Climb aboard for an exciting ride as we enter the world of contemporary thrifting. You’ve heard me say that before, but this time, “turn and run” — the creep meter is registering, and this one makes little sense (at first, anyway).
I saw it on a top shelf at the Goodwill thrift store in Port Orchard, an enamelware speckle-splashed wok pan with a bright yellow lid. The store was packed as usual, but not a soul took notice of the odd wok. Taking it down, I noticed the label indicated it had sat there for several weeks. I made a comment about the lid being a mismatch and the women next to me agreed.
Lately, I’ve been attracted to unusual, post-midcentury enamelware kitchen items. Many, including me, refer to the ’70s and ’80s as midcentury, while purists would not. Even though better judgement said “walk away,” I did buy it that day, mainly out of curiosity.
Research began immediately, and I’ll admit, the item grew on me. The yellow clunky lid did go with the pan, after all, as the top knob and the pan handles matched.
Spending time to research online and ask groups for help didn’t produce results. I even tried a photo-identification app. The yellow splashing seemed amateurish, top knob wasn’t straight, there were no identifying markings and maybe it had an initial undercradle. Woks were very popular in the ’70s and I assumed this to be one of them.
According to my thrift experts, vintage woks are hot now. Stir-frying is popular, especially when served from a unique vintage pan. Contemporary kitchens clammer for that one bold visual that goes with nothing, says “look at me,” holds a good quantity of food and, beyond all, makes one smile. This clunk-fest wok meets those requirements, but don’t be looking for it. I’m not returning or donating it back. It’s mine now and just what I don’t need.