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Picking Up Good Sets of Cookware

Jun 20, 2008
Cookware is commonly used in the kitchen. It comprises of cooking vessels such as, frying pans and saucepans. It is intended for use on a range top or stove. Cookwares come in many variations. With the proper understanding of its features, you can choose which best fits your kitchen.

Cookware is commonly used in the kitchen, and it comprises of cooking vessels such as, frying pans and saucepans. It is intended for use on a range top or stove in preparing the food or for cooking purposes. Many variations have been developed as people tend to discover various other vessels for cooking.

During the civilizations of Stone Age, it was believed that the first techniques of using cooking vessels have been used. Among this, there were the improvements to basic roasting, and the use of clay or large leaves in order to preserve the moisture of the cooked food.

In Asia, bamboo tubes can be a used as a container, while in other places, the shells of turtles or large mollusks are being used as a waterproof cooking vessel. As early as 7000 BC, the inhabitants of the Tehaucan Valley began carving large stone bowls. Pottery developments allowed the creation of different shapes and sizes for fireproof cooking vessels. Subsequent to this, the porous container was then converted in order to produce ceramic glazes. Aside from this, bronze and iron metalworking skills were allowed in making cookware.

By the 17th century, the Westerner's kitchens began to use kettles, baking pans, skillets and pots. These were commonly produced by a local blacksmith in American colonies. The material was derived from iron, while brass or copper were common in Europe and Asia.

Cookwares are made from different materials, such as:


* Aluminum - a very good thermal conductivity that does not rust. It is lightweight, and resistant to many forms of corrosion. However, it can react with some acidic foods and changes its taste.

Hence, non-anodized (has no layer of aluminum oxide) aluminum may cause oxidation to some of the foods like sauces that contains egg yolks, or vegetables such as asparagus or artichokes. Aluminum is commonly used for pie plates, cake or muffin pans, baking sheets and even pasta pots, steamers, skillets and stockpots.

* Copper - is good for thermal conductivity, it provides most of the heating aspect. Copper tends to be heavy and requires occasional re-tinting. It is also expensive. So far, they are considered as the best for fast cooking and sautéing due to such high heat.

* Cast Iron - a reactive material that can withstand very high temperatures. Cast iron is a porous material that easily rusts and requires seasoning before usage.

* Stainless Steel - is a relatively poor heat conductor. It is commonly used for kitchen equipment that contains a minimum of 11.5% chromium. Stainless steel is an iron alloy that also blends containing 18% chromium with either 8% nickel, called 18/8, or with 10% nickel, called 18/10. It reacts with either alkaline or acidic foods. Thus, they do not easily dent.

* Carbon Steel - maintains high strength and heat resistance when rolled into very thin sheets of material. Carbon Steel may be an advantage for woks and paella pans, but it does not conduct any heat. A process of rubbing fat on the surface can be done as its recommended usage in cooking.

There are also composite and coated cookwares such as:

* Enamel casted iron - made of cast iron which covers the surface with porcelain. It is has the properties that combines cast iron with a non-reactive and low stick surface. Thus, this creates a piece that has retention and heat distribution.

* Enamel over steel - this technique creates a piece that has a non-reactive, heat distribution of carbon steel and a low stick surface. Enamel over steel is ideal for large pans that are used mostly in water based cooking. Thus, it is a popular piece of cookware for camping instances because of its lightweight feature.

* Clad aluminum or copper - a technique with a layer of heat conducting material that can fabricate pans, such as aluminum and copper. Both its inner and the outer portion of a pot made of aluminum are typically clad. This way, it provides stainless surfaces for cooking and a contact cook top. Plus, the interior surface of copper is typically clad which leaves more attractive copper for exposure to the outer side of the pan.

* Teflon coated frying pan (Non-stick) - Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene) minimizes the possibility of food sticking to the pan's surface. Using Teflon is much easier because it is effortless to clean it as compared to other pots. Aside from this, there are no frequent results of having foods burned in its usage. It is important that while cooking, never use metal implements on the pan. This requires cautious care and attention.


Non-metallic cookware can be used in microwave ovens but cannot be used on the stovetop. Such examples are as follows:

* Ceramics - provides a nonstick cooking surface such as glazed ceramics like porcelain. Terra Cotta (unglazed ceramics) has a porous surface. During the cooking process, its surface can hold water and other liquids. Hence, some glazes used on ceramic have a highly contained level of lead that can be a risk to our health.

* Glass - Borosilicate glass is oven safe and allows the food to be seen with its clear glass.

* Glass-ceramic - this ceramic is used in making different products that has the best properties of both glass and ceramic cookware. It is immune to thermal shock because of it's near-zero co-efficiency to thermal expansion.

* Silicone - able to withstand maintained temperatures of 675°F (360°C). It is light and flexible. The advantage of removing baked goods from the pan is its own flexibility.

Cooking vessels such as pots and pans have different variations and types. Such are:

* Braising pans and roasting pans - also known as roasters and braisers. It provides space for cooking chicken, pork or beef. It is also a shallow, large and wide pan, usually made of heavy gauge metal for safety usage on cook tops. Thus, it typically has a cover and two loops or handles.

