pots and pans

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GA Russell
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pots and pans

Post by GA Russell » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:04 pm

I have had lots of questions about pots and pans accumulate over the years, and I bet some of you cooking mavens know the answers.

Why are we seeing so much copper in the stores now? Has something about copper items improved?

Why is Calpholon special?

Is there a better non-stick surface than teflon? If so, what makes it better?

What is with the ceramic pans I see now?

What is Circulon? Why is anyone interested in it?

I'll think of more later!
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ThePossum
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Re: pots and pans

Post by ThePossum » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:45 pm

Good pots and pans do help preparing meals and treats a heck of a lot. Wife and I have used stainless steel for the most part but about 10 years ago we started using vintage cast iron to cook in. Do most everything in the cast iron except for a few soups where we need a larger capacity cooking vessel.

As for all the copper and calphelon and teflon they don't do much for me. One exception is when I make scrambled eggs I will use a stainless steel with teflon coating for ease of cooking nice moist and fluffy scrambled eggs but more than anything for the easy clean up.

Deciding on what type of pots and pans is like deciding which shave brush or razor or shaving soap and cream and also razor blades. There are many styles and of each out there for us to try and decide on. I will not put down anyone who does not like cast iron but something else instead. It is what gets your meal made as flavorful and easy to clean up as possible.

Probably did not really answer your question but it is as hard a answering a question about shaving instruments.
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Gareth
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Re: pots and pans

Post by Gareth » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:53 pm

We’ve used cast-iron almost exclusively for nearly 10 years, Le Creuset to be specific. They hold heat very well, are built like tanks and are well worth the investment.

I can also say with experience and confidence that I very rarely have an issue with food sticking to them.

Gareth

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ShadowsDad
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Re: pots and pans

Post by ShadowsDad » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:32 pm

If one is cooking something more or less dry, yes I think there is something better than teflon. It's a well seasoned steel pan (or well seasoned Cast Iron (CI) ). Matfer calls it black steel and it will get that way after being well seasoned. But don't use it for making sauces and such. That wet cooking will strip the seasoning.

Possum, I used CI for years, and it works great. I still use it at times, but most of it has been retired and is collecting dust in storage. But for everyday cooking the black steel has taken over and my 11 7/8" (measured at the top, 8" at the cooking surface) Matfer pan is used most often. It heats faster and transmits heat better than CI and is 1/2 the weight in that size. They require the same care with seasoning, but I find that seasoning the steel is easier to do because it can be seen against the grey of the steel. Seasoning of a CI pan can't be seen against the black of the CI itself. But well seasoned CI is every bit as nonstick.

In use I wash my black steel pans very little. When things exude juices I just put them under the hot tap and use a paper towel to remove the stuck on. But most times the steel spatula removes it when it's hot. If I don't wipe it out (over 90% of the time) I just leave the grease in the pan for the next use. Anything in it was easily cooked at killing temperatures and being under the grease keeps O2 from allowing it to spoil so it's safe. That's one method that has been used for millenia to preserve meat w/o refrigeration in the mid-east, but it needs to be done correctly. My point is that once seasoned and not misused, the maintenance is minimal.

True elemental copper pots transmit heat wonderfully and I've only seen copper on the outside, the inside cooking surface being SS on the ones I've seen, the copper colored coating on pans sold today is non-stick and I've heard good things about the non-stick qualities, but you'll need to regularly replace them because they don't last. So I've heard anyway. I don't have any of them. I have one (very expensive) teflon pan remaining and it gets used only when I absolutely must use teflon, because teflon wears out from use and I hate buying something expensive and have it wear out. True copper pots require them to be polished to stay "presentable". Most folks that I know don't have elemental copper cookware in their kitchen.

http://matferbourgeatusa.com/black-steel

When I can't use the black steel or CI I use stainless.

I'm pretty sure Circulon and Calphalon are just brands. My 10" teflon is Calphalon I think. It works nicely, but it's just a brand. I wonder if you're seeing them due to the holiday and the desire for stores to make $. Lots of times it's just profit margin driving what's seen in stores and not a desire to get quality into the consumers hands. But I think both of those brands are quality. Maybe not so much on the "copper" super duper pans for cheap.

One thing to be aware of with teflon (PTFE; polytetraflouroethylene), it starts to gas off poisonously (flourine gas) at 800ish degrees (or is it 600°F ?). So it should never be put over a burner with nothing in it. In fact I never leave anything unattended when I'm cooking. Teflon is perfectly safe unless it starts to gas off and that doesn't happen at normal cooking temperatures, only if someone is a bonehead. I would never put teflon under a broiler with or without food in it.

