The next book I write is going to be a cookbook, not just recipes, but a book of stories to my son about the recipes, their origins, and how they influenced our family life and our kitchen.
In my family, like so many families, food has been a connector for holidays, morning and evening meals, appetizers, and desserts. Just as important as the recipes have been the dishes, pans, and utensils that hold and comfort the dishes.
I was fortunate to grow up in a family where my mother placed almost as much importance on what we used for cooking and serving our food as she did the food itself. She likely learned this from her mother, as when I look around my home and now my son’s home, our new items are mixed in with so many serving pieces from generations ago.
As I get older, I have tried to reduce some of the excesses I have amassed by passing these beautiful extras on to my son and friends. I also hold on to many for my future younger cousins when they have their own homes. I like assuming the role of matriarch in this instance, as I have been collecting from both sides of my family since I had my first apartment way back when I was only eighteen.
Headed quickly to sixty, the math alone shows almost forty-two years of being the self-appointed steward for future generations. I only hope that they will want them. These days, there seems to be a lack of love and appreciation for the older things, but someone at a vintage store I was in the other day told me that some of the old are making a comeback with the younger generation.
That all being said, my heart still skips a beat when I find new kitchenware that adds to the joy in my kitchen. Especially if the items have some bright, happy color that marries well with some of the vintage items I use every day.
When I discovered Great Jones Cookware, I had an immediate serving piece dish crush. In their bright yellows and cobalt blues, the simple and useful sizes, along with the clever names, got my attention.
It takes a lot these days for me to buy more kitchen bakeware. I have plenty. Too much. But when I saw the pink, well, it was love at first site, and I knew I needed to add some of the pieces to my already abundant collection.
I will review what I bought for myself, what was kindly sent to me, as I decided to become an affiliate for this brand, and also review my experience with their shipping and return processes. A great company is way more than its actual product, how they respond when the product arrives in pieces, and how they take care of customers especially since I am recommending the company to my clients and friends is just as important. Amazon, as maddening as it is that they have taken over so much small business, has an easy and painless return policy that drives an abundance of shoppers. Nordstrom, back in its heyday, was known for its lenient and customer-centric return policy. In my twenty-two years of business, part of the training I focus on has always been how we handle challenges. Of course, we want to work on avoiding them at all costs, but human nature shows we can’t always please everyone, so our response is of utmost importance to the health of our brand.
Let me start with the product itself:
I order the Little Hottie in taffy color, which seems to be sold out pretty regularly, proving its fabulous popularity. It is a great size for blueberry cake.
I also ordered the hot dish, which is the longer rectangular version that matches, also in taffy, and is a perfect size for my recipe Comfort Food.
EVERYTHING, great vibe, excellent weight, pretty to serve in, and a perfect size for 4-8 servings. Cleans easily. I have this in my glass cabinet, so I can see it when I walk by my pantry because it makes me smile just by looking at it.
The handles are thick enough so far that they don’t risk breaking after too much use. I have had this happen with some other lightweight-handled casserole dishes, and its maddening. Now I have only used these so far about 8 times, and so far, so good.
I have absolutely nothing negative to say about these two dishes. But, I would love to see them in 1950’s turquoise too.
I ordered the bowl set cleverly called Stir Crazy (Taffy color also sold out at the writing of this but well worth the wait, though the bright yellow is super fun and happy) in matching vintage vibe Taffy.
The color, size selection, and weight are great. I love these three bowls.
Though the lip on both sides appealed to me in the picture, it is just a shy short for grabbing onto and pouring out of when you are going to mix a batter with a flour mixture, for example. I wish one side was just a little longer, but the look and feel of these surpass that and as long as you are careful, you will love and use this set happily in your kitchen as I do in mine.
The collection includes a ladle, a slotted spoon, and a spatula.
Positives: The ladle is surprisingly well portioned, and at first look, I thought it was going to be too small to get a good ladle full, but it turns out it is perfect.
Negatives: Just the comment I made below on the roughness of the wood for cleaning and holding the color and smells of whatever you previously cooked.
Slotted spoons, they say, are great for taste-testing pasta, I suppose so, but I think it is a little bulky for just that. I mean if it is rigatoni you are making sure, but elbow macaroni is going to slide right through. For fettuccine and spaghetti, I would rather use metal tongs to grab a few pieces.
I don’t care about this that much. Would rather they give you the option of purchasing separately.
Positives: It has a great handle and vibe.
Negatives: There are a few drawbacks.
I am left-handed so this isn’t organically useful for left-handers and must be flipped over to use.
The thinness of the spatula is great, but I use cast iron and there is nothing like a metal spatula. I just don’t see the need for this particular size and shape.
Overall, the length of these cookware tools is so smart for those deep large quantity soups and stews. I never had spoons that have such length and didn’t realize how useful they were. And I love the opening at the end for easy hanging if that is how you do your storage.
It is a nice set, but for the price and the quality I wouldn’t recommend it unless the length appeals to you. The wood is rough. When it arrived, one of the pieces of the spatula was cracked in half showing me that it wasn’t a sturdy beautiful quality long-term piece.
Some other issues are because of the roughness it is hard to clean. I made pasta sauce and the aroma of pasta settled into the rough parts. It is almost like it needs a bit of sanding and oiling and who wants to do that on a 45$ set?
How Is Great Jones To Do Business With?
In all fairness, this is a blossoming and fun company. I placed my order during the busy Black Friday weekend. When it arrived, and it did take some time, a few weeks, the large bowl was in many pieces and the spoon was cracked in half. Luckily, it wasn’t a gift other than for me. When I emailed them immediately I received an auto-reply saying they were super busy and would get back to me as soon as they could and not to double email.
I waited 3 days for a reply and still had nothing so emailed again despite their ask because it was my first time doing business with them and I wanted to be sure that I got in their cue to get my replacements.
Still no reply. This was annoying.
After about a week I finally received a reply and a replacement for just the spoon.
I emailed again to let them know that there was no bowl replacement.
I got another email saying they would ship the spoon and the bowl and I told them I had already received the spoon.
The bowl came next.
Then a week later, I received another spoon and a bowl
I let them know I received a double-order replacement, and they told me I could keep the second batch.
I know growing pains are rough, and I love this company, and I am hoping that they had a good meeting after their busy holiday season and fixed the issues.
Because I own my own business, it is most joyful to do business with a new business, but not everyone is as patient, and I really want to make sure that they get their return and damaged policies cleaned up a bit so they are in fighting position for all of the good they offer to our kitchen joy.