BANG!
March 18, 2019 1:58 PM   Subscribe

 
Because, like all of us, they have had it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:03 PM on March 18 [104 favorites]


Just last week I had a pyrex pie pan containing a quiche explode on me when I removed it from the oven and set it on a stainless steel countertop. Scared me quite badly and I had to spend quite a while finding where all the shards of glass got to.
posted by Ferreous at 2:07 PM on March 18 [7 favorites]


Before I learned my lesson, I tried using a Pyrex dish on the stovetop. I was cooking something, shirtless (as is my right), when my phone rang. I stepped into the living room to answer, and the moment I was clear of the blast zone the Pyrex exploded glass schrapnel across the kitchen. And I learned my lesson.
posted by tummy_rub at 2:09 PM on March 18 [15 favorites]


I don't fully understand why people are drawn to glass cookware, apart from maybe microwavable measuring cups. Seems like it's just asking for problems.
posted by salt grass at 2:09 PM on March 18 [3 favorites]


Buried lede: Corelle is merging with Instant Brands, of the Instant Pot.
posted by maudlin at 2:13 PM on March 18 [16 favorites]


shirtless (as is my right)

Are you implying that a shirt would have made you less vulnerable to flying glass shards? Or just trying to liven up the setting?
posted by axiom at 2:16 PM on March 18 [6 favorites]


I don't fully understand why people are drawn to glass cookware, apart from maybe microwavable measuring cups. Seems like it's just asking for problems.

But that's the thing, anyone who's used pyrex for years knows this is a non-issue. I have the same 9x13 pyrex my mom gave me when I left for college in 1984. Who knows how old it was when she gave it to me.

Plus, thorough research on my part, has shown that you can't get nice crunchy, crispy brussel sprouts in any other kind of pan.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:20 PM on March 18 [35 favorites]


I don't fully understand why people are drawn to glass cookware

It's non-stick and vital if you live in a house with pet birds. Teflon and other non-stick coatings creates a gas after a certain temperature and cooking time, leading to death or respiratory problems for pet birds.
posted by Calzephyr at 2:21 PM on March 18 [44 favorites]


I can't find it but remember a thread about cooking in the nude and there were almost universal nope nope nopes.
posted by sammyo at 2:21 PM on March 18 [3 favorites]


But borosilicate glass is the whole point of Pyrex. Pyrex without borosilicate glass is like Coca-Cola without cocaine.
posted by ckape at 2:21 PM on March 18 [94 favorites]


All you midwestern Gen-Xers, go pilfer the borosilicate Pyrex from your mom's house when she invites you to shop from her pantry when you go home for Easter.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:22 PM on March 18 [24 favorites]


I don't fully understand why people are drawn to glass cookware

They're easy to clean, attractive, durable if you follow the thermal shock rules, usable in both oven and microwave. I have used glass saucepans on an electric stovetop before and was extremely meh about those, but for standard 8x8 and 9x13 casserole type dishes, they're good.

I can't find it but remember a thread about cooking in the nude and there were almost universal nope nope nopes.


That's what splatter guards and aprons are for.
posted by asperity at 2:26 PM on March 18 [8 favorites]


go pilfer the borosilicate Pyrex from your mom's house

"Corelle Brands also confirmed that some of its cookware has been made of soda-lime glass since the 1950s."
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:26 PM on March 18 [3 favorites]


There's a history of this question on Ask -- one of the questions is from me, ten years ago, but it got into a lot of cool things about glass manufacture.

Mr. Llama shattered one since then but he really refuses to believe you can't just pour cold water in a hot Pyrex pan.

Keeps things exciting.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:27 PM on March 18 [13 favorites]


I inherited a ton of vintage Pyrex from the 40's, 50's and 60's including a complete double boiler. From fridge to oven or stovetop? No problem. From oven or stovetop to fridge? Equally no problem. For decades. Borosilicate is the stuff they use to fashion laboratory glass and for a reason...
posted by jim in austin at 2:29 PM on March 18 [24 favorites]


The few times I've broken glass bakeware had nothing to do with temperature, just hamfisted butterfingers on my part.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:29 PM on March 18 [2 favorites]


You put ham on your Butterfingers?
posted by Chrysostom at 2:32 PM on March 18 [43 favorites]


I followed a link from the discussion in the Anarchist's Cookbook thread a while back to the "Energetic Materials Forum," where the first sticky is about a guy who blew himself up on account of using cheap knock-off Pyrex.

