Keeping An Eye Out

by Katy on December 5, 2011 · 37 comments

See this vintage aluminum pan? It's perfect for lasagnas, enchiladas, etc. No aluminum foil necessary! Why can't I find one?!

More than any other time of year, I shop in December. Yes, I try to buy my holiday gifts ahead of time, but a plethora of before-Christmas birthdays in my family kind of deplete my gift stash. Of course, I’m not parking myself down at the mall, as thrift shops are my not-so-guilty pleasure.

But my favorite part of the bonus shopping is that I put myself in the position of finding some of the items that I routinely keep an eye out for. Because I know from past experience that if I’m patient enough, I can find used versions of everything I want and need.

Right now I am keeping an eye out for:

  • A super cheap lamp that I can cannibalize for parts in order to rewire the mid-century lamp that I bought last week.
  • An individual one-cup measure. I keep mine in my flour bin, and simply need an extra one.
  • A vintage aluminum casserole dish with a reusable sliding lid. I am sick and tired of reusing foil, which never works all that well. I know these exist, but have never come across one in a thrift shop before.
Of course there’s other stuff I keep an eye out for, but for the most part I pretty much have everything I want and need in hand. I may have time to pop into the Goodwill Outlet today, but it all depends on how messy my mother’s tenants left their guest cottage. Wish me luck!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.

Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

AnnDenee December 5, 2011 at 10:04 am

My mom had a baking pan like that. I don’t know what happened to it. 🙁


Kathleen Harris December 6, 2011 at 7:40 am

So did my Mom! I think one of my sisters has it. She does use it though!


Dogs or Dollars December 5, 2011 at 10:25 am

I had no idea those existed! You mean I don’t have to use gobs of foil all the time!?! I want one!


Angela@MyYearWithoutSpending December 5, 2011 at 10:30 am

Good luck, cannibal! 🙂


Angela@MyYearWithoutSpending December 5, 2011 at 10:31 am

Oh, and there’s another option to the pan- I used to have one that my mom gave me. It’s a glass pyrex pan with a fitted lid.


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi December 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I was going to suggest that too! That’s what we use!


Linda H. December 5, 2011 at 10:56 am

I’d love a pan like that. I hate wasting foil. Sometimes with the right sized pan, I use shower caps. They can be washed and reused. Friends bring them to me from their hotel stays or you can get a multi pack from the dollar store.


Megg December 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

I’m always on the lookout for vintage pyrex! I’ve found some nice bowls for less than $2 and I always get so excited!
I love the look of that casserole pan! I’ll keep an eye out for you too 😉


Tricia December 5, 2011 at 11:31 am

They sell those in Guthrie Kentucky at the Country Pantry! It is a Mennonite run bulk food store. I didn’t know that was what it was for.


Carolyn December 5, 2011 at 11:36 am

My Mom has one like that. Perhaps I should convince her to sell it to the highest bidder. 😉


Megan December 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Good luck with the pan. My mom and grandma have one with the slider lid like that, but I haven’t seen one around for a long time. Sometimes you can find the “personalized” ones that kind of snap on – Maybe you can find one that says Katy’s Kitchen! I’m sure you could get one new, but then again that’s not really the point. You could almost justify it because of the tinfoil issue though.

I love my pyrex 9×13 and 9×9 pans with the rubber/plastic lids though too. They seem to stay tight in the freezer, so are great for freeze ahead meals.


Anna December 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I just saw several of these on EBay. I searched for “vintage aluminum 9 x 13.”


Carole December 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I grew up with that pan!


James December 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I found a brand new one of those in my grandmother’s pan closet. She was a bit of a pack rat, and had 3 of them. 2 of them went to the Goodwill in Virginia. The other one came home with me. I love the silly little thing and use it often. Good luck!


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi December 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I always keep an eye out for glass containers with lids, preferably square or rectangular ones for leftovers. Otherwise, I always keep an eye out for boys’ shoes. I’ve found most of their Chuck Taylors and Vans there!

Good luck on your hunt …and glad to see the old (new) blog back 😉


Judy December 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm

You might try at estate sales. Those kinds of things may go fast
and not make it to the GW.


Robin December 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I believe there’s a connection between aluminum use and Alzheimer’s. My friends father has been doing research on it. So maybe look for a lidded Pyrex one!


Sue G. December 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I looked into this a while ago regarding aluminum in deodorant. I don’t know what the current research is, but back in the day (late 80’s?), they found people w/Alzheimer’s had excess aluminum build-up in their brain tissue, but they don’t know why. Many people have claimed that it’s due to cooking with aluminum pots, using deodorant containing aluminum, or even drinking out of aluminum cans — unfortunately these claims have not had any research to back them up. Not sure what the current work is these days. I’m hoping that more conclusive information (and cures!) come soon.


Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares December 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Judy is absolutely right. Estate sales are the place for that sort of thing, or church rummage sales.

