Non-stick Cookware Questions
Q: I'm looking for small frying/sautee pan with a non-stick finish, but I'm tired of throwing away the ones whose coating has fallen apart after a year of household use. We usually use plastic utensils with non-stick pans, but let's face it...plastic has no business being used in hot environments, and sometime, you need just the right size tool, and you only have it in metal. Can anyone recommend a cookware brand they've had good luck with, whose finish has lasted a few years?
A: Cooks Essentials from QVC. Excellent pans, metal safe, oven safe to 350dF, warranted for life. I can verify that.... I have Calphalon and All-Clad which I have rarely used after getting the C. E. The AC and Calph die-hards don't believe it but these are good. I did actually have one where the n.s. surface had a problem. It was one of the pieces in the 9-piece starter set. I called and they said to send it back. So I mailed the pan back. Then I got a note saying that the SET was out of stock so they credited my account with the purchase price of the entire set... Can't beat that with a stick! ;-) I agree with everything you've said here. When *I* cook, I use the Farberware stainless pots I've had for 12 years. They have thin walls, but a thick aluminum plate on the bottom. The only thing I can't do is broil with them, but the plastic handles are safe to 350 in the oven as long as it's preheated, which is good when I need to keep something warm. I can cook in the largest skillet with a 1/2 teaspoon of oil, without sticking problems. I use no plastic utensils at all. I won't even microwave with plastic wrap over a dish. Other people (how did you guess it was my wife?) have a different view of how much heat to use. The best way to describe this is to say that in our kitchen, the smoke alarm is not attached to the wall, so it's easy to put it in the dining room while she's cooking. She calls it her cooking timer. Logically, a non-stick pan makes no sense for her, since the heat levels she uses will ruin it anyway. So, whatever I end up buying *will* be a throwaway, as you mentioned. I think the main reason non-stick pans are so popular is that virtually ever TV chef uses them. Some even say, explicitly, to use a non-stick pan, as do many recipes. Add to this the fact that people don't seem to know how to be still for a moment and THINK FOR THEMSELVES, and you've got a trend. My wife made an interesting analogy this morning. She said that if we were to compare ourselves to artists, she was Jackson Pollock in the kitchen, and I was Monet. Wasn't Pollock the guy who threw paint at a large canvas and hoped it would look good? If it's not oven safe to "broil", it's not worth buying IMHO. Plastic doesn't belong on pots and pans. I've got a nice pot and steamer that have plastic handles, but I was young and more ignorant when I bought it. Skip it if it has plastic on it... or realize the limitations that come with such a pan. If I had known what I know now, I'd have spent a tiny amount more for pans suitable for anything. I still need the same size pan for the oven on occasion and have had to buy ANOTHER pan to suit that purpose. My point is, if you are just starting to buy pots/pans, if you choose wisely, and are into cooking, 8-10 pots/pans could last an entire lifetime. Amortize the cost of replacing cookware several times and the cost of a good pan becomes much more reasonable. I don't think you have to spend a fortune to buy them either. Perhaps that's a good topic for a new thread...
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