Here be graphic descriptions of high explosive chemistry gone awry:
http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=22554
posted by higginba at 2:33 PM on March 18 [8 favorites]


Plus, thorough research on my part, has shown that you can't get nice crunchy, crispy brussel sprouts in any other kind of pan.
posted by humboldt32


Au contraire. My All-Clad frying pan does a bang up job. And it has never exploded at me.
posted by Splunge at 2:35 PM on March 18 [2 favorites]


Exploding glass containers while I cook is an old pastime of mine.*

*unintentional
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:36 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


(Protip: Look for all-caps PYREX graphics which can either indicate that is vintage or that it’s from Europe, where a company called Arc International owns the Pyrex brand and still makes its cookware out of borosilicate.)

*runs to kitchen to check out pyrex measuring cup*

Dammit.

*runs back to kitchen to check out pyrex mixing bowls*

Alright, alright, alright.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:37 PM on March 18 [20 favorites]


> I don't fully understand why people are drawn to glass cookware

It happily goes in the dishwasher, other than that the labels on the measuring cups fade away.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:37 PM on March 18 [11 favorites]


The only time I ever had glass bakeware “explode” was when I took a piping-hot casserole of mac-n-cheese out of the oven and set it on the flat glass cooktop of my range, not knowing that a burner was, for some reason, on high. After a few minutes of being overheated into oblivion, the casserole burst.

I have never, ever had any glass cookware (pyrex or not) fail in the oven in my umpteen years of cooking.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:37 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


You put ham on your Butterfingers?

Yup, so my hands were greasy when I tried to pick up the glass pan.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:38 PM on March 18 [6 favorites]


...nothing to do with temperature, just hamfisted butterfingers on my part.

You put ham on your Butterfingers?


No, he put butter on the fingers of his ham-fist.
posted by The Tensor at 2:38 PM on March 18 [18 favorites]


You put ham on your Butterfingers?

Ahhh, Superintendent Chrysostom! Welcome! I hope you're prepared for an unforgettable luncheon.
posted by gwint at 2:39 PM on March 18 [52 favorites]


My All-Clad frying pan does a bang up job.

I have a fantastic set of Viking non-stick but they stay on the stove top, and out of the oven.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:41 PM on March 18


As the article notes, there are a number of other brands available from Amazon and elsewhere that claim to be borosilicate glass.

In addition to shattering, has anyone else noticed that at some point Pyrex measuring cups changed their spout design so that it is impossible to pour from them without dribbling?
posted by TedW at 2:46 PM on March 18 [21 favorites]


If you want to buy the good PYREX then Amazon UK (and many other online European cookshops) sell it and deliver to the USA
posted by Lanark at 2:46 PM on March 18 [9 favorites]


Me reading headline: let me guess, whatever their original process was to make glass heat stable seemed like an expensive luxury to some dipshit execs and now we can't have nice things anymore

Me reading article: ah yes. Also lying to cover it up. Great.
posted by bleep at 2:46 PM on March 18 [67 favorites]


Look for all-caps PYREX graphics which can either indicate that is vintage...

That logo just shouts "PYREX" at you.
posted by 445supermag at 2:51 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


Older glazed pyrex shouldn't go in the dishwasher because it makes them lose their color and sheen
posted by Ferreous at 3:06 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Plus, thorough research on my part, has shown that you can't get nice crunchy, crispy brussel sprouts in any other kind of pan.

I can burn brussel sprouts in any kind of pan. It might just be my superpower.
posted by srboisvert at 3:22 PM on March 18 [16 favorites]


Borosilicate can spontaneously shatter too. I had a 9x13 pan that I had liberated from my mother and that was probably 30 or 40 years old, and it exploded while sitting in the drying rack. It's less annoying in some ways because it breaks into big pieces instead of the tempered glass gravel, but also more dangerous for the same reason.
posted by tavella at 3:22 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Are you implying that a shirt would have made you less vulnerable to flying glass shards? Or just trying to liven up the setting?

