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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Condiment Pots Reviewed In 2018Last Updated February 1, 2018
№1 – Stainless Steel Condiment Seasoning Containers Pots Set with Spoons and Rack, Silver Tone (Arch shape)
№2 – Clear Seasoning Rack Spice Pots by AIQI – 4 Piece Acrylic Seasoning Box – Storage Container Condiment Jars – Cruet with Cover and Spoon
№3 – Le Creuset Stoneware Condiment Pot with Spoon, 6 3/4-Ounce, Cerise (Cherry Red)
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 2-Quart Saucepan.
After conducting an in-depth analysis of various saucepans available the Groom+Style review team thinks the
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 2-Quart Saucepan is the best option for the average households. It can be exhaustively used for almost any type of cooking.
The Cuisinart MultiClad pro has everything you are looking for in a saucepan at an affordable price. It is a stainless steel pan with tri-ply throughout, a long stay cool handle securely fitted with rivets, a V-shaped opening at the pan juncture for easy pouring, and snug-fit lid with a holder.
Another saucepan that comes close is the Cuisinart MultiClad Unlimite. The anodized aluminum exterior and stainless steel interior contributes to the superior heat distribution and is non-reactive to alkaline or acidic material. It can be used on the stovetop or in the oven.
It has a long narrow body which helps the steam stay in for a longer time eventually facilitating moisture retention. So if you are into making soups and sauces where moisture retention is important, the Cuisinart MultiClad Unlimited may be the right pick for you.
Continue your investigations of the best saucepans around.
Lodge Logic 12-inch cast iron skillet.
The Lodge Logic 12-inch cast iron skillet is another compelling competitor to the frying pan mentioned above as it also has superior heat conductivity and cooks evenly. It is moderately priced and falls well within the average household budget.
It is great for frying and slow cooking. It can either be used on a stovetop or in the oven. Since the pan is heavy, it is designed with two handles on either side for greater balance.
Cast iron can rust, stain or get pitted when exposed to moisture, air, and certain food. So when buying, it is highly recommended to understand the maintenance procedure of the pan.
Lodge LDPDouble Play Grill.
So if you are health conscious or a sports enthusiast with strict guidelines on your diet, this cookware can help you make delicious food while keeping those extra calories in check.
The Lodge LPGICast-Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle, 20-inch x 10.44-inch is another challenger in this series with a bigger surface, so you can cook more food in one go, which is ideal for larger families. This griddle is also made of cast iron and has slopes on the edges for extra safety and convenience. It has two side grip handles for easy transport.
Challenging them is the Presto 070622-inch Electric Griddle with Removable Handles which is made of a heavy aluminum base and a superior quality non-stick exterior to give it a perfectly smooth finish. It has detachable handles and a slide out tray for easy cleaning.
As opposed to the conventional stove top griddles referred to above, this one is an electric griddle with a larger cooking area available at a surprisingly low price.
The heat control feature helps the griddle to heat to the desired temperature and also spread evenly throughout the surface for uniform cooking. Most electric griddles have suffered in providing this vital feature and fall short in achieving customer satisfaction.
How to Care for your Cast Iron Cookware
To care for cast iron cookware, it is advised to not use soapy water but clean it with a paper towel. If the food is stuck to the pan you could run hot water over it to loosen and then remove it. After washing, it needs to be thoroughly dried to prevent rusting.
Farberware Classic Series Stainless Steel Stockpot.
Stockpots are deep narrow pots with lids traditionally used to make stock or broth. The Farberware Classic Series Stainless Steel 16-Quart Covered Stockpot is surely a classic in this range with a heavy duty stainless steel body for even cooking and its reflective surface makes it truly attractive.
Another contender in this category which is moderately priced is the T-fal A92280 Specialty Total Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Stockpot, 12-Quart, Black.
If you are looking for a pot with contemporary looks to suit your kitchen and also do the desired job this stockpot is a perfect choice. The Aluminium body gives uniform heating and the non-stick layer makes it easy to clean. The handles are as soft and comfortable as it can be, and are well fitted with rivets.
The problem with non stick pans
PFOAs have been shown in numerous studies to potentially cause heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, testicular cancer, pancreatic cancer, immune system damage, and pituitary gland damage.
This is so toxic that the FDA is pressuring manufacturers to phase this chemical out due its health and environmental concerns.
Enameled cast iron or steel
Be sure to choose a brand made in Europe or the U.S.—not China—to avoid the chances of lead being in the coating.
This type of cookware can be more expensive. Additionally, the enamel coating may start to chip after a lot of wear and tear.
Ceramic cookware is another good choice. It’s safe, heats evenly, and lasts a long time. It can also be put into the dishwasher when needed. Ceramic cookware is also ideal for going from stovetop to dinner table (it retains heat well) to refrigerator.
Stoneware is a great choice for anyone worried about chemicals leaching into food. Stoneware made in the U.S. or Canada is lead-free and safe to use. It’s the best non-stick cookware, because after seasoning, you never have to add oil again (YAY!).
It can be heavy and may chip, but when cared for, stoneware can really be your best cookware and it last a long time.
Again, be careful of foreign products that may be manufactured with heavy metals. Products made in the U.S., Canada and the European Union are usually safe. Also, glass is more fragile than other metals.
The metals, which usually includes aluminum, used in stainless steel are particularly stable, so leaching is a low concern.
Here’s a pro tip for stainless shoppers: take a magnet and put it up to the stainless steel pan. adding your oil of choice. (Doing it in this order should reduce or eliminate the sticking of food!)
A large skillet in the size of 10-1inches for a family of 4+ or inches if you are a family of two.
Skillets are perfect for everyday meals like frying bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, chicken and veggie stir fries, and reheating leftovers.
Pick an enameled cast-iron option here.
You can also go with these stainless steel options, which are excellent for shorter cook times.
Stockpot A quart stockpot is perfect for a family of 4+. If you love making large vats of bone broth, I like the 1quart size. For smaller families, a or quart size works well. This is the best cookware to make your own bone broth or meat stock, which are excellent ways to cook meat (for meat stock) or use chicken carcasses or beef/lamb bones (for bone both). For most people, these are great ways to support your gut health, as well as make use of the whole animal. Stockpots are also wonderful for vegetable soups, steaming veggies like broccoli, and cooking pasta.
A Dutch oven is one of the most versatile pieces of cookware you can own. It goes from the stovetop to the oven to the table, all while looking great. When it comes to one-pot meals, a Dutch oven is a lifesaver. You can cook risotto, meat dishes, apple butter, bread, or a whole chicken. I told you it was versatile! For Dutch ovens, I prefer enameled cast iron, since they are heated for long periods of time, and food sits in them for even longer. Here’s a 5.5-quart option and a 7.5-quart.
Closing: The Safest, Non-toxic Cookware
The Insider Pick
Busy cooks have been turning out delicious, easy, convenient meals in their Crock-Pots since the early 1970s. We researched the dozens of available Crock-Pot slow cookers on today’s market to find the best ones you can buy, and the 6-Quart Programmable Cook-and-Carry is our top pick.
I’m a huge Crock-Pot fan. After all, what other kitchen appliance allows you to toss in your dinner in the morning, and then drive off to work while it cooks to perfection? What other kitchen tool turns out tasty meals without heating up your kitchen? Or miraculously converts inexpensive, can-be-tough cuts of meat into tender, falling-off-the-bone deliciousness? I’ve had several of these handy appliances over the past three decades, and use my current slow cooker at least once a week. Every kitchen – whether it’s in a dorm room, studio apartment, or mansion – deserves a Crock-Pot.
Using your Crock-Pot
Introduced by the Rival Company in 1971, and owned today by Sunbeam, the original Crock-Pot was intended for cooking beans. Today, you can cook just about anything in this handy kitchen appliance, including obvious dishes like soups, stews, and casseroles, but also desserts including cheesecake, breakfasts, side dishes, corn on the cob, risotto, French toast, and so much more — the list is nearly endless.
Regardless of which Crock-Pot you choose, you’ll achieve the best results by following these tips:
Don’t preheat your slow cooker before adding ingredients.
Place chopped vegetables at the bottom of your Crock-Pot, then add meat, then finish with liquid or soft ingredients. Hold off on anything dairy until the last half-hour or so of cooking.
Don’t take off the lid in the middle of the cooking process; it can take 30 minutes for the slow cooker to regain its full temperature.
