Hot Pot City


I got a new set of cookware from Amazon, and it arrived today. Up until now I've been getting by with some very cheap generic non-stick cookware that I bought from the student store, seen here:


As you will note from the photo, the non-stick is peeling off the bottom. This, it hardly bears mentioning, is a bad thing. The teflon would tend to come off whilst cooking, peppering my dishes with non-stick (possibly carcinogenic) flakes. What's more, it made cooking a pain; after the initial flakes came off, water would soak in to the pot, squeezing in between the teflon and the metal. Later, when I would cook something else, the trapped water would evaporate and expand, forming bubbles beneath the teflon that would eventually explode. This is highly disconcerting, particularly if you're using the pot to heat oil, an activity about which I am already unduly paranoid. (Note: I know how to handle teflon. I've been using teflon cookware for years. I know not to use metal implements or abrasive scrubbers, and I know not to heat it to high, particularly if there's nothing in it. This, however, is cheap teflon that just started peeling off after a few months regular use. Bear in mind that this 7 piece set cost, I believe, $20) A few days ago, I decided to toss the cheap pots and pans and get something decent.

I already had a Cuisinart hard-anodized skillet that I was very fond of, along with a 2 quart saucepan of the same make and model. I also had a nice stainless steel stockpot with pasta strainer. So I wouldn't be starting from nothing. After looking around Amazon (which has some nice deals on cookware sets right now) I decided on a 10-piece set of Cuisinart hard-anodized cookware. I'd end up with a duplicate 8-inch skillet, as well as an 8-quart stockpot that I didn't need, but it was still a good deal for what I was looking for.

The set arrived today. You can tell it's high-quality because it arives in Matryushka Boxes:


So here it is, my new 10 piece set:


It has an 8-inch skillet, a 10-inch skillet, a 1 1/2 quart saucepan with lid, a 3 quart saucepan with lid, a 3 1/2 quart sautee pan with lid, and an 8 quart stockpot with lid. The pots themselves have three layers; the interior layer is aluminum. The exterior is anodized (meaning coated in a hard aluminum oxide compound) and the interior is a substance goofily named Quantanium. It is, essentially, a hybrid of titanium and teflon. The upshot is that it's non-stick like teflon, but more firmly attached to the pan and resistant to the various things that cause teflon to come off. My impression is that quantanium coating is a sort of middle-ground between the cheap teflon of my old pans and the high-quality never-comes-off teflon you get in Scanpan cookware. They claim that you can use metal implements in these pans, but they follow that up with a disclaimer that essentially says "but don't go nuts." I get the impression that you can use, for instance, a metal whisk or a spoon in it, but that it would be foolish to take a knife to it or use a fork to scrape food out.

I've been very happy with the way my other hard-anodized cookware works. No problems with the teflon at all, the material has a nice heft without being too heavy. The frying pans have curvy edges that make it easy to get under the food with a turner. The pans heat quickly and evenly, so you don't get hot spots and cold spots. And the handles are very firmly attached, unlike the loose handles you get on cheap teflon cookware. The one complaint I have is that the handles are metal and tend to heat up a bit along with the pot. They seldom get untouchable, but I find myself having to use an oven mit to handle them more often than with other pots. Otherwise, though, I've been quite happy, and I hope to be equally happy with my new cookware.

So that's that. It joins the old cookware that I'll be keeping:


And now I need to do something with the old teflon stuff. Would anyone like some free, disintegrating, possibly carcinogenic teflon pans? Any interesting ideas of things to do with old pots? Or should I just throw them out? I'll be trying out my new cookware making Dianna's Some Kind of Caribbean Rice and Bean Skillet Thing.


And how did the Thing turn out? Inquiring minds want to know!

It was alright; I didn't prepare my stuff well enough beforehand, so some parts were more cooked than others. Also, I didn't have a can of pre-cooked black beans, so I tried the quick-preparing method on the bag of dried black beans I had. They claimed they could be prepared by boiling for a few minutes, then allowing to soak for 2 hours. They lied. The beans were still hard when I was ready to add them to the Thing.

So anyhow, the beans have been soaking for a while now, and should be ready for another Thing, which I will try again tonight or tomorrow. The Thing turned out well even sans beans, though.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on February 22, 2006 9:19 PM.

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