Hey! It's dinner and a show!
posted by loquacious at 3:34 PM on March 18 [16 favorites]


Away towards the far end of the hall other golems, oblivious of the pillars of flame, were calmly throwing burning floorboards out through a hole in the wall. The heat was intense. Moist lowered his head, clutched the terrified cat to his chest, felt the back of his neck begin to roast and scampered forward. From then on, it became all one memory. The crashing noise high above. The metallic boom. The golem Anghammarad looking up, with his message glowing yellow on his cherry-red arm. Ten thousand tons of rainwater pouring down in deceptive slow motion. The cold hitting the glowing golem . . . . . . the explosion . . . Flames died. Sound died. Light died.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:37 PM on March 18 [14 favorites]


Corelle Brands' spokesperson from the article: "Based on reports made to the company and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, less than one tenth of one percent of the millions of Pyrex products sold each year experience thermal breakage"

That's only one-in-a-thousand, a substantial rate! If you bought ten Pyrex products, it'd come up to almost one-in-one hundred.
posted by JHarris at 3:46 PM on March 18 [5 favorites]


Yikes, and World Kitchen (later Corelle Brands) sued to get a report about their products suppressed! Yeah, they can go to hell.
posted by JHarris at 3:49 PM on March 18 [6 favorites]


Glass of any kind doesn't give you much warning before it shatters. The size difference between a micro-crack that looks like a dot of fluff to a stress-raiser capable of going full-on Prince Rupert's Drop is miniscule. Some people are just lucky about fatigue life, I guess.
posted by scruss at 3:51 PM on March 18 [6 favorites]


This is another "capitalism ruins everything" story. Product is good, brand acquires good reputation, brand valuation exceeds product valuation so brand is sold off, costs are cut, product is no longer good, PROFIT until reputation catches up with reality, move on to next product. And it's not like you can count on the more expensive products being better quality either; they're usually just as crap but with luxe signifiers glued on.

Do you guys remember when new things could be counted on to be better than old things, and you didn't have to hoard old glassware like relics from the third age? I miss those days
posted by ook at 3:52 PM on March 18 [82 favorites]


"Teflon and other non-stick coatings creates a gas after a certain temperature and cooking time, leading to death or respiratory problems for pet birds."

Which means that the gas is a:) perfectly fine for human beings, or b:) this is literally a 'canary in a coal mine' situation and none of us should be using Teflon & other non-stick coatings.
posted by el io at 3:54 PM on March 18 [9 favorites]


"That's only one-in-a-thousand, a substantial rate! If you bought ten Pyrex products, it'd come up to almost one-in-one hundred."

And between you're you and you're nine friends, you can almost be assured of breakage.*

*This is not a real statistic. I am not licensed to engage in statistical analysis.
posted by el io at 3:58 PM on March 18 [6 favorites]


Which means that the gas is a:) perfectly fine for human beings, or b:) this is literally a 'canary in a coal mine' situation and none of us should be using Teflon & other non-stick coatings.

As a bird-owner who doesn't have any Teflon, my understanding is it's more c) the amount of Teflon gas that can be created by Teflon products is enough to kill or harm a bird because birds (pet birds especially) are waaaaay smaller than humans so they can't deal with the amount of Teflon gasses that Teflon products can sometimes release
posted by 23skidoo at 4:02 PM on March 18 [8 favorites]


I stepped into the living room to answer, and the moment I was clear of the blast zone the Pyrex exploded glass schrapnel across the kitchen. And I learned my lesson.

That your Pyrex dish had achieved sentience and liked you well enough to wait for you to get clear before exploding itself?
posted by soundguy99 at 4:07 PM on March 18 [20 favorites]


Also I really think the word "controversy " has lost all meaning and should be retired. Their shit stopped working because they stopped giving a fuck about how it was made. There's nothing to have a "public, prolonged, heated debate" about. Let's just have a government looking out for our interests to step in and stop this from happening anymore.
posted by bleep at 4:09 PM on March 18 [20 favorites]


I've been wondering for years what the bluish tint in Pyrex Flameware might be; interesting to finally know that it's probably aluminosilicates.

Older borosilicate glass, by contrast, generally makes for a yellowish tint when you look at the edges of a clear piece, whereas soda lime glass produces greenish edges with a mere hint of blue.