Your Crock-Pot should be half-to-three-quarters full when you start cooking. Less, and your food is likely to overcook or dry out; more, and the Crock-Pot might overflow as the food expands with heat.
Use skinless chicken in your slow cooker; the melted fat will add an unpleasant taste and texture to your finished dish.
Add fresh herbs and seasonings at the end of the cooking cycle. Otherwise, you’ll lose delicate flavors.
Unless the recipe calls for it, don’t put frozen food in your Crock-Pot.
As a rule of thumb, one hour on the high setting of a Crock-Pot is equal to two hours on the low setting, so figure your cooking time accordingly.
If you’re getting ready to buy your first Crock-Pot – or you want to add one with unique features to your collection – then read on. We’ve whittled down the many models of Crock-Pot on the market to the five that are most highly rated, and that we feel are the most useful. best knife sharpeners, and more on
Although the Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook-and-Carry is our top pick, for various reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the 3-Quart Round Manual Crock-Pot, the Crock-Pot Hook Up Connectable Entertaining System, the 3.5-Quart Casserole Crock-Pot, and the Crock-Pot Lunch Crock.
Why you’ll love it: The 6-Quart Programmable Cook-and-Carry Crock-Pot is big enough for a crowd with a lockable lid for easy transport and it has programmable cooking times.
Crock-Pot Programmable Cook-and-Carry solves one slow cooker concern: What do you do if you’ll be gone for ten hours, but the meal you’re preparing only needs to cook for eight? No need to worry if you have this convenient slow cooker. Just set the timer for your desired cooking time before you head out.
You can set cooking times from 30 minutes to 20 hours and leave your worries behind. The Crock-Pot will cook your dinner to perfection, and then automatically switch itself over to the “Warm” setting once the time is up.
With a six-quart capacity, this is the perfect Crock-Pot for larger families. You can fit a six-pound roast inside, several pieces of meat along with vegetables, or go ahead and roast a whole chicken in it — you’ll still have room for carrots and potatoes.
The Sweethome likes this Crock-Pot, praising its long timer, modern appearance, handles, and locking lid. That locking lid with its sealing gasket is another fine feature of this Crock-Pot — no more spills when traveling with the cooker to a picnic, potluck, or tailgate party. are pleased with this slow cooker as well. It has nearly 3,600 reviews and an average of 4.stars. Buyers like the large capacity, the programmable timer, and the sleek appearance. Several owners complained that the Crock-Pot seemed to run too hot on the “Low” setting, however.
Note that both the “Low” and “High” settings of a Crock-Pot reach the same maximum temperature of roughly 2degrees. It just takes longer to reach the maximum temperature on low.
The locking lid is a hit. Says one pleased owner, “The slow cooker tipped over once in the car while full of sloppy joe meat, and to my surprise when I arrived at my destination, not a drop of the sloppy joe meat (or sauce) leaked out.” : Locking lid with gasket, programmable timer, large capacity, stainless steel finish, and modern appearance : Might cook too hot on low setting
Hook Up system.
The crocks are mix-and-match and there are several metallic colors to choose from, as well as multiple sizes. Each has the basic manual settings: “Off,” “Warm,” “Low,” and “High.” But what sets the Hook Up apart from other Crock-Pot slow cookers is that you can connect up to six units together with only one plug going into an electrical outlet.
The different sizes make it so easy to cook and serve various dishes: Use the 1-quart double crock for dips and savories; a 2-quart crock for meatballs, hot wings, and similar finger foods; and a 3.5-quart crock for meats, stews, soups, or chili dishes. Or, of course, you can use just one crock to prepare a small meal or side dish for your family. like this nifty Crock-Pot system. It has more than 400 reviews and an average of 4.stars. Owners mentioned the wide range of foods they’ve prepared and served in the crocks, along with the convenience of keeping everything at serving temperature through the entire event. A typical
Finex QT Cast Iron Sauce Pot
A wise old BBQ pit master once said “Nothing can’t be improved with one of things: BBQ sauce, melted butter, cheese or chocolate.” He went on to clarify that beer doesn’t count but his point was made. We think he’d fall hard for the thick bottomed Quart Sauce Pot. So much of what makes a good sauce great is the sugar content and that same sugar can easily caramelize, scorch or separate if it gets overheated.
Your grilling deserves better than a cold marinade. Stable and tip resistant each pot is made by hand from premium American cast iron, polished stainless steel and brass and then double hand seasoned with organic flax seed oil for a lifetime of use. Around here this pot has already proven it’s worth heating countless soups, side dishes and makes the best S’mores dip we’ve ever dipped. A FINEX Quart Sauce Pot is handier than a handle on a knife.
The French whip is the second most common type of whisk. It looks similar to the balloon whisk, but it’s a little narrower and longer.
In France, this tool is called a fouet à sauce, or a sauce whip. That name sheds light on its most common application – blending sauces. Its more elongated shape makes a French whisk suitable for use in straight-sided pans and deeper vessels that balloon whips can’t reach into. A French whip’s closely-spaced wires make it unsuitable for blending denser ingredients.
A flat whisk or roux whisk is designed to blend pan sauces and similar concoctions in shallow vessels. Its nearly flat shape resembles a flattened balloon whisk and is optimized to cover the wide surface of a pan bottom. The flat whisk’s long concentric loops blend flour and other sauce ingredients to a smooth texture.
Another tool for blending pan sauces is the spiral whisk, which features a slightly angled head wrapped in a coil of wire. That coil makes this whisk an efficient choice for breaking up clumps of flour and other dry ingredients in thicker sauces and gravies.
The dough whisk, sometimes called a Danish dough whisk, has one of the most unique shapes out of all the tools in this category. It’s made with two concentric loops of wire: the outer one is nearly perfectly round and the inner loop is formed into an oval shape with a small twist. This unique design is intended to enable cooks to blend doughs and denser batters into a uniform texture without beating them to the point of toughness or thickening cream.
Materials that make the pot
The letters identifying the materials key to the photo below.
C. Aluminum is a top-notch heat conductor and is lightweight and easy to handle, but it reacts with acidic, sulfurous, and alkaline foods. Aluminum is often used as a core or bottom layer for better heat conduction.
E. Nonstick coatings have greatly improved to withstand high heat and abrasion.
Rather than buying a pots-and-pans set, we recommend putting together your cookware set one piece at a time. Here’s our favorite cookware, the result of many hours of research and testing. We’re confident that these pieces—from skillets to nonstick pans to dutch ovens to pressure cookers—will last a lifetime (and beyond).
After roasting over 400 pounds of poultry in 1pans over the past four years, we’ve yet to find a better value than the Cuisinart 16″ Roasting Pan With Rack (MCP117-16BR).
Cookware made of 100% ceramic is not toxic and can be more expensive than other types of cookware. It is worth every penny spent for its features, durability, and long life. No seasoning is required like cast iron or stoneware when used in the oven. Stoneware is a type of ceramic fired at higher temperatures. It is not coated and has a pottery surface and texture that is more rough and coarse. The best ceramic cookware is glazed and lustrous, silky and smooth. Stoneware performs in a different way than ceramics.
The very best ceramic cookware is made from natural inorganic raw materials and is non-toxic. The cookware provides even cooking temperatures from low to very hot. It heats fast and your food will not be served lukewarm. The material holds heat where others do not. You can use this product anywhere in your kitchen: stovetop, broiler, oven, microwave, barbecue grill, and you can store it in your refrigerator and freezer.
Sizes and Colors
The Nonstick PTFE-PFOA-cadmium-free, dishwasher safe best ceramic cookware and bakeware can be purchased in various sizes, shapes, and every color in the rainbow, including black and white. The cookware can be purchased as individual pieces or in sets. For example, a 14-piece set might include a 9-inch frypan, an 11-inch frypan with lid, and a 1-quart saucepan with lid, a 2-quart saucepan with lid, and a 5-quart stewpot with lid. Lids are see-through tempered glass with a handle or knob on top. Some sets offer nylon cooking tools in the set. The best ceramic cookware handles are heat resistant and safe for all cooking functions and the dishwasher.
Functional and exotic pieces include a sandwich griddle for wonderful grilled cheese, ceramic cheese fondue cooking pot, brownie baking pan, sauté pans, dedicated stir-frypans, Dutch ovens, and a different way to cook bacon with the ceramic microwave bacon cooker mug, and soup tureens with lids. There are more pieces available to mix and match.
