Why 360? So, I often to tell people I was born in a one-quart pan…and that’s close to true. While I didn't actually plop into a pan at birth, it was and is pots and pans that have sustained me and the people I love for many decades now. Before the industry took care of us, it sustained thousands of American workers, and I'm trying my very best to continue that tradition.
It all started when my dad came home from Vietnam and married my mom. They moved into a one-room house with no running water. No joke, they literally had NO indoor water. They showered outside at night using a manual hand-pump well and an old water hose. Times were tough; they swiped canned food jars from my granny—who’s still alive and well at 90 and eating food prepared in our cookware, by the way—just to stay fed. Needless to say, when a door-to-door salesman driving a flashy Cadillac came knocking, Dad took notice, especially since the fellow was selling "waterless cookware.” Dad thought the concept was dandy. He pawned his guitar and the camera he had used in Vietnam to buy a sample set of the cookware. He jumped head-first into selling this amazing innovation door-to-door in order to share with the rest of the country what he believed, as I do to this day, was one of the greatest values of all time.
My father worked as a distributor for the original West Bend Cookware company for more than 30 years. After that company was bought and sold multiple times and eventually sent the majority of its skills and jobs to Asian plants, Dad and I devised a plan. I picked up those men and women the old company had pushed to the gutter and started a new American cookware factory. When we opened our facility in 2004, we were so proud to have more than 450 years of veteran cookware manufacturing expertise in the building, all by folks who had been let go for cheaper, foreign labor purely for the worship of profit above all. With the help of these people, Dad and I worked together to bring about the amazing products we offer today.
While my factory still manufactures my father’s cookware, as well as other large commercial brands, 360 Cookware is very special to me. The concept of 360 goes all the way back to the 1980's. I was just a young, dumb, full-of-fun boy when I first noticed how my friends, who were staying at my house for a sleepover, looked my mom’s cooked vegetables. By their expressions, you would’ve thought she was serving up pure poison. It took me years to finally discover why they were so put off by the leafy goodness I had always known as amazing home cooking.
It turns out, Mom cooked food differently than my friends’ parents, and she did so thanks to the cookware my father so passionately sold. At that time the term was waterless, but today at 360, we call it vapor cooking. I'll write about what that means in depth sometime in the future, but for now, just know that there’s one key difference. While 360 Cookware can do everything your grandma and mother’s cookware can do—fry, deep fry, simmer, boil, sauté—it can also do something theirs can't. 360 can cook foods so that they are consumed the way they were meant to be consumed. No boiling means no steaming, and when you don't boil or steam the goodness out of what Mother Nature provides, you don't need to drown it in grease, salt and butter in order for it to be incredible.
This method of cooking is extremely simple, yet it needs a bit of explanation. I liken it to the Mac vs Windows issue. Windows users are accustomed to a certain set of steps in order to achieve a desired goal. Mac users generally view these steps as complicated and unnecessary. Their goal is often the same, yet the Mac operating system requires far fewer steps to achieve it. However, ask a Windows user (in this analogy, the normal/standard cookware user) to do a simple task on a Mac without any training, and you immediately have a frustrated individual on your hands. With a bit of instruction, though, and proof of efficiency, thousands of people every year are ultimately convinced to switch from Windows to Mac. And so it goes with vapor cooking.
Beyond my personal belief in my products and passion for the “Made in the USA” badge, the driving force behind 360 has always been to provide a product I KNOW to be superior to mass-produced cookware without the middleman. Look, as a fellow human, I love the middleman and respect his efforts to earn a living. But the fact is, when it comes to cookware, he’s just an obstacle keeping a tremendous product that actually saves time, energy, money and nutrients from getting to you! The cookware we make is superior to all and a true value that your children will fight for at your funeral. 360 is about getting you the best US-made product at the best price without playing sales games.
There are so many things to worry about in this world; let 360 take away one of them. Trust the American-owned, American-made, green-manufactured cookware that is 360.