The Made-in-Italy Paderno Cookware I Fought for and Earned

January 28, 2018

The Made-in-Italy Paderno Cookware I Fought for and Earned


A long, long time ago, when I was quite young, I was in New Orleans with another too-young person. We had no money (or rather, we spent all our money to stay at Hotel Provincial), so we did things that young and poor people do: we walked, talked, people-watched, ate at small, humble and wonderful places, drank a little bit and enjoyed the street music.

As often happens in NOLA, a flyer was pressed on us by a slight young man, and we were intrigued by its promise: come hear a pitch for a time-share condo and get a free helicopter ride to get a bird’s-eye view of NOLA. Whoop-whoop! We called for the reservation, showed up at the appointed time, and settled in to listen to the pitch.

The salesman glided into his spiel for about two minutes and then stopped abruptly, saying, “You aren’t even in the ballpark of affording something like this, are you?” I’m surprised it took him that long, as we were 20 and 21, looking every bit as naive and broke as we were. We happily ‘fessed up to exactly what we were being accused of. He sighed, dismissed us with a “come back and see us when you’re a little more settled” and rose to escort us out the door of the warehouse-like makeshift office, past a sitting area where other folks were patiently waiting their turn to be sold a bill of goods.

But what about the helicopter ride?

“You didn’t qualify, so we can’t offer it to you,” he said.

We exclaimed that the flyer didn’t say anything about having to qualify for the purchase…you just had to listen to the pitch.  I brandished our copy of the flyer as proof.

See! It says it right here!

“Look, you’re just youngsters, and you don’t understand how it works…”  He spoke quietly, as we were in the waiting area and folks were watching us.  I raised my voice a little; let’s call it a controlled pre-shriek.

What if I said ‘false advertising’ really loudly? I wonder if these people here would be interested? We want our helicopter ride!

“OK, look, I can’t give you the helicopter ride. But here, take this. It’s our alternate gift.”

Even at that age, I was in love with cooking and the kitchen, and when I saw the “alternative gift”, I was good to go. It was a duo cookware set, a skillet and a dutch oven.

Aren’t these cookware pieces beautiful? 

I never thought to look up the “alternative gift” cookware until today, when I was toasting aromatics for pho broth (see Excited about Star Anise and Pho).

This skillet is perfect for toasting aromatics

It’s a good thing I checked today instead of ten years from now, because the trademark is wearing off. I wasn’t that surprised to find out that it’s really good stuff. Interestingly, I couldn’t find my exact pieces anywhere on the internet.

The trademark info from the bottom of the skillet

I’ve seen a lot of things, done a lot of things and cooked a lot of things since that time over 30 years ago when I got the Paderno pots instead of the helicopter ride, and my hard-won cookware has remained with me. It is my go-to choice when non-stick isn’t needed and cast iron is too much. The skillet is marvelous for sautéing, and the pot is perfect for risotto.

I’m not sure if my set is aluminum or stainless steel, but it doesn’t really matter: it’s mine, it works and my affection for it will last a lifetime. It’s funny to think that it is “vintage” now, but so be it. So am I.

My Paderno made-in-Italy cookware, circa 1984

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens







3 thoughts on “The Made-in-Italy Paderno Cookware I Fought for and Earned”

  • Because ancient cookware has sort of become a hobby… See that top line? The one the starts with Hotel? That tells you what you need to know. Yours are stainless steel They were made for commercial cooking, likely in the 1970s. They were made to be used hard. They should out last four or five generations of your family. 🙂

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