Q & A About Cookware

Linda

Linda asks…

What cookware finish should I get?

I am leaning toward hard adonized but I also saw some non stick stainless steel. Is this a new finish? I found some online sites that compare the different finishes and it isn’t included in any of the lists. What is the non brand name for teflon I don’t want to end up with teflon.

 

Admin answers:thumbnail96x96

Stainless steel is the best in my opinion.  I’m in my 50’s, and my mother’s Revereware that they got as a wedding gift is still good.  We have all-stainless skillets of a different brand, but the bottom line is that they’re mostly non-stick, and in the event something gets burned on there, we can scrape it with a metal spatula, or use steel wool, and there is no harm. If something is anodized, that means it’s aluminum underneath. I’d avoid that, as well as anything with a non-smooth (like a ridged) cooking surface. The key that I’ve found is that if the cookware says you can’t use it on high heat, it won’t last. Another red flag is if it advises not using metal utensils to cook on it.

image016Sandra asks…

Do the inside of stainless steel pans wear out? My pans are starting to have food stick?
My pans are over 25 years old. Waterless cookware.

 

admin answers:
I have a set that is 30 years old. I had that happen also.most likely you have scratches and or hot spots in your pan.scrub very well with a pad you can find at the super market.see source

Paul asks…
What kind of cookware is best to cook with HEALTH-WISE?
I’ve heard bad things about teflon affecting the body. Food sticks to Stainless steel way too much. So what are other good alternatives?

admin answers:
There have been concerns about the use of Teflon (nonstick coating) and chemicals used to bond the nonstick coatings to the cookware being harmful. When it’s all said and done if the cookware is used properly Teflon is not supposed to be harmful. Hard-Anodized cookware is another type of non-stick cookware, however it does not have a coating. Hard-anodized cookware is one the most durable cookwares you can buy. This type of cookware surface resists scratching and corrosion so you don’t have to worry about peeling or flaking, even when using metal utensils. Enameled cookware is another non-stick cookware and is made by coating metals such as cast iron or steel with a layer of porcelain. This coating is non-porous which makes this type of cookware non-stick. Make sure when you pre-heat your cookware to use medium heat, not high. Take your food out of the refrigerator 10-15 minutes prior to cooking. Putting frozen or very chilled food into a warm pan will cause it to stick instantly. If you still must used something on the cookware try using some extra virgin olive oil. This article has more info on non-stick cookware: http://www.cookwarebuzz.com/cookware/styles/nonstick-cookware/ Here are some more good reads on this topic: http://www.cookwarebuzz.com/cookware/nonstick-cookware-care/ http://www.cookwarebuzz.com/cookware/caring-anodized-cookware/ http://www.cookwarebuzz.com/cookware/brands/glance-calphalon-nonstick-cookware/ http://www.cookwarebuzz.com/cookware/rachael-ray-10-piece-porcelain-enamel-cookware-set/ http://www.cookwarebuzz.com/cookware/brands/cuisinart/cuisinart-green-gourmet-ecofriendly-cookware-line/
James asks…
What are the Disadvantages of non-stick cookware?
To a layman like myself, it seems like non-stick cookware is the way to go but that doesn’t seem to be the case for most people in the know. Why is that? Also, I’ve heard people refer to the heavy weight of stainless steel pots as a good thing. Why is heavy good? Thanks

admin answers:
Great questions! Non stick has it places, BUT…in the old days, if was found to be not healthy, borderline dangerous. Even today, I am skeptical about how safe it really is. A ‘heavy’ pot/pan refers to weight and thickness, in order to allow the wntire bottom (and sides) to heat up evenly. The difference between good and bad is the ability to cook e-v-e-n-l-y… No hot spots. This is also wh many of the best of the best pots/pans have a copper inlay..to achieve e-v-e-n heating. Steve
Ken asks…
Cookware….What is the best brand(s) and best surfaces?
Stainless steel, non-stick, cast iron, copper…I haven’t a clue.

admin answers:
Calphalon is one of the top-notch pan brands you can buy. The best surfaces depend on what kind of stove you use as well as what kind of a cook you are. If you’re new or just not a pro at cooking, you’ll want to stick with non-stick surface. Copper is great because it heats evenly. I would avoid cast-iron because it is bulky, difficult to clean, and can slowly poison you (ok, a bit of a far-fetched old wives tale, but still…). Copper and Stainless are the more “pro” type pans but they are a b*tch to keep clean and new looking!
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Michael asks…
How long does broccoli take to cook all the way through in a wok?
I am about to sautee broccoli in my wok with a little olive oil and garlic. I like my broccoli cooked all the way through. I usually just steam it. I am really bad at this cooking stuff! I am using a pan that resembles a wok- About how long should I roll it around in there for? 10 points right away for a good answer- Thx

admin answers:
I would start with 3 minutes, then pull a piece of broccoli out and taste it. If it is done enough for you, turn off the heat, if not, cook another minute and repeat. The great thing about knowing how you like veggies cooked is that after you figure it out, you have a solid recipe that you can make without thinking about it in the future. Hope this helps!

