"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Cookware and Accessories > Cookware
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-13-2006, 02:46 AM   #1
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 41
Which pans to pick?

Well I think this would be a really nice beginner thread and since I'm a beginner, I'll ask it.

What pots and pans and materials of pots and pans should your NEVER used to cook what?

Everyone says to cook up tomato sauce only in a non-reactive pan; why? Which ones are non-reactive? What should I never cook in my non-stick pan?

I'm just looking for things that I should avoid beyond all others in order to keep my pans in good shape and my food tasting decent.

I would ask what I should use to cook what in order to achieve best results but this is already a pretty broad question.

brad

__________________

__________________
Phantom of the Kitchen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 08:23 AM   #2
Chief Eating Officer
 
GB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: USA,Massachusetts
Posts: 25,509
Other than acidic foods in a reactive pan, I think the better way to ask this question would be What pans are best used with which foods. The reason I say that is that with the exception of acidic foods with reactive pans any food can pretty much be cooked in any pan. Some will just provide better results.

For instance you can cook chicken breasts in a non stick pan. They will come out just fine. they will not brown as much as if you used a stainless steel pan or cast iron though and often times browning is what you want.

With acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus you need to be careful with reactive pans like cast iron. If you have a good seasoning on your pan then it is not as much of a concern, but if you don't have a good seasoning then you will have a metallic taste to your food. The longer the food is in contact with the pan the stronger that taste will be. A few short minutes probably won't matter much, but you would not want to make a slow cooking tomato sauce in cast iron probably.
__________________

__________________
You know you can't resist clicking
this link. Your eyes will thank you. VISUAL BLISS
GB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 01:35 PM   #3
Master Chef
 
Chief Longwind Of The North's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: USA,Michigan
Posts: 9,229
Reactive pans are made of metal, period. That is, the cooking surface is metal. With the exception of gold, and titanium, all metals corrode. on steel and iron, its called rust. On alluminum, and copper, it's called oxidation. The point is that oxidation is caused by the ability of oxigen to combine with other elements. Acidic and base/alkalie ingredients (citric & ascorbic acids, strong cheeses, buttermixk, yogurt, etc, & baking soda for a base) encourage electron flow between these chemicals and oxegen, changing the base metal to an oxidized metal. In turn, some of the metal molecules are turned into free ions (unstable mollecules with either too many or to little electrons), that attach themselves to foods, and liquids, given them a an unwanted metalic flavor.

There are many factors that cause corrosion, dissimilar metals and an electrolyte such as walt water, the afore-mentioned acids and alkalies, heat, and reactive gasses. But for the purpose of cooking, bare metal reacts with food PH levels.

Plastic or ceramic coated metals (teflon, enamled cast-iron), glass, and stainless steel are inert. They don't react with acidic or alkalie foods. (Stainless steel is really stain-resistant steel. It will rust if abused sufficently.)

The reason we use metals is that they are malleable (can be bent and formed into the shapes we want), are good heat contuctors, and are durable. They also conduct electricity well (important if you own and induction stove as it is the eddy currents created by interaction between the metal and an electro-magnetic field generated by the stove "burners" that cause the metal to heat). Glass, ceramic, and plastic, as a rule, are insulators to heat and electricity, though there are exceptions. But they are not perfect insulators and so can absorb and retain heat, espcially the glas and ceramics. And once they are hot, they have substantial thermal mass and retain heat well. That is, as they transfer heat to the food, there is lots more stored in the material.

The problem with both glass and ceramics is that they are extremely rigid materials and will shatter due to expansion and shrinkage pressures caused by rapid temperature change (hot glass placed in cold ater).

This can also be a problem with cast iron, though it can withstand subtantially more drastic temerature changes than can glas and ceramic vessels.

The problem with plastics is that they degrade rapidly at any temperatures past 400 degrees. That is, they start to outgas and deteriorate. They are not good for hight-temperature cooking.