I love the old Pyrex stuff and bought massive quantities of it when riding my bike to thrift stores was my primary form of exercise. At one point I'd accumulated ten or more glass double boilers, but I broke or gave away most of them. The only ones I kept were from a brief period where they made them with handles attached by a stainless band that could easily be removed and replaced with an integral lever. They made a range of glass products featuring those bands, including glass percolators which are still special favorites, though not for coffee.
posted by jamjam at 4:09 PM on March 18 [9 favorites]


I've determined that there is a lower quality tier of brand-name products, plausibly functional but with subtle flaws that are hard to quantify. Many of them I think end up at Walmart. For example, my Blu-ray player had a high-frequency tone in one of its speaker outputs. Twice when I bought beer from there it was over-pressurized, once causing a bottle to explode (not bottle-fermented, either). This never happened before.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:16 PM on March 18 [7 favorites]


That's like how the stuff at outlet stores you think are brand names for less, being a smart shopper, taking advantage of the few inefficiencies of capitalism for your own benefit, are purposely lower quality shit manufactured just for the outlet store.
posted by bleep at 4:23 PM on March 18 [23 favorites]


There's nothing to have a "public, prolonged, heated debate" about.

And if we do have such a debate let's make sure to all go off to the living room first, so we don't get hit by the exploding glass shrapnel.
posted by mountmccabe at 4:23 PM on March 18 [17 favorites]


Here’s a key quote that long list of warnings: “Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes to your Glassware.” That means don’t pour cold water on a hot Pyrex pan. Don’t put a hot Pyrex pan on a cold marble countertop. Avoiding these kinds of things isn’t exactly second nature.
For me it is. My parents used glass jars a lot - canning and whatnot - and they drilled into me the fact that the temperature of glass must be changed slowly. I would never put a hot glass dish on a cold surface. I would probably cause an accident trying to stop you from doing so.

Another one to add: Never pour all the boiling water into a glass dish or jar at once. Pour a couple of teaspoons in, swirl it around, then a couple of tablespoons, more swirling, and, of course, keep it on something that insulates it.
posted by clawsoon at 4:34 PM on March 18 [12 favorites]


I don't fully understand why people are drawn to glass cookware, apart from maybe microwavable measuring cups. Seems like it's just asking for problems.

Hey, you know which community is really really invested into glass cookware? People trying to keep kosher with the least amount of overhead (well, Sephardim anyway).
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 4:52 PM on March 18 [10 favorites]


I unrelatedly JUST bought a Corning Visions fry pan on eBay because I saw that nightmare documentary on Amazon about how bad Teflon is (The Devil You Know, I think?). I liked getting something quality and used. Full sets of the Vision glass cookware go for like $300!!! Now I see why.

(Also: BRB, gotta go feel genuinely thrilled to buy used vintage glass pots and pans on the internet so I can be less poisoned by our modern shit)
posted by Kemma80 at 5:17 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


That's what splatter guards and aprons are for.

If you get a nice sheen of sweat going first, your body is protected, in the same way that a fire-walker's feet are protected by their skin's sweat as they walk across hot coals! All you gotta do is labor in a hot kitchen until your body is slick with sexy perspiration, as the lord intended, when he wrote heavenly slashfic about how hot you are.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:24 PM on March 18 [30 favorites]


I feel comforted knowing I'm not the only one who set a Pyrex baking dish on top of a live burner... fortunately, it didn't explode in my direction.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 5:31 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Here's a Consumer Reports experiment where they blow up glass bakeware. Also can someone place that guy's regional accent thx.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:47 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


This is why god invented cast iron.
posted by valkane at 5:52 PM on March 18 [11 favorites]


My All-Clad frying pan does a bang up job. And it has never exploded at me

Interestingly though, your all clad pan was made by explosions.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 5:56 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


I've only broken glass through user error -- dropping it, pouring boiling water into a drinking glass, etc. I've never had a Pyrex (or off-brand equivalent) dish explode. But at the same time, the risk, however slight, seems unnecessary.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:02 PM on March 18


For me, at least, the cautionary measures involved in keeping glassware from exploding are a lot easier and more natural (especially since I take the same measures with stainless steel to keep it from warping) than the ones involved in keeping Teflon coatings from chipping, and as nice as it is to have, enameled cast-iron doesn’t ever feel necessary enough to justify buying when I can do everything I need to with either stainless steel, cast iron or glass, so the latter ends up being the material of choice for oven use. I’m not dogmatic about avoiding Teflon or enameled cast-iron to the extent that I’d scoff at anyone for using those, but there is something satisfying in doing all your cooking with those basic materials. That’s not to say I don’t covet a copper-core cookware set, but I figure at my level that the most significant improvements to my cooking are always going to come from bettering my technique rather than from a nicer tool.
posted by invitapriore at 6:18 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


"Corelle Brands insists that incidents of breakage result from customers improperly using their products"

BS. I put a room temp meatloaf in a room temp Pyrex dish and put it in an oven that I had just turned on. Halfway through cooking, the dish exploded.