The prices are moderate for a 9-inch frypan without a lid to more expensive for complete sets.
Performance and Features
The handles are curved to fit comfortably made of silicone with riveted attachments. No screws will loosen or fall out! You can cook up to 350-degrees F. in the oven and up to 700 degrees F. on the stovetop or grill. Older and other brands can only go to 500-degrees F. for nonstick cookware.
The ceramic-coated cookware is stain and scratch resistant. At the high temperature, you can sear your meats, fish, and poultry the way you like it. Being ceramic, foods never stick. The base is high-quality aluminum for great heat conduction. The cookware is safe to use for any method except induction cook stoves.
The Limited Lifetime Warranty does not cover dishwasher damage. This might be due to water temperature, dishwasher brand, or the detergents used. This cookware washes up by hand easily, so you might want to wash by hand. Yes, it is misleading to say dishwasher safe, yet not honor the warranty if damaged in a dishwasher.
Watch the Video Cook N Home Ceramic Nonstick Cookware 10-Piece Set
Porcelain Enamel Cookware
Usually made from cast iron or carbon steel and coated with porcelain enamel, these offer the best of both great materials that are easy to clean, nonreactive, meaning they do not react with acids. Some older metal pots and pans will turn black from acids. This product does not need seasoning as cast iron does and are easy to clean like ceramic.
Pots and pans warp from an overheated empty pan, a very hot pan, or when immersed in cold water or cold water running into it from the faucet. Never do the cold-water thing—always allow your ceramics to cool naturally at room temperature. Never place a hot pan on a cold surface.
This prepares cookware for use. “Seasoning” simply means to coat the inside with oil before using the first time. It is always done with cast iron skillets to keep them smooth and non-sticking. Heat the pot or pan on low for only 30 seconds. Remove it from the heat; add a little oil, rubbing the oil in with a paper towel. Wash in hot soapy water, rinse, and towel dry. If you use the dishwasher, you will need to repeat this process from time to time. Dishwashers are hard on ceramic cookware.
A good pressure cooker is made of a highly conductive metal, like aluminum, or is made of stainless steel with a heavy aluminum or copper sandwiched base. It will have a number of safety features, such as safety valves and automatic lid locks, and two or more pressure settings for versatility.
This is also a combination utensil, whereby a smaller pan, with holes on the bottom, is placed over a larger pan partially filled with water or stock below the level of the smaller pan, causing the steam to cook the food in the top pan. A cover is necessary to contain the steam. Some steamers are available with multiple tiers, allowing you to steam two or more foods at once, always placing the food that requires less cooking at the top. A bamboo steamer is best because it reduces condensation that causes food to become soggy.
A fish poacher is a steamer in the elongated shape of a fish. A couscoussier is also a type of steamer. An inexpensive perforated basket with legs is available for use in almost any sauce pan or stock pot.
These are generally low-sided pans, with or without center tubes, for use in the oven. Casserole pans usually have higher sides and, besides being used for baking, are also used for serving.
Gratin dishes are bakers with low sides and handles, usually for subsequent use under the broiler to brown the top or finish foods. Cake pans and loaf pans come in a multitude of sizes and shapes to fit your every whim. You can easily be creative with the hundreds of new and novel shapes currently available.
Taller and larger bakers are called roasters and may have a lid to assist in the basting of the food and to keep it from drying out.
Expect a carbon steel wok to turn dark with repeated use. This is desirable.
If you have electric burners, you may need to use a flat-bottom wok in order to get enough heat. Round-bottom woks are best for flame burners. The idea is to have a hot spot at the bottom of the wok, where the actual cooking takes place. The sides are used to rest the food that is cooking at slightly cooler temperatures. Moving the food about gives you great control and versatility, while enabling you to cook each food perfectly to enhance its flavor and retain its nutrients. Combined with a bamboo steamer, woks are ideal for steam cooking and, with a tempura rack, make excellent deep fryers or tempura pans.
Use medium- to heavy-gauge cookware that has magnetic properties.
Pans should also have a flat bottom, as contact with the surface is extremely important.
Cast iron, enameled iron, steel and enameled steel pans are all magnetic. So are some stainless steels, like AllClad cookware. Some manufacturers of stainless steel make only the base magnetic for use on induction units, and some stainless steel does not have sufficient magnetic properties and is thus useless on induction cooktops.
Very small and very large pans may not be recognized by the cooktop sensors.
The best heat conductor next to copper, it is very widely used in cooking utensils because of its advantages of great conductivity, lower cost and great strength. Aluminum utensils can either be made by casting or by rolling, and they are easily anodized or covered with a non-stick surface. Aluminum is a reactive metal, and its primary disadvantage is in that acidic foods should not be cooked in it for any length of time.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that we absorb less than 4% of the maximum safe dosage from cooking in aluminum utensils. Because aluminum is readily absorbed from many foods, it is estimated that we absorb only between 10% and 20% of our daily intake as a result of cooking in aluminum.
Avoid cooking in pitted aluminum pans; aluminum is absorbed into foods much more readily from pitted ones. And avoid storing foods in uncoated aluminum to prevent absorption. Acidic foods and leafy vegetables absorb the most aluminum.
In some localities, water can contain minerals and alkalis that may be deposited on the surface of the aluminum. Cooking low-acid, salty or alkali foods, or washing in the dishwasher can also cause blackening. The staining or discoloration does not affect the use of the utensil or the food prepared in it. To remove the discoloration, soak in a solution of water and lemon juice or vinegar. If the discoloration is great, boil a solution of two tablespoons of cream of tartar to one quart of water for 5-minutes, or boil an acidic product in the cookware, such as tomatoes or apple parings. Then wash in hot, soapy water, rinse and dry.
The resulting surface is hard (comparable to a sapphire), transparent (similar to glass), insulative and static-resistant, integral with aluminum surfaces and non-flaking, with a wide variety of colors and finishes.
Batch (or piece), sheet, and coil anodizing all consist of three processing stages: pre-treatment, anodizing and post treatment.
The strength of the anodized finish is resultant primarily from the type of pre-treatment, the coating thickness, and the type of anodizing. Hard coat anodizing (Type III), for example, is about 33% thicker than conventional anodizing, giving it greater resistance against corrosion and abrasion. Sulfuric, or conventional, anodizing (Type II) adds corrosion and abrasion resistance and dielectric strength to aluminum. Chromic anodizing (Type I) is primarily for corrosion resistance.
Anodized aluminum, like most metals, can be scratched or gouged. Damaging the surface of anodized metals in this way will remove the anodized coating in that spot.
Natural stone cooking utensils are generally meant to cook foods that require long, slow cooking, as with stews. The most common is soapstone, a relatively soft stone which is mined then shaped by carving.
Stone is quite absorbent, so it must usually be seasoned before use. Covering all surfaces with oil and putting it in a medium oven for about a quarter hour usually does the trick. This generally causes the stone to darken, as it will with continued use.
Care must be taken to heat stone slowly and not subject it to temperature shock. Stone utensils are usually banded to prevent any cracks from developing into larger ones, and allows for continued use of the utensil, even with small cracks.
Because stone holds heat like iron, it is excellent for keeping foods hot while serving. Griddles can be used for making pizza or for tabletop cooking for bite-size foods.
Stone should be cleaned with only hot water and a sponge or light scrubber. Soap will remove the oil seasoning, which must then be replaced in order for the utensil to perform properly.
Many oven-proof glass baking utensils can safely be used in a microwave and are dishwasher safe. Some are even made to be used for stovetops; however, care must be taken to prevent them from directly coming in contact with electric elements or with excessive heat by using a metal trivet or diffuser. Glass conducts heat well, but does not distribute it evenly. Its advantages are that it works well for most oven cooking, it does not react with acidic foods, all foods can be safely stored in it, and there are no adverse health effects from cooking in it. But its disadvantage is that it is not at all efficient for stovetop use, it easily causes hot spots, and food will require constant stirring and longer cooking times.
Polysiloxanes, (the proper name for Silicones), are stable synthetic compounds, with lubricating properties that mimic organic, carbon based compounds, such as petroleum, animal fats and vegetable oil.
Utensils made of silicone are generally heat resistant to between 400° and 700°F. The most common shapes are molds for baking, that can be used in both conventional and microwave ovens. Foods that are baked in these molds usually come out shiny. Shallow molds work best, as silicone does not distribute heat evenly.
