A Cover for Every Pot

Pots and Pans
Now that you’ve learned about the sharp and pointy part of the repertoire, its was time to build upon the foundation of your new kitchen with the hot and heavy. A kitchen wouldn’t be complete without some metal cooking vessels.
Here are a few staples that I’d like to suggest for your kitchen.
A Set of Non-Stick Fry Pans
There are many options, my suggestion would be that you purchase pans that offer the most metal. I happen to love the the sets by Calphalon, for $69 or less you can purchase two great non stick pans that should last you a good amount of time. These are solid pans with cool handles and they make the transition from stove-top to oven nicely.
Stainless Steel Sauce Pots
I must admit that I have a very poor view of aluminum cooking vessels. Therefore, you will not see a recommendation for an aluminum put in this post. Aluminum is reactive to food acids and will change the color and taste of many foods. Not to mention, aluminum just doesn’t hold up well and quickly looks disheveled. For this reason, I prefer a solid stainless steel pot that should last you a very long time. If you have a smaller 1 to 1.5 quart as well as a 4 quart pot you should be able to cook most things with the exception of huge pots of stock or stews. For that purpose, I will suggest a multi-purpose stainless steel pot that includes a pasta or steamer insert in addition to a 10 quart capacity. Stainless steel is non-reactive and always cleans up like brand new with a wee bit of Bar Keepers Friend. Bar Keepers Friend is one of my favorite all purpose powder cleansers for all metal pans, it does a particularly great job on copper pots with no effort whatsoever.

Cast Iron

This old school classic has been a staple in kitchens for the past hundred years or more. Coupled with a glass lid it can be a versatile option for many cooking applications from frying to braising to broiling. Cast iron cookware is heavy and it’s mass holds heat evenly. It will also be a great addition to your daily workout at the gym because of it’s heft. Despite it’s bomb proof characteristics, it has a few weaknesses. Once again, like aluminum, cast iron is reactive, so I don’t suggest cooking acid foods like tomato sauce in cast iron. In it’s defense, I’ve seen pans buried in the backyard for years clean up perfectly and become functioning kitchen tools. You can always find these pans at yard sales, goodwill, flea markets etc, so there is no need to purchase new. You choose the most appropriate pan size and depth. Many of us have had the good fortune to inherit our cast iron from a family member and it has become a family heirloom. Lodge Cookware is an American made product since 1896. My only caution would be that you not drop this pan on your tile floor or your foot as the pan will win.
Lodge Cookware has this guidance:
  • Hand wash and dry immediately.
  • Rub with light coat of vegetable oil after every use.
  • Washing with mild soapy water is fine, if you dry and oil immediately.
Enameled Cast Iron
I have a special place in my heart for enameled cast iron cookware. I purchased my first piece of Le Creuset in France 30 years ago. I inherited the most beautiful set of Le Creuset from a dear friend when he passed and in turn I will bequeath it to my son when I pass. This cookware is nearly bomb proof. I believe this one is just perfect. You can chip it if you’re too rough and clank it together with another piece of cookware like cast iron. The nice thing about enameled cast iron is that it has all the benefits of cast iron and it isn’t reactive. It comes in an array of beautiful colors. The interiors are sand colored. There are several manufacturers of enameled cast iron cookware in addition to Le Creuset, but the French do seem to be the originators of the craft with Le Creuset, Staub and Emile Henry being the most popular. Lodge does make a line of enameled cast iron cookware as well. Remember like cast iron, enameled cast iron is a work out and you should consider the weight before you invest. Like cast iron, you can also find this cookware in yard sales, estate sales, goodwill and flea markets. 

There is nothing like the beauty of copper cookware, it’s no wonder home chefs display it so proudly. Pictured above are two copper stock pots. The pot on above is made by Ruffoni and the one on the right by Mauviel. Copper is either stainless steel lined or tinned on the interior leaving it non-reactive. Copper is a super conductor of heat. A copper pan will heat up very quickly and dissipate heat evenly. Copper is somewhat daunting for some as it does tarnish and requires that you clean it with a cleanser that will easily restore it’s luster. Once again, Bar Keepers Friend is one of my favorite cleansers for copper. Copper also tends to be quite expensive so save up and treat yourself once you’re comfortable in the kitchen. I’d suggest you wash copper immediately after each use with Bar Keepers Friend and dry immediately to keep it’s luster.