Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cooking Your Traditional Holiday Brisket in Vintage Cookware, Roasting Pans or Casserole Pots

Cooking a Brisket Takes Time

Finally after three years of trying to successfully cook a great Brisket for Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Years) I finally mastered this tradition. I am thankful to the Editors of "The Kosher Palette" (see below).

What I learned by trial and error is that you need to cook a Brisket for hours, and hours and then some. Whatever your favorite recipe book says, be flexible! Cooking is not a is an art. Recipes are simply guides. Last year I was very close to a successful Brisket, but it wasn't quite there. This year...Eureka!

Celebrating My Brisket in 5770

So not only do we usher in the year 5770 according the the Hebrew calendar but we will remember 5770 as the date when I pulled off a great Brisket!

Kosher Brisket meat (like so many other items) is very expensive , so you really want to get the cooking thing right. Having a good recipe is a good beginning. Most holiday briskets are accompanied by a "tzimmes", a stew of carrots, apricots, prunes and potatoes. These wonderful ingredients which cook with the beef need a nice size pot to stew in. I have prepared this article to help you find one. Image courtesy of

Using Quality Pots in Today's Kitchen

While ingredients are very important, so is the roasting pan that you use to cook this traditional meal in. You will want to choose a roomy, heavy, covered oven proof pan or pot which is sturdy yet easy to maneuver. Also remember to choose a pot or pan wisely with regard to how easy clean up will be later. This may be the time for you to ditch your inexpensive or disposable pans and switch over to better products which are not only "Greener" for your kitchen but better for cooking. Pots can be Pyrex, enamel or pottery.
Whatever the pot or pan is made of, using vintage cookware may be an ideal choice for you. You can use a family heirloom or search for an older casserole pot or roaster in an antique shop, flea market or on-line. You would be surprised to find out just how well many vintage housewares have survived several generations.

The Art of Being a Balabuster

In the past, whenever I went out antiquing and spotted a terrific retro roasting pan for sale in wonderful shape, I wondered if the previous owner even turned on their many of these housewares that I found were in tip top shape. But then I thought about my Aunt Dotty, a balabuster (Yiddish- good homemaker) who loved to cook and who kept all of her dishes and kitchen-wares in pristine condition despite decades of hosting family gatherings. As my aunt has demonstrated, well cared for pots can last for a very long time in great form.

Choosing Vintage Cookware
When you go out shopping for older cookware, be sure to be selective and buy quality items that are in great condition. You are apt to find these "cooking collectibles' in antique shops, flea markets, on-line auctions and even thrift shops. You will see that there is plenty of Pyrex casseroles available in every color and pattern. Besides glass, you can hunt for enamelware, pottery or other heavy materials. When buying Pyrex be sure to take off the lid and run your finger across the base and lid rim to check for rough edges.

Finding Very Large Older Roasting Pans

Very large vintage Roasting pans (the kind to cook a Thanksgiving turkey in) are a little tougher to find than smaller enamel or glass casserole pots. But when you start looking, you will see that they are out there and sell in the $25.00-45.00 range. When buying older enamel pans, check for chipping and stains. the older the enamelware the more likely it will have chips. Later enamelware was manufactured better. A The covered roasting pan shown here is from

Vintage casserole type cooking ware is easy to buy. Once you start shopping you will discover lots of styles, colors and eras for these cooking pots. ordinary casseroles sell for about $15.00-25.00, while decorative enamelware by noted designers can fetch $45.00- 75.00.

It seems to me that today's home chefs want to cook in quality products and keep their kitchen "greener" too. Using vintage cookwares and housewares are perfect ways to achieve this goal and perhaps even qualify for the title "balabuster"!

More credits:

Photo of Green Vollrath Kook-King enamel coated on steel roasting pan courtesy of

Brisket photo courtesy of

Cookbook image courtesy of
Brisket recipe referred to above comes form The Kosher Palette First Edition

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.

To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link:
C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff

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Dianne is a member of:
The American Society of Journalists and Authors
The Authors Guild, Inc.

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