I know - informercial multi-tasker UGH

                                                                        but it is a cool one - Champion


                                                                        but it is a fascinating machine, i was drawn to its heft - its all metal and really solid feeling I have never heard of these before but it is much more powerful than the typical Jack Lalane

                                                                        it is really powerful and smooth and does a wild job extracting juice and spitting out pulp

                                                                        My reason for buying it is that I think it may be useful for my dad, who has since chemo/radiation been on a liquid/mush diet and it may help him get some healthier things and variety down - he will probably refuse it though - I think I will just bring it to him without asking and do a hard sell demonstration LOL if he does not want it though I am already imagining many uses for it.

                                                                        it was not cheap at $40 but still way below new

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                          Great find! Champions were THE primo juicer and found in every health food store that had a juice bar in the 70's and 80's. I had one and it worked great. The drawbacks are the size/weight and they are a bit of a pain to clean. They are workhorses and hold up well.

                                                                          (I purchased mine in the early '80's and remember it was expensive, so probably between 100 -200 dollars at that time.)

                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                            yeah, this thing is cool, it purrs and spits out pulp - I am such a sucker for machines but so often they do not measure up - in full disclosure I also scored a cuisinart food processor - this old model today http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/cu... showing no signs of use for $20 with all of its blades (with stickers on them) I am excited because I have only had a mini food processor since re-donating the last blender-processor combo machine a while back. Unlike the juicer I had actually been looking for one that was compact like this but everything I found was huge and missing pieces.

                                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                                              My mother has a Champion juicer that was a wedding gift when she remarried in the 80s. It is a workhorse, for sure. I remember her saying, what in the world would I do with this monster? (She is not into juice, let alone juicing.) But she discovered that the apples from her backyard tree that she does not like for eating make great cider, so she juices them and freezes the cider.

                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                Wow! So it's been going for 30 years?!

                                                                                I need to ask my ex if our old one is still working.

                                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                                  Just about. Now, I think she only hauls it out a couple of times a year (she truly only uses it for juicing those apples), but last I heard, it was still working as well as when new.

                                                                            2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                              Hi, JT:

                                                                              Nice score on the Champion! I also got one of these, for very little money, from a neighbor who--inexplicably--had two.

                                                                              Channeling The Most Interesting Man in The World, I don't often juice, but when I do, it's Champion. They are basically an enormous, rugged motor; a rasp; screen: and some plastic pieces to make everything go the right way.

                                                                              Re: selling dad on it, I recommend bringing him some juices from it first, then hook him on making his own.


                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                thanks, yes the motor is pretty impressive - its sort of fun feeding things into it the machine LOL. I am thinking this could be useful for a number of things but definitely would like to see if I can get Dad into it. Dad is sort of wary of anything he does not prepare himself these days - I think I will just bring it up to his place when he gets back from vacation and see if he has any interest - possibly it could make some thin soups and the like and help him get some variety and fun in his diet.

                                                                            3. I have to brag about my daughter's find. She's a college student, and has gotten in the habit of dumpster diving at the end of the school year for cast-offs when everybody's moving out. This year, she scored a set of Lodge cast iron dutch oven with matching skillet/lid. They had a bit of rust on them, but she clean them up and reseasoned them and they look perfect. I'm envious!

                                                                              1. Well I got a great set of dishes on Saturday, green transfer ware, for a mere three dollars. I quite like them.

                                                                                1. So much of my cookware and kitchen equipment has come from flea markets and yard sales that it's hard to decide on my "best" find. I can't cite any mind-blowing bargains, but I was very happy to get a 1930's Griswold cast-iron 12" skillet for $12, a Sitram Catering 11" saute pan (with cover!) for $10, a brand-new Zassenhaus hand-crank coffee grinder for $5, and a vintage Sabatier carbon steel slicing knife for $1. Unfortunately my kitchen cabinets and storage closet have now reached the limits of their capacity, so I'm trying to steer clear of temptation.

                                                                                  1. Home canning supplies - a pressure canner, a water bath canner, jars, rings, tongs, funnels. Checked it all over thoroughly to be sure there were no cracks, warps etc.

