A Sorry Lunch, or Who Burnt the Brats?

by Phyllis Sather on July 30, 2014

Write the Vision

Can you imagine 5 of these burned on the bottom of your favorite pan?

I couldn’t either, until the smell of beer brats wafting up the stairs became the smell of burnt beer brats.

I quickly ran to the kitchen imagining it starting on fire any moment. I had filled the pan full, brought it to a boil, and then turned it down to simmer that delicious flavor into the brats before Dan put them on the grill to brown them. Apparently I had gotten too involved in a project and time slipped away.

What I saw was a sorry site. I wish I had taken a photo, but my mind kicked into thinking how I could save my pan.

It was the big pan to my set of West Bend Aristo Craft cookware, purchased from a door-to-door salesman right after I graduated from high school. He convinced me that it was the best set of cookware around and won over my girlish desire so I purchased them on a payment plan sometime in the early 60’s. They were at least 50 years old. 

A few months ago when I realized how old there were I decided perhaps I deserved a new set. Out of curiosity I looked them up online to see if they still sold them. They don’t, but to my amazement people wanted to buy them. I decided perhaps my lifetime investment was worth keeping awhile longer.

Now I stood staring at 5 brats stuck to the bottom of my pan. I took a spatula and pried them off the bottom. I remembered we had just been watching a cooking show about deglazing pans when you are cooking so I grabbed the cooking wine and poured in a healthy amount and scraped around on the bottom of the pan. Amazingly the pan was coming clean.

I still had charred remains going up the sides of the pan for an inch or more so I scraped off what I could but it looked pretty hopeless. Then I remembered reading about baking soda. I grabbed that and covered all the burned spots with a healthy covering.  I added hot tap water to cover the burned area and brought it to a boil   before reducing it to a simmer. I let it simmer while we had leftovers for lunch and cleaned up.

Then I took a wooden spoon and started scraping it around the sides of the pan and was able to remove a significant amount of the burned on material.

My next step was to get out the Bar Keepers Friend scouring powder.

Little by little the shine on my pan returned.

Write the Vision


Guess I still don’t get new pans. But that’s ok, I’m really content with these, and grateful to that salesman for convincing me they were the best pans around. And now, I’m cooking with Vintage cookware!

I’m actually feeling like a bit of a hero since I’ve had a run of stains that I was able to get out – bicycle grease from my husband’s and daughter’s biking jerseys, blueberry syrup from my white shirt, and a few strawberry stains. My secret is for greasy stains use Dawn – remember the ads? Dawn cuts grease. It has to be the regular blue Dawn. I wet the spot and scrub some Dawn into it. Then mix a small amount of OxiClean in a bucket with hot tap water and let it soak overnight. Wash as usual, but don’t dry until you’ve made sure the stain is gone. My husband’s shirt had been dried, but this method still got it out.

Isn’t God good! He used a scattered bunch of ideas, gathered over weeks from different sources and helped me clean my pan. My memory is terrible so I give full credit to the Lord for bringing these things to my mind.

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27

I’d like to welcome all my new readers. I hope you’ve gleaned something from my homemaking journey that you will find useful as you go about your homemaking journey.

On a more serious note, I’d like to share a blog post that really spoke to my heart this week. I know you all want your marriages to be as great as they can and I felt this post by Lori Alexander gave some great food for thought.

How Women Destroy Intimacy in Marriage

Have a blessed week serving our Lord.

Finding Joy in the Journey,

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Phyllis Sather

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