The Joys of Good Cookware

Apparently, people like to eat.

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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:21 am UTC

I love my many pans, but a nice nonstick for eggs is essential. They do need to be replaced every few years.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby freezeblade » Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:55 pm UTC

I use my cast iron pan for eggs, never sticks. My pan's likely more suited though, I keep it super well seasoned, and it has a smooth bottom surface, not a pebbled one like is common for most cast iron pans sold at market nowadays.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:09 pm UTC

I finally replaced my 20-odd year old serrated slicing knife. It's 14" long, which makes cutting sheet cakes easy. The old one was just worn out. Opening the packaging on the new one I got a paper cut on my thumb. Also, the box it came in was huge compared to the knife-it had to be 14" on the diagonal so it's 10"x12"x2".
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:26 pm UTC

Could someone more in the know chime in on how terrified I should be of teflon coated cookware? I was under the impression that it's only dangerous if heated way beyond normal cooking temps. True?
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:25 pm UTC

If overheated while empty, some nonstick coatings are said to off gas carcinogens. I haven't heard that any are dangerous when cooking.
Also, how much exposure occurs is unknown-detectable by machines in a closed booth does not necessarily mean hazardous levels in the air of your kitchen.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Zohar » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:49 pm UTC

And on another note, you want to make sure you only use wooden or heat-resistant silicone on it, no metallic tools that could scratch the surface.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:57 pm UTC

With respect to scratching - other than ruining the cookware by scratching off a bit of teflon, there's nothing dangerous about doing so, right?
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Zohar » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:19 pm UTC

To my knowledge, you don't really want the teflon materials in your body. But I don't know if that's actually true, or just a 'common knowledge' sort of thing.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:21 pm UTC

I would have presumed being teflon it was entirely non reactive? But maybe smaller flecks are more susceptible to burning/melting?
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby freezeblade » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:24 am UTC

I read something (from the ACS?) that said the small flecks would pass right though the body without breaking down, but I'm slightly skeptical.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:14 am UTC

I wouldn't be - teflon is astoundingly non-reactive, which is why it's non-stick. The real innovation to teflon was figuring out how to get it on a surface in the first place. I'd imagine it's less detrimental to your gut as a swallowed penny is.

I could MAAAAAAAYBE envision super small flakes fragmenting and being absorbed by your gut weirdly, but meh.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Nath » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:43 am UTC

I think the safety concerns with Teflon are overblown, when the pans are used correctly. Don't use it for high-heat searing, and don't scrape it up too much, and you should be fine. Teflon works best for delicate things like eggs and fish in any case, which are generally cooked at lower temperatures.

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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Zohar » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:16 pm UTC

Nath wrote:which are generally cooked at lower temperatures.

Says you (yeah you wrote generally but it's delicious).
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:10 am UTC

Zohar wrote:To my knowledge, you don't really want the teflon materials in your body. But I don't know if that's actually true, or just a 'common knowledge' sort of thing.

I have used Teflon in industrial settings very often. The most reactive crap our chip (as in IC) industry uses will not damage a Teflon coating in decades. I'm not talking of just silly hydrochloric acid vapor here, hydrofluoric acid is so much worse.
The only things that can really damage a Teflon coating is mechanical or thermal, and for thermal I would sooner be scared of carcinogens outgassing than damaging the Teflon. Quick heating and cooling could potentially damage the connection between the metal and the Teflon, although I have not heard of this being a problem in cookware.
It is also the container lining Derek Lowe claims is suitable for making F2O2 recepie, and that stuff burns sand.

All in all I wouldn't worry about eating tiny pieces of Teflon, assuming they are not such a big part of your diet that you get nutrient deficiencies.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Zohar » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:42 pm UTC

Would that apply to presumably more cheaply-made household teflon?
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:03 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Would that apply to presumably more cheaply-made household teflon?

I can't be sure, but Teflon is always supposed to be Polytetrafluoroethylene. It is a specific monomer that is polymerized to make Teflon. There may be a slight difference due to impurities or chain length but it is the same monomer, and that monomer has delightfully strong C-F bonds that just don't care what other radicals are tugging at it.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:30 pm UTC

Well, I got myself an Instant Pot, a very fancy electric pressure cooker that also does rice, grains, slow cooking and yogurt. Used it to make oatmeal yesterday, and artichokes. Both came out very well. I'm going to try a stew or chili or risotto soon.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Jan 22, 2016 6:30 pm UTC

By the way, there are probably chemists around that can tell you more about teflon. I'm an engineer.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Zohar » Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:05 pm UTC