Varying qualities of non-stick coatings are manufactured for bonding to the surface of utensils. Their advantages include considerable ease in cleaning and reduction of the need for grease in your cooking. Their disadvantages are that they may become too easily damaged by spatulas, spoons, forks, etc., especially metal ones, and that their durability has a short life expectancy. Even the newest non-stick coatings will begin to lose their resistance to sticking after only a few years; sooner if the pan is constantly overheated or cleaned in the dishwasher or with harsh detergents.
Although they cannot be considered as non-stick, alloys such as stainless steel can be made stick resistant by manufacturing them with products like silicone or ceramics. As this is not a surface coating, its longevity is much greater and care is much easier, although utensils made in this manner are much more expensive.
We generally recommend non-stick surfaces only when there is a need to address concerns about cooking in small quantities of oils or fats, and when the utensils will be subjected only to low-to-moderate heat. ~ Matching features to Comfort and Ease of Use ~ ~Buying a Set~ ~Warranties~
Important considerations include weight, care requirements and handle configurations, as may be colors and storage needs. Get the feel for the utensils before you buy them, by handling them in the store as you would at home.
Another important factor is the material that makes up your stock pot. Although stainless steel may dominate the market (as well as our top five list), you may also look into other materials, especially considering their inherent strengths and weaknesses.
Cast Iron Cast-iron stock pots have slowly fallen into disuse primarily due to heft and weight, as well as the necessary upkeep that you would need to perform. Like their pan equivalents, cast iron stock pots need thorough drying and seasoning. Without proper maintenance, cast iron will very quickly begin to corrode. Nevertheless, cast iron has excellent heat retention. So, although it heats up slowly, cast iron also cools down slowly. Additionally, cast iron is ideal for cooking at high temperatures, whether it’s on a stove, on coals, firewood, or the oven. In addition to looking strikingly beautiful, copper is a superb heat conductor. Its high conductivity means it will heat up immediately but evenly. However, like cast iron, copper cookware is heavy, expensive, and requires extensive maintenance. Also, it may easily dent due to its high malleability. The biggest concern with copper is that it tends to react with food. At best, it may impart an unpleasant chemical taste. At worst, though, the chemicals can be poisonous. So, if you do plan to buy a copper stock pot, make sure you will thoroughly and regularly maintain it.
Aluminum Another great heat conductor is aluminum. Unlike copper, it is remarkably light, affordable, and easy to handle. Although it may still react to some food, these reactions are mostly with acidic food. Interestingly, anodized aluminum successfully addresses this concern, but you’ll have to shell out more cash to get such products.
Non-stick coated The non-stick coating typically covers just the surface of a pot and does not usually make up the entire body. Hence, you’ll find non-stick coatings on pots of various makes, such as aluminum or stainless steel. Stainless Steel
Sturdy, shiny, nonreactive, easy to clean, relatively light, and readily available, stainless steel seems to have it all. Stainless steel is the way to go.
There are a few drawbacks though. First, stainless steel has poor conductivity. Thus heats up markedly slower than the other cookware materials. Then, because of its weak conductivity, stainless steel pots are prone to scorching or hot spots.
After you’ve determined the size and material of the stock pot you need, it would be wise to inspect next the important features or anatomy of the pot.
Thickness Whichever material of stock pot you choose, its overall thickness is a feature to check. Go for thick or heavy gauge pots. Although these pots may be heavier (and pricier), they will also be sturdier and will provide even heating as well as improved heat retention.
Rounded Rim Have you ever tried to empty a pot of liquid but end up with boiling splatters everywhere? This issue is where the edge of the pot comes in. For a smooth cascade of water, or broth, or soup, make sure you get the stock pot with rounded rims.
The stock pots lid will also play a prominent role in the cooking process as it keeps the steam in. Typically, you’ll want a cover that has a vent, and that fits nicely to the rim of the pot.
Solid or glass lids will both do nicely. However, glass lids do give you the added benefit of seeing what you’re cooking.
Handles Probably the most crucial part of a stock pot’s anatomy is its handles. This part is also the most common weak link in inferior products. Since the handles will carry much of the stress, we suggest buying the pot with handles that are bolted or riveted in. Rivets are the sturdier option over handles that are either screwed or welded. Additionally, you might also want handles that are poor heat conductors, or those that sport heat-resistant rubber linings. For even cooking, minimal scorching, and improved heat retention choose the stock pots with heavy bottoms. Heavy-bottomed stock pots will ensure that you won’t inadvertently burn parts of what you’re cooking, or leave undercooked other parts of it.
This is your most basic broth (it’s the one I tried my first time). It has a light, warm flavor and is easily influenced by the meats and veggies you choose to put in your hot pot. It also compliments any meats and vegetables you choose to add, which takes some of the risk out of combining flavors. “This is a great broth to try for beginners,” Chen said. “It’s very much like chicken soup, so it’s a simple, familiar flavor to ease into hot pot with.”
This is a Thai sauce, made using lemongrass, chili peppers, fish sauce, lime juice, and lime leaves. It has some heat from the chili (but not too much) which is balanced out with the sweet and sour flavor from the lemongrass and lime flavorings. “Tom Yum is one of my favorites – it’s perfect for flavoring meats,” Chen said. “If you’re going to do a meat-heavy hot pot, I highly suggest Tom Yum. It’s got a nice heat to it, but it doesn’t leave your throat burning. Instead, it leaves you with a citrus flavor that feels refreshing.”
Like meats, seafood works better with some broths than others. At most hot pot places, you can enjoy seafood selections such as: lobster, crab, haddock, oysters, shrimp, seabass, and squid.
Chen’s personal preference? “I love to mix shrimp with Tom Yum broth. Tom Yum is a Thai broth, and traditional Thai food use shrimp to highlight the flavors of Tom Yum,” Chen said. “Shrimp doesn’t take long to cook either, maybe 1-minutes. The only thing that’s annoying is peeling the shrimp throughout the meal, but if your whole group pitches in, shrimp is a great first-time choice.”
SPLIT POTS ARE GREAT “If you’re new to hot pot and you want to try as much as possible, don’t forget that you can do a split pot. Split the pot in half and try two totally different combinations of broth, meats, noodles, and vegetables to get a sense of what you like and don’t like.”
TALK TO YOUR SERVER “When in doubt, ask your server if they have any pre-made party platters. Oftentimes, hot pot restaurants will offer tried-and-true combo platters with broths and extras that they know will work well together. This is great if you’re feeling overwhelmed with choices.”
HAVE FUN “The most important thing is to have fun at hot pot! This isn’t supposed to just be dinner; it’s supposed to be a dining experience. You come with a group to enjoy each other’s company and to try new things. Hot pot is all about experimenting and discovering your personal flavor preferences, so have a good time with it.”
Cookware is made from many different materials. Understanding the differences will assist you in making the best choice for your needs. Some of the most common cookware materials are shown below with a description and pan care instructions for each.
Inside Coated with Stainless Steel
Aluminum cookware is fairly inexpensive in comparison to cookware made from other materials. Aluminum is lightweight but fairly strong. It is a good conductor of heat and does not easily distort when exposed to high temperatures. Aluminum works well for sautéing and frying foods because if its heat responsiveness. The drawback of aluminum is that it reacts to acidic and alkaline foods, causing it to corrode and affect the taste of the food being cook. Aluminum is generally used as a core heat conductor, or coated with stainless steel or an anodized coating to protect the food.
Pan Care: To care for aluminum cookware, wash the pans with hot soapy water. Avoid washing the cookware in hard water because it tends to darken the aluminum. To remove stains, use a cream of tarter and water paste.
This is aluminum that has been given a special finish to protect it from corrosion. It is a good conductor of heat and the special finish makes it stick-resistant. It is a good choice of material to look for in pots and pans for most any type of cooking. Pots and pans made from anodized aluminum are not dishwasher safe and can be dark in color, making it hard to see slight color changes in the food being cooked.
Pan Care: To care for anodized aluminum pans, do not cook foods that are highly acidic or alkaline in them because they have a tendency to cause pitting in the coating. They should be washed by hand in hot soapy water rather than in a dishwasher where the strong detergent would damage the surface of the cookware. To avoid scratching the finish, do not use abrasive materials on the surface of anodized aluminum cookware.
Cast iron cookware is inexpensive to moderately priced. It is fairly heavy and conducts heat evenly. It heats slowly but once it is hot it holds the heat well. This makes it good for deep frying and slow-cooking. It can be used on top of the stove and in the oven. Drawbacks to cast iron are that it rusts, stains and becomes pitted when exposed to air, moisture and certain foods.
Pan Care: To care for cast iron cookware, do not wash in soapy water but try wiping clean with a paper towel. Run hot water over stuck on food to help loosen and remove. After your cast iron pot has been washed it should be dried thoroughly. To prevent the pan from rusting, rid it of any excess moisture by setting it on the stove over high heat until all moisture has evaporated and coat with oil before storing.
Copper is one of the more expensive materials used to make pots and pans. It conducts heat evenly and is very responsive to heat. It heats up quickly and will also cool down quickly when removed from the heat, preventing sautés and delicate foods from burning and becoming overdone. Because copper distributes heat so evenly and efficiently, it is the best choice for frying and sautéing, but it is also a good choice for many other cooking methods.
One problem with copper is that it interacts with everything it comes in contact with. Moisture in the air causes it to form a film on it that is poisonous and salty food causes a chemical reaction that can make food have a metallic taste. To make the copper pots and pans safe to use, they are lined with tin, silver or stainless steel to protect any surface that would come in contact with any food. Because copper reacts to everything it touches, it needs to be polished regularly to keep its bright copper shine.
Pan Care: To care for copper cookware, hand wash with hot soapy water and avoid using abrasive materials to clean. Use copper polish to keep copper from tarnishing and free from white spots. The interior should be re-tinned every couple of years, depending on usage.
Cast Iron Coated with Porcelain Enamel
Porcelain enamel is applied as a coating only on pots and pans made of other material, such as cast iron or aluminum. It prevents them from corroding or reacting with the food being cooked. A pan coated with porcelain on the inside cannot be used for sautéing or frying but will work as a saucepan and can be used in the oven.
Pan Care: To care for porcelain enamel cookware, wash with hot soapy water. For stuck on food, soak in hot water to loosen. A nylon scouring pad, nylon scraper, or nonabrasive cleaner can also be used to help remove stuck on food. Porcelain enamel can be cleaned occasionally in the dishwasher unless it has a non-stick interior surface. Limit the use of a dishwasher to avoid the strong detergent dulling the enamel surface.
Available as flameproof and ovenproof glassware. Both types of glassware hold heat well but are not heat responsive. The flameproof glassware, which is fairly expensive, can be used in the microwave, on the stovetop and in the oven. It heats unevenly, resulting in hot spots that cause food to stick. Ovenproof glassware can be used in the microwave and in the oven, but if used on the stovetop, it must be used with a diffuser.
Pan Care: To care for tempered glass, wash in hot soapy water and soak to loosen stuck on food. Do not use metal scrapers or abrasive powders to remove stuck on food. Tempered glass cookware is dishwasher safe.
Cookware is used to broil foods in the oven such as steaks, roasts, or various cuts of meat, poultry and vegetables. It is typically constructed of stainless steel or heavy gauge steel with a black porcelain enamel. Broiler Pans consist of two sections, a low walled pan section and an upper cooking surface that is the broiler plate lid. The cooking surface or lid, which contains open slits and small holes, holds the food as it broils while the pan below catches the drippings. Since the lid has only minimal openings, it keeps the hot grease and drippings contained within the pan so they don’t flare up and burn the bottom of the food as it broils. Also known as a broiler roaster, oven roaster or oven broiling pan.
A round or oval pan with steep sides, which ranges in size from quarts to 1quarts. The casserole pan can be found made from many different materials. It is available made from the same high quality materials as a saucepan or you may find it made from glass, ceramic or earthenware. It may have a cover but many times the cover is not used when cooking the food in a casserole. Depending on the material it is made from, it may be used on the stove top but is generally used in the oven. It is used for cooking one-dish meals and the meal is served at the table in the casserole pan.
A medium depth pan that generally has flared or rounded sides but is sometimes found with straight sides. It has a flat bottom and wide mouth, which accelerates the evaporation of liquids. A chef’s pan most often will have a long handle and a tight fitting cover. It is made of a metal with a thick ground base that allows temperature changes to occur rapidly as the level of the heat applied to it changes, either increasing or decreasing for the best heat conduction. Chef’s pans are available in a variety of sizes such as 2, 3, 4, 5, or quart. The height of the sides make it easier for sautéing, frying or steaming greater amounts of foods, allowing sufficient space for turning and stirring of the contents. Chef’s pans are very similar to saucier pans and either pan can be used interchangeably.
Made in the shape of a wide-walled pan or a skillet, this roasting utensil is designed specifically for heating the large, brown shell variety of chestnuts over a stove or heat source such as fire, gas or hot coals. Roasting chestnuts over an open fire is best accomplished with a longer handled roasting pan or basket made from steel wires like a steel cooking basket, while the deep-walled or skillet-like pan is best for coals, gas or electric heat. Formed with large-sized holes in the bottom, the Chestnut Pan allows the heat to have greater exposure to directly heating the chestnuts in a shell as they cook.
Electric Fondue Pot
A type of cookware that consists of a pot with a heat source such as a portable cooking fuel or an electrical heating element placed directly below the pot that is used for a food preparation process known as fondues. The pot may be filled with cooking oil, wine, cheese, chocolate, or other ingredients depending on the food to be prepared. The heat source melts or fully warms the contents so that food can be dipped into the pot and either cooked or coated with its contents. Typical foods that are dipped in fondue pots are small pieces of toast, bread, meat, fruits, or vegetables. They are dipped into the contents of the fondue pot and eaten as an appetizer or as part of a meal. The word fondue is a French term meaning “to melt.”
A type of bakeware that is used to make the traditional French food dish that is prepared with a brown crispy top crust. The dish is most often a shallow sided container that is oval in shape, however, it can also be round with sides that are deeper than the oval shaped pan. Made from aluminum, steel cast iron or stoneware, the Gratiné Pan allows the food to cook evenly and in the same amount of time as it takes the crust to brown. Often made as a casserole, a potato dish or a vegetable dish, a gratiné is browned under a broiler oven to produce the golden tan crust that represents the key element of this food. Gratiné is also known as au gratin.
Two Burner Griddle Pan
A flat pan with a long handle constructed of materials that conduct heat well, such as cast iron or aluminum, many of which have a non-stick surface and exterior for ease of cleanup. Built to cook foods with a minimal amount of oil, most all Griddles are manufactured with a small lip around the edge that keeps fat retained in the pan as it warms and begins to run. Griddles, which are designed to be placed over stovetop burners, are available in different shapes and sizes. There are one-burner griddles with a round or square shape and there are rectangular griddles that are formed to be placed over two burners. Many of the Griddles made of heavy gauge steel are designed with metals that distribute heat well so the cookware heats evenly across the entire surface. Also known as stovetop grills since they accomplish many of the smaller tasks of an outdoor grill, Griddles work well for cooking or grilling items such as pancakes, eggs, bacon, hamburger patties, small amounts of meat, and grilling vegetables or fruits.
Skillet Grill Pan
A heavy metal pan that consists of ridges spaced evenly across the bottom that closely simulate the grilling process when cooking various meats and foods. They are available with shallow sides and with deeper sides similar to a frying pan. The ridges raise the food off the bottom surface of the pan, which helps prevent the food from steaming as it cooks. The ridges also serve as a method for allowing the fat contained in some foods to drain away from the food and collect in the spaces between the raised ridges. Many grill pans are made from cast iron. Cast iron needs to be seasoned but there are manufacturers who produce enamel surfaced and factory seasoned cast iron grill pans. Cast iron pans are also heavy and the handles get extremely hot, making them hard to handle. Even though cast iron is bulky, it is still the best material for a grill pan because of its ability to retain heat and to heat evenly. They are available in round, square, and rectangular shapes and range in size from to 1inches. There are also double burner sizes available.
Constructed like a traditional loaf pan, this type of pan is made to allow fat and drippings to be removed as the loaf bakes. They are made as two separate pans, one fitting within and above the bottom or base pan. As the food bakes in the upper pan which contains numerous holes, the grease and fat drops to the bottom pan positioned beneath the upper pan. The removal of the drippings may produce a slightly drier result as the meat cooks, but it does eliminate meat sitting in grease and fat as it bakes. Also referred to as Lo-Fat Loaf Pans.
