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Old 10-23-2004, 12:14 PM   #1
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Pot Wisdom

It seems to me that...
If you are just cooking ordinary stuff, like steaming vege's or boiling potatos, then any old sturdy pot, with a sandwich base and even heat distribution will do. But it seems that if you are trying to make a sauce or something that takes some cooking skill...
If you need to get a specialized pot then you need to get a good one. A cheap or even a middle of the road say, saucier will give disappointing results.
Is this about right?

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Old 10-23-2004, 12:37 PM   #2
 
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That is about right, saying of course that the range you are using is up to the challenge, and the sauce is delicate enough to need a thoroughly responsive pan.

That is a lot of buts! If your range is poor, and your sauce not a delicate one, I don't think it makes as much of a difference whether or not you have the most responsive pan.
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Old 10-23-2004, 05:33 PM   #3
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I really don't see that the pot makes as much difference as the skill - up to a point. Obviously, you don't want something so thin that you're going to have hot spots and scorch your sauce almost instantly ... but I have an anodized saucier and I have stainless sauce pans with the heavy encapsulated disk on the bottom and they work equally as well.

Now, if I'm making a delicate sauce or doing a sauce that has a delicate phase (hollandaise or bechamel for example) - my pot doesn't matter because to get really responsive control that I need to keep my eggs from curdling I use a large stainless steel bowl with rounded sides (like a saucier - not flared straight sides like a windsor pot) over a pot of simmering water. The heat is gentler and more even than you're going to get with any pot directly over the burner. It's very responsive - all I have to do is move it off the pot to cool it down quickly, and I need even more rapid cooling I can stick the bowl in an ice water bath while whisking.
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Old 10-23-2004, 08:05 PM   #4
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A double boiler for bechamel, Michael? Do you do the roux on the stove and then combine it in the double boiler? Doesn't it take forever for the cold milk to heat up?

I do bechamel at warp heat and whisk like a son of gun. Even when I was first starting out, medium heat didn't cause any problems.

The one time I had a problem with bechamel was when I burned the roux. An extremely cheap pan on someone else's erratic stove.

Now hollandaise, that's double boiler time. I won't go near hollandaise for that very reason.

Vilasman1, I think that clad bottoms work nicely for thick stews that scorch easily or for sweating/sauteeing onions, but for sauces other than hollandaise, any sturdy s/s pan will do. I've spent many years with cheap revereware saucepans. Although the copper bottom is a joke, the guage of the s/s is very suitable for saucemaking (on an electric range). They're light/easy to handle/easy to clean. The only thing I wish they had was metal handles so they could go in the oven.
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Old 10-23-2004, 09:30 PM   #5
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Ah, you got me scott - I wasn't thinking ... :oops:

The sauce I was thinking about is a daughter sauce of bechamel - basically bechamel with the addition of 6 eggs - that I use to top moussaka.

Sounds like you and I both grew up on the same 1950's RevereWare. I bet I spent more time polishing the copper than I did cleaning the rest of the pan!
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Old 10-24-2004, 05:51 AM   #6
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Ah, you got me scott - I wasn't thinking ... :oops:
Hey, don't worry about it, I do it all the time :)

Other than babaganouj, I don't cook with eggplant much. I just took a quick look at some moussaka recipes. In all of the recipes I looked at, the addition of the eggs to the bechamel appeared vague and haphazard. Sounds like scrambled egg city to me. The double boiler is sage advice.

Quote:
Sounds like you and I both grew up on the same 1950's RevereWare.
Yup! RevereWare pots, the Betty Crocker cookbook, and Crisco shortening. That's my childhood :)

RevereWare pots, as I said earlier are great for saucemaking. This isn't childhoold imprinting speaking here. For example, shortening is forbidden in my kitchen. My mother has imparted me with a tremendous amount of culinary knowledge, but there are many areas where she and I part ways. I say this because you run into a lot of "It was good enough for my parents, it's good enough for me" type of sentiment in forums like this. That's not me.
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Old 10-24-2004, 12:05 PM   #7
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ah, 1950's RevereWare - my Mom got a set as a wedding gift and used it most of her life - and she was a great cook. The years right before she moved into a retirement home she didn't cook much so I used to cook for her when I visited. I had a hard time using those pans with their thin bottoms on her electric stove (I'm used to gas). I solved the problem (possibly a problem with me rather than the pans - or stove) by using simmer rings. They look like this


I love simmer rings - use them all the time. Anyone else use them?
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Old 10-27-2004, 05:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subfuscpersona
ah, 1950's RevereWare - my Mom got a set as a wedding gift and used it most of her life - and she was a great cook. The years right before she moved into a retirement home she didn't cook much so I used to cook for her when I visited. I had a hard time using those pans with their thin bottoms on her electric stove (I'm used to gas). I solved the problem (possibly a problem with me rather than the pans - or stove) by using simmer rings. They look like this


I love simmer rings - use them all the time. Anyone else use them?
Yes, but I let the wooden handle get too close to the flame on my gas range and now it won't stay put. Maybe that is just as well, but my range won't let me simmer, and I just can't get it right. (flame too low, goes out). :oops:
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Old 10-27-2004, 05:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subfuscpersona
ah, 1950's RevereWare - my Mom got a set as a wedding gift and used it most of her life - and she was a great cook. The years right before she moved into a retirement home she didn't cook much so I used to cook for her when I visited. I had a hard time using those pans with their thin bottoms on her electric stove (I'm used to gas). I solved the problem (possibly a problem with me rather than the pans - or stove) by using simmer rings. They look like this


I love simmer rings - use them all the time. Anyone else use them?
Yes, but I let the wooden handle get too close to the flame on my gas range and now it won't stay put. Maybe that is just as well, but my range won't let me simmer, and I just can't get it right. (flame too low, goes out). :oops:
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Old 10-27-2004, 09:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bege
Quote:
Originally Posted by subfuscpersona
ah, 1950's RevereWare - my Mom got a set as a wedding gift and used it most of her life - and she was a great cook. The years right before she moved into a retirement home she didn't cook much so I used to cook for her when I visited. I had a hard time using those pans with their thin bottoms on her electric stove (I'm used to gas). I solved the problem (possibly a problem with me rather than the pans - or stove) by using simmer rings... I love simmer rings - use them all the time. Anyone else use them?
Yes, but I let the wooden handle get too close to the flame on my gas range and now it won't stay put. Maybe that is just as well, but my range won't let me simmer, and I just can't get it right. (flame too low, goes out). :oops:
yup - I eventually end up burning the handle - that's why I stocked up the last time I saw them in a store. My gas range won't let me simmer either even tho I have 1 or 2 decent (not really expensive) pots with heavy bottoms. Cheaper to use a 99-cent simmer ring IMHO than pay mucho $$$ for a pot (not that I wouldn't like to, LOL).
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