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Corningware Cornflower Percolator

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CorningWare Cornflower designAs a kid, our family lived with Dad’s father.  Life was a steady routine.  Every day before sun-up, Grandfather would go to the basement and bang around with the boiler.  An old coal thing.  He resisted change.  Grandpa said coal produced intense heat, and his gravity boiler was a superior design because it functioned without electricity.  All lost upon a seven-year old.

I would get up when the 6:05 pulled into town, as she gently tooted her horn at a highway crossing.  One morning, she didn’t.  Neither were trucks heard on a highway half mile away.  In our kitchen, a percolator bubbled on his gas range.  Beyond the windows, nothing but white.  Snow as far as the eye could see.  Any shrub under four feet was hidden.

“No school today, Jimmy.  All factories are closed.  Train not running.  Highway blocked.”  His world paused because power lines into our valley collapsed under almost five feet of snow.

His house was warm;  grownups had their coffee;  I played games for three days.  A hundred times a day Grandfather extolled the virtues of a home which can survive without electricity.  Reliance on fancy kitchen gadgets signaled a return to Roman idolatry, it seemed.

A dozen years ago Grandpa’s coffee maker came into my possession.  I kept it for nostalgia only, relying instead on my Technivorm.  But while visiting, Jack spied the distinctive Blue Cornflower percolator, and insisted we brew a pot.  He demonstrated, I learned.  And became a believer.

Nothing beats freshly percolated coffee.  Gently bubbling water dripping through coarse grounds.  You do not want to rush it, but will know when it is “done”.  By the smell and color.06Stookey-Obit-master675

Over 750 million items of CorningWare have been produced since S. Donald Stookey discovered Pyroceram.  Next time you poke around a garage sale, look for Joseph Baum’s Cornflower design.  Make an offer on a vintage percolator.  You’ll be set when snowstorms or massive solar flares shut down the power grid. ◊◊◊.  When you want to impress a date.  Whenever a superior cup of coffee is desired or required. 

CorningWare P-119 ◊◊◊ Campfire or gas range-top required. Hunter-gatherer skills encouraged.

S. Donald Stookey “Mr. CorningWare”

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S. Donald Stookey   1915 – 2014

06Stookey-Obit-master675There does not exist within this great Republic of ours the kitchen absent of CorningWare.  The most important invention to modern cooking, Stookey’s ballistic glass became the temperature-resistant material from which have been fashioned billions and billions of cooking, serving, and mixing  articles.

Moving into new digs?  A quick trip to the corner 5 & Dime will supply all the Pyrex your kitchen will need.  And it has never been expensive.  Just about as cheap as any glassware, but infinitely more durable!

MidCenturyModernEamesEraPYREXClearWaterPitcher_zps0f5845aeNestling bowls are my favorite.  Whether creating pasta salad or reheating a Super Size Serving of chicken soup, Corning makes the item that works for both preparing and serving food.  And drink!  Here’s another favorite, which we wrote about a few months ago.  A Pyrex® pitcher in the Eames tradition.  Who knew glass could be both functional and stylish?