Ken asks…
Why doesn’t my marinade have any taste when I cook it?
I usually thaw some chicken (it’s frozen), massage some Korean BBQ marinade onto it and let it sit in the fridge covered for a day. The next day, I cook it in a wok with some olive oil and it looks completely white when it’s done (the marinade is brown and I’m guessing the chicken should be tanned). What am I doing wrong and why does this chicken not have any delicious Korean BBQ flavor?

admin answers:
You can try using a fork to poke holes in the chicken for the marinade to penetrate the chicken better. The problem your having is when you fry foods in oil it it will strip most of the marinade and seasonings off the out side of the meat. If you bake it there will be a lot more flavor. The only other thing i could tell you is to reserve about 2 tablespoons of the marinade and add them to the chicken about 5 to 10 minutes before the ckicken is fully cooked to put a glaze on the chicken hope this helps

Lisa asks…
Watcha eating….?
For dinner? (Im having a late dinner at the moment) bok choy with chicken cooked in a wok sauce: garlic, ginger, teriyaki sauce Yum. watcha eating?

admin answers:
In N Out
One of the best dinners of all haha, but yours sounds good to ♥

Sandy asks…
What is a good fried rice recipe?
Yesterday, I made some rice (with my new rice maker) and put the rice in the fridge for a day (so it would dry out a little). I have eggs vegetables, garlic, butter, olive oil and soy sauce. Anyone know how to make really good fried rice (like you get at the Chinese restaurants)? Unfortunately, I do not have a wok but instead just a HUGE frying pan… thank you for your suggestions… please be specific about cooking instructions Thanks again!

admin answers:
Yangzhou (Yong Chow) Fried Rice
– 4 cups cooked long grain rice (leave in fridge overnight & separate the grains by pressing with fork/spoon prior to frying) – 200g diced Chinese BBQ roast pork, sliced ham or diced luncheon meat – 200g fresh small shrimps, peeled – 100g cooked crab meat, shredded – 4 eggs – 2 to 3 stalks spring onions (scallions), diced – 6 tbl vegetable oil (not butter) – 1 tsp salt – 1 tsp light soya sauce – 1/4 tsp sugar – 4 tbl chicken stock 1. Marinate shrimps in 1/4 tsp salt for 10-15 mins. 2. Beat eggs in bowl & add diced spring onions & 1/4 tsp salt. 3. Heat wok over high heat, add 3 tbl oil when wok is hot. When it starts to smoke, add shrimps (minced garlic is optional) & stir-fry till just red. Set aside. 4. Add remaining oil to wok. When hot, add egg mixture. Scramble briskly till well cooked. 5. Add rice & stir-fry thoroughly for 2-4 mins. Add cooked shrimps, remaining salt, soya sauce, sugar & chicken stock. Stir-fry for 4-5 mins. Add BBQ pork & stir-fry for 2 more mins, add crab meat & stir well. Enjoy! The secret to restaurant fried rice is having the heat of the iron wok enhancing/heightening the flavor in the food, what Chinese call “wok hei”. The wok must be heated over a really big flame and the food constantly stir-fried. The food must be promptly served & eaten to savour the fragrance at its best. Hence, the majority of home kitchens are unable to fully replicate the same taste even if they use the exact same ingredients. Western kitchens with hotplates are unsuitable to produce Chinese stir-fries and even most Chinese home kitchens are not equipped with the powerful gas stoves that can produce the roaring flames found in restaurant kitchens.

Mark asks…
Asian stoves for cooking.?
I am seeking a stove.. it is for a wok. It is coal or wood fired. It is in a shallow round aluminum “can” with handles and a lid. The interior is teracotta; a basket to hold the charcoal; a space at the bottom for ash and air regulation. It is about 12 in diameter and about the same in height. The wok sits on three points to allow heat to surround the wok. The air dam at the bottom, can be closed and the lid put on to snuff the flame and save the charcoal.

