my man, fry pan

thrifted red Le Creuset frying pan

Look how handsome is my newly acquired Le Creuset cast-iron frying pan, so slender yet rugged in stoplight-red enamel. My friend Jeff found him for me at Goodwill, secondhand but dapper as new. And he's already taught me a new French vocabulary word: teck (teak), tattooed right there on his handle in manly capitals.

thrifted Le Creuset frying pan, side view

He's older than I first thought—not of Le Creuset's current line, but modeled after one of their vintage designs—so he has a little age and experience, which is good. (Young, unblemished things are boring.) And not only is he my type, dark and sizzling, but he's also considerate: with his enameled interior, I won't have to worry about rusting him out or need to season him after use as with plain cast iron. Nor will he hurt me, blister my poor palms on hot metal, because his handle grip is made of wood. 

Le Creuset frying pan bottom, still marked with the $15 (XV) Goodwill price

On my side, I promise not to overheat him or scratch him with metal utensils. I will scrub him clean immediately after each use and put him to bed in comfort on padded cork.

thrifted Le Creuset 10.5-inch fry-pan bottom, size 26

Okay, enough of the double entendre. Frankly, now that I own four Le Creuset pieces—the green pot, the small black pot, the tiny brown saucepan, and this red skillet—I'm running out of cupboard space and need to research how to hang a shelf or heavy pot rack safely from lath and plaster.  

thrifted Le Creuset frying pan with wooden handle

As I've said before, Jeff and his mom, both now in the resale business, have amazing luck finding Le Creuset at Goodwill. Honestly, I don't know their secret (other than regular day trips) because the only Le Creuset I've ever seen at Goodwill—and I've been a thrifter longer than they have—are a couple of pot lids, though I did spot that brown saucepan at the ReStore all by myself. Jeff was counting them all up the other day and says he and his mom have between them found at least 20 pieces of Le Creuset at Goodwill in the last couple of years, some of which they've resold, some they've kept for themselves, and some they've traded or given to me.

But what neither Jeff nor I can figure out is why people are simply donating Le Creuset to Goodwill. No, I never use this. Just give it to Goodwill. Are they crazy? Do they not know how much these pots and pans cost brand-new, or the secondhand value of brightly colored, quality, imported enameled French cast iron? Were they given these pieces as unasked-for Christmas gifts and never used them? Was someone hoping his or her partner would one day learn how to cook? Was this beautiful frying pan sitting in the back of someone's cupboard or hanging from a rack as mere kitchen d├ęcor until the owner decided to redecorate: Okay, now everything in this kitchen is going to be . . . blue and copper, French Country!

These pots and pans will outlive us all, by the way. Plus, even if we managed to break one (which really only ever happens from improper use), Le Creuset offers a lifetime warranty on their products: send a damaged piece back and they'll ship off a new one. How's that for customer service? (In your face, China!)

secondhand red Le Creuset frying pan, side view

Come on, people: this is pricey, beautiful, highly functional kitchen equipment, not decoration, not storage space for mouse droppings at the back of a cupboard. Whoever you are, GW donator, I personally believe you must be insane to prefer your generic, toxic Teflon pan to this cherry Le Creuset skillet, but thank you most sincerely for being absolutely nuts. I will cherish your castoffs and my life will be all the better for your discards. Merci beaucoup!


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