Going Ballistic for Blue Cornflower Corning Ware
Even if you aren’t aware of it, we bet you’re familiar with Corning Ware’s Blue Cornflower cookware. Think back to home-cooked meals at your parents’ house, family reunions and neighborhood pitch-ins. We’re willing to bet that you’ve had some scalloped potatoes or pasta salad served from a white casserole dish with a folksy blue floral pattern and a Pyrex lid.
Millions upon millions of sets of Blue Cornflower Corning Ware flew off of the shelves of retailers and into the cabinets of American homes over the course of three decades. From the 1950s through the 1980s, it became downright iconic. As charming as it was versatile, Blue Cornflower items could go directly from the stovetop or oven to the freezer to the microwave to the table and, then, straight into the dishwasher. “How does that even work?” you may be thinking.
Here’s the wild part.
The original run of Blue Cornflower Corning Ware was made of Pyroceram, a NASA graded synthetic glass-ceramic. This super durable opaque white material was discovered accidentally by Corning Glass chemist, Dr. S. Donald Stookey. Because the material could withstand sudden, extreme temperature changes, it went on to be used for everything from spacecraft to ballistic missiles.
That’s right. The same material that keeps your mom’s Corning Ware from exploding when she takes it out of the freezer and puts it on a hot burner finishes missile points and provides viewing options for astronauts. Pretty cool, huh?
To celebrate their 60th anniversary, Corning Ware is re-releasing a version of their classic Blue Cornflower pattern for a limited time, although you may want to read on before running to the store. While the redux may satisfy a sense of nostalgia, it’s not nearly as handy as the original.
In the early 2000s, the company replaced Pyroceram with stoneware which was cheaper and mostly manufactured outside of the United States. Stoneware, while it has its own merits, isn’t nearly as durable or multifaceted as Pyroceram. Put a stoneware dish under a broiler or in the freezer, and you’re sure to have a big mess on your hands.
The old saying is true. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.
Luckily, because our wonderfully durable, easily cleaned, original Blue Cornflower Corning Ware was so popular while it was in production, there are still pieces floating around out there! Estate sales are a perfect place to score some, often in like-new condition. You may have some competition, though! The secret is getting out, and a new generation of Corning Ware mega-fans are out there on the hunt. Be diligent and keep your eyes peeled, and you’ll be shuffling casseroles from your oven to your dishwasher in no time.