admin answers:
The inexpensive clay stoves are common in homes in the rural areas of S E Asia; try ethnic Chinese, Thai, or Vietnamese stores.
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Ken asks…
How to cook with stainless steal pans?
So I just dropped a bunch of money on a 10 piece Cuisinart pot/pan set and so far I’m disappointed. The only reason I got it was because of the concern over teflon and if you scratch it it’s basically ruined (I actually originally purchased the non-stick 10 pc set but when I took it out the big pot already had flaking! And this wasn’t the cheap set either). I think I’ll be okay with the pots because usually anything you cook in them has liquid or stock, but the pans that’s another story! I can’t cook eggs in them for the life of me without them sticking/browning to the bottom. I even take stick butter and line the pan cold before cooking and still have the problem. Any chefs or cook connoisseurs out there that only use stainless have any general cooking suggestions, especially for eggs? Betty, that’s what I thought, I have an older non-stick I’m ok to use just for eggs, but am I good to go for all other foods? I sauteed some onions, green and red peppers in it and they browned the bottom a little bit too. Thanks for the answers!
admin answers:
Cuisinart (as well as other brands) often make more than one kind of pots/pans so not sure whether you got the best quality (fully tri-ply, 18/10 stainless steel) or not.
Regardless, it’s really hard to do eggs/omelets in anything but a non-stick pan (unless you’re boiling or steaming, etc, of course). I have one non-stick pan (otherwise I avoid them) and use that only for eggs (if I ate pancakes, I’d use non-stick or a well-seasoned cast iron pan, or electric griddle for those). The rest of my pans are stainless steel or cast iron (plus an enameled Dutch oven). For the thicker high-quality stainless steel pans though, you need to know that you’ll seldom use High at all… Most things are cooked (even browned) on medium or low, with just a few things on med-high, due to the excellent heat properties of those pans; otherwise things will burn/etc. Btw, for some foods you’ll actually want that “stuck on” stuff (fond) as long as it isn’t burnt (brown good, black bad), since it will contain some very flavorful things especially if you’re making a pan sauce afterward. There are a lot of places online to learn about cooking in stainless steel in particular, and just cooking so things won’t burn as well.

Helen asks…
Good quality pot and pan set for a reasonable price?
I’m getting my own apartment and I’m wondering what pot and pan set I should get. I’m looking to be in the 30 to 45 dollar range. I know I’m not going to get the best quality for that price but I just need something decent. What brand do you recommend?
admin answers:
My daughter just moved into her dorm at college and we went shopping at a couple of stores, including Bed Bath & Beyond. They have a 10-piece set by Invitations for $50 (aluminum, not stick). You can also try somewhere like Wal Mart or Target. I do seem to remember seeing a 15-piece, non-stick set at Target (pots, pans, lids, and utensils) for like $60.

Donald asks…
Which pots & pans do I need?
I am in the need of an new set of pots and pans. I need them to be good and inexpensive. Well, I started looking and discovered that I am lost. In 1997, Teflon was discovered to have dangerous “potential”; in the 70s aluminum was taken off the safety chart for pots and pans. I need to find me a safe pots & pans – preferably a set – that is inexpensive. Any ideas on which is safest? How about safe and inexpensive? Where should I shop? Thanks for all the suggestions!
admin answers:
Not sure of cheap but cook’s essentials stainless steel non stick are the best

Ruth asks…
What are the pot and pan set should I get?
I would like something non stick and not overly expensive, a five or seven piece set should be about the right size.
admin answers:
Well I don’t know your price range but I suggest the Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick Blue Cookware Set its a 10-pc. Her cookware is the best

Betty asks…
What are the best pots and pans?
What are the best brands for pot and pan sets on a budget of $100?????
admin answers:
I love Revere Ware Cookware. I have pots, lids and a skillet that I got in my bridal shower over 44 years ago.
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Richard asks…
Do you own an Emeril cookware set!?
Do you own the Emeril Hard Anodized non stick cookware? If so, how do you like it and does the pan scratch easily? I saw them in store, but to me it seems like they could scratch easily. Let me know if you own one and your experiences with them!
admin answers:
I don’t have the Emeril ware but I do have some of the Rachael Ray and they are good. I haven’t had any scratching or sticking issues. But for frying pans I personally like the greenpan best.

Chris asks…
Why is teflon used in laboratory equipment?
Doesn’t it release toxins when heated or burned? Also why do they use it in cookware? I thought it’s supposed to be some high quality plastic that resists heat and deterioration by chemicals. I have heard that it also very expensive.
admin answers:
Teflon is used in laboratory equipment and electrical insulation for its resistance to heat and many chemicals. Teflon is a trade name for a variety of fluoro-chlorocarbons, though it’s pretty much become a generic term now. It’s expensive compared to many other plastics, but some types are fairly cheap, and anyhow, there’s not much stuff in a roll of teflon tape or a teflon frying pan.
It starts to outgas at around 450°F. Technical applications are usually careful to keep it below that, but in the home, preheating an empty pan can take it to 700° or more, releasing enough toxic gas to kill your pet bird.