                                                                                    1. I'm not much of a thrifter or yard sailor (spelled wrong on purpose, I live on a lake so it seems apropos). I have a college aged son who is moving into an apartment so I'm stocking his kitchen. I hit an estate sale today and for $5, I came out with a crockpot, a 9x13 pyrex baking dish, and a box grater.

                                                                                      Almost everything else is coming from my cabinets. I told my husband that if I have to buy something new, it will be for myself.

                                                                                      1. today was bad - totally reinforcing my thrift addiction - cast iron turns up a lot but it is usually Lodge, maybe common Wagner, I have learned to put them down and let someone else discover and enjoy, - but this was a find - Mariatta PA #10 with a heat ring and gate mark - super thin and light, even more so than my Wapaks or Favorite Piqua - have not researched it yet but has to be pretty darn old. For a semi-collector this is a great find for $4.99 for some rather local Susquehanna river Iron.

                                                                                        Also a small unmarked copper skillet 2mm with cast iron handle posted here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888939 a couple of Cutco knives... time to find stuff to donate!

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                          Very nice!

                                                                                          Most of the cast iron I find is in terrible shape and full of rust.
                                                                                          But I keep looking!

                                                                                        2. this weekend I picked up a All Clad Copper Core 3qt sauté pan for $8.50 after taxes - how could I resist?

                                                                                          now it needs to get put to task to see how it competes against my current Cuisinart to see who gets to stay.

                                                                                          PS - seriously though - this was an expensive piece of cookware new -I picked it up so I can see if the coopper core is really any good - and will gift or donate it or the one it replaces - the previous owner was clearly averse to cleaning and clearly thought "to sauté" means "to vigorously move pan back and forth over grates" a little elbow grease and it looks great if a bit scuffed on the bottom (I don't care about scratches)

                                                                                          I fully admit I am hard on things - but it never amazes me how some people's treat their stuff - especially expensive stuff - of course I am happy beneficiary of getting the greasy All Clad or the dull Wusthof for pennies.

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                            Hi, JTP:

                                                                                            Nice score. Scrounging gets you to exactly the same place as paying full retail. Personally, I couldn't afford to have accumulated my batterie any other way. I (and I think you, too) find it fun.

                                                                                            Please consider donating the cast-off to the Lending Library, c/o Duffy.


                                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                              "Scrounging gets you to exactly the same place as paying full retail. Personally, I couldn't afford to have accumulated my batterie any other way. I (and I think you, too) find it fun."

                                                                                              I do realize in the end of they day I probably spend as much a if I just went to Macys bought one thing and kept it but where's the fun in that?

                                                                                              also gives the freedom to try out things and see if you like them without major investment - if I like it I keep it if not - no big deal - I am not bound for life to this purchase.

                                                                                              but I do end up with some things I would/could never pay retail for.

                                                                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                I've done similar things, too, JT. But some things are just too good to pass up, if for no other reason than testing, as you're doing.

                                                                                                We may spend as much in the end, but we'll likely be using better cookware than if we'd just gone for the set du jour.

                                                                                                I'll eagerly await your verdict on the AC Copper Core


                                                                                                ETA - I forgot to give you props for the score. Well done!

                                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                  I am looking forward to using it now that its all cleaned up and shiny - I did discover that it is one size up from my current Calphalon (not Cuisinart as I thought) clad sauté which I guess is 2.5 not 3 - so now can I keep both? ;)

                                                                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                    Hey JT,

                                                                                                    You can, but I suspect if the CC is as good as I think it is, you won't be reaching for your Calphalon nearly as much.

                                                                                                    I just replaced my Calphalon skillet with a Zwilling Tru-Clad. Got it on clearance from cutleryandmore. The Calphalon was really prone to doming under heat, and I had to be wary of runaway heat. I imagine doming is not such a deal with a 2.5 qt sauté. The walls will provide a lot of rigidity.


                                                                                          2. Many, many years ago at the old San Jose flea market I paid a dollar for a 12" cast iron Dutch Oven - complete with lid and trivet. Best buck I ever spent.