The winner of the frying pan contest is...ta-dum, ta-dum, ta-dum:
Wow! Don Ray, being a wise, long-time, experienced expat blogger in Panamá blew my contest out of the water in the first 38 minutes! He said:
"This is what happens to a Teflon pan when a Latin American maid washes it with a brillo pad."
I was hesitant about this contest because I knew that expats in Central America would have a huge edge. Don Ray: You are going to receive one of La Gringa's original design, one-of-a-kind recycled plastic market bags. I've been giving them away as I make them, so I need to rebuild my stockpile. I'll send you some photos when I get a few finished and you can pick the one you like best. In the meantime, you could let me know if a particular size, shape, or color would work best for you, e.g. veggie market bag size, laptop size, manly black color, etc.
There were some pretty funny responses to the contest. My personal favorite was:
I have to admit that I'm glad that Haiku Joy did not win. I can't imagine how much it would have cost to mail something to Japan or how many years it would take to get there, if it ever did.
Rep made me chuckle since he obviously analyzed the photo and put some thought into it but ALL of his (her?) assumptions were incorrect. ;-D
And the best serious response was from Rodrigo:
It is a pan with both new and old damage to the teflon, indicating this was not a one time incident where a maid washed it with a brillo pad. It is an old pan and likely only used for outdoor cooking these days. The photo was taken outside, which would lead me to believe you were maybe camping or for some reason cooking outdoors. If there is significance to the fact that it is empty, I would say someone lost or forgot the food items to be cooked.
talvez falta de comida que sufre muchas personas en este mundo por tanta pobreza en los paises de latino america especialmente mi pais honduras para mi que eso significa una olla vacia
[Translation: Perhaps the lack of food that many persons suffer in this world because of so much poverty en the countries of Latin America, especially my country of Honduras. For me, that means an empty pot.]
Several of you had the correct or very close to correct response, but unfortunately, Don Ray beat you to it. I also realized after I posted the contest that the email readers were at a big disadvantage since they wouldn't receive the article until the following morning. If I do another contest, I'll try to work out the timing better. Thinking of a contest that will be a challenge to you readers is....well, a challenge!
For those of you who think that I do so much cooking that I wear out my pans, I have to dispel that fantasy before El Jefe gets on here to tell you how it really is!
Actually, the full and complete answer would have been "La Gringa got a new maid and the maid ruined her favorite non-stick pan with a Brillo pad."
Of course, on the very first day I told the new maid not to use Brillo pads and even not to use the harsh green plastic scrubby pads. "Only use a sponge or the white plastic scrubby pads," said me, "because these black pans have a special coating that will be ruined if you use anything else. These things (demonstrated in my hand) will scratch the surface." In fact, I even pulled out several other non-stick items and mentioned that all of these things need to be cleaned ONLY with the sponge or white scrubby. "Anything that is black inside is special."
It seemed so simple: Silver inside − use whatever you need to clean them. Black inside − only use soft things to clean them.
She has been here a month, not every day, but I use that pan so often that I know that she has washed it many times before. Whatever possessed her to decide that THIS time, ALL of the black coating needed to be removed, I'll never know.
It is particularly sad for me because after my previous favorite non-stick fry pan was ruined by a maid, I searched literally for years for another heavy quality pan in La Ceiba and San Pedro. They just do not exist here. I finally ordered a good quality pan from Amazon. I had it sent to my sister-in-law in Texas and waited an additional 7 months or so for her to bring it to me! If I recall, they were planning to visit in the summer but ended up canceling their trip so I had to wait until they came at Christmas. All in all, I waited a good 3 years to get this pan. I loved it! Boohoo.
So, as Deena mentioned, a new fry-pan is back on my wish list again. Sigh. El Jefe says that I should just throw away all of the Brillo pads and scratchy scrubbies. But we need them for some things! What to do, what to do? I could wash the pans myself, but there will be a time sooner or later when she gets to the pan before I do.
Oh, well. Life in Honduras. In every other way, I love, love, love this maid! I'll tell you more in another article.