Steven asks…
Can cast iron cookware be left in a cold room?
I have a very small kitchen with limited storage for large items like my cast iron cookware. However, I do have an uninsulated porch adjoining the room. I considered getting a shelving unit to put on the porch to store these large items, as I use them often enough that I don’t want to have to drag them up from the basement. No water gets into this room, but it does get very cold during winter here in Illinois. Is it safe to store cast iron in a cold environment like that? What about enameled cast iron? Would it crack the enamel? It is not insulated but is completely enclosed and dry. I’m most concerned about the enamel coated ones, I know the seasoned stuff is pretty hardy.
admin answers:
No problem. You do want to make sure the humidity level in the room does not promote condensation that can cause rust on the uncoated cast iron pots. The enameled pieces will be fine.

James asks…
What cookware for heart healthy use?
I bought a Caphalon non-stick skillet at an outlet store location several months ago, and I have really become rather fond of it. Granted, it took me a bit of time to get used to cooking with it [in truth, I still haven’t completely mastered it]. I have had it about 6 months and the cooking surface has developed a couple of scratches and dings despite my best efforts and not owning / using any kitchen utensils made of wood or metal. 1) Is the technology improved so that the pan can still be used even though the surface of the pan has been breached? (Remember Teflon coated pans had to be tossed because they leached chemicals into the food from any scratches breaking the surface) 2) Is there a better cookware for non-stick cooking? Much as I love frying in a bit of butter in my old iron skillet, I have gone non-stick due to health issues. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
admin answers:
There is nothing wrong with butter. Keep using your cast iron.