(I have a lid for an aluminum pan, and a pan complete with lid in my eBay store right now. If anyone is interested, you can click my name above, but you can pretty much find anything used if you’re as patient as Katy).


Sue G. December 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Have you checked Etsy? I don’t know if that’s thrifty [enough], but people sell vintage kitchen wares there. I looked today and didn’t see one for you, but someplace to think about.

Good luck!


Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares December 5, 2011 at 6:39 pm

I was just looking at my sold listings on Etsy and saw that, a couple of months ago I sold one for $13.99. (Right now I’m scratching my head why I sold it so cheap, because I usually price them quite a bit more). Sometimes there are some really good deals on Etsy. Lots of people price quite a bit lower than they could get away with.


Amy @ Feathered Friendsy December 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I’m still jealous of your by-the-pound outlet. Might be worth a vacation to Portland to check it out 😉


Ann C. December 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Someone gave me a beautiful new aluminum pan with lid, and the slip that came with it said that it shouldn’t be used for dishes with tomato sauce. Here’s why:
I use my Pyrex baking dishes with lids the most, and the aluminum pan occasionally for cakes or bars.


Lynda December 5, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I just gave away six of those pans. They were my mil’s. We’ve been packing up her home since she passed away. She used her’s for sheet cakes. She was the “Cake Lady” at her church. My 3 daughters and I kept 2 apiece and we passed the other 6 on to others that actually asked for them. Good luck in your search.


Carla December 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I have a pan like that and, no, I am afraid it is not for sale. It is a very worth pan and I use it frequently. Sorry.


Kate December 6, 2011 at 5:21 am

They have stainless steel ones for sale at The Vermont Country Store.


Lisa S December 6, 2011 at 6:48 am

I have that pan! I got it when we cleaned out my grandmother’s house after she passed away. I love it and wouldn’t even think of getting rid of it. I never see the sliding top ones anymore.


Hannah December 6, 2011 at 7:09 am

Hi Katy–
You might look at your local hardware store for a lamp rewiring kit. Probably safer than cannibalizing an older lamp, and you would be supporting a small local business. I love our little hardware store!! Perhaps not compact, but still helps local businesses.


Katy December 6, 2011 at 7:11 am

Nope. I feel perfectly safe with using the wiring from a used lamp. And Goodwill is also a “local business.”



tami December 6, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Those pans are made by Mirro, and they were designed as 9″ x 13″ cake pans. They still make them new, and both new and used are available on eBay.


samantha December 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm

hey katy…
i got caught without any aluminum foil not too long ago and simply flipped a cookie sheet over the top. it worked like a charm. haven’t bothered to go get more foil in the meantime.
the little gizmo you covet seems pretty cool though.


margot January 27, 2012 at 2:58 am

Your accumulation of stuff is rather epic. In no universe does anyone “simply need” a second measuring cup. You WANT an extra one so you don’t have to go through the mild inconvenience of not having one in your flour container or not having to get it from the flour container for other uses. This blog has so little credibility if it can’t distinguish between basic needs and wants/luxuries. What a ridiculous language choice of “simply need.”


Teresa Lawrence November 6, 2015 at 11:01 pm

Margot –

I believe the “simply need” was in reference to not needing/wanting an entire new set of measuring cups, but rather one single measuring cup. It was not meant as an “I can’t live without item” as you interpreted it. A little extra grace for others goes a long way in this world and I hope others would extend this grace to you when it is needed/wanted. We are all poor in spirit when we lack manners.


Mand01 November 7, 2015 at 12:52 am

Goodness, I hope I am never so rudely punished by another when I express one of my needs.
BTW I want an electric waffle iron and an iPhone 6 🙂
I need a pressure cleaner and a new toothbrush.
The pressure cleaner is not for my teeth…just realised how that read!!


Kelvin Nance December 5, 2020 at 8:33 pm

I know where one of the exact same pans is, down to the pattern on the lid, but it has been around at least since the 1970s or 1980s. I have looked for one from time to time, but the same result has been a silence, even from flea markets. I have found one near-alternative, but instead of aluminum, it is stainless steel, and is purchased as two pieces for about $35-ish, as of December 2020. This is a commercial baking version, so hope that does not offend any of my brother and sister home cooks and home chefs. In addition, the lid on the stainless steel version is completely flat, so there is not stamp to reinforce the strength of the lid. The two pages are at the following URLs:
I have also seen it as one unit for about $45-ish on Amazon at:
I am going to continue to keep an eye out for a ‘gently used’ one, but not holding my breath on the ‘gently used’ as this pan was always a favorite for many dishes, and cleaned up like a wonder.
Happy Holidays, Happy Baking & Cooking, Happy Family & Friends!


Karen Capps July 6, 2021 at 6:37 pm

I found a similar pan today at a thrift store for $2.


Karen Capps July 6, 2021 at 6:39 pm

But I also see the mirro brand on amazon for 27


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: