#sol15: March 23, 2015 – Our very own “magic pasta pot”

Strega Nona had her “magic pasta pot”, and many of us remember how it ensnared Big Anthony into all kinds of trouble in Tomie de Paola’s beloved books.  We have a version of this in our own home:


We found this enormous baking dish at a tag sale some thirty years ago, in Dobbs Ferry, New York.  I remember seeing it on the front lawn of a big Victorian house,  the kind that had Hudson River views back when it was first built.  It stood out among the other pots and pans and odds and ends, on account of its size … and color. The tag read: Le Creuset $5.00.

At the time, we were a family of two (not counting the two cats), and could not imagine ever having use for a baking dish this size.  But, it was not so long ago that we had registered for a whole set of Le Creuset bakeware at B.Altman’s (sadly, no longer in existence) and so we knew the difference between a good deal and a steal. This was a steal. So we shelled out the five dollars and hauled it back to our little car.  It weighed a ton, and didn’t match the rest of our set (in those days, things like this really mattered to me), but a deal is a deal.  And, our set lacked something this size…who knows, we might need it someday.

“Someday” turned into “much of the time”.  Thirty years, sixteen moves, three children, too many dinners to count later, it is still the baking dish I reach for.  I was thinking about this as I prepared the brisket for last night’s dinner to celebrate my husband’s choir concert, with my fellow slice of lifer Bonnie and her Tuvia.  We gathered around this magic pot to ladle out yet another dinner.  And, like all good magic pots, it made sure that there was plenty to eat…and that it tasted good.


27 thoughts on “#sol15: March 23, 2015 – Our very own “magic pasta pot”

  1. I love the connection to Strega Nona. While I do not have one of these lovely magic pots, I have my own Home Goods version – still more than your magical $5 pot!

  2. I love this story and the connection to Strega Nona. When we moved my mom to assisted living, I took all of this kind of stuff, not because I needed it, but because I couldn’t bear to have it just disappear to the Goodwill.

  3. I was just thinking yesterday of one of my mom’s pots that my brother now owns. And for the one I reach for often that used to belong to my mother-in-law that doesn’t match anything else. Perhaps the magic is in the power we embue in it. Perhaps it’s better not to think on it too much lest we destroy it.

  4. Great story. I love Le Creuset and it’s the Flame-colored one just like yours that I grab for the most. I used to like things that matched too, but now I like useful things. My how we change.

  5. I think every great cook has their own go-to pot. I am also sure that each pot has many stories to tell. 30 years and still going…now that’s a good pot.

  6. What a steal this pot was! Love the history of the pot and how it continues to do its magic when you create with food. Those pots are soooo heavy, so you get a workout too. I have a couple kitchen items from Mike’s grandmother that I love.

  7. This post makes me smile for many reasons. First, the love that comes from cooking for the special people in your life and then the steal you got! That’s amazing. I love this story.

  8. $5.00?! That could be the steal of a lifetime. I bet that pot also carries so much love with it. Food, indeed, is love. Reading this post was like my own serving of comfort food for what is yet another freezing night in Boston. Thanks for that.

  9. Love, love, love the connection to Strega Nona. And SIXTEEN MOVES? Wow!! From the pictures you’ve posted, it looks like you’ve chosen a beautiful spot for your latest move. Hope you’re feeling better!

  10. That IS a steal! I got one for a wedding gift. It sat in the cupboard for 10 years. Then I realized how easy it is to make soup and it hasn’t gone back to the cupboard again. If I saw one for $5, I’d have two! Great shopping!

  11. Just stopped by, and had to catch up on a few missed slices at A Teaching Life. Your own magic pot – this is what our daughter asked for as her graduation gift two years ago! And you got yours for $5. And when I read Bonnie’s slice, I wondered if you were the Tara she mentioned in her slice. And so reading your slices, it all comes together – two good slicing friends and their families breaking bread together. And now, how I wish I could pop in for the reunion and the slicer gathering. I’ll be waiting for words and pics to transport me to NYC.

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