An omelette pan is basically the same as a frying pan. It is available made from the same type of material as frying pans and is generally shaped the same. An omelette pan with a non-stick surface is beneficial when making omelettes because it allows the eggs to release from the pan, making them easier to turn or flip. The omelette pan is also available in an oval shaped pan that is generally to 1inches long. The oval pan works well for cooking foods such as omelettes, fish filets, and shell steaks. The most common sizes for round pans are 8, 10, and 1inches.
A rectangular shaped pan with low sides, which allows the heat from the oven to expose the entire surface of the meat to create a browned exterior. The pan is generally used with a rack to prevent the meat from sitting in its own juices and stewing instead of browning. See Roasting Racks. There are several sizes available. Select a size that allows approximately inches between the side of the pan and the meat. Also, be sure that there is at least inches of space between the outside of the pan and the sides of the oven so that there will be proper air circulation. The roasting pans are available made from several different materials, such as stainless steel, stainless steel with an aluminum or copper core, aluminum with non-stick surfaces, anodized aluminum, lined copper and granite.
Roasting Pans with High Cover
An oval shaped pan with deep sides and a large domed cover. It generally has a flat rack included on the bottom of the pan. They are available in several sizes and material, such as granite, anodized aluminum, and stainless steel. The meat is cooked with the cover on, which acts as an oven in an oven, resulting in the meat cooking more quickly and in a moister environment. This results in moist, tender meat. The deep-sided roasting pan, generally without the cover, is also used for casseroles.
A round pot with high straight sides and a flat bottom that is used for several purposes, such as cooking vegetables, heating soup, and making sauces. The standard saucepan has straight sides but there are other styles available that are used for special purposes. A saucepan known as a Windsor has sides that flare out and another known as a saucier has sides that are rounded. They are used to provide more exposed surface to speed up reducing a sauce by allowing more evaporation and they make it easier to stir and whisk food out of the corners. Saucepans are made of a sturdy material that is heat responsive, such as lined copper or stainless steel with an aluminum or copper core or bottom plate. They are available in several sizes. A small saucepan holds to ½ quarts, a medium holds quarts, and a large saucepan holds at or more quarts. Most saucepans come with a snug fitting cover.
A pan very similar to the frying pan, only it has short, straight sides. It has a heavy gauge bottom and is made from a material that is heat responsive, such as lined copper, stainless steel with a copper or aluminum core, or anodized aluminum. It is used for sautéing foods but can also be used for frying foods. The pan should have a long handle and it generally comes with a cover. Some of the larger models have a loop handle opposite the long handle that is used to assist in lifting the pan. The sauté pan is available in various sizes, ranging from 6″ to 16″ in diameter, and ½” to ½” in depth.
An round, lidded pan with small handles that is often used to sauté or braise a variety of foods. With short to medium height outward sloping sides, a sauteuse pan is a utensil for cooking casseroles, stews, and pasta dishes as well as meat and poultry dishes. Common in European households, this pan has a small curved handle on each side instead of a single straight handle and is typically available in sizes ranging from 2.quarts to quarts.
A round, deep pan that may have straight sides with a slightly rounded base or more commonly a round base that slopes out and upward. Stir fry pans are available with several different sized handle lengths that can be selected to match the cooking process. The pan allows heat to be well distributed across the base while the sloping sides make it easier to stir and turn ingredients as they cook. The Asian pan referred to as a “wok” is one traditional type of stir-fry pan while other versions are often available with bases and sides that are thicker in substance, not as curved, nor as deep as the wok pan. Stir fry pans are often used to prepare and quickly sear multiple ingredients that go well together including various meats and vegetables mixed with sauces. The stir fry pan is good for cooking food in a small quantity of oil and for retaining the colors and textures of the various ingredients.
A deep, straight-sided pot that is taller than it is wide. It has two, securely attached, loop handles that are big enough to easily allow the use of potholders or oven mitts. It is used for simmering large amount of liquid, such as stock, soup and stews, but also works well for thick soups, chili and for boiling pasta. The pot does not need to be made of anodized aluminum or copper to promote responsive heat reaction but should have a heavy bottom to protect against burning and scorching. Stockpots are available in sizes ranging from quarts to 20 quarts and generally include a cover. 10, 1and 1quarts are standard sizes that will satisfy many uses. You will find stockpots made of several different materials, such as stainless steel, aluminum, anodized aluminum, copper, and non-stick materials.
Pasta Insert: A perforated insert that fits inside a stockpot. The insert acts as a colander for draining pasta and is generally made of stainless steel.
A bowl shaped pan that is used to quickly cook food over high heat. It is available with a rounded or flat bottom. The traditional type wok has a rounded bottom and is used over a flamed heat source, such as a gas burner. The flat bottom wok was designed to use on an electric burner or a ceramic stovetop but can also be used on a gas stove. The rounded woks come with a ring that should be placed over the flames to hold the woks steady. Woks are available made from various materials, such as carbon steel, cast iron, stainless steal with aluminum inner layers, and metal with a non-stick coating applied. Cast steel and cast iron woks must be seasoned before they are used for the first time. Some varieties of woks have one long handle, some have two short handles and others have a long handle on one side and a short one on the opposite side. The wok is approximately inches deep and can be 1to 1inches in diameter. The wok is most often used for stir-frying but can also be used for sautéing, steaming, deep-frying,
Roasting Racks – There are various types of racks available and they are generally made from stainless steel or a non-stick coated metal, which makes clean up a lot easier. You may want to have a couple of the different types because some racks work better for different uses. Be sure it is big enough and sturdy enough to hold the piece of meat you will be cooking and that it fits into your roasting pan. When placed in the oven, there should be at least a 2″ space between the meat and the top of the oven. A brief description of the most common type of racks is shown below.
Flat Racks: A simple rack that lays flat in the bottom of the roasting pan. It is available in a rectangular or oval shape and is made of thin wires running parallel to each other the length of the rack. It will have a couple of wires running at a right angle to help support the parallel wires. It does not work well for poultry because the legs and wings have a tendency to fall through the wires.
Nonadjustable V-racks: Made of v-shaped pieces of metal that are attached to a frame that has handles on it. This rack works well to cradle the roast or bird and hold it in place, but because the metal bars are generally so far apart, the wings and legs of a bird fall through. This makes it difficult to turn the bird if necessary or to remove it from the rack without tearing the wings and legs.
Adjustable V-racks: This V-rack has two sides made of thin wires attached to a base. The sides can be adjusted to change the width of the V that they form. This allows you to better fit the rack to the meat you are placing on it. A problem may occur if you have to turn the roast or bird on the rack because the rack has a tendency to collapse.
Vertical Racks: This type of rack has vertical prongs that are attached to a round base. The prongs are inserted in the cavity of the bird and it is cooked looking as if it is standing up. The wire prongs inserted into the bird help to speed up the cooking time by conducting heat into the bird. Roasting the bird in this manner also provides a crispier skin but it also makes more of a mess in the oven because you have fat splattering in all directions. The other problem with this rack is that it can only be used on chickens or other birds of that size.
Basket Racks: A U-shaped piece of perforated metal that has a handle on each end. The rack resembles a basket. The U-shaped rack cradles the meat and when used for a chicken, it holds the wings and legs next to the body. It produces the crispiest skin on a chicken due to its ability to conduct heat. It is sometimes referred to as a cradle roasting rack. This rack only works for small birds and roasts that are pounds or smaller.
Microwave Cookware – Cookware for the microwave is different than other cookware. Most cookware that is used on the stovetop or in the oven cannot be used in a microwave oven. Microwave cookware is generally made from glass, ceramic or plastic and not all glass, ceramic and plastic containers are microwave safe. If a container is not microwave save it can heat up in the microwave and become a safety hazard. Most plastics work well in the microwave oven but not all. If their label indicates that they are able to withstand boiling water and if it states that they are dishwasher safe, they should be able to withstand the heat from the microwave. Glassware for the microwave should be heat-resistant. Non-heat-resistant glass cannot withstand the high and uneven heat from the microwave. Ceramic cookware should be unglazed. Glazed ceramic absorbs the microwave energy too quickly, which can cause it to break or become heated to a high temperature. The best style of microwave cookware to use is a dish that has shallow sides and is round or oval in shape. There are microwave cookware sets available that contain different size and shape containers that are suitable for the microwave.
