For some reason, this fabulous little roasting pan was WAY on sale.
It took me longer than usual to find out why.
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Andrea and I recently had occasion to meet up at one of the last viable malls in our region– EASTVIEW MALL in Victor, NY. I’m shocked to hear myself say this, but 50 years ago– half a freaking century!– Eastview was the go-to place for our annual back-to-school shopping… along with Christmas shopping, birthday shopping, and just about everything else. (Click HERE for a taste of ‘70’s-’80’s retro mall culture before they were mostly destroyed by Walmart, Amazon, and TCTMATCC, i.e., the country that manufactures all that cheap crap.)
1971– Eastview Mall takes rise in a rural NY potato field.
Eastview back then had just two anchor stores– Sears, of course, and Sibley’s, a now long-defunct regional department store chain. But Eastview also had a wonderful mix of smaller chain stores as well as a few actual independents, such as a first-rate sporting goods store that sold everything from soccer cleats to deer rifles. I confess to honing my youthful palate on blue cheese and summer sausage from a Hickory Farms kiosk. Through all of the societal and market shifts since its 1971 opening, Eastview has managed to continuously evolve and stay relevant, and it continues to attract throngs of shoppers.
Eastview Mall today… not one single store from my youth remains in business there.
With time enough for a full mall walk, I suggested that we instead take a stroll through the high-end cookware specialist WILLIAMS-SONOMA. “I’d never actually buy anything here,” I told Andrea. “I just shop for ideas and then find them online for less money.” But then I saw this roasting pan on sale. I checked the price on AMAZON– it was no cheaper. I explained to Andrea this pan’s wonderful qualities–
ALL-CLAD is a fantastic brand of cookware! Famously made in the USA, and the choice of professional chefs everywhere. A telling measure of ALL-CLAD’s quality is how many other companies proclaim, “Compare to ALL-CLAD!” Furthermore, the small dimensions of this pan– 11¾” x 14¼”– will accommodate most anything I’d roast for a small-to-medium gathering AND leave room in the oven for other items. With 40% off, this is definitely a steal!
Williams-Sonoma didn’t have any more in stock, so I ordered one from the refreshingly helpful and knowledgeable store clerk for delivery to our home. As soon as it arrived I tore open the packaging, anxious to give it a test run with some fancy lamb I had also recently ordered from an Alabama farm that proclaims to raise and sell “The Wagyu of Lamb.” (“Wagyu” is drop-dead delicious and accordingly expensive beef.) I even started writing this essay in preparation for a glowing product review of both the lamb and the pan I intend to roast it in.
The sticker on the lamb suggests that I was shipped the wrong product, something alarmingly infused with dextrose, sucrose, salt, AND– just one stinkin’ day after our local Shadow Hill Maple Festival– ARTIFICIAL maple flavoring! And then I read the online reviews of this roasting pan, some of which were rather disturbing.
It turns out that this pan IS actually made in TCTMATCC, not the USA. (All-Clad’s commercial-grade cookware is American-made, but apparently they now outsource their mall-grade stuff.) Furthermore, multiple reviewers reported that the coating on the roasting rack easily chipped with routine use, depositing flakes of God-knows-what into their food.
I sent a message to the lamb farm requesting an explanation, and I’m prepared to go full Karen if it turns out that I was bait-and-switched. And I personally spoke with a very nice and helpful Williams-Sonoma Customer Service representative who directed me to the fine print on their website indicating the product’s country of manufacture… fine print that was unavailable when viewing their site on my phone. She also claimed that a product defect like surface flaking would’ve triggered a recall.
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I promise to give this roasting rack an honest test run… I will avail myself of Williams-Sonoma’s and/or All-Clad’s return policy if it disappoints me. And I personally assure one and all that I will resolve the lamb issue and report accordingly.
The label on the lamb had been inadvertently printed on a bacon label. And it roasted beautifully in my new pan. All good so far.