We're trying to add more stuff to our wedding registry, and I was wondering about a rice cooker. Lots of people keep saying how awesome they are, but we've never had problems making rice very easily - it doesn't take a lot of time to setup (literally boil water in kettle while you fry some rice in oil, add boiling water, some salt, cover for 15 minutes) and the results are good. Is there something fundamental we're missing? Is rice actually really hard and we're rice-wizards (the most boring type of wizard)?
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby natraj » Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:27 pm UTC

i don't think there is anything you're missing but that sounds like a lot of setup time to me when rice cookers take approximately zero set up time (put the rice and water and a pinch of salt in the pot, hit the button)

but honestly to me as an asian person the main value of the rice cooker is not making the rice easy to cook it is just having the rice there all the time because i like its keep-warm function since a) it cuts down on the amount of times i have to WAIT for my rice to be cooked and b) leftover rice often gets hard and dried out and weird whereas many rice cookers have a keep-warm thing where you can leave it in the rice cooker and it will stay good for a day or more and be perfectly fine to keep eating, which means once i make a pot of rice i just have the rice sitting there waiting for me for all day! which is really useful for a household with a lot of asian folk who eat rice with literally everything.

i am not sure as to recommending the value of rice cookers to people who do not eat all their foods on top of rice and therefore would find a lot of value in always having rice freely available. if that is not very valuable to you i don't know that the rice cooker has a lot of utility over cooking rice in a pot because, yes, it is extremely convenient in making the rice, but, also, cooking rice in a pot is very easy. rice cookers do also let you just forget the pot without ever watching it though so that's nice. and they do cook the rice really consistently well also without having to remember you put it on. so idk.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Zohar » Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:52 pm UTC

Hmmm, while it sounds more convenient than cooking in a pot, I don't think we eat rice consistently enough (maybe once every week or two) to make room for it on the counter. Maybe when we have a bigger place. Thanks for the feedback!
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby freezeblade » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:13 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Hmmm, while it sounds more convenient than cooking in a pot, I don't think we eat rice consistently enough (maybe once every week or two) to make room for it on the counter. Maybe when we have a bigger place. Thanks for the feedback!


My list of "counter-space-taking wall-plugged-devices" from most important to least are as following:

  • Blender
  • Stand Mixer
  • Food processor
  • Rice Cooker
  • Coffee Grinder (burr)
  • Coffee Maker

I've lived in many apartments were space on the counter, and outlets were at a premium. In most cases I could only fit two, and thus, only a blender and stand mixer lived on the counter. My kitchen workflow is likely not like yours, but that's what works for me. Coffee is at the end of the list because I'm a coffee snob and none of my coffee-making paraphernalia plugs into walls (Hand-crank burr grinder, pour-over, French press, moka pot, etc.) I would make an exception for a proper espresso machine, but I can't afford that.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Zohar » Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:10 pm UTC

There are exactly two counter-top appliances that we own - an electric kettle and a microwave (which is actually on the tall island/table opposite the counter). We don't have space for any more. Our small coffee grinder, food processor, and blender are all in other places (open shelves, not inside closed cupboards). They're being used, but we move them around. For our next place we'll definitely look for a bigger kitchen (obviously we have a good mixer on the registry, as well as a new food processor instead of the old and run-down one we have).
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby freezeblade » Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:33 pm UTC

I completely forgot about a microwave. I haven't owned one in over 5 years. I'd probably put that below rice cooker and above the coffee stuff. The only thing I miss about owning one is how easy it is to scald milk for bread recipes.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Thesh » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:18 am UTC

I have a stand mixer I don't have space for, and hardly ever use. Back in the old days when I lived with my parents, I baked a lot; brownies, profiteroles, eclairs, etc. all from scratch, so I bought it when I moved out. Living alone, I didn't really want to bake that much; sure, I'd make the occasional baked good for gatherings, but over time I did less and less. Other than that, I have an electric tea kettle and above-the-stove microwave that doubles as a hood fan.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby PAstrychef » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:40 am UTC

For me, the benefit of a rice cooker is not having to worry about the rice burning if I'm walking the dog while it cooks. When I worked nights it was great to start something, take the dog and have the dish ready when we got home.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Nath » Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:35 am UTC

I'm Indian, so I grew up with a rice cooker. It's definitely convenient if you have the space, but IMO not at all necessary in a cramped kitchen, so I don't own one now. Nowadays I mostly use a pot on the stove when I make rice, but even growing up in a rice cooker household, we sometimes used the microwave to make small amounts of rice, and it was just as good. Takes a little experimentation to get a formula that works well, but once you do, it's as fire-and-forget as a rice cooker.

If counterspace is limited, I'd skip the standalone blender too, since an immersion blender works fine for my purposes. But that depends on what sort of thing you like to blend.