David asks…
What is a good brand of cookware to buy that isn’t so expensive either?
I really used to love cooking, but with such a busy lifestyle, I’ve started eating out for so long, barely making anything fresh really. Anyway, I went to the store, got some meats for my freezer, veggies, all my favorite ingredients for my favorite recipes and all of my cookware has really worn itself out. Does anyone know a good quality brand of cookware that isn’t so expensive? What kind of materials should I be looking for/avoiding etc? Thanks so much, +10 points for best answer 🙂
admin answers:
Farberwear is great middle of the road stainless for most purposes. Lasts forever and cleans easily. You can toss it in the dishwasher and use oven cleaner on them for tough spots.
The best you can afford teflon frying pan is a must 10″ low sided Swiss Diamond is getting a lot of great reviews. Get a glass lid to fit it. Finally, 1 old cast iron skillet will round things out – Wagner (check the thrift store) and Lodge are the best.
Jenny asks…
Find a good cookware set for low prices?
I prefer non-stick cast iron pots and pans good quality for low /sale price on easy payments would be best
admin answers:
No such thing in there for low price and quality is fair traded (same price everywhere) real cooks rarely use non-stick coated pans, cast iron enameled, big price, save up and only buy what you are truly going to use.
Betty asks…
Anybody know anything about the Cooks Tools 10-piece Nonstick cookware set available at Belk?
I tried to research the brand “cooks tools” but haven’t found anything. I’m not sure if this is the correct brand name of the product or not.
admin answers:
If you cook quite a bit, or think you may be getting into cooking, don’t buy Cook’s Tools. They are cheap, lightweight, and won’t retain heat well. As a rule of thumb, pick up the 3 qt sized piece in any set of pots and pans. If it doesn’t feel pretty heavy, don’t buy the set. Look for sets in the $200 range that have metal handles and have some heft to them. If you REALLY like to cook, $300-$400 will get you a fantastic set that cooks noticeably better. But that Cooks Tools set is for rental houses and college kids who are just heating up canned ravioli. Check out Sams’, Costco, or Bed Bath and Beyond for good, even great cookware at a decent price. Heck, even QVC and HSN have some pretty okay stuff. Look for “hard anodized”, oven safe, metal stay cool handles, lifetime warranty, and a nonstick that is also nonTeflon. Good pans make an enormous difference in how and what you cook. It’s really worth it.
Sandy asks…
Philippe Richard cookware rusting?
I got married in July and received a Philippe Richard knife set along with a cookware set and both are already rusting. Has anyone else had this problem? Does anyone know how I can contact the company? Do you think they will do anything about it if I contact them? Help please, thanks!
admin answers:
I would definitely contact them!
Laura asks…
How much is the Solingen 23 piece cookware set? Any idea?
I just couldn’t find any posted price on the internet of that same brand and number of pieces.
admin answers:
Http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=101936259 – go to that site. We hope that helped and GO TO google.com and put the name of the product. If you’d like to see the picture go to the images AREA.
Sandra asks…
What is a good name brand for a cookware set? What should I look for when buying the product?
admin answers:
The bottom line is to think about your personal needs, and purchase only those items that you will use on a regular basis. Most of us cook, and maybe we do not love trying to decide “what is for dinner”, but there are some things that will help you make the experience more pleasurable. For nearly 30 years I cooked with an assortment of hand me down pans. I was happy to get what someone didn’t want, and then one day I actually bought a set of some generic brand from Sears. It had a good assortment of pots and pans, but still it was nothing special. It was hard to clean, and frankly I had more pieces than I needed. Still, I would add a piece or two, something that I probably did not need, but the price was right. Frankly, I had a real hodgepodge assortment, and more pieces than I really even needed to do the job. All of this “stuff” was taking space in a cabinet, and most of it was not used very often, even though I cooked regularly for a family of six. So what was wrong? Well, I had too many pieces that actually were near duplicates of the other. For example I had two similar stockpots, and one would have done the job just fine. Finally I decided it was time to get serious about cooking, and do major pot cleaning out, and start over. For some years I had looked at the high-end cookware like Calphalon, All Clad and Berndes. It bothered me to spend around $300 for a set of cookware when I already had more than enough, but finally decided that the time had come, and broke down and ordered a set that had most of the pieces that I thought I would need. I considered this a starter set which consisted of an 8 qt stock pot with lid, 3 1/2 qt sauce pot with lid which I have found to be in constant use in my kitchen. There were two omelet/frying pans, one 10” and the other 6”. Also included was a “Windsor” pan, which is somewhat like a saucepan, only larger. It is rather unusually shaped, as it is smaller at the bottom than at the top. That was my basic set. I decided to add a 1 1/2-qt saucepan as nothing was that small in my set, and it was a perfect size for all the odd jobs. I felt like I was pretty well set. Everything had a purpose, and there was not the duplication of products. I put all of my mix and match old collection in the garage, gave some of it away, and only use the Calphalon cookware. For the first year, I kept strictly with the pieces that I had. Which was a total of seven not counting the lids. I have since added a 2 1/2-qt shallow saucepan and one extra 1qt saucepan. These pieces all work well for me, have little duplication of purpose, and provide excellent cookware. So how does this help you choose a cookware set? Simple! Think about the pieces that you need. For example, you are not going to need some large things if you are cooking for just two. On the other hand, your needs will be different if you have a large family. Be sure and purchase good quality merchandise. If you consider that you may spend a little more, but own cookware with a lifetime guarantee, there are no questions about having to replace it. Be sure and shop around for the best prices. Our daughter just started setting up her first apartment, and I sent her four basic pieces of Calphalon from Amazon.com for a little over $100. Each piece has a separate use, and when you consider $25 average cost per item, that is a great start on lifetime cookware. My recommendation is spend a little more, get the pieces you will use, and most of all, get a wall pot rack to hang them on. I purchased such an item for about $70, which holds all my Calphalon, plus has a place on the top for the lids. This gives me easy access, and saves tremendous cabinet space. Hope this has been of some help when you consider how to put a cookware set to your best use.
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Robert asks…
Stainless steel cookware? Best brands? How much is too much to pay for, say, a 10 pc. set?
I need to replace these horrific T-fal pots and pans I have! What are the best brands in Stainless Steel cookware? Thanks!
admin answers:
I like Tramontina. You can type the name in your search bar to go to their site for styles and prices.
Ruth asks…
What are some good non-stick cookware brands that are not very expensive ?
I see non-stick cookware ranging from $50 to $1,000 for what appears to be the same things. What would be the reasonable price to buy them ? There is an offer for invitations cookware 8 pieces for $50, is it a good buy ? Thanks for the response.
admin answers:
I take it by 8 pieces, they mean 4 pots and 4 lids. I had a cheap T-fal set from Wal-Mart 13 years ago and they’re still working fine, although the paint has come off the outside. But we got a 20 piece non-stick set from Costco 3 years ago which is absolutely great. That was about $90.
Nancy asks…
Bird owners – What cookware brands are safe to use around birds?
I know anything non-stick is bad, but if you think about it, there’s not really much out there these days that’s NOT non-stick. Pans are simple; I can use stainless steel. Anyone know if Calphalon Anodized Aluminum pans are safe? When it comes to cookie sheets, and other baking implements, what brands do you recommend? I cook a lot, and unfortunately live in a small apartment so fumes would carry quite quickly. I’m extremely cautious about this because my Tiel died this way, even though my bedroom door was closed. This seems like the trickiest bird safety hazard to overcome. Any other tips are greatly appreciated.
admin answers:
I have my peach-fronted Conure and Quaker parakeet on opposite sides of my kitchen doorway in my apartment, and I use Corning French White and Visionware cookware, as well as good old cast iron. There are some really attractive enamel-coated cast iron pots, pans, and skillets that heat evenly, and you can spray them with PAM, which helps a lot. I believe the Calphalon Anodized Aluminum pans are safe. I also have stainless steel-coated cast iron cookware which is great, too. But I do shy away from ANY “nonstick” cookware, because I couldn’t forgive myself if one of my flock were to die because of the fumes. Hope this helps some.
Laura asks…
What brands of cookware (pots and pans) are good ones that will cook wonderfully as well as last a long time?
I have no idea about brands of cookware but I love to cook and the pans that I have get the job done. However, I find some meals stick and others just don’t cook right at all. I have one cook’s brand pan that works awesome. I need to know what brand of cookware I should put on my Christmas list. HELP PLEASE (=
admin answers:
Getting “good” pans and having things not stick are usually two different questions. As for things sticking, most pans will work if the right technique is used (…also, non-stick pans should work unless a lot of their non-stick material has come off –those should be thrown away anyway). The most common things that people do “wrong” when they have sticking problems are: …not letting the pan heat enough before adding the oil …not letting the oil heat enough before adding the meat/poultry/etc. …crowding the pan too much, which lowers the temperature …moving the food before it’s cooked long enough to be able to release naturally–after carmelizing (browning) on its surface. You can see some of what I’m talking about in this video: http://rouxbe.com/cooking-school/lessons/170-pan-frying (…there are 8 short parts to this total video, but they’ll each play automatically in sequence) As for the brands of cookware, the biggest thing is getting pans that are thick enough on the bottom to keep from overheating on the bottom, and which won’t warp. Cheaper pans are usually made from thinnish aluminum so they don’t work the best. More expensive pans may be stainless steel and have an extra layer of metal (sandwiched aluminum & stainless steel) on the bottom which helps keeps that from happening. Cast iron is wonderful but it isn’t “washed” the same way most pans are, and has to be lightly coated with oil between uses to keep it from rusting. Also, different kinds of “non-stick” surfaces can be better or worse, though none of them will last forever (..personally, the only pan I have that’s non-stick anymore is an 8-in “omelet pan” because eggs/omelets really need a non-stick surface–unless you don’t mind using a lot of fat in a regular pan, and I do). Here are many links that discuss how to buy cookware to get the best one for you (there’s seldom any one best though, but are some guidelines): http://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+choose+cookware Diane B.
Sandy asks…
What are the top 3 brands for cast iron cookware?
I’m looking for some good brands for cast iron cookware. I’ve grown tired of non-stick cookware and there are some health concerns associated with using non-stick cookware, especially cheap brands. I don’t want to buy the enamel cast iron because I’ve tried it before and wasn’t impressed. Thanks.
admin answers:
If you’re willing to go vintage/antique you can’t beat Griswold — but you’ll pay nearly 3x the price as the same sized Lodge. Wagner goes a bit cheaper and is still very good — equally as difficult to find. If you only want new than I’d also go with Lodge, pretty sure they’re the only ones still making cast iron in the U.S. — they are usually found in high end hardware stores with a camping section. Visit antique stores near you or estate sales for the Griswold. My mom says to mention that she inherited her set and it has been handed down three times and still is in new shape.
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Mary asks…
T-Fal or stainless steel cookware?
I am looking at getting some new cookware, I currently have some non-stick skillets but the non-stick coating is starting to come off the bottom. I am interested in stainless steel but I am worried about my food sticking. I have heard T-Fal is a good quality non stick brand but I don’t want to be in the same situation I am in right now with the non-stick coating coming off with just 2 years of use. Does anyone have experience with both of types of cookware? Am I expecting too much out of a non-stick skillet? Would stainless steel be more durable? I would appreciate any advise!