I replaced all my Pyrex with Le Creuset.
posted by Preserver at 6:22 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


The 1/1000 number seems about right, meaning, I know of this happening to two people, one of which needed immediate hand surgery to save her hand. I should really replace our two 9x13 pans.
posted by advicepig at 6:49 PM on March 18


“That means don’t pour cold water on a hot Pyrex pan. ”
Too bad Home Ec isn’t a required class.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:50 PM on March 18


I put a room temp meatloaf in a room temp Pyrex dish and put it in an oven that I had just turned on.

The warning info does say only to use Pyrex dishes in a preheated oven. Which isn't something I'd really thought about before, but is definitely something I'll be keeping in mind.
posted by asperity at 6:53 PM on March 18


My husband took a pyrex pan of brownies out of the oven and set it on the stovetop to cool. Sadly we had just moved into the apartment, and this unit had the oven knob working in the opposite direction from our former one, so he turned it to broil.

Instead of coming home to surprise brownies, I came home to traumatized husband trying to figure out how to clean the floor when the top layer of the vinyl had melted, the chocolate had passed through, and then the clear layer had cooled over the chocolate splashes.
posted by buildmyworld at 6:54 PM on March 18 [6 favorites]


Too bad Home Ec isn’t a required class.

Depends where you're at, I guess? My kids had to take it.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:42 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


> Hey, you know which community is really really invested into glass cookware?

Celiacs.
posted by davelog at 8:00 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


I think they say to only put the Pyrex dish into a preheated oven because on many ovens, the preheat setting turns on both the broiling and baking elements of the oven, and the broiling element endangers the dish, but once the oven has reached the set temperature, the broiling element turns off and does not come on again, or you've turned it off manually.

But placing a dish into an oven and turning it on without turning on the broiling element would actually be safer in terms of thermal shock than putting it into a 'preheated' oven.
posted by jamjam at 8:26 PM on March 18 [6 favorites]


Fascinating read!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:35 PM on March 18


Re fridge-to-oven: somewhere along the way I heard (imagined? dreamed up?) that to help prevent breakage, Pyrex should never be placed in a cold oven, i.e., the oven should be heated to cooking temp before placing dish inside.

Myth or scientific fact?

Edited to add:

Nevermind. (See jamjam above.)
posted by she's not there at 8:39 PM on March 18


I have blown up a pyrex dish once. I cooked something, took the dish out of the oven, removed the food with a spatula, and then placed the dish in the sink. You know how sometimes you watch something happening, and your brain is like slo-mo screaming nooooooooooo but you are powerless to stop it? After placing the dish in the sink, I watched as my hand did the same thing it does every time I put a dirty dish in the sink... run cold water onto it.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:50 PM on March 18 [5 favorites]


I don't fully understand why people are drawn to glass cookware

You know when you cook chicken and there's all that stuff left in the pan that you have to soak and scrub off?
With Pyrex you can scrape that stuff off with a metal spatula and put it in your mouth and it's like chicken bacon and it's delicious and you'll never go back to metal pans again.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:50 PM on March 18 [16 favorites]


Hey, you know which community is really really invested into glass cookware?

Celiacs.


Honest question - why?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:01 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Other types of pans and utensils can apparently hold gluten, discharging them into other foods cooked in/with
posted by Windopaene at 9:04 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


I was cooking something, shirtless... And I learned my lesson.
posted by tummy_rub


Could have been epony-ouch
posted by BlueHorse at 9:19 PM on March 18 [6 favorites]


I did last year’s Christmas prime rib roast, all seven ribs and $180 of it, in a newer PYREX roasting dish. It came out of the oven beautifully browned and crinkling holiday cheer after a 15 minute high heat blast following a 3.5 hour slow roast. I hoisted it with pride over to the cold marble countertop and thought maybe that splash of water there is a problem. Before I could act on the thought my body had placed the dish on the counter and in the next second there was a “scrinch” and a “bwuumph” and the dish had shattered, sending glass shards and slivers into every corner of the kitchen. Thankfully no one was hurt.