Note: To test a dish or container to see if it is microwave safe, fill a 1-cup glass measuring cup with water and place it next to the dish or container in the microwave. Start the microwave on high power and run for minute. After a minute, check the water and the container you are testing. The water should be hot but if the container is also hot, it is not microwave safe.
Cookware Sets – You can purchase prepackage sets of cookware where the different pieces have been selected for you. You can generally gain some cost savings when buying the pieces in a set over buying them separately but be careful that all the pieces are pots and pans that you will use. It should include a saucepan and lid, a frying pan, and a stockpot. A roasting pan would be another worthwhile piece in the set. Sets are available in different size groupings. If purchasing a set, select the best one possible for the amount you have allocated by paying close attention to the quality of the pieces and to what pieces you are getting in the set. If the set has several pieces that you will hardly ever use, it may make more sense to purchase one of higher quality that has fewer pieces that are all commonly used. You will also want to select a set that is made from a material that is versatile enough to use for different cooking methods. Stainless steel with a copper or aluminum core or bottom plate would be good choice. Anodized aluminum cookware would also be a versatile choice.
If a cookware set will not give you the essential pieces for most of your cooking needs, consider buying separate pieces of basic pans you need to start. There are four basic pans shown below that will satisfy the majority of your cooking needs.
Saucepan – Purchase a qt. saucepan, which can be used for making sauces, reheating soups, pasta, and rice. A stainless steel pan with an aluminum base, which would be moderately priced, is a good choice for this pan.
Frying Pan / Skillet – A 1inch pan would be a good size to be used for several purposes, such as frying meats, potatoes, pancakes and eggs, and can also be used for stir-frying, sautéing and making one dish meals on the stovetop. It should be purchased with a cover and be made out of stainless steel with a copper or aluminum core, or a non-stick aluminum pan with a non-stick coating would provide a pan with easier clean up and one that required the use of less fat.
Roasting Pan – A roasting pan, which should be purchased with a rack, can be used for roasting meat and poultry. It can also be used to make one-dish meals that bake in the oven, such as lasagna. An aluminum pan with a non-stick coating would provide a pan that is lightweight, heats evenly, and is easy to clean up.
Stockpot – An to 1quart size pot would be a good standard range of size to provide a pot that can be used for many purposes, such as making stock or soup, boiling long strands of pasta, cooking sweet corn, and boiling seafood. For a moderately priced pot, select a stainless steel pot with an aluminum base, which will provide you with a pot that will conduct heat evenly.
Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block
Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.
Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block
This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.
Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block
This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.
Common Commercial Cookware
Woks are deeply curved with the dipped bottom absorbing highly concentrated heat. The harsh curve helps with moving food around the pan and into the center portion where the heat is concentrated. Depending on the wok, you may have to purchase a separate wok ring to put onto your burner in order to fit the dipped bottom of the wok.
This is the standard, most popular pan available. Fry pans have sloped sides, though the curve is not as harsh as a wok, and do little to concentrate heat. Instead, the slope helps movement around the pan, eases sliding of the cooked food out of the pan and into serving plates or containers, and helps to prevent steam from forming. Fry pans are versatile and can be used for searing, sauteing, scrambling, and more.
Stock pots are designed to efficiently handle stocks, stews, soups, gumbos, pastas, and essentially, any food that needs to simmer in liquid for a long time. The thick metal base of the stock pot means that it heats slower, but its capacity to absorb heat is high, allowing for a slow, effective heat transfer. This, in addition to the relatively small diameter of the pot and the high sides, slows liquid evaporation while maintaining high heat, so the liquid is preserved for longer and is able to infuse the solid ingredients with more flavor.
Like stock pots, sauce pots are best used for handling slow cooking menu items such as stocks, stews, soups, gumbos, casseroles, and roasts — but unlike stock pots, sauce pots are meant to reduce the liquid content as it cooks. The wider bottom and high-but-lower-than-stock-pot sides makes it easier for liquid to evaporate out, but there is a balance struck where the liquid is still able to transfer flavor to the solid ingredients.
Grill pans have become quite popular in smaller kitchens who do not have an existing grill setup but still want to expand their offerings to include grilled meats and vegetables. Grill pans are most commonly cast iron for better heat retention, and have raised ridges that create the grill marks. If you are concerned about reactivity with regard to seasoning, look for enameled interiors.
Grill Friends Silicone Brush
Silicone brushes are the best thing to happen to barbecue since the charcoal briquet. I long ago relegated my natural and nylon bristle brushes to cleaning computer keyboards. Silicone brushes load up with lots of sauce, deliver it evenly, and are easy to clean and decontaminate. They are dishwasher safe. We have three: One for barbecue, one my wife uses for egg washes and other baking, and one for whatever. There are many brands on the market. Meathead
There are pros and cons to using a cover.
Pros. They keep rain, snow, wasps, birds, and other vermin out. If you have a shinyt stainless steel rig, it will keep it shinier. An expensive grill under cover will attract fewer thieves.
Cons. They are a bit of a pain because you have to wait til the grill cools and they gather rain when left off. But they can also trap moisture and humidity underneath and actually encourage rust and mold growth. For these reasons I cover only my grills and smokers that can collect water on the inside like my Weber Smokey Mountain, my Hasty Bake, and my pellet smoker (if the pellets ever melt and then dry out, getting your smoker up and running is an all day sucker).
Cheapo covers last only a year or two. A good cover will last five years or more. All the plastic or vinyl ones I’ve tried cracked and fell apart in two to three years. The canvas covers rotted in a few years. The best were canvas laminated or impregnated with polyurethane or PVC. Meathead
Weber’s Grill Pan Sears and Allows Smoke Through
Another favorite grill topper is the Weber Style Grill Pan, and I was pleased to see the folks at Cooks Illustrated agree. It has plenty of slots for smoke to travel through, and plenty of surface to brown things like salmon cakes. Meathead
Lodge Logic Pro Cast Iron Griddle Can Put a Gorgeous Sear on Salmon, Steak, or Use It For Pancakes And Eggs
You need a good cast iron griddle. Especially if you like fish, burgers, grilled sandwiches, home fries, or pancakes. Coat the flat side with oil, and you can sear fish so it is golden and crispy on the outside just like that great pan-seared fish you get in restaurants. Throw some dried herbs onto the flame, and you’ll get a whisp of smoke in the meat.
You can even bring it indoors and it will straddle two burners. Use the flat side for pancakes. Flip it over and you get grill marks and conduction cooking from the ridges on steaks, burgers, or asparagus, and the fats and juices drip into the grooves where they vaporize and flavor the meat and cook by radiation.
This is a very handy tool. One word of caution. You may need two. If you use it for fish a lot, the flavor will remain on the surface, even after cleaning, so you won’t be able to use it for pancakes.
I have two of them by Lodge, known for quality cast iron, and I use the ridged sides of both, one on top and one on the bottom, for making paninis. And my spatchcocked (butterflied) Cornish game hens pressed between the flat sides are unbelievably crisp and juicy in only 20 minutes. It is 20″ x 7/16″. Meathead
Lodge Cast Iron Panini Press Makes World Class Paninis And Grilled Cheese
These flat weights are great for making grilled cheese sandwiches and other paninis, and even bacon. When I make sandwiches I preheat the press on high on the side burner, and then put the sandwich on the grill grates and the hot press on top so I can cook both sides at once. You can use them for keeping bacon from curling up on the grill with these, too. The Lodge model is preseasoned. Although the handle is supposed to provide heat protection, wear a glove. Meathead
Thermoworks Timestick Is The Best Cook’s Stopwatch And Alarm
I keep a cooking diary. In it I write down vital info about every cook so I can learn what works and what doesn’t. OK. So I’m anal. But being anal got me this gig. The two most important variables to track in any cook are time and temp. So I used to wear a stopwatch around my neck when I cooked. Click when I fire up. Click when it is up to temp. Click when the meat goes on. Click when I add more wood or charcoal. Click when I turn. Click when I sauce. Click when I take it off. But have you seen the new digital stopwatches? They are a real pain with faaaar too many features and bells and whistles. My last one sat in my desk between cooks and beeped every hour and the only way I could make it shut up was with a hammer. True story. Now I use the very sinple user friendly Timestick.
