Cookware

14 Jul

Every so often, we’ll chat about the stuff in our kitchens–what we like to use for different kinds of cooking and what we might not like so much. Gadgets, pans, tools, all that kind of stuff. Hope we can exchange thoughts and ideas and learn some new things along the way!

I used to be a nonstick pan girl. Many Christmases ago, my mom gave us a set of nonstick Calphalon from Target, and it served us well for a number of years.

And then I started reading about Teflon and what happens to it when it gets hot, and the fumes that may or may not fill the house when it’s on the stove, and how studies that had nothing to do with DuPont found that it maybe might not be something you want around your family.

I am a scaredy cat when it comes to cancer. My mom had it when I was 12. My dad had it twice and it killed him on the second go-round. And this year, it took away my best friend at the ripe old age of 37. I gave up red meat because of it (more on that another day), I strongly encouraged my husband to replace our old charcoal grill with gas because of it (he did–God love him), and I am a sunscreen addict, all because of cancer. It’s a bad way to go and if I can avoid it, I will.

And so, the nonstick pots and pans were chucked. And slowly, one pan at a time, I started buying this:

That is Calphalon Commercial. It’s anodized aluminum, which I love for the way it conducts heat evenly and gets hot fast (I have one cast iron skillet and a cast iron grill pan that I also adore, but they take forever to get hot–forever doesn’t work for me when I’m rushing to get dinner on the table). And–here’s a trick for y’all–if you let it get good and hot before you add food and you give it a few extra minutes on the burner before you put anything in there, it’s almost as nonstick as the Teflon coated stuff I had before.

At the moment, I have an 8-inch omelet pan that I use for eggs and grilled cheese and infusing olive oil with garlic (YUM!!) and small cooking jobs. I have a massive 12-inch skillet that I use for browning chicken or sauteeing in dinner-size portions. There’s a saucier that’s used for anything and everything. I have a big pasta pot that I use for all sorts of boiling and soup-making and fun, and I have a big wok that’s awesome for Pad Thai and Chinese food and really big dishes. One of my favorites is the 12-inch Everyday Pan, which is usually available for a song online and is the ultimate everything pan. I also have a paella pan that doesn’t see much use, but is fantastic the once or twice a year I yank it out.

I never use nonstick spray on my pans. Over time, it leaves a sticky film that you’ll never get off. I spray them lightly with olive oil or coat the bottoms with a few teaspoons of oil before I start cooking (but after the pan gets hot). Cleanup is simple and easy, and I love that I can use metal utensils on them without worrying about scratches. And they’re ovenproof, which is another feature I don’t use much but is darn handy when I need it.

So that’s my cookware. It is expensive, but I use coupons and sales, and buy one piece a year, and it’s been worth it, both for its performance and for my peace of mind.

Do you have cookware you love? Post a comment and tell us. I can’t wait to hear what the rest of you use the most. 🙂

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7 Responses to “Cookware”

  1. Chelle Y. July 14, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    May I hire you to be my full-time chef? 😉

  2. Susan Hendrickson July 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    I dumped all of our Teflon a while back and replaced it with stainless. Why we didn’t do it sooner I don’t know. Love my new stuff!

  3. Laura Beutler July 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    Hmmm…interesting. I have a 12 year old set of nonstick Calphalon, and the great big skillet and larger deep pan are both looking pretty sad. Still non-stick, but hardly smooth to the touch. Can’t be good to eat food from there and I’ve been wondering what to replace them with. I always had the metal handles too, great for frittatas, etc. Guess I’ll start with the Calphalon commercial for Christmas next year, one pan at a time…

  4. Lisa Sarafidis August 2, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    I got rid of all of my non-stick stuff for similar reasons many years ago…I have all stainless steel (which I have to admit, I’ve ruined a few meals in), but I’m happy with them for the most part. Maybe I’ll give the Calphalon Commercial a try, when I get to buying my next pot or pan…

  5. sher October 27, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    very helpful post — thanks! question: what did you think about the calphalon commercial nonstick versus the regular calphalon anodized? trying to figure out whether their nonstick is nontoxic or not…

    • Kim October 27, 2010 at 10:21 am #

      Hey Sher. I’m really gun-shy about anything that claims to be nonstick, so I didn’t look at it. But I honestly haven’t had any issues with the anodized, and I can’t say the same for a set of stainless I had years ago. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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