admin answers:
I had T-Fal and grew to hate it. The outer finish took on a cloudy appearance that I couldn’t get rid of and T-Fal can lose it’s non-stick coating just like any other nonstick cookware.
I have a stainless set now and the only reason food sticks is that your pan or pot wasn’t hot enough when you put the food in or you’re trying to manipulate the food too soon after putting it in. (It’s usually proteins that stick immediately, and when cooking them, you leave them alone until they release on their own, which usually doesn’t take very long.)

Lisa asks…
Does cooking spray damage stainless steel cookware?
I recently purchased the 13-piece Calphalon cookware and have been having trouble with items sticking. I would like to avoid adding the extra fat and calories of olive oil and was wondering if cooking spray is okay to use. Any other advice is helpful…

admin answers:
Cooking spray will not damage stainless steel the way it will damage nonstick. It does, however, leave a hard to clean residue.
To help keep foods from sticking to stainless steel pans, always pre-heat the pan on low to medium low. Then add a little oil and let the oil heat up. Cold food sticks to the pan worse, so take your food out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you cook to take the chill off. When you put the meat into the pan, try to resist pushing it around with your spatula. Just let it sit. The meat will start to release a bit when it’s ready to be turned. When you take the food out of the pan, leave the pan on the heat and pour a glass of warm water into it. The bubbles and steam will help clean the pan. While it’s bubbling, use your spatula to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom. Don’t rinse a hot pan in running water, it’ll warp. Let the pan come to room temperature before washing it. Barkeeper’s Friend powder cleaner is great for taking off the residue or stuck on bits. ($1.79 at Target) And keep a nonstick skillet or two around. Starchy foods and eggs are a million times easier in nonstick. Hope that helps.