It can count down or up and when a count down alarm sounds, the count up timer starts so you can see how much time has elapsed since your alarm. It’s range is 9hours 9minutes and 9seconds, there is a keypad lock so you don’t accidentally screw things up, there’s a lanyard so you can wear it around your neck, it comes in nine colors, it’s splash proof, and it has a magnet on back so I can stick it to my grill, fridge, or oven. Operates between 3and 104°F. Best of all, you won’t need to read the manual. Love it. Meathead
Knob Where You Need It Makes Grilling Safer And Easier
You’re supposed to turn off the propane tank between cooks to prevent expensive leaks and more expensive explosions. But many grills don’t have easy access to the tanks, and it sure is easy to forget. Knob Where You Need It makes it easy to turn off the gas and easy ti remember. There are no instructions in the box so you need to go to their website. I suggest printing them. Installation is easy for most people (I made a dumb mistake). Please note: You need to drill a 1/2″ hole in your grill. Watch the video below to see the installation process. – Greg Rempe
Lafuma Futura Zero Gravity Chair, Black Steel Frame, Cedre
The famous French recliner by Lafuma. I own two of them, and, man, are they comfortable. Park it next to the cooler, pour a cold one into your stein, set your remote temperature monitor on top of the cooler, and relaxxxxxx. There are cheaper knockoffs, but I haven’t tried them yet. Meathead
Most kamado smokers have an airflow control/chimney at the top that is very good at controlling the oven temp. They have one innate flaw: When it rains, water gets into the cooking chamber! If you have a Big Green Egg, Primo, or Kamado Joe, or any other leaky kamado, here’s the solution. Made from aluminum, it is simple and effective. Meathead
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer
The best way to store food more than a week is in the freezer. Foods lose few nutirents and little quality when frozen. But if they are kept for longer than a few weeks, meats can oxidize, fats can get rancid, and the surface can harden from freezer burn. Especially pork and seafood. Oxygen is the enemy. So I pack food for storage is with a vacuum sealer like the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer. You put the food in a plastic bag, insert it into the machine and it sucks out the air and seals the bag. Make sure you mark the date on the bag. It is a great way to store cooked foods too. Put your pulled pork in the bag, add a little sauce and seal. When it is time to serve, place the bag into a pot of simmering water. It reheats rapidly and tastes almost as good as when it came out of the smoker. Meathead
Use a Grill Grabber to lift your hot and dirty grill grates, even if there’s the food still on them. I use mine when I need to add coals, wood, water to water pans, or to rescue food that has dropped through the grates. This may seem like a frivolity, but it is a thoroughly useful tool. Meathead
OXO Good Grips Tongs
Dishwasher safe stainless steel with OXO’s popular nonslip rubber handles, they are the winner of the Tylenol/Arthritis Foundation Design Award. They are spring loaded and the ends are scalloped for better gripping. There is a loop for hanging and a mechanism that locks them in closed position for storing (which has failed after several years on all three pairs that I have). Regardless, they are still my faves. I just store them with a cardboard toilet paper core over the ends.
The 18″ tongs don’t have the locking mechanism, but they are necessary if you have a deep pit. But be warned, the longer the tongs, the less leverage you have and the harder it is to get a grip. I also recommend their nylon tipped tongs for use on non-stick cookware.
LamsonSharp Fish Tongs
A jumbo hybrid of tongs and spatulas, this is the proper tool for flipping fish, burgers, and other crumbly foods. Rosewood handle protects you against the heat, and there is a leather loop for hanging. They come with a lifetime warranty. I find them to be indispensable. Meathead
Stiff Metal Spatula
Spatulae come in slotted and solid, and I recommend the solid with a good insulated sturdy handle. The solid is best for pressing things down on a griddle, like when you are making Diner Burgers on a griddle or in a frying pan. I like the Weber Style 644Professional-Grade Fish Turner. Meathead
Double Pie Iron
Here’s how to make two perfectly toasted panini style grilled sandwiches at once. Use this old fashioned double pie iron, originally designed for filled pies, for everything from Grilled Cheese to Pulled Pork.
Just butter your sandwich on the outside, open up the hinged mold, insert the sandwiches and put it over the coals, campfire, or gas grill. This Old Mountain cast iron double square pie iron is 1/2″ x 1/4″ and is pre-seasoned and ready to use. The long handle allows you to grill in comfort away from a camp fire. – Meathead
My wife hasn’t noticed the burn hole yet. It’s pretty substantial. For the life of me I don’t understand why the deck didn’t go up in flames and take the house with it. Must be some sort of flame retardant in the wood. But a hunk of charcoal somehow jumped from my grill and tried to escape before I caught it. But not before it burned a serious hole. Meathead
Bayou Classic 8.Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Forget the fancy high end pricey Le Cruset French Oven, this is the one you want for cowboy cooking and camping, and it comes in handy around the house. It’s perfect for whole chickens or slow braising in the oven or in the grill.
You can even sit it on top of coals and shovel more coals on top of the flat lid with a raised rim, and you can cook classic chili, baked beans, cornbread, casseroles, and even cobblers. It is 13″ wide x 7″ high, weighs 2pounds and includes a perforated aluminum basket for steaming, frying, or boiling. Meathead
You want good stiff scissors for cutting a chicken apart, for snipping herbs, cutting pizza, butcher string, opening packages, and many other tasks. Get sturdy stainless blades so you can cut through the ribs of chickens. The best models come apart at the hinge so they can go in the dishwasher and you can get them really clean. Meathead
When a recipe calls for garlic to be crushed, minced, or pressed, I use a garlic press. A good garlic press releases more oils and flavors than mincing with a knife and pressed garlic coats the food more evenly than mincing.
A good garlic press is an important kitchen tool. Get one that is sturdily built, that is easy to grip, that is easy to clean, and has a large hopper to hold big cloves. Avoid non-stick models. I have a well-used Trudeau Garlic Press Meathead
Digital kitchen scale
I don’t know how I lived without a good, accurate digital kitchen scale for so many years. It is so important. Look at salt for example, cup of table salt has almost twice as much salinity as a cup of Morton’s kosher salt because Morton’s kosher salt has more air space between the grains. But a pound of all salts contain exactly the same amount of sodium chloride.
Without a scale, making a brine requires a calculator. Flour and sugar have the same problem. Packed brown sugar or loose brown sugar. Big diff. Ever try to measure a tablespoon of honey? Did you get it all into the bowl or leave a lot of it on the spoon. There are plenty of conversion tables out there that help you convert. My favorite is the OXO Good Grips Stainless Food Scale with Pull-Out Display. It can weight accurately up to 1pounds as well as fractions of an ounce. Push a button and it converts to metric. Put the bowl on the scale and push a button and it zeros out so the bowl’s weight is not included. The top comes off for easy cleaning. It will significantly improve your cooking. Meathead
Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover
I first heard about this from a competition cook. To say I was skeptical is an understatement. A spot remover that will remove the grease stains on almost all my shirts is something I considered to be as elusive as unicorns and perpetual motion machines. So I bought a ounce bottle and tried it on one of my t-shirts.
The instructions say that all you need is just a drop. Sure. I used three drops. My shirt came out so clean I could not find where the stain had been originally. So I tried it on a dress shirt, but fearful it would ruin it, I used only one drop. Again, the grease was gone! So I hauled out all my saucy and greasy shirt, 1in all, put Grandma to work, tossed them all into one tub, and before long, I had a new wardrobe. Utterly amazing stuff. And just for the record, I have been doing my own laundry since I went away to college, even through 40 years of marriage. May be a contributing factor to our longevity.
Even my wife is impressed with Grandma. She has used it on some of her finery including her Mom’s table cloth with ancient spaghetti stains, stains that Oxi-Clean, her go to remover, couldn’t handle.
The label says it is good for “oil, grease, paint, makeup, grass, inks, blood, baby formula, tar, spaghetti sauce, coffee, rust, beadine, tumeric, fabric bleed, and pet stains”. The only caveat on the label is to “check garment for colorfastness.” Meathead
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Condiment Pots wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Condiment Pots
- №1 — Stainless Steel Condiment Seasoning Containers Pots Set with Spoons and Rack, Silver Tone (Arch shape)
- №2 — Clear Seasoning Rack Spice Pots by AIQI – 4 Piece Acrylic Seasoning Box – Storage Container Condiment Jars – Cruet with Cover and Spoon
- №3 — Le Creuset Stoneware Condiment Pot with Spoon, 6 3/4-Ounce, Cerise (Cherry Red)