And that’s how we had a lacto-ovo vegetarian Christmas last year.
posted by notyou at 9:40 PM on March 18 [6 favorites]


Data point: we had a pyrex dish break on the counter after we removed it from the oven a few years ago. It didn't "explode", per se, but we were still startled as hell because that just wasn't supposed to happen.
posted by yhbc at 10:06 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


You know when you cook chicken and there's all that stuff left in the pan that you have to soak and scrub off?

Yeah! That's the glorious spawning ground for many a great sauce once you deglaze that shit, and then the metal pan provides the perfect environment for reducing that all into a most savory concentrate. This is a pro of metal pans, not a con.
posted by invitapriore at 10:21 PM on March 18


I never quite believe that metal pans are going to be 100% chemically inert in use.
posted by Segundus at 11:01 PM on March 18 [3 favorites]


But that's the thing, anyone who's used pyrex for years knows this is a non-issue. I have the same 9x13 pyrex my mom gave me when I left for college in 1984. Who knows how old it was when she gave it to me.

Isn't the upshot of the article that much of the Pyrex sold since the late 90s is not in fact as heat-tolerant as the kind you probably inherited?
posted by atoxyl at 1:20 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I really like Pyrex and have a lot of old stuff, but I don't use it that much after a pan cracked some years ago. Luckily it just cracked, so there was likely a small fault in there. As I mentioned in a recent ask, I like enamelware better these days.
I'm slowly getting rid of all teflon, and only have a couple of pans left for eggs. But I'm mostly replacing it with cast-iron with and without enamel, enamelware for baking and roasting, and some ceramics as well.
posted by mumimor at 3:18 AM on March 19


> "I can't find it but remember a thread about cooking in the nude and there were almost universal nope nope nopes."

Pretty much.
posted by kyrademon at 4:55 AM on March 19


The injuries in that link were horrific. I've had one explode before, just by taking it out of the oven, which is normal use! I'm not taking the risk any more, getting rid of glass pans.
posted by agregoli at 5:20 AM on March 19


The materials science stuff about this fascinates me. From reading the Gizmodo article, it sounds like the tempered soda-glass almost behaves like a Prince Rupert's drop, with internal stresses that make a small failure (crack) an impossibility. (previously? https://www.metafilter.com/126338/Glass-detonations).

I did not know that putting glass cookware into a pre-heated oven was the recommended method...
posted by coppertop at 5:40 AM on March 19


At least part of the increase in the exploding of pyrex is probably due to the changes in kitchen counter fashions. You were much less likely to get thermal shock from the old countertops than you are from the new stone and concrete ones because you knew you couldn't put a hot pot on your formica without a pot trivet to protect the counter. Concrete or Granite make you think you can put your pyrex directly on it and it is much harder and colder than formica.

But yes I have exploded glasses and pyrex mixing bowls. Enough that I am now extremely cautious about temperature differences.
posted by srboisvert at 6:09 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


as nice as it is to have, enameled cast-iron doesn’t ever feel necessary enough to justify buying when I can do everything I need to with either stainless steel, cast iron or glass, so the latter ends up being the material of choice for oven use.

Just as an FYI Lodge makes nice functional enameled cast iron stuff that costs 1/15th of what Le Creuset does. The only functionality it lacks is the Veblen signalling.
posted by srboisvert at 6:17 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


I had a casserole pan explode in the dishwasher once. There was a loud tinkly WHOOMP noise and when we opened it, it was like seeing a dishwasher full of sparkling diamonds. Hell to clean up, though.

I'm still mad they discontinued Visions. They were ugly, but they lasted forever, they could go from fridge to stovetop to fridge again AND go in the dishwasher, and they were so easy to clean. Plus this ad.
posted by Mchelly at 6:21 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


TFA says that Amazon sells borosilicate pans. I would not assume that I was getting the material advertised, though. This is exactly the kind of thing their sellers falsify.
posted by elizilla at 6:52 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


 Isn't the upshot of the article that much of the Pyrex sold since the late 90s is not in fact as heat-tolerant as the kind you probably inherited?

Pretty much. But older glassware will have seen its share of scratches and cracks, so who knows how much longer it will last. If there's one thing people are bad at, it's estimating fatigue life. Good old mild steel gives you very polite warnings that it's cracking (unless it's really thick, and then internal shear stress can make it flow like molasses) and you should probably mend/replace it. Fancy materials don't: aluminium rips, ceramics shatter and frankly the less said about the sad way fibre-reinforced composites wear out, the better.

