Adios Teflon, where do we go from here?
I am getting rid of all my Teflon cookware (actually I am moving it to the vacation house where we won't use it so frequently). What is the next best thing? I cook alot, saute, eggs, sauces, vegetables, meats etc. What is best all around? Stainless steel, cast iron, copper bottom, enamel etc...
I have thought about getting rid of all of my commercial aluminum Teflon lined cookware due to the toxicity of PTFE when exposed to high heat. I have never used Teflon on anything but a medium flame, but the growing evidence of health risks make me wonder if even that is healthy.
Sitram has a new non Teflon non-stick technology that is very promising.http://www.sitramcookware.com/cyberno.... I don't know of any commercial kitchens that use it, and I am wondering if there are any Chowhounds that have experience with the product?
Well seasoned cast iron can be almost as good as Teflon. Pans with a thick bottom tend to be more resistant to sticking, as many sticking problems can be traced to hot-spots and uneven heating patterns. I don't have any experience with copper bottom pans, as I cannot afford them, but enamel is not that stick resistant in my experience.
We return to the past & Le Creuset (or Lodge, etc). Of all my many pots & pans, nothing is as good as LC...Not all-clad, not calaphon, not copper. In fact, although I haven't yet taken the plunge, I am thinking about getting rid of everything except LC because LC is what I reach for day in & day out, meal after meal....
I am pretty happy with my Calphalon One and am slowly building up my inventory. Not exactly as "non-sticky" as Teflon, but very easy to clean. The surface is great for developing fondt and searing food. Even heating. I also like the heft to these pots and pans and the handles, ergonomically they work beautifully for me.
I've never used teflon but I assume it is so popular because of their non-stick quality and for people who want to limit their fat intake without using much oil. If one take care of his/her cookware, season them well, not use abrasive material on them, there should not be much of a sticking problem.
There is nothing better than a cast iron skillet for cooking steaks and chops. It retains heat well and gives meat a beautiful brown crust. It is also great for sauteeing potatoes.
For eggs, I like a simple thick aluminum Wearever skillet. Season it well and eggs will not stick. It is good for sauteeing meat, vegetables, etc. It will also give nice fond pan sauce. If you can afford it, all-clad and calphalon are excellet. All clad makes several lines...it is personal preference. Calphalon makes lines at different prices.
For making sauces like bechamel, I like 1 1/2 or 2 qt all-clad saucepan. It is good size and heavy enough so that sauces don't burn.
I only use Le Creuset for slow braising because their heavy enamel is great for simmering and low temperature. I find them too clunky for most other uses and their enamel interior needs too much babying. Also, I find enamel does not give a good fond for pan sauces.
I think copper bottom pans are just a waste. Not enough copper to make much of a difference.
I use a brand called Swiss Diamond - if you do a search, you should find a number of posts about it.
Don't overlook good ol' plain cast iron. Properly cared for, it will never, never wear out. It is extremely economical ($14 for a 12" skillet at your local big-box retailer), made in the US (if you buy Lodge), and comes in an extensive range of sizes & shapes. It does require a little special attention, but after you develop good seasoning, the finish isn't that hard to maintain. I have 10", 12" skillets, a medium dutch oven, and a 5-gallon round-bottomed kettle. I need to get cornstick pans and a deeper chicken-frying skillet.
Aside from cast iron, I have All Clad...the pro or master chef series with the matte finish on the outside. Damned expensive, but excellent cookware.
Just bought a Sitram Cybernox 10.25" skillet with lid on Amazon. We'll see if it's as good as they say.
Every time I look at cookware with fancy coatings or surfaces, I always remember to check the DISHWASHING instructions. Many of these exotic consumer pots are a pain to clean properly and may not be compatible with dishwashers (except the Manual kind :-).
Hence, I've stayed with plain AllClad steel-over-aluminum for the most part. AllClad in particular has curved/formed 'corners' that don't seem to burn like the way-too-popular 'thick bottom plate' kind. A good 12" cast iron skillet heats up fast and is great for cooking tortilla based dishes and the like.
There was a comparison not long ago in the New York Times. Le Creuset came out ahead and i think that will be the next piece of cookware I buy. Other than that I like my non, nonstick hard anodized calphalon. The anodizing keeps it from reacting to foods