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pots and pans

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:04 pm
by GA Russell
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!

Re: pots and pans

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:45 pm
by ThePossum
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.

Re: pots and pans

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:53 pm
by Gareth
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.


Re: pots and pans

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:32 pm
by ShadowsDad
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.

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.

Re: pots and pans

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:52 pm
by Gareth
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.


Re: pots and pans

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:03 pm
by GA Russell
Thanks, guys! You've taught me something.