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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Thesh » Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:57 am UTC

Oh yeah, forgot about my rice cooker. It's just a small, cheap rice cooker. 3 cup (dry) capacity, I think. Doesn't take up much space, but I don't keep it on the counter either.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby natraj » Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:29 am UTC

our counterspace appliances are rice cooker, hot water boiler, toaster oven, and the coffeepot/grinder. we have a standalone blender (or two? one big one and one smaller nutribullet thing that mostly is just used for smoothieing?) and a food processor but usually those are in a cabinet under the counters. but, also, i live in a fairly large house with two kitchens so counterspace is not much of an issue and even if we put all the appliances out on the counters there would be plenty of prep space; we are considering rearranging to have an Appliance Corner just to do that but also me and some of my housemates just don't like a lot of visual clutter anyway.

anyway rice, tea, coffee, and Toast are definitely our house's biggest priorities. (okay not actually toast. probably bagels and reheating leftovers.) but rice is like Daily Food here and tea is pretty much like seventeen million cups per day so having the hot water constantly available is important.

in summer the bullet blender usually live on the counter way more frequently when Juicing/Smoothies become more high priority.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Neil_Boekend » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:04 pm UTC

My counterspace electrical appliances are:
  • Bread maker (I don't eat shop or bakery bread. Far to salty)
  • Espresso machine
  • Phillips Airfryer (I love fries and potato wedgies. Buying this was the most healthy decision I ever made)
My combimicrowave is built in

On another note: I have beer trying to season stainless steel pans. Granted, they are not very good quality, but I thought I'd give it a try. It doesn't work, as in it makes the pans far more sticky. The sides even have a rubbery coating.
The process I could find on various internet sites:
  1. I clean the pan thoroughly. Usually with lye to dissolve the black crust from the last failed attempt
  2. I set my oven to 165°C.
  3. I coat my pan with peanut oil
  4. I set it in the oven
  5. I re-distribute the peanut oil every 20-40 minutes
  6. I let it there for about 2 hours
  7. I let the pan cool without removing the oil
Does anyone have an idea as to what I am doing wrong? I have done this a few times but each time the first time I use my pan the rubbery substance forms a thick black crust.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby PAstrychef » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:41 pm UTC

You don't need to season stainless steel. In fact, you want it to stay shiny. You season cast iron and carbon steel to prevent rust, but that isn't a problem with stainless.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby freezeblade » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:50 pm UTC

No reason to season coated ceramic either, like le couset pants/pots.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Neil_Boekend » Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:31 pm UTC

I thought seasoning also provided a non-stick surface.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby PAstrychef » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:48 pm UTC

A quick search did show some folks seasoning stainless pans, but it was never mentioned at culinary school, and I've never seen it done in a professional kitchen. But my exposure is by necessity limited, so maybe it works. Sometimes.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Nath » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:26 pm UTC

I'm not sure about the chemical reasons for this, but seasoning doesn't really stick to stainless steel very well. That's their appeal: they are chemically inert. If you want a nonstick surface, cast iron and carbon steel can be seasoned very nicely.

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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Zohar » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:37 pm UTC

For some reason our cast iron isn't very smooth even though we've tried to season it multiple times... We always use a thin coating of canola oil (we use a paper napkin to make sure there's no excess oil), put it in the oven at highest heat for a good while (an hour), and yet it still comes out a bit rough.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Thesh » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:43 pm UTC

Is the pan itself rough? Old cast iron pans were sanded down to be smooth to begin with, and thus season really well. These days, you'd need a thick layer for it to get smooth. Apparently, just like we can no longer afford to make glass bottles, we can no longer afford smooth cast iron.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby freezeblade » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:46 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:For some reason our cast iron isn't very smooth even though we've tried to season it multiple times... We always use a thin coating of canola oil (we use a paper napkin to make sure there's no excess oil), put it in the oven at highest heat for a good while (an hour), and yet it still comes out a bit rough.


I'm betting this is a fairly new cast iron, by lodge?
Cast iron cookware used to be machined flat, post casting, on the cooking surface, in days of old (Until the 70's?). New stuff they don't bother, for whatever reason. So the surface of the pan/pot/whatever will never be as smooth as old cast iron cookware. This is why people hunt down the older stuff at garage/estate sales. I've heard it's possible to take an angle grinder to newer cast iron, and make a smooth surface yourself, but have never done it myself. You'd need to do a hell of a seasoning job after (many, many coats of seasoning).
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Thesh » Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:53 pm UTC

I don't have the proper tools to do it right, but I did sand my cast iron pan. First I cooked it on the self-cleaning cycle of my oven, which turns the seasoning to ash, then cleaned it off, sanded it down (many hours of work), and then spent an hour hand-cleaning until I couldn't remove any more iron dust, then gave it 5-6 coats of seasoning (each one properly baked on).

I couldn't get it completely smooth, but I flattened the bumps, which did help. It's like an entire weekends work, of course.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:16 am UTC

There are sanding and polishing heads for cordless drills. You can get quite a smooth finish with those, but it costs a million years to get things smooth.


Also: I'll just remove the seasoning on my stainless steel cookware (with lye), and start saving for good Habonim(?) frying pans because there is one wok that has been with me for years and never burns and always cleans easily (sandwich material: good stainless steel - aluminium - good stainless steel). I love that wok, but it was about double the price of the most expensive other non-electric piece of cookware I ever had.
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flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

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