Hey, ask away! If we know the answers we'll help but we also won't blow smoke up your butt.
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Re: pots and pans

Post by Gareth » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:52 pm

Brian, Circulon is definitely a brand rather than just a technology. Our local Costco has had a set in there for years that I’ve been meaning to pick up as a second, lighter-weight pan set.

Gareth

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GA Russell
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Re: pots and pans

Post by GA Russell » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:03 pm

Thanks, guys! You've taught me something.
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EL Alamein
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Re: pots and pans

Post by EL Alamein » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:29 am

Interesting and timely thread for me. Thanks for bringing this up!

I've been contemplating getting a new set of pots and pans myself. I've been looking at the All Clad stainless steel copper core set. I'd like for the next set to last the rest of my life.

For the last fourteen years we've been using Ameriware pots and pans made by Volrath. They are aluminum pans with a proprietary non-stick surface (a variation of teflon). They are fantastic cooking vessels until the non-stick surface starts to come off. They recommend seasoning them to prevent this but that doesn't work, it eventually comes off. I have retired most of them because of this. They do come with a lifetime guarantee but when I tried to get them to replace the twelve inch frying pan (the most used item) I was met with denial. Rather than make a federal case out of it I'm just going to buy something more durable as I had hoped these would last a lifetime.

When I did retire the Ameriware stuff I dug out the old cheap stainless steel set of Wolfgang Puck stainless steel pots and pans I bought as a bachelor. I have to say for a cheap set they are doing a fantastic job. My only complaint is that I don't think you can stick them in the oven. I'm going to beat the living daylights out of them until they fall apart and then get the All Clad.

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ShadowsDad
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Re: pots and pans

Post by ShadowsDad » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:53 am

I don't know if I would ever buy another set. One gets a lot of stuff that will never be used. But if by a set you mean pieces that you buy because you'll use them, I would agree with that.

You might also go to your local restaurant/food service supplier. I've gotten some awfully good things from ours for a fraction of the price of the big bux name brands.

I agree about teflon. It wears out and good teflon is expensive. When ours wears out I won't replace it.
Brian

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Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

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fallingwickets
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Re: pots and pans

Post by fallingwickets » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:29 am

Chris, I also just recently went on a search for pots and pans and believe it or not, after reading through way too many cooking/food forum comments aluminium is the way to go and an extra tidbit...volrath gets mentioned favourably quite a LOT (non stick seems to be something to be avoided) Anyway, i bought a 12" aluminium pan and a sauce pot at a restaurant supply store and I'm loving it. (my current pots and pans stash is all-clad and le crueset)

Also, from all my readings, the only thing that really seems to count is heat distribution...a reason all-clad gets 'best of' all the time is because of the way the pan is heated evenly versus a pan that has hot spots

clive
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EL Alamein
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Re: pots and pans

Post by EL Alamein » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:09 pm

Brian, excellent suggestions. I will definitely check the local restaurant supply stores.

I agree about the "set" issue. I may just buy stuff piecemeal.

Clive, I agree about aluminum, it has been excellent. Just that darn proprietary teflon that Ameriware has used - when it starts to break down it comes off in tiny flakes in your food. Not very appetizing. One thing I wonder about is what grade of aluminum is under that teflon. As it was not intended to actually be cooked on (since it seems it was always intended to be coated) is it safe?

I am curious about the pan you bought - is it coated? If so with what? Was it inexpensive or pricey?

Chris

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fallingwickets
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Re: pots and pans

Post by fallingwickets » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:34 am

Chris, it is non coated. At the local restaurant supply shop, it was a whopping $12 :D

https://www.therdstore.com/winco-afp-12 ... ral-finish

clive
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Re: pots and pans

Post by brothers » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:18 pm

We use our Club cast aluminum 5 quart dutch oven with the lid almost daily, it seems. It was a wedding gift from my parents 49 years ago (part of a complete set, most of which has been replaced piecemeal through the years). Still going strong. Over time it had developed a convex bulge near the center of the bottom. One day my wife said she had fixed it. I asked how. She said she took it out into the garage, got my biggest hammer, turned it upside down on the workbench and hit it 3 times as hard as she could. :lol: Fixed it just as good as new. No coatings and the only reason anything ever sticks can usually be traced back to operator error. Same as any other cookware. High dollar does not mean "fool"proof. :D
Gary

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Re: pots and pans

Post by EL Alamein » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:20 pm

Clive, thanks so much! That's pretty awesome.

I'm going to check out the local restaurant supply store whenever the next chance comes up. With prices like that I can't lose.

Gary, that story hits home as I did the same thing to our Ameriware frying once prior to the non-stick surface coming off. The wife had dropped it and it got bent. If the non-stick wasn't an issue I'd probably still be using it still they lowered me in the ground.

Chris

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