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Please explain my pan with holes

I found a pan among my mother's old cookware, that has a regular pattern of holes throughout. I'm not sure how to describe it. Regular holes, in rows, like some colanders, maybe 1/8-inch in diameter.

What is it? What is it for? The only two things I can imagine are either:
-It fits inside another pan, over the food, to hold something down flat while it cooks, like if you were a fanatic about flat bacon
-It fits inside another pan with food in it, and maybe you use it to lift the food out of the pan to let grease drain off

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  1. I'm thinking maybe it is a steamer? (i.e., place inside another pan that has simmering water in it, and steam buns (asian-style) or a dish of fish or vegetables or what have you.)

    1. It could be for making spaetzle, I've used something similar to what you describe when we were learning how to make it in cooking school . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spätzle

      1 Reply
      1. re: bike_girl

        Eighth-inch diameter holes would be too small for a spaetzle maker. I agree with Curious Cat and Mojoeater that it is probably a steamer insert or grill basket. But if the sides flare outward it is a pie pan intended for baking single crusts, even though those holes are on the large size for a perforated pie pan..

      2. I used to have a pot with a steamer/pasta insert. It went down to about an inch from the bottom. You could boil the pasta and then just lift out the insert to drain.

        1. We have something like that for use on the grill. You can grill veggies or shrimp without skewers and no worry of food falling through the grate!

          1. One explanation is what CuriousCat has said. It is a steamer, and most likely it is a stainless steel Dim Sum steamer. Only aweome people have this:


            I happened to have those.

            It could be a stir fry stainer which only really awesome people own one:

            It would be helpful if you can take a photo. I think one of us will recognize in a second.


            Finally, it can be a grilled wok or grilled pan, but I assume many people have seen those that you probably have as well.



              1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                Hi, BIGGUNDOCTOR:

                LOL, it would help. And 10xLOL without a photo. Or maybe all those holes are from folks shooting in the dark...


                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I see odd pans all the time at thrift stores because they get separated at the donation center. Sometimes I will find one part, and down the row I will see something that looks like it is the match, so I am constantly trying combinations in the store. If it does match up, I leave them together. A couple of weeks ago I put a Mixmaster together from 2 different rows, and a wall rack. The mixer was in the small appliances, the bowls were in the glass section, and the beaters were on the wall. I know a lot of the managers now, so I let them know when I put something like that together, as it helps their sales, and they have taken care of me in the past too.

                  Without a pic we are just shooting in the dark here =)

              2. I saw a chestnut pan which looks like a frying pan with holes in the bottom.

                1. Chestnut pan was my thought too.
                  to the OP... Does it look like this?


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    That was my thought too but it would be a help to see a picture of the pan.

                    1. re: iluvcookies

                      The chestnut pans that I am familiar with have holes that are considerably larger - 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Good luck.

                    2. Sorry it took me so long to get back here - it's harder now that I have to sign in.

                      Thanks for all the replies, and I'm sorry that I can't post a picture...although on more thought, maybe the holes are closer to 1/4 than 1/8. It's definitely not a steaming insert nor for steaming Chinese dumplings. The spaetzle idea gave me pause, because my grandmother was Hungarian - although mine is clearly a real pan. It looks a lot like the picture of the chestunt pan, but with smaller holes. Hm.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Lady Grey

                        Is is square or rectangular and flat? It could be for baking bacon - bacon is laid on top of the flat pan/tray with the holes, which is set into another baking pan and then baked. the bacon is held off the fat which drains away. I've seen a set like this.

                        1. re: Lady Grey

                          I know! I know! If your grandmother was Hungarian then this is definitely a halusky pan. My family is Slovak and I have one. You press dough through it into boiling water to make the halusky -- they're little dumplings/noodles. See if the pan in this video is the one: