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what cookware are you looking forward to inheriting?

I'm (just) over 50 and my parents are alive and fairly well. They're hanging on, barnacle-like, to their kitchenware. There are two items I want; my dad's little CI pan, maybe 5" in diameter and perfect for a fried egg, and a metal meat grinder that you clamp to the edge of the counter and crank by hand. Perhaps some of the japanese tableware my dad got from his parents. We're the type of family who openly discusses this - not in a macabre way, IMO. My sister wants the silver, I could not care less about that.

If you have living parents/in-laws/other relatives, are there any items you are coveting?

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  1. My grand/great/great-great/great-great grandmothers' cast iron - deep dish skillet and dutch oven, perfectly seasoned. I've already threatened to steal them but of course she won't part with them. They both have wooden handles so I imagine they are fairly ancient.

    1. To be honest, my answer is: None. I am sure I will be the minority here since most people like me won't respond, but I figure I should give some balance here.

      My cookware are better, or at the very least more suitable to my cooking style. For example, I have many cast iron and carbon steel cookware which I like. My mom has none. Her are nonstick Teflon and stainless steel cladded based. She have a few inexpensive (low quality) stainless steel knives, and I have a mix of carbon steel and stainless steel high quality knives. In fact, my mom is scared of sharp knives. So, whenever she buy a new knife, she would grind the knife to make it less sharp. Yes, she would dull the knives on purpose.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I am exactly the same. There isn't anything I would want to inherit from my parents kitchen. 3 years ago they bought new pots, but just a $200 cuisinart or kitchenaid set, and they bought me the same set at the same time, and its still packed in its box in Canada in storage never having been used yet :P My knives are also much better suited to my needs then theirs. My sister just got a new pot set last Christmas, and have better knives then my parents also. Salvation Army will be getting everything I guess.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          When we broke up my mom's household I kept nothing from her kitchen. She didn't have good stuff, or if she ever had it, she didn't take care of it.

          On the other side of things, I frequently give one of my adult children stuff from my copious collection of kitchen ware. And I'm not ready to kick off yet.

          1. re: sueatmo

            That is a good practice, giving things to your children that you know they love and will use.

            My maternal grandmother (not a cook AT ALL), began systematically getting rid of her things after age 60. By the time she died at 85, she'd given almost everything away to her daughters, friends, charity. She even arranged for her body to be picked up by UCLA's medical school! My mom said it was eerily simple to "settle" the estate.

            1. re: sueatmo

              TeRReT and sueatmo,

              Good to hear. I guess we are the three who feel the same. Sometimes, our parents just do not have what we desire. I never gave much thought about this question about inheriting cookware, but after thinking about it for 5 minutes, I just said to myself "Heck, there is nothing I want from her cookware." My mom is a decent cook (probably not as versatile as me though), but she just does not have cookware which I want. It does not mean they are cheap crappy cookware, but they just would not improve my kitchen.

              <its still packed in its box in Canada in storage never having been used yet>

              TeRReT, I heard it is a very good mixer. You may want to think about shipping it to Japan -- if you have the counterspace.

              <My sister just got a new pot set last Christmas, and have better knives then my parents also>

              So I guess, she doesn't need anything from your parents neither -- not that we can really speak for her behalf.

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              <my mom is scared of sharp knives>

              That made me smile, Chem. Mine's the same way. Although she's never purposely dulled a knife, she's never sharpened one, either. She did most of her cutting with a really dull paring knife, because "big" knives scare her.

              When she moved in with us last year, I was appalled to see her pick up a potato and start cutting it, IN HER HAND, with a paring knife. I told her she'd lose a finger using my paring knife that way. She didn't think you could cut yourself with a paring knife, because SHE never had (hers were literally too dull to break skin). Scared the daylights out of me! We both got a good laugh over that, because she was convinced that I'd do myself harm with my big sharp knives.

              We finally made a deal, I handle knife work, she does any other prep she wants to. I think she agreed just to humor me. :)

            3. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I want my mother's small metal spatula. I have tried and tried to find one like it for years. And thus far, I have been unsuccessful. I have several that I tried, but none of them are as good as the one she has. She got it as a gift from the telephone company.

              3 Replies
              1. re: jw615

                Not ridiculous at all. My MIL recently gave me hers, and as I use it I've found it to be a particularly useful size and shape. A wonderful tool that you can't buy to my knowledge.

                1. re: koan

                  Hers is just the perfect size. I ordered one recently, and it is good, but it isn't perfect.

                  1. re: jw615

                    I know exactly how you feel. My mother gave me her 1950's Ecko spatula a few years ago. It's slotted, thin and has just the right amount of flex; not too much, not too little. I've never used one that's better and recently got another on eBay in anticipation of the day the wooden handle on mine breaks. Sadly, the one I just bought has no flex at all. Now I'm afraid to try bidding on another. :(

              2. As I survey what I snagged when my dad died twelve years ago (mom pegged out 27 years ago) I note my beloved 10" carbon chef knife which I got him in the early 70s, a muddler which dad chiefly used to crack ice, two spreaders with riveted tangs and wooden handles, the drawer organizer and lazy Susan he made, and a couple of cook books, mom's 1940s Fanny Farmer and Maryland's Way. Oh, and a lot of blue and white Canton china from my great grandparents and grandparents, most purchased after the quake in SF when the stuff was so cheap it was regarded as we would Tupperware.

                1. My mother has always been an indifferent cook and that's reflected in her cookware. BUT, she has some really cool vintage mixing bowls, at least two of which were wedding presents (1956). I also wouldn't mind getting the rotary beater, not because I have any particular use for it, but because it fascinated me when I was a little kid. Using the rotary beater to make instant pudding was one of the perks of my childhood.

                  1. 3 rather ornamental brass cooking pots - family heirloom now held by my mother. The beautiful pots are over 3 centuries old, originating from the old kingdom of Ayutthaya (modern-day Thailand).

                    On some occasions, my mum still uses those pots for cooking Thai curries or egg custard desserts. I, on the other hand, am *never* going to use those pots for cooking when I get them - they are going to be lovingly polished & put up on some display cases ;-)

                    1. I don't want anything from my parents, my cookware is better suited to my cooking needs than theirs. My husband though has talked about his dads cleaver for years.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rasputina

                        Yeah, it is definitely a nostalgic thing in most cases. I've been cooking for myself/family for more than 30 years. If I need it, I've already purchased it. Still, I'm looking forward to a couple of memory keeper items.

                      2. The set of colored Pyrex mixing bowls, a funny looking little four legged vegetable slicer (basically used for potatoes) and a couple of old pottery crocks, origin unknown......

                        1. You can still buy a screw on counter mounted meat grinder at a good hardware store or on the net.

                          One of the more precious pantry items I inherited from my grandparents is a jar opener that has 2 jaws which open by turning a wood handle on the top of the device. Then just close the jaws on the jar top with the wood handle and turn. Jar opened.

                          1. Mom had the most perfect iced-tea pitcher. She already knows it's mine when she's gone.

                            1. My mom is very much alive and has moved in with me. We have been gradually cleaning out her house, and I have moved some kitchen stuff into my own kitchen. Mostly they are things that I learned to cook with--a set of aluminum measuring spoons come to mind immediately.

                              1. I'm fortunate to have both of my maternal grandparents alive and lucid in their early 90s. Grandma sometimes goes on about how she's giving this or that away when she "goes"... it's a little bit of a joke in the family and not all that macabre.
                                I told her that the only thing I want from her is the little blue plastic coffee scoop. It came from a can of Chock Full O'Nuts coffee, is probably older than I am, and absolutely reminds me of her. The rest of my family can fight over the china---I want that scoop.

                                1. My mother's cheap metal flour sifter. It's from the 60s and has a handle that you jiggle back and forth to sift the flour. It works much better than my old springloaded sifter and is less messy than my crank sifter. Hers is dented all to bits and probably has toxic metals in it, but I don't care.

                                  I also want her collection of old Pyrex, which is less susceptible to thermal shock than the newer stuff.

                                  We discuss this stuff openly, too and even joke about it. For example, my teenage daughter refuses to use our KA stand mixer because she prefers the little hand mixer (which makes batter fly all over the place), so I remind her that I will leave her the stand mixer in my will and haunt her if she doesn't use it. My mother threatens to do the same if I sell her Aunt Virginia's china.

                                  1. Hi, tcamp:

                                    My mom's been gone in kino for almost 8 years now, but in uhane just seems to keep on giving. For instance, last month I found tucked away in a very unlikely place a minty Sunbeam T-20B toaster. Before that it was a NIB swingaway can opener. And before that, an enormous 5G cast iron soap/rendering kettle.

                                    These things are poor substitutes for her warm smile, and I wish she were here to take them all back. More pono to have no expectations of gain when someone passes, I think.


                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      I ♥ this response and send you a hug for your last paragraph. Beautifully stated.

                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Agree. The memories of happy times are the best gift our parents leave us.

                                      2. After my parents went into assisted living (they've both been dead for many years now) I ended up with a KA mixer which I didn't think I'd use much. Use it all the time for bread and whenever I bake sweets.

                                        1. Things I Would Have Liked But Didn't Get.
                                          My mother's:
                                          1970's Avocado Green Kitchen Aid stand mixer
                                          Copper cookware
                                          Cookie press (inherited from ~her~ mother).

                                          I finally summoned up the courage to ask my 70-something mother (who downsized to a "retirement condo" some years ago) about these items. After a brief pause and little laugh(she's ahhh.. a bit flighty), she said she'd ~donated~ them to (insert charity thrift store) a few years after moving to her smaller space.

                                          So hate me for being "materialistic" if you will, but I hope the person(s) who bought those items for pennies-on-the-dollar REALLY appreciates them. Because they also bought a little piece of my childhood. It's not "just" the great retro-mixer. I have huge memories of the cake and cookie dough that came from that mixer. I remember licking the batter from that paddle. I remember the omelettes tossed in that pan on Saturday mornings.Over the holidays I can almost taste those buttery spritz cookies...made to look like a little wreath, with the bad green frosting "leaves" and the candy "berries".

                                          For those who have living parents, yet haven't had "The Talk". Do It Today. Even though it may be difficult.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: pedalfaster

                                            My mom passed about 15 years ago and she lived independently till the end but she gave me stuff before she died that I use and treasure. I make my own bread, etc. and I have a huge bread board that somebody put a lip on it so it doesn't move around. Also great for pie crust, biscuits, etc. It is a permanent fixture on my counter. Story is it belonged to my great grandmother and she brought it over on the boat, but I doubt that. I know my grandmother had it tho. Wood knife holder that is flat on the back so it doesn't take up much room. Grandma's china, Noritake Azalea pattern, unknown origin dutch oven that my mom cooked everything in. Also, my parents got married in the late 40's and their wedding gift from my maternal garndmother was baking pans like cake and loaf pans and I have those. My mom was old fashioned and my sister, from whom I am estranged, is older than I am so she was the executrix and my mom knew that she would prefer to sell everything so she gave me some stuff in advance. My parents were divorced and when dad died my sister was the executrix also and I bought some stuff from her that had sentimental value but she refused to sell me most things preferring to sell at an estate sale. So, I treasure the things I have and think of my mom's meals alot when I use them.

                                          2. I've booked with them (both still with us 96 & 83, both excellent cooks) the Michael Lax designed Nacco CI casserole and the round tamarind chopping board. They got both items in '66/7 when we lived in Penang. They get kick out of my interest in their cookware and think my obsession with cookware is funny coz they could both out cook me with one hand tied behind their back.

                                            It's strange about posessions, I have to say they've always meant a lot to me. I have an emotional attachment to all sorts of things, not just a fancy knife or pot but to an old shirt or tee shirt, or somesuch. I get annoyed when I misplace my pen at work and have to get a new one from the cupboard. Silly, I know but there you go.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jhamiltonwa

                                              My possessions mean a lot to me too. Maybe not a pen, but I am very emotionally attached to the things that I have carefully chosen, that really reflect my personality, that add a lot of richness and enjoyment to my life, that work really really well and help me do what I do even better than I could without them, etc. I try to keep perspective but I make no apologies about it. I love my stuff.

                                            2. my moms set of cutco knives... love those things

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: jo_jo_ba

                                                You must love your mom very very much.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  Tongue in cheek about the knives? The reason I ask is because my mom has gone into assisted living, and I need to determine what to do with her set, which has no sentimental memories attached to it.....

                                                  1. re: KSlink

                                                    Yeah, I was in fact doing a tongue in cheek for the Cutco knives.

                                                    <I need to determine what to do with her set, which has no sentimental memories attached to it.....>

                                                    If her knife set has no sentimental values (memories) and if they are not high quality knives, then just get rid of them.

                                              2. I inherited most of Mom's cookware, but one item has eluded me. I don't think she donated it, as she did use it. It was a Wagner, or Griswold double pan. Mom called it a Dutch oven. It was two large cast iron frying pans where one had a loop, and the other a hook where they could be assembled into a covered pan. I did get her 3-C glass bowled KA mixer, cookbooks/recipes, and other items. The one though that I regret the most was not asking Dad to carve me a springerle rolling pin. My brothers got them after they got married, and had famlies. Each panel on the rolling pin was something to do with their interests, and family life. I am single, so I didn't get one, although if I had of thought to ask him he would have carved one for me. At least Dad taught me to carve, so I can make my own.

                                                1. I'm 54, so it's more like, what are my kids waiting for. Though I did just score the remainder of my mom's crystal wedding goblets. I am the old lady that ebay was meant for. My kids can retire on my stuff, if they sell it right. I am the Le Creuset queen, and the old man has a thirty-plus-year old cast iron skillet that sees nearly daily use. It is silky. Nothing sticks to it.

                                                  1. Well, obviously I'm not terribly much looking forward to receiving such kitchenware, but most of what I'd want is from my grandma, not my parents. Most food I'd feel nostalgia for, she made. My parents are kind of awful cooks.

                                                    Anyway, grandma has never had much money, so the value is generally more sentimental than anything, although most anything from her kitchen would be rather functional.

                                                    1. My dad has a commercial tamale maker, would be great to have for a summer party / make a batch to give to friends at the holidays.

                                                      1. My problem is that l am your parents and while having a passel of children, none cook or want my fabulous stuff. Fifty or sixty great knives, full batterie de cuisine in copper, 30 pieces of descoware, plus items for individual chores that would fill a walk-in closet and does, plus enough glasses, dishes, tablecloths to make me qualified to be a metrosexual.
                                                        l have no clue how to get this stuff to a worthy home.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                          Ebay with a quick note here and I suspect you'd have no problem with that chore ... Good knives and copper i covet :-)

                                                          1. re: kindageeky

                                                            Not for the money, want to give to people who will love them as l did.
                                                            Do not planning on dying soon, hopefully.

                                                          2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                            IANAL but I wonder if there's a way to set up a trust or something to distribute these to cooking school students?

                                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                              I understand. My mom is a weaver and has terrific collection of looms, yarn, other paraphenalia. While we love the finished products, neither of her kids have any interest in that hobby. She's still using it, but is fretting about her stuff. As you say, it is not about the money, she wants her beloved stuff to be loved and used by someone else.

                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                Oh, if you're not going to sell it, and you want to downsize, keep an eye out for the cooks in your life. You could be a fairy godfather to many! Professional cooks, people who work in the kitchen shops or at bakeries, heck, at fancy grocery stores or humble hippie co-ops - we Chowhounds really are everywhere. I know I plan to pay respectful homage to my mother's krumkake equipment one day, and my great-grandma's green glass bowl.

                                                              2. wagner ware dutch oven and fry pan without its handle

                                                                1. Folks, we've removed some posts objecting to the premise of this thread. If this thread isn't for you, thats fine, there are lots of other threads here to read and respond to, so we recommend you move on to another. We're going to ask everyone to keep responses focused on the question at hand. Thanks.

                                                                  1. My mom has a stoneware crock that she inherited from her mother that she only uses a couple of times a year to make pickled shrimp in. I definitely will keep the crock for sentimental reasons. And my grandmother's china that my mom is afraid to use. I would use it. Other than that, I have better stuff only because I'm much more into cooking and baking than my mom ever was.

                                                                    1. Forgot that I have an enameled collander that belonged to my Grandmother on my Dad's side. Don't use it often, but it is one of the few reminders I have of her since she passed when I was still pretty young.

                                                                      1. My great grandfather's knives and sharpening stone (he was a butcher) and these cake pans with an arm that goes around and detaches the cake from the pan. Vermont country store has some like it, but they aren't as deep or work as well.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: goniners

                                                                          Have the same cake pans and indeed they are perfect.

                                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                            Absolutely none.

                                                                            Like others above, it is the other way around.

                                                                            My parents, now in their '90's, have what they like and enjoy cooking with. They have a comfort zone with stainless steel ( or "German pottery " as the expression is here ) as my wife and I do, and we continue to try and gift them items for the kitchen constantly. Much though is looked on critically, and in silence, especially if the design is too modern. That translates to " Thank you, but I will pass on that item. "

                                                                            It is either too strange a concept to accept and use, or conflicts with something they already have and use. Even if it is better ergonomically for them or healthier.

                                                                            At the age they enjoy, they do like steamed meats and vegetables that I make for them when my wife and I come over. So I have purchased a stainless steaming set for them for this Christmas. And I remain hopeful.

                                                                            Flourgirl's comment about the stoneware crock reminded me of a similar experience. I was making Choucroute Garnie once, and my mother remarked that they had an old crock that perhaps I could still find useful.

                                                                            Actually, I knew about it for years but never asked them for some reason. " So please don't ever buy one. " came my parents sage and frugal advice. So I waited. And waited.

                                                                            Finally when the Spring cleaning came around, I was tasked at the end of the long tiring day, to find the old crock and dust it off. Heavy, and like most items around that period of time, manufactured by a Chimney works firm as a side-line.

                                                                            I brought it home to show off to the wife. Filling it with water, we found a large, long crack, leaking out from the bottom. We found out later (after I bought a new crock from Germany) that this was the reason it had been stored away. They had forgotten about that.

                                                                            However, we still bring them choucroute ( " Still the best ! " ) that they believe is made from the old crock they gave us. Better not to talk about it.

                                                                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                              Good story. Thanks for sharing.

                                                                              I could never get my mom to use a decent knife. Or turn the stove heat down to medium.

                                                                              Our parents don't think we know too much, do they?