Cookware: Smooth Inside Vs Rivets
Q: My wife wants a new set of quality cookware and I recommended All-Clad to her based on what I've read in this newsgroup. However, she is concerned about handles that are attached with rivets. She recalls that her mother had pots and pans with rivets and that the rivets were very difficult to keep clean. For this reason, she wants her cookware to be smooth inside. 1) Does All-Clad have a tendency to build up food or oil (especially tomato sauce) around the rivets? 2) How do folks keep the rivets clean? 3) Assuming that she insists on cookware that is smooth inside, I suppose this means welded or screw-on handles. What brand of cost-effective, quality cookware would you recommend in this case? 4) Is a non-stick coating important on stainless steel or hard anodized aluminum are these surfaces sufficiently hard that food releases easily without the coating?
A: Unless the screws extend to the interior of the pot, which, of course, would mean that the interior was not smooth, screw on handles are generally extremely weak. It is generally accepted that rivet construction is more desireable than screw on. However, I am very familiar with at least one prduct that has/had screw on handles which were fairly decent. The label at the base of the cookware read "Club". The cookware had black teflon coated interior. The pots and pans were constructed of very thick aluminum. So thick, in fact, that the screws had adequate grip without protruding to the interior of the cookware. Two pieces eventually developed striped threads over the course of very many years out of a large set. The exteriors were enameled with a torquoise or aquamarine coating which was very durable. The interior was fairly durable, but the cookware was eventually discarded due to wear. The nonstick interior wore away and unsightly pitting eroded the appearance. Non-stick coating on stainless steel varies in durability from manufacturer to manufacturer. The right cookware with proper care can last for many years. Indeed, some post about handing down quality non-stick cookware through generations. I generally prefer plain stainless steel, cast iron, and hard anodized cookware for the way that they cook. For some the subtle variation is a non-issue. For others, it is extremely important. Most non-stick coating releases food effortlessly. Properly seasoned cast iron is non-stick. Precautions to prevent wear of nonstick coating is required. Cast iron requires even more special care. Most hard anodized and properly constructed stainless steel cooking surfaces are stick resistant. Food tends to release easily when done. Cleanup is generally easily accomplished with minimum of effort. Each surface has its own special method of cleaning. Hard anodized is cleaned with a nylon scouring pad and Ajax or Comet cleanser and hot water. Stainless steel is generally cleaned with dish soap, a sponge or washcloth, and hot water. Such non-abrasive cleaners as Bon Ami and Barkeeper's Friend are used with stainless steel. Scrubbing is minimal in both cases. Do note that the cleaning methods mentioned above are disastrous if switched to the wrong cookware. Nylon scouring pads and Comet or Ajax cleanser will badly scratch the satinly finish of properly constructed stainless steel cookware. Likewise, the oxalic acid in Barkeeper's Friend can damage the hard anodized coating.