Stainless Steel versus Non-stick Cookware!
At Bellevye macys, they carry Anolon and Circulon lines. Anolon (http://www.anolon.com/cs/Satellite/Page/anolon/1177513656235/Page/HomePage.htm) is a higher end, domestic cookware line that is great for the Top Chef wannabe, loves entertaining, and needs a decent set of pots and pans that will last a lifetime. Circulon (http://www.circulon.com/cs/Satellite/Page/circulon/1162475169783/Page/HomePage.htm) is another great cookware line designed for a domestic family, busy bee, or college student. Buy cookware is like buying a car: it all "looks" the same on the outside. It is all the small, important details that makes the difference. Want to learn more? I work at Bellevue Square Mall, macys homestore on Saturday and Sunday 12pm-4pm. I love to help and inform!
Dealing with the public and their kitchen needs and concerns, I am greatly informed about what people want and not want in their cookware.
-Long lasting pots and pan.
-Easy clean up.
-Non-stick will not "die" and metal will not get in contact with their food.
-Easy grip handles.
-A great deal!
DO NOT WANT:
-Cheap pots and pans that will die after 3 uses.
-Spending a fortune on a "decent" set and having it "fall apart."
-Really heavy pans.
-Scrubbing each pot by hand because food got "stuck" to the bottom of the pan.
There are two main choices for cookware: Stainless steel or non-stick (over aluminium). Why those two? Steel and aluminium are both abundant and good conducters of heat. Cast iron and copper are also great choices for cookware. Cast iron is an excellent heat conducter, yet requires more maintance and can be very pricey. Copper delievers heat well, yet by itself, the pot will tarnish and look very unappealing.
Stainless steel: The low down!
-It is GREAT for high-heat cooking methods, like searing. Stainless steel can "take" high heat better than any non-stick pan.
-It looks gorgeous in any kitchen setting, yet all the cooking "scratches" will make the pans look unappealing.
-You have to use to more fat when cooking in stainless steel versus non-stick pans.
-Clean up can be difficult if you did not use enough fat. You can soak your pan in warm soap water and scrub with a soft scrubby. Still stuck food? Sprinkle your pan with baking soda and add warm water. Let it set for 15 minutes and try scrubbing again.
Non-Stick Pans: The low down!
-Only use non-stick cookware for medium-heat cooking methods, like sauting veggies. Over time, high heat will always damage ANY non-stick pan.
-Aersol sprays (like PAM) will DAMAGE your non-stick pan. Very little fat/oil is needed when using a non-stick pan! If you're watching your oil intake, use a "oil mister" filled with oil.
-Do not put your non-stick pan in the dishwasher! There is only one line of non-stick pan that is allowed in the dishwasher: Circulon Infinite. Other than that, always wash ANY large pot/pan, no matter what type it is!
-Non-stick pans make for EASY clean up!
Non-stick: What is hard anodized? The low down:
Q: What does "hard anodized mean?"
A: Anodizing "is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts." It is a process to make aluminum stronger. It is a protectice and surface treatment to make metals, like aluminum, more durable. "Hard" anodizing is means "hard coat."
"Hardcoat is produced during an electrochemical process that creates a layer of aluminum oxide on exposed surfaces of the base aluminum." Thus, hard anodized pans are about 30% stronger and durable than "just anodized" pans. Also, no metal/aluminum will come in contact with your food.
Q: What do I look for when buying hard anodized non-stick pans?
A: First off, look for "hard anodized" or "aluminum anodized" pans. Avoids words like just "anodized", "lightly anodized", or "infused anodized."
The heavier than pan: the better! You don't want a cheap pan that skimps on the metal. It will wrap in a couple uses. Make sure the handle is tightly secured on the pan. Most good pots have either stainless steel or silicone-heat safe handles. Avoid plastic handles. If a lid is included, double check that it is "tight fitting." I love stainless steel lids, but if you like glass lids, make sure it is "tempered", thus heat safe. Cheap glass lids will have a "small hole" on top because it was not tempered or tempered properly. So, high heat may crack, break, or damaged the cheap glass lid.
Q: I want a decent set of pots and pans, but cannot afford to spend a fortune.
A: First off, do your own personal research. Ask friends and familys for references. Read consumer reports and reviews. Find out what set works best for YOUR cooking lifestyle! Are you an avid cook? Love to bake? Or just needs a set of pan that will last a couple months?
Shop around for sales and deals. Browse through catalogs, newspapers, and online deals to view a price range. Be expected to spend, at least, $100, on a decent and durable set of pots and pans.
If you cannot afford a set, buy two or three pans that can be use for multiple uses. I like 1 large (10 inch) saute pan, 1 medium 3qt sauce pan, and a large 6qt sauce pan.
My advice: At home, I have my set of non-stick, hard anodized cookware that I use on a regular basis for daily cooking needs. Then, I have 2 try-ply stainless steel pans that I use for high-heat cooking methods, like searing a piece of fish. Anolon cookware is metal utensil safe, so I did not have to run out and buy a new set of "high heat" gadgets. But to avoid ANY scratches in your pan, use nylon or wood-heat safe cooking utensils.
Any more questions? Just ask! Happy cooking!