When a baby boomer has cooked her last goose

This piece is almost poetic. If a story about Farberware, Farewells, and Birthdays can be poetic. Writer Colleen Hannegan of Laguna Hills, California, is watching her electric skillet wearing out before she does.

She’s cooked her last goose. Well, her last pancake, actually.

Colleen Hannegan

After 40 years, the ol’ girl is just plain done, finito, caput, with being a Farberware electric skillet. I unplugged her tired-out circuit board, took back my little ceramic cup that held up her one missing leg, cleaned her up one last time, and said “Thank you for an era I’ll always miss but was thrilled to have spent it with you just they way we were.”

Tears. Almost. Not exactly, but close. She belonged to my husband, a gift from his mother 40 years ago. I’ve held her close and kept her going for the past 8 years.

It was reminiscent of my youthful years when Mom had a Farberware, and didn’t every other mom from the 50’s and 60’s, made here in the good ol’ USA when we still made stuff that lasted 40+ years? I owned one through two previous marriages. I regret they got away from me; not the husbands but the Farberware!

So I took extra care of this one, imagining that the day might come where she might have to be retired from a life she worked so hard for and accomplished so much in, mostly performing an expert job on my buttermilk pancakes. Now, sent off to be recycled. Oh, I hate to think about it.

A Cucina Pro.

I had to replace her with a CucinaPro … made in China. Ugh. Broke her in this morning. She’s got strong legs, I’ll say that for her. But my kitchen has lost a bit of nostalgia, her story, and a quality tool. She will be missed.

What has me all worked up about unplugging her hotness, is facing down a birthday this month that has me land locked in my 60s. Down with one, beginning a second one and wondering how long I can maintain my own hotness, my warranty, my legs, and my circuit board.

Miss Farberware had her run. She was a class act all the way. A winner, champion, beautifully made, hard worker, faithful and resilient to change.

A Faberware.

And so am I. I still have miles to go, things to do, places to be, and stories to tell. My circuit board still works and needs regulating to keep it from getting too hot and burning out. I have my Mom’s legs and Dad’s height and a healthy body like a race horse, some days. Other times, I pace myself like a tortoise, slow and steady. Not so fast but I always get to my finish line.

So thank you to my first Farberware for your toughness and for your even temperature throughout and for those hundreds of homemade batches of buttermilk pancakes. Wasn’t it fun! The time has come and we must part ways, just as I must say farewell to my first 60 years.

Here’s hoping that when it’s my turn to unplug it all, there will be someone to say, “That woman had quite the life, and wasn’t she something we’ll miss!”

© Colleen Hannegan

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Nancy Petralia
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I relate on both levels–the cucina and the outlook. I’m still using my mom’s waffle iron, probably 50 years old. Sure wish I had her Faberware skillet! When I bought a new version last year is was so inferior I sent it back. Sadly, I now just use the stovetop option! Likewise, I make due with the small limitations (compromises) that travel and activities require these days. Miles to go before I sleep.

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