Thomas asks…
Does stainless steel cookware really cause cancer?
I am reading the book “The Cure For All Advanced Cancers” by Hulda Regehr Clark. She writes for example: cancer can be caused by “exposure to heavy metals, like nickel and chromium from stainless steel cookware”. “Stainless steel cookware releases chromium and nickel, two of the most carcinogenic metals.” Are there any studies done measuring how much nickel and cadmium can be released from the regular use of stainless steel cookware? Is this a commonly accepted opinion that use of stainless steel cookware is dangerous? If not stainless steel, what kind of cookware to use? I heard that non-stick cookware also releases some harmful chemicals.

admin answers:
Hi,
I think that Stainless Steel is one of the safest ways to cook food. Glassware is also safe, but you must be careful not to drop the stuff, it can break and leave small pieces on the floor. Yes non-stick cookware can harm small fast breathing animals like birds in your house if the cookware overheats, but by keeping water or moisture in the bottom of the pan, and not using supper high heat, you can avoid overheating a non-stick surface. This also includes not scraping the surface with the utensils. Aluminum cookware, especially cast aluminum is considered by many as more than average toxic to many. Test for alltimers is that they contain aluminum in their bodies, and many owned aluminum cookware too. To kill cancer, look to Dr. Otto Warburg, who did win a Noble Prize for discovering how to kill the cancer cells.

Donna asks…
Besides for the leeching issue, why is Stainless Steel cookware supposed to be better than non-stick?
My wife and I are coming up on our 10th anniversary and we are using the same old 10.00 walmart cookware I we got for our wedding. It doesn’t cook evenly at all. Its very thin and everything sticks to it. She is happy with her KitchenAid pots and pans and so am I so I want to buy her a nice Skillet or two. Personally Id like a good non-stick pan but everyone keeps telling me that All Clad Stainless Steel is the way to go. Why? Ive only ever heard stories about food sticking to it. That is the reason why we want new pans in the first place! I want something easier to cook with. Not something that is going to be a pain to clean up and have my eggs refuse to come clean.

admin answers:
Usually when food sticks to a pan badly, it means you didn’t wait long enough for the pan to come fully to temperature. It’s the process of placing food in the pan while it’s still heating up that causes a lot of the sticking.
From a Chemistry standpoint, food placed on a properly pre-heated pan will stick to the pan only until it has cooked long enough to be turned. A light coat of oil can help as well. IF after cooking you still have food stuck to the pan, just pour some water into the pan while it’s still hot and by the time you’ve finished eating, the pan will come clean very easily. Stainless steel is just that…stainless meaning it should not rust, or retain coloring from food or burns permanently. It cooks evenly if the bottom of the pan is heavy. All-Clad is a great brand (I have some myself) but it’s not necessary to spend that kind of money. Cuisinart and Kitchen-Aid make great cookware. Just look for 18/8 or 18/10 Stainless on the bottom of the pan or packaging and you’ll know you have a high grade steel pan. 18/10 is the better of the two, but 18/8 is respectable. Non-stick isn’t really dangerous because of leeching, it’s when the nonstick finish becomes scratched or chipped that problems can arise. It can flake off into your food and is currently considered a possible carcinogenic under these circumstances. I got the regular Stainless All-Clad stock pots and sauce pans and one All-Clad non-stick pan for pancakes and eggs and haven’t had a problem with any of them.

Chris asks…
Is stainless steel cookware hard to cook with. ie does food really stick to it?

admin answers:
That’s a touch question. I’ve disposed of my teflon pans after hearing about the health issues connected with scratching the coating and am looking at stainless steel. From my experience, I have a set of stainless steel cookware. The pots are no trouble…easy to clean. If anything sticks, just use brillo; this does not happen ofte, though. But the pan, I hate! Unless I use a lot of oil, things stick. I have found that for saute, you have to use a slightly lower temperature than with teflon-coated or cast iron to avoid things sticking and buring. But if I try to brown meats or carmelize veggies with a little oil, it’s not so good.
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Lisa asks…
The bottom of my pots and pans have are black. How do I get this off?
The black is on the outside of the pots and pans. I have tried to scrub hard with soap and a pad but nothing seems to work.

admin answers:
Spray on oven cleaner
Susan asks…
How can I get my stainless steel pots and pans to get back their original shine? I only hand wash them.?
I never put the dishes in the dishwasher. They always seem to have a film left on them after I wash them. I want them to go back to their original color and shine.

admin answers:
Just recently I wanted to shine up my magalite sauce pan, and I hand within reach a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge… Unbelievable. Before you spend lots of $$$ on other cleaning products go ahead and buy one and try it, you will be amazed. My pot looked like the day I bought it when I was finished!
Laura asks…
What is the white residue collecting at the bottoms of my pots and pans?
Everytime I run them through the dishwasher and put them on the shelf, there is a layer of white stuff in them after a few days. What’s up?