So there's a quick and not very scientific synopsis of the nature of various cooking vessels. Take this info, think about what you want the cooking vessel to do to the food, and what you want to use it for. After that, all becomes second nature.

And remember, there are other variables involved. A well seasoned piece of cast iron has a coating of something akin to carbon, that is not reactive, and encases the metal in a hard, slippery shell that is much like teflon in performance, except that you can't hurt it with high temperatures. But it can be scraped and washed away with strong emulsifying and alkalye agents such as good dish-soaps, especially automatic dishwasher soaps. (it is an oil-bases coating). With sufficient elbow greese, it can also be removed with steel wool, or other metalic cleaning pads.

Know and take care of your pans and they will take care of you.

Oh, and the least durable pans are pans coated with non-stick finishes, followed by ceramic coated (enamled) pans.

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
__________________
“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

Check out my blog for the friendliest cooking instruction on the net. Go ahead. You know you want to.- http://gwnorthsfamilycookin.wordpress.com/
Chief Longwind Of The North is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 02:33 PM   #4
Head Chef
 
RPCookin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Logan County, Colorado
Posts: 2,044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom of the Kitchen
What should I never cook in my non-stick pan?
brad
Anything that requires the pan to be preheated to a high temperature should not be cooked in a nonstick pan. I have one stainless Kitchenaid saute pan that I use for that. Otherwise all my pots and pans (except my big stockpot) are nonstick, 4 years old, and still as good as new.
__________________
Rick
RPCookin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 02:36 PM   #5
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,341
To simplify, unprotected cast iron, carbon steel and aluminum are reactive metals. Highly acidic ingredients shouldn't be used in them as a rule. If you don't have any of these, you have a lot less to think about when you cook.

Stainless steel and anodized aluminum, enameled cast iron and any pan with a non-stick coating are considered non-reactive.

As mentioned earlier, very hot temperatures are not good for non-stick.
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 02:41 PM   #6
Executive Chef
 
Corey123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: East Boston, MA.
Posts: 2,881
I think your best bet is to use stainless steel cookware.

It's non-reactive and performs very well. Especially with tomato-based sauces.


~Corey123.
__________________
Corey123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 02:43 PM   #7
Chief Eating Officer
 
GB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: USA,Massachusetts
Posts: 25,509
If I were only going to use one type I would pick stainless steel, but I would rather have a variety. Non stick, stainless, cast iron, glass, clay, enamled cast iron, etc. all have a place in my kitchen.
__________________
You know you can't resist clicking
this link. Your eyes will thank you. VISUAL BLISS
GB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 02:51 PM   #8
Executive Chef
 
Corey123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: East Boston, MA.
Posts: 2,881
Yeah, I forgot about the Visions cookware set, which I still have.

That is also good for cooking tomato sauces in. Especially in the large roomy
Dutch Oven, which I think holds a whopping 6 quarts!


Corey123.
__________________
Corey123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 03:33 PM   #9
Executive Chef
 
ironchef's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,558
I agree that SS is best but you really need to be mindful of temperature control. The more you get used to it the better you'll get, but there's no point in springing for All-Clad stuff until your cooking skills get better.

Non-Stick will give you a lot more leeway, and you should have always have a few pieces because it makes making stuff like omelettes and frittatas much easier. Also, if you're watching your fat intake then non-stick will be better for you than stainless.

A lot of it really depends on what you cook and what you cook most often and you should build your inventory from that.
__________________
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
ironchef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2006, 04:00 PM   #10
Executive Chef
 
Corey123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: East Boston, MA.
Posts: 2,881
Well, if you're going to get an SS cookware set, then you might as well get something that's worth while. Why buy crap just to be throwning it away soon? Doesn't make sense.

I was going to do that. But then, I thought to myself; "Why sould I deprive myself of quality?" You only live once. You gotta ask yourself; Quality or crap?


~Corey123.
__________________

__________________
Corey123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.