Cookware: What is the Best One for Me?

Have you ever went into a department store and got overwhelmed by all of the choices of cookware that were on display? I can definitely understand the feeling. I was fortunate enough to work for a company that sold gourmet cookware so I learned a lot of useful information. I always had people come in and not understand where to start. I would usually start asking some questions to start to feel out what kind of cookware would fit their lifestyle. Here are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself before you make a purchase.

Do I want to cut down on the fat that I put in my food? If so you need to consider Non-Stick.

Do I use spray oils on my pans? If so, you need to get an inexpensive set and prepare to purchase sets about every 6 months. Spray oils do a lot of damage on pots and pans. The one use for spray oils that is best is on bakeware.

Do I have room to store a set of 12 pieces or more? To properly store a set you need to prepare to store lids away from pans so they don’t scratch.

After you have these questions answered you are ready to start on the prowl for cookware. Below I have a few details about types of cookware you may encounter. Be careful to remember that sales people are there to make a sale and not always there to help make the right choice for you. Just because it is expensive does not mean that it is the right one for you.

Non-stick Cookware – This cookware is good for the low-fat chef because you don’t have to add fat to keep things from sticking, than this is your choice. This means that your fat intake will be lower because you are not adding more due to sticking. Do not ever use spray oils on the nonstick surface, it will break down the nonstick coating and it will cause food to start sticking. Nylon cooking utensils should be used. A non-stick pan can be used in ovens but not in broilers due to the heat. Cleaning is easy with soap and water or use a Dobie pad. This is not dishwasher safe.

Stainless Steel Cookware – This cookware needs a small amount of butter or oils to keep food from sticking. Do not ever use spray oils on cookware, it will leave a filmy residue that cause food to burn or stick. Most stainless steel pans can be used in oven. It is recommended to wash with soap and water. You also can use barkeepers friend cleaner for a more polished look. This is not dishwasher safe.

Hard Anodized Cookware – This cookware needs a small amount of butter or oils to keep food from sticking. Do not use the spray oils as it will damage the anodized coating. This cookware can go in the oven but not broiler. Recommended cleaning is to use soap and water. You can also use a Scotchbrite pad. You can find special cleaners for the outsides to keep it looking good.

Cast Iron Cookware – This cookware is gets better with age, meaning the more seasoned the better. This cookware is good on the stove or in the oven. It can take a beating that none of the others can take. It is better if washed with just water so that soap won’t break down the seasoning that has been created. This is not dishwasher safe.

Cool – Touch Handles – There are some cookware that comes with a cool – touch handle feature that adds great value to your pans. Cool – touch means that if pan is on stove the handle should be cool to the touch for easy handle. If the pan is in the oven the cool – touch does not work.

There are several brands out there to chose from ranging from inexpensive to outrageous. One thing that you need to remember though if the cookware seems too thin in weight than you might want to look at another style. I have seen some of the cheap cookware sets that will only last a few months under good conditions and it was too thin to protect the food from burning. Good luck on your hunt for cookware.

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