Materials Of Cookware
Q: Last night, I gave a speech in my toastmasters group I gave a presentation based on the following: http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/120/Common-Materials-of-Co..., where several types of cookware are compared. Though no specific recommendations are made (the author talks a little about his favorite combinations), it seems that the best "pure material" for cookware is cast iron, in terms of thermal properties, reactivity, and price. The worst "pure material" is stainless steel, at least in terms of thermal properties, and it is best suited for other uses such as flatware or mixing bowls. According to the article, the best combination is stainless steel with a heavy aluminum or copper disk ("All Clad", I think). Anodized aluminum is also given a fairly good rating. There are also quite a bit of other combinations listed that combine the best of two different cookwares. There is also a section with reader's comments about the article, what cookware they use, etc. There are quite a few differnces of opinion about what the "best" cookware is. I was wondering, what do you currently own, what is your favorite cookware, and for what uses. To start off, my cookware is a hodgepodge of miscellaneous stuff. I do however have a set of anodized aluminum pans that I like a whole lot. I also have an aluminum frying pan that is lined with teflon to make it non-stick. Granted, it is very thin aluminum (I think the the pan cost less than $10), but I am very careful to only use it for omelets, and perhaps crepes if I ever decide to try my hand at them. I do not currently own any cast iron, but am considering buying some, perhaps a skillet and maybe a dutch oven. Looking at prices on amazon, such cookware looks very affordable, and I understand it is very durable (though I think the thing about supplementing your iron intake by cooking on it is mostly an old wive's tale). When I gave the speech one of the audience said that her son was a cook, and asked for stainless steel cookware because all the chefs on food network used it and just rave about it. I suspect what he was actually asking for was "All-clad" cookware, which is actually what they rave about.
A: I read with interest your entry on cookware. You mentioned that you are going to try making crepes. Here's a tip (although you didn't ask for one (;-)You only need one "small" pan , and any size large shape to make crepes. You can use the small pan to make the first crepe. Cook it on one side, and then flip it over in the other pan to finish. While that is being done, you can start your second crepe in the small pan. This cuts down on the time--and if your family eats crepes as fast as mine does, it's a big help. I have stainless steel (with the exception of the double boiler, which is Revereware from 1962) - made by All-Clad, sold under the Emerilware name. It was from JCP. I see now that JCP is selling "Cook's" brand (don't know anything about that brand) that looks exactly like Emerilware and apparently is manufactured the same as the All-Clad/ Emerilware, and the description says it is guaranteed. I had to send one pan back to All-Clad because of a funny metallic look to the inside bottom, but they sent me a brand-new one, no problem. I wouldn't trade mine for anything - it's stainless steel inside and out, with copper and aluminum sandwiched where it's supposed to be - and it's as non-stick as any coated pan. Cast iron is too heavy for me to mess with. I also have some cheap T-Fal and Wearever 7" and 8" saute pans, which I use for eggs, sausage, or crepes. When they start to deteriorate, I just throw them away and get a new one.
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