* Casserole pans - can be used on the stovetop and in the oven. It is commonly made from glazed ceramic. A casserole is similar to having a roaster and a Dutch oven that can be used interchangeably.

* Dutch ovens - used for stews, soups, braised meats and a variety of large dishes, for slow low heat cooking. It is made from cast iron. Generally it is made into a deep pot with a heavy lid, for the purpose of re-creating oven conditions on the stovetop.

* Frying Pans or Skillets - sometimes called omellette pans. Frypans provide shallow sides, a large flat heating surface, and it measures 20-30 cm in diameter. Thus, it is best for frying food.

* Griddles - used for grilling, making pan breads such as pancakes and crepes, and frying. It is a flat circular plate metal with a semicircular hoop that is attached to the sides. It has a measurement of about 20 up to 30 cm in diameter. There are also rectangular and square griddles like grill pans, which enables its content to define a pattern similar to a waffle maker.

* Saucepans - used for boiling or simmering. It has one long handle unlike sauce-pots that possesses two handles, for easy lifting with both hands. Usually 1-8 liters, saucepans are measured by volume.

* Sauté pans - like a fry pan, it is used for sautéing. Sauté pans have vertical sides and a large area surface in order to prevent food during cooking from escaping.

* Stockpots - allows stock to simmer for a period of time. It is a large pot that comes in different sizes in order to meet the needs of a family who wants to prepare the food for a banquet.

* Woks - typically used for stir-frying, but can be used also for steaming and deep frying. It has a rough bowl shape that is wide and has one or two handles near the rim.

Here are the lists of most common cookware sets being introduced in the market today.

1. Berndes 674103 - Tradition 10-Piece Set (MPN 674103)

The Berndes 674103 has a 2 layer interior nonstick and 3 layer exterior surfaces that protects the food from burning and sticking. It is a 10 piece set with vacuum-pressure cast aluminum. Its price ranges from $369.99 to $399.99.

2. Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless 13 Piece Set (MPN: LS13)

The Calphalon Tri-Ply set is a stainless steel cookware with a combination performance with aluminum. Its aluminum core responds to quick temperature changes so as to continually spread the heat evenly. Its cool V design provides balance, allowing the heat to vent away from its long handles. This keeps it cool to touch. It is 100% dishwasher safe and designed ergonomically to provide an easy grip. Its price ranges from $356.29 to $399.95.

3. Edge Cookware 17-Piece Set with Silicone Handles (UPC: 00803659001097)

Edge Cookware is made from stainless steel and consists of: 3 interchangeable lids, 8- and 10-inch skillets, 5 utensils, 2, 4, 6-1/2-quart saucepans and measuring spoons, along with a Tri-ply 18/10 stainless steel with aluminum core. Its estimated price is $121.91.

4. Heuck 33002 Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron (MPN: 33002)

The Heuck 33002 is about 6, 8 and 10 inches for its varieties of 3 piece skillet. Aside from being safe and easy to use, it is capable of superior heat retention which will last for generations. Its price ranges from $17.99 to $19.99.

5. KitchenAid 15150 Gourmet Essentials Hard-Base Porcelain Aluminum (MPN: 15150)

The KitchenAid 15150 Gourmet Essentials is a 10-pc non-stick red cookware that includes: 8 Open French Skillet, 11 4.25 Qt. Covered Sauté, 1 Qt. Covered Saucepan, 8 Qt. covered Stockpan, 2 Qt. Covered Saucepan and a 10 Open French Skillet. Its price ranges from $139.00 to $149.99. Plus a $5.00 available bonus.

6. Rachael Ray Hard Anodized (UPC: 00051153806551)

Rachael Ray product is a 10-pc. Non-stick cookware with orange handles. The set contains: 10-inch French skillets, Hard-anodized aluminum construction, 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans; Soft-grip bright orange silicone (handles are oven-safe to 400 degrees F), 3-quart/10-inch cover, and a 6-quart covered stockpot. One can avail this for prices that would range from $157.88 to $179.99.

7. The Cuisinart Stowaway Cookware Set

The Cuisinart Stowaway Cookware set is a solid type of cookware that is advisable for apartment dwellers, campers or boaters and college students. It has a storage bag that makes it easily to transport this 8-piece stainless set.

The set includes: Canvas storage bag, 1 multi-cover for sauce pan and 8" sauté pan, 2 Qt. sauce pan, 2 removable universal handles, 10" sauté pan, 1 cover for stock pot and 10" sauté pan, 6 Qt. stock pot, and a 8" sauté pan. It price is estimated at $99.95.

Thus, household moms can bring their homes great cookware that can last a family. Collecting valuable cookware has become a family tradition, usually handed from one generation to another. This will go with the special recipes handed down as well.

Nowadays, interesting designs have set forth in the market. There are affordable prices that can guarantee durability. There are those that are pricey but are definitely worth it. Buying these can save you more because you will not be buying replacements for a very long time. Before buying cookware, you need to assess the type of cookware you need for everyday usage. It is also best to keep cookware you can use fro special occasions, especially if it involves catering to a number of people. Thus, knowing the right material used in cookware sets sold these days will help you with regards to your budget and with the comfort of knowing your cookware is something you can even hand down to your children..
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