Thin porcelains can be immensely strong and heat resistant, but they're hard to fire and have expensive scrap rates.
posted by scruss at 7:40 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]



The warning info does say only to use Pyrex dishes in a preheated oven. Which isn't something I'd really thought about before, but is definitely something I'll be keeping in mind.


The oven was not cold, it was in the process of warming up, and it didn't explode when I put it in, it exploded halfway through cooking (about half an hour after I'd put it in). Honestly, I'm not really interested in cookware that I have to deal with cleaning up shards of glass, at best, or suffering a horrific injury, at worst, if I don't meet its finicky temperature requirements.

At the time it happened, I posted something on Facebook about it, and had several people tell me they had Pyrex explode while it was sitting in the cupboard.
posted by Preserver at 7:49 AM on March 19


Last time I was at Bloodbath and Beyond, I noticed some Oxo borosilicate glass bakeware for sale.
posted by Flexagon at 7:57 AM on March 19 [6 favorites]


I too have always thought pyrex were indestructible. My favorite bowls I've ever owned were a set of glass, straight-walled bowls that came with silicone lids. Leftovers could go striaght from the fridge into the microwave or oven with no problem.

One time I baked a spice cake to take to my sister's house in a 9x13 glass pyrex dish, and accidentally left it on the roof of my car. It stayed up there until I came to my first stop sign, as i braked it went flying over the front of the car and clashed into the street. The cake was ruined, but the dish survived and, as far as I know, is still in use by my ex fiance.

We also had a set of Corelle bowls and plates that belonged to her mother. After doing a google, it looks like the pattern was run from 1972-1982. I still have some of these plates.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:57 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Last time I was at Bloodbath and Beyond, I noticed some Oxo borosilicate glass bakeware for sale.

Oooh that's good to know. I trust the Oxo brand, at least for now.
posted by peacheater at 9:08 AM on March 19


Other types of pans and utensils can apparently hold gluten, discharging them into other foods cooked in/with

This . . . can't possibly be true, can it? I mean, maybe wooden spoons?

Old pyrex is great. So great that I've never had to buy any new pyrex.

Also a big fan of Duralex, which generally isn't oven-safe but is tempered and IME pretty damn resilient.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:10 AM on March 19


I trust the Oxo brand, at least for now.

So do I as a rule, but there are quite a few negative reviews on Amazon for the Oxo 9x13 pan that said it broke, so maybe not their best product?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:14 AM on March 19


Plus, thorough research on my part, has shown that you can't get nice crunchy, crispy brussel sprouts in any other kind of pan.

Beg to differ. My cast iron skillet does a bang-up job of this (without the actual bang part).
posted by holborne at 9:22 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I've got my grandmother's Pyrex bowls from the 1940s (these) and the cornflower casserole dishes from my mom's first apartment in the 1960s (these), and they are the workhorses of my kitchen.

I also had clear glass Pyrex baking pans -- an 8x8 and a 9x13 -- which I had purchased in the late 1990s when I got my very first place all my own. Note the word had. Each exploded spectacularly when I had the nerve to take it out of a 325-degree oven and put it down on a stove top at 65 degrees room temperature.

My mom also has, and still uses, a set of 1970s "spring blossom" round casserole dishes. My brother has claimed them for his when Mom passes, and I am seriously considering picking up a set on Etsy just because I seriously doubt anyone is going to make anything as good in these late-capitalist times and because I like the idea of reusing things rather than buying new.

A few weeks ago, we were cooking a communal dinner at a warming shelter and one of my daughter's friends asked why the steel bowl I was washing was so dented. I explained that I'd had it since my very first college apartment in 1992, and my daughter said, "We keep everything in the kitchen forever." That's right, kid. That's the goal. It feels almost subversive these days.
posted by sobell at 9:23 AM on March 19 [6 favorites]


"We keep everything in the kitchen forever." That's right, kid. That's the goal. It feels almost subversive these days.
Yes! I'm wondering if there is actually a change happening here, because so many "modern" wares have turned out to be problematic, or even dangerous. Plastics are being found in fish and have their own set of problems. On the other hand, the old-school Pyrex, cast-iron, carbon steel, enamelware etc. all last forever, and many in this thread are favoring eBay finds over contemporary kitchen ware, or buying expensive stuff like le Creuset. I give my eldest daughter quality stuff, both new (I look for bargains) and from my (far too vast) collection. My nephew who is 23 just bought a whole set of perfectly maintained copper pans on eBay.
I can see many young people around me (I teach at a university) are thinking much more about sustainability than they did just ten years ago. I wonder what this will do to the economy? If your pots are indestructible, you won't be buying new pots every five years. Does that mean we will buy other stuff? Like better food? Better news? Or something completely different?
posted by mumimor at 9:44 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Or something completely different?

