Just Starting Out...need Cookware Ideas
Q: I am about to make the big step and get married in October which brings me to the important part of Registering my gifts. Im wondering if anyone can help me out by helping me pick some cookware that my fiance and I would be pleased with. This is some of what I am looking for: - Food that doesn't stick to the bottom - Easy to clean and take care of - For gas or electric style stoves (I don't know if this makes a difference or not) - Affordable so that our guests may buy it for us - Something thats not too heavy in weight Thanks in advance for all your help and responses. You can email me or post to the bboard.
A: I too am planning to register soon, but as a frequent cook I have an extremely good idea of what I want in my kitchen. I have yet to compare brands, but the items I hope to register for (or buy) are: -a good wok with a non-stick surface for cooking with little oil -several saucepans of varying size including 1 very small and a 10qt pot -at least three skillets including one that is cast iron -a really big roasting pan for holidays -lots of cookie sheets and small baking pans -A potato ricer :). Anyway, I have a much more complete list somewhere, which I got from Williams-Sonoma, a slightly upscale cooking supply store. They have very good copper and carbon steel cookware, as does Crate and Barrel. I currently own Calfalon and Le Creuset Cookware. I have also used Revereware, Farberware and Visions Glass Cookware. Here are some things to consider. 1. Buy top quality cookware, even if you have to have guests chip in on one piece. Cheap consumer quality cookware (even standard consumer quality cookware) will cause you a lot of aggravation for years. Consumer quality cookware breaks, discolors and ends up in the trash barrel in a few years. Food cooked in these products will stick, not cook properly and will put a damper on your enthusiasm. Calfalon. My #1 choice. Although heavy and expensive, these pans cook in an efficient manner, last forever and clean up easily. Food doesn't stick to the anodized surface (if you follow their directions). The handles are metal, and can be placed in an oven or under a broiler. You can even use metal utensils for stirring. These pans cannot be washed in a dishwasher which isn't a major problem for most people, and you can't store acidic food for long periods of time in these pans (it's never a good idea to use expensive pans as Tupperware!). Finally, customer service and employee attitudes at Calfalon are fantastic, and they appear to care about the people who use their products (Kathleen Connell, Manger of Retail relations has been great to me, and no, I don't have any ties to this company). Le Creuset: Attractive enamel coated cast iron. Very heavy and expensive. Similar cooking characteristics to Calfalon. Quality products. Guaranteed for 101 years! Oven safe. On the minus side, coating can chip if you are not careful. Product will rust on edges if not dried after use - don't soak these in the sink for days! Pot lids seem to allow condensed steam to drip down outside of pan while simmering (could be my fault). Easy to clean, and food doesn't stick if surface is prepared properly. Despite drawbacks, I like the styles of pan that they offer and use mine as much as Calfalon (I like their two handled saucepans and dutch ovens the best. Skillets and one handled saucepans less so.) Customer service is Ho Hum. Revereware: This is not your mother's Oldsmobile. The Revereware that my mother owns is not the same as the stuff currently being sold. The new stuff is considerably lighter in gauge, and appears to be less robust than the old stuff. The copper clad bottoms tarnish unless continually cleaned. Even with the old pans, the handles on the pans and lids tend to fall apart after ten years. In addition, the handles are spot welded on instead of rivited like Calfalon, or molded as part of the pan like Le Creuset. People claim that stainless steel skillets stick like crazy, but I have never had a problem with this phenomenon.OOn the plus side, these pans cook well, and distribute the heat evenly over the bottom. I also like the cover design that catches drips when you take the cover off the pan. One other possibility is to check out the standard offerings at a restaurant supply house. Most offerings tend to be pure aluminum which tend to discolor when exposed to certain foods. SUMMARY: I would advise ordering a copy of the Chefs Catalog (1-800-338-3232) and looking at the offerings pictured in the ample color photos. Most decent department stores carry these brands, so at least you can look at the offerings and make up your own mind. Finally, I would stay away from any pans that have a teflon type coating. Good cookware should last a lifetime easily, and these teflon coatings will not stand up to the rigors of life in a busy gourmet kitchen. If you need a non-stick pan of the teflon variety, buy one as a disposable piece. After a bit of looking around, you will be able to figure out what is junk and what is worth your attention. Good luck and happy cooking.
Most Popular Articles
- Income Tax
- Home Improvement
- Mechanical Engineering