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LET’S COOK: Cornflower Blue turns 60

By Staff | Oct 26, 2018

Sixty years ago the top song was “At the Hop” by Danny and the Juniors. While teenagers were dancing to this lively song, many mothers were doing a twirl in the kitchen because Corning Ware had just introduced a top-of-the-line cookware featuring a cornflower blue design.

Yes, Cornflower Blue Corning Ware is celebrating 60 years of being a kitchen icon. How many of you remember this pattern and how many of us still use these classic white kitchen pals with the timeless blue flower pattern?

Cornflower Blue Corning Ware became as popular as lime Jell-O at potlucks and did look attractive sitting together. So these days when traveling to a church supper, family gathering or a making an appearance at Aunt Hazel’s Christmas party, they simply text one another thus ending up side by side.

Dr. S. Donald Stookey who worked in Corning’s Research and Development division, invented Pyroceram, which is a white ceramic like material capable of withstanding enormous variations in temperature. It was first used in the nose cone of a missile. Since it could withstand temps up to 1,300 degrees, it was a natural fit for the heat that often develops in the kitchen. As cooks, we know there can be some real blast offs from time to time and Pyroceram comes to aid as it does not break easily. So we thank Dr. Stookey for creating a casserole dish whose role has also helped limit dishing washing as Corning Ware was marketed with this slogan “oven to table serve.”

Just in time for the holidays, Cornflower Blue Corning Ware was on the store shelves by November of 1958. The first line consisted of a skillet, three sauce pans and four covers. We had this set and the original lids were also made of Pyroceram, and featured the cornflower blue design and a fin handle. Ushering in these kitchen gems were two accessory pieces. After all, a linen suit needs jewelry and a casserole needs bling too. A useful detachable handle made transfers from the oven, to the stove and to the table a breeze. Upon arriving safely at the table, we are introduced to accessory number two–that being a silver cradle with mini feet which allowed for air flow under the heated casserole. Over time the fin handles were replaced with larger knobs and the lids were made of clear glass.

The cornflower decoration was created by the staff at Corning. They had conducted an early consumer survey which revealed that the public preferred a wheat decoration. The cornflower blue design had been completed earlier and since Corning was excited to release this cookware, cornflower blue won. Over time Corning produced many patterns including a wheat decoration.

Corning Ware’s early ads stated “It makes no sense to cook in one dish, serve in another, and store in a third.” Families all over the world embraced this idea. Many Corning Ware pieces can be used on the stove top, oven and even the microwave. It is important to be absolutely sure that your Corning Ware pieces are made of Pyroceram because there was a time period when Corning Ware was not made of this material and therefore not suitable for stove top use. Most pieces will also state on the bottom that they can rove from range, to oven, and microwave.

If you are born with talents, that is wonderful; but we need to discern that there are angels in the kitchen that help us shine with our culinary tasks and those angels are Corning Ware cookware. They aid us in easier preparation of a meal, grace our table with style, and wash with ease. If you want to celebrate with Corning Ware’s Cornflower Blue and do not own a piece, not to worry as they have reissued this pattern in honor of its 60th anniversary. So gather around, and celebrate cookware that continues to bring a terrific standard of service to our family tables.

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