Monty Python DVD sets?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:48 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


IMPORTANT: Do NOT insert DVDs in oven
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:47 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


IMPORTANT: Do NOT insert DVDs in oven

Mostly because of Region codes. If you can get a universal region oven you're all set to play your DVD in your oven.
posted by srboisvert at 11:01 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Vintage Pyrex sometimes has lead in it. Screw it, I'm just eating room-temperature food from my cupped hands from now on.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:37 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


As long as the room temperature food is something your great grandma would have eaten from her cupped hands and is mostly plants.
posted by bleep at 12:39 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Do you guys remember when new things could be counted on to be better than old things, and you didn't have to hoard old glassware like relics from the third age? I miss those days

In the before times, when not everything was cheap shit
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:51 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


At least part of the increase in the exploding of pyrex is probably due to the changes in kitchen counter fashions

Sure, but this sort of like some lab glassware being changed from borosilicate to soda glass - you're going to see breakages that aren't the fault of the user.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:17 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


 so many "modern" wares have turned out to be problematic, or even dangerous

Hey, some of the old stuff wasn't so great: pewter (lead), red Fiestaware (radioactive, quite alarmingly so), vaseline glass (radioactive), lead crystal (so shiny, so toxic), leaded solder food cans ... I think I'd rather live longer than have my stuff last longer.
posted by scruss at 1:40 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Hey, some of the old stuff wasn't so great: pewter (lead), red Fiestaware (radioactive, quite alarmingly so), vaseline glass (radioactive), lead crystal (so shiny, so toxic), leaded solder food cans ... I think I'd rather live longer than have my stuff last longer.
Absolutely! Maybe it isn't about old vs. new, but something else that is more difficult for consumers to see through. I personally never felt great about pewter and other lead stuff, but I still have some red ceramics on my shelves. I have enough other stuff that I don't have to cook in it, though.
posted by mumimor at 1:58 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


TIL teflon ougassing causing Polytetrafluoroethylene Toxicosis is a thing. But requires temperatures in excess of 280'C and, it seems, requires more than a little bit (the paper didn't measure levels but the description suggests a situation vastly more exposure than a single pan burning dry in a typical home scenario).

That birds are smaller than people and have a far higher relative respiratory volume/ rate on top, is valid.

Better safe than sorry, I guess.

Even older lab-grade borosilicate glassware can be prone to temperature-independent sudden failure from invisible scratches. A grad school friend down the corridor was fermenting 2L of bacteria overnight for a mega-DNA plasmid prep.

They hadn't padded the flask against the metal spring clamp and when they went to lift the flask out of the shaking incubator (late, after sleeping in), it must have scratched the flask just right and the thing disintegrated in their hands, dashing a couple of liters of OD600 = 2 E. coli culture into the shaking incubator, the floor, under the cabinetry, all over themselves (who was not wearing a lab coat, natch), etc.

I've also learned not to trust 'certificates of conformance/ analysis' or other specification documents for fancy lab glass and critical reagents from out of China the hard way. At least without verifying; but having to do it routinely wasn't remotely worth the cost savings. It's not that Chinese companies can't manufacture right, it's just the banality of greed and late stage Capitalism.

I once quit a job at a Canadian branch of a biotech reagents company run/ owned by Mainlander Chinese because they were routinely and blatantly falsifying certificates and batch records (among other reasons).
posted by porpoise at 8:20 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Polytetrafluoroethylene Toxicosis

Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious
If you breathe it long enough you'll experience necrosis
Polytetrafluoroethylene-a Toxicosis
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:52 PM on March 19 [13 favorites]


This story is older than Metafilter. The switch happened back in the 1980s and you can easily distinguish the newer glass just by color (it's blue).
posted by ryanrs at 9:53 PM on March 20


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