Godspeed, little saute pan.

It was many years ago that we first became acquainted, my little saute pan and I. It was part of a set of cookware that my then-boyfriend-now-husband bought me to celebrate buying my first home. He knew how much I enjoyed cooking, and being a tool guy himself, understood how having the proper equipment to work with can make all the difference in the finished product. He splurged on a set of Calphalon Professional Nonstick Cookware.

Hanging out in the kitchen.

I grew up watching my grandmother cook with Calphalon. My own mother had a set of Calphalon. I knew it was quality stuff, and as long as you took care of it, it would last a long time. Calphalon believed in their wares so much that they offered a lifetime warranty. So, 14 years later, that lovely little saute pan hung with its siblings on the pot rack in the kitchen.

But after many recipes over many years, including memorable ones such as wine-braised duck, apple spiced pork medallions, chicken cacciatore, beef Burgundy, this little saute pan was starting to show the wear and tear of loving use.

See that darker hue? Next to the silver ones? Yeah, that one.

And then it started getting a little clingy. As in “sure, this chicken breast is beautifully browned on the underside, but I don’t want to let it go. Forcing things with a spatula? Try it, sista. I’m gonna hang onto a few shreds of chicken meat, just to teach you a lesson.”

And the words of the sales lady at the Dayton’s of long ago came back to my memory. “If ever the food doesn’t release from the pan, you can take it back for a replacement under the lifetime warranty.”

So there I found myself one lonely evening, browsing the Calphalon web site to find out what one needed to do – if they would even honor a lifetime warranty on something as old and used as my little saute pan.

Time marches on, and straight across your nonstick surface.

I’ve been here before. A couple of years ago I finally surrendered my equally-used skillets, and it was simple. Ship the damaged goods back to the manufacturer, along with a note explaining the issues with the product, and they would return to me the comensurate product (their Professional Nonstick line was discontinued some years ago, but they still turn out some fine nonstick cookware). I cried a little as I wrote my note to the quality control folks at Calphalon, remembering the wonderful things we made on those pans. But in a matter of a few weeks, new pans appeared on my doorstep, and they’ve been happily cooking all sorts of foods ever since.

But my visit to Calphalon’s new warranty web page was new and different to me. I’m sure it streamlines the process on their side, but either I’m getting old, or am just too attached to my cookware. I’m pretty sure I filled out the information and checked the proper little boxes that I was supposed to, but even after printing out the forms, I couldn’t quite bring myself to box up that little saute pan and send it off to the ether.

But the chilly mornings this week have reminded me that cooler weather is fast approaching, and will not wait until I have a saute pan that releases the beef roast perfectly browned so I can braise it in a slow cooker for a delicious pot roast. And if I want to enjoy a saute pan in the drills leading up to Thanksgiving, it’s time to get cracking.

Go and Godspeed, my little saute pan.

The little saute pan was taken down from the pot rack for the last time today. It had a nice ride through the countryside to our local FedEx store where the manager himself very carefully packed it in a box and handed me a slip of paper with the tracking number so I can follow its’ progress to Ohio and know that it arrived safely. And that was it.

Now I have to see a gap in my row of pots and pans. (The saucepans, by the way, still hold up remarkably well. Look nearly new, to be honest. And they go through their paces, too, believe me.) There’s plenty of other pieces of equipment that can pinch-hit until judgment is delivered by Calphalon in 10-15 days and another box appears on our doorstep. But it was a constant in my arsenal of grown-up cooking equipment, and will be missed a little bit.

Unless Calphalon decides that it’s not a fit for their lifetime warranty. Then all loyalties are out the window and I’m buying All-Clad.

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