Check Your Pots and Pans

Cookware sets are like the tools of the craftsman without which the craft cannot take shape. Cookware is the first necessary product in a kitchen. Not much cooking could be done without pots and pans! It is not surprising that good cookware is the backbone of any kitchen.

Before holiday cooking starts is a great time to check your nonstick pots and pans for wear: Pros say that if they’re nicked or scratched they should be replaced for maximum food safety.

Cast iron can be pretty reasonable especially since you can often pick it up at the local flea market for a reasonable price. Another benefit of cast iron is that cooking food on an iron surface also imparts some iron into the food itself, and there are certain health benefits to that. Foods cooked in unglazed cast iron may contain twice the amount of iron they would otherwise. Quality pots are a bit rarer but can be found.

Cast iron skillets and cookware can add amazing flavor to your meals. They have many advantages, cook beautifully, and properly cared for they will last you a lifetime. Cast iron is also heavy. My mom never liked the big cast iron skillet my dad bought her because it was too heavy for her to lift.

Cast iron is incredible. It’s like nature’s non-stick surface. Cast iron heats quickly and evenly, and retains heat exceptionally well for efficient cooking even over low heat. The heavy, tight-fitting lid seals in flavor by trapping steam and nutrients so food self-bastes.

Stainless steel’s drawback for cooking use is that it is a relatively poor heat conductor. As a result, stainless steel cookware is generally made with a disk of copper or aluminum in or on the base to conduct the heat across the base. Stainless steel-lined copper is wonderful too but please don’t get sentimental about the old tin-lined stuff. This is a good choice for use with gas ranges since flames often extend up the sides and can burn food. Don’t buy the cheap stuff. Stainless steel is by definition NOT a non-stick metal. But if you treat it properly and use sound cooking practices your food will not stick.

Copper is an alternative with even heat distribution. However, it should not have direct contact with food, due to the possibility of copper poisoning. Copper is the most expensive but also the best heat conductor. Superior heat conduction allows for even cooking. Copper heats evenly, cools quickly and will last forever. However, copper cookware must be lined with tin, and that wears out.

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