admin answers:
Calcium deposits from water, just put some vinegar in there for a few minutes then wash them out, it will get rid of it. The calcium deposits have no health risks ^^
Linda asks…
Why do pots and pans in restaurants always have bare metal handles?
They always get hot, and people are prone to burns. Why not just wrap them in heat-resistant plastic?

admin answers:
If you observe professional kitchens you see most of the cooks will have a hand towel at their disposal at all times — over their shoulder or tucked into their apron. Pans might have to go into a broiler — don’t want to trust heat-resistent stuff to the hot temperature of a broiler. These are just things that professional chefs and sous-chefs get used to as their job.
Robert asks…
Are Cuisinart pots and pans good to work with in the kitchen?
Years ago t-fal was supposed to be great and i find they haven’t lasted over the long hall, with the teflon disintegrating.

admin answers:
It is a very good question. Indeed, at high temperatures cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can break apart and emits toxic particles and gases. The fumes can sick people, but pet birds are even more sensitive. In cases of “Teflon toxicosis,” as the bird poisonings are called, the lungs of exposed birds hemorrhage and fill with blood, leading to suffocation. DuPont studies show that the fumes can also sicken people, a condition called “polymer fume fever.” The government has not assessed human health risks or the incidence of polymer fume fever from kitchen exposures to these particles and gases when pans are overheated. Non-stick coatings can contain residues of PFOA (perfluorooctanoate), a chemical used to make Teflon and a breakdown product of stain- and grease-proof coatings on carpet, clothing and food packaging. PFOA is found in the bodies of nearly all Americans. It is a likely human carcinogen; it also has a variety of metabolic developmental, reproductive, endocrine, and neurobiological health effects. Many manufacturers of non-stick cookware have committed to eliminating PFOA residues from non-stick coatings. Available data suggest that non-stick pans are not a major source of PFOA in people’s bodies. These exposures are more likely to come from stain- and grease-proof coatings on furniture, clothing, and food packaging. Studies also show that most of the potential health risks from non-stick pans, such as polymer fume fever, come not from PFOA but from other particles and fumes that can come off the pan when it is overheated. While EWG continues to track the changes in manufacturing practices for non-stick cookware, we highly recommend stainless steel and cast iron as great alternatives to non-stick cooking surface.
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Linda asks…
I have 18/10 stainless steel pots and pans, what are the best utensils to use? Nylon, Silicone, or stainless steel?

admin answers:
Hi, Silicone is the latest product for kitchen utensils and bakeware, withstanding high temperatures and produced in many attractive colours. It is expensive however and nylon will do the job equally well. Stainless steel will scratch pans but will not melt if you forget to remove it from a frying pan during cooking! Good Grip products are great too.
Betty asks…
What is the best and most efficient way to remove rust from cast iron pots and pans?
I have a dutch oven and some cast iron pans my grandfather gave me and i would really like to restore them they are covered in rust.

admin answers:
Put it in your oven and run it through a self cleaning cycle. When finished wipe out the skillet with a dry cloth. Next wipe it down with a cloth dampened in vegetable oil. Put in back in your oven at 275 degrees for two hours and walla you will have a rust free, and seasoned cast iron skillet. Note your skillet will not be completely seasoned at this point, this only comes from use over time, but you will be well on your way with the method explained above. Good Luck!!
Steven asks…
Is there an inexpensive brand of pots and pans that are not made from aluminum?
Non stick would be nice too. Can you give me the link to buy online if you have it. Thanks

admin answers:
I have both non-stick and I have glass pots and pans. Go over to WalMart or even your supermarket. They all carry pots and pans of all types. Very low cost. Here is WalMart’s website. You can buy from them over the internet: http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?search_constraint=0&search_query=pots+and+pans&ic=24_0&Find.x=26&Find.y=6
Michael asks…
How can I get brown stains off of stainless steel pots and pans?
Yes, it’s food stains. Thanks for the answer!

admin answers:
Scotch brite, I’ve worked were we made commercial kitchens out of SS and this moves anything thats on stainless steel. Http://blog.shopgrounded.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/scotch-brite.jpg
Mary asks…
Why have the inside of my stainless steel pots and pans started sticking?
They have started letting food stick on the bottom. They aren’t even a year old yet. How can I fix this problem?

admin answers:
Stainless steel cookware does not mean it will not have food/whatever stick to the inside, unless it is coated with teflon. Assuming they are not coated, everytime you clean them, a miniscule amout of the layer is removed from the inside. To prevent further sticking, use a cooking spray on the inside before you apply any heat. If you are preheating water for cooking preparation, a small amount of cooking oil will also help. Stay away from butter as it will “cook out” if you are not careful or heat is too high.
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