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Nov 16, 2008 09:36 PM

Does Anyone Have a Cookware Pet Peeve?

My pet peeve is that most of the smaller sauce pans are handle heavy of which tips over very easily.

Another pet peeve is that I cannot find that "just right Dutch Oven".

Can any Chowhound offer their peeve or a solution to this or other cookware dilemmas?

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  1. I have lots of pet peeves.
    Rivets. There's got to be a better way.
    Brass handles on copper cookware. Stainless is cooler.
    Copper lids.
    Enameled cast iron that's only enameled on the inside doesn't exist.
    Handles that are seemingly designed to provide a painful grip and little control so you can't tip to pour.

    11 Replies
    1. re: ThreeGigs

      ""Rivets. There's got to be a better way.""

      Hey, Houston, we got a problem... I bet even NASA and the Worlds Greatest Engineers still cannot render a rivet obsolete.

      My G-G-Grandfather was a blacksmith, so to him the word- "rivet", came close to something requiring one's mouth to be washed out with soap. I dared not mention anything about bridges or steam boilers. I guess he was the like the "Dunkin' Donut Dude"... Gotta make them rivets! Sick and tired, tired and sick of rivets.

      1. re: ThreeGigs

        The best alternative to rivets are spot welded pans. Both Paderno Grand Gourmet, Demeyere and some of the Cuisinarts are spot welded. There are other brands out there too, Skip the All Clad and Viking if this is a pet peeve. About the only pot I prefer rivets on is a large stockpot, because lifting a 24 quart pot full of hot liquid that has rivets offers me visual comfort. I am sure welds would be as strong on a good pot, so this isn't a deal breaker for me.

        I too think that brass handles look great but get way too hot. I actually prefer cast iron handles. They take a long time to get hot, but they still get hot. Strange how the handles on some of my best stainless steel pots never get hot . I haven't seen stainless steel handles on copper pans. Who makes those?

        I also think you are right about copper lids. They seem too thin. I happen to hate glass lids with a passion. Glass lids are a deal breaker for me.

        I can't bring myself to try a pot with soft handles. They have been known to burn at the Cook's test kitchen, so I know they will burn in my kitchen.

        My greatest pet peeve, however, is that most heavy pots need helper handles, and some don't offer them except in very large sizes, so this is something I look for now.

        1. re: RGC1982

          "I haven't seen stainless steel handles on copper pans. Who makes those?"

          Paderno - Copper Collection

          I have 3 pieces. LOVE them.

          1. re: Davedigger

            Which Paderno? From Italy, or Prince Edward Island?

        2. re: ThreeGigs

          I like rivets. With time,welded handles can break off. It happened to me with a Le Creuset.

          The only peeve I've had in recent memory was an All-Clad frying pan. Had to sandpaper the interior after each use. It's now in a landfill.

          1. re: mpalmer6c

            I have never had a spot weld break in over 30 years, so I am either lucky, or I just have better cookware. Either way, I don't miss scrubbing around rivets each time I wash a pot. I have experienced rivets coming loose, but I will admit that those were not on highest end cookware.

            That said, as I mentioned before, I do prefer rivets on big stock pots. They look more secure, even though my experience tells me that there should be no difference. In any case, rivets versus welds have nothing to do with cookware performance, just cleaning.

            1. re: mpalmer6c

              I hear you ... All-Clad does not exactly clean beautifully. I still have mine, but I won't be getting more.

              Try Lagostina for a solution to unwieldy small saucepans ... I love my 2 qt.

            2. re: ThreeGigs

              Since All-Clad is made of several metals bonded together, you would think they could find a way to sandwich a fastener for the handle between the layers of metal. This would eliminate rivets and spot welds.

              1. re: blondelle

                "Several metals" is actually only 2. 99% of the time it's stainless steel sandwiching an aluminum core. The problem with adding a handle directly out of the pan itself is that it would likely have a very weak spot where the thick handle meets the much thinner pan. As it is, the handles are very solid.

                Sandpapering a stainless steel pan is absolutely the worst thing anyone could do. Anyone will tell you that is not what the pan was designed for and frankly, the user who did that probably created another "do not use___" entry on the All-Clad cleaning list. I'm not sure why the person did that, but I can assure you that aside from myself, millions of people use cast iron cookware everyday and don't have to use sandpaper. A few spots on the pan (inside or out) are a sign of use, not a sign of poor quality.

                1. re: HaagenDazs

                  I assumed sandpapering was a joke ... hope I was right ;)

            3. Le Creuset. Skillet/saute pan hot spots. IMPOSSIBLE to avoid when cooking on electric ranges. miserable pieces of____.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Alice Letseat

                Cast iron has hot spots and cool spots. In casting there are air pockets developed, weaknesses which is why cast iron can break if dropped. Doesn't matter if it is a LC, Lodge old revered Wagner ware pan etc. No way around it.

                1. re: Candy

                  ""Cast iron has hot spots and cool spots. In casting there are air pockets developed, weaknesses which is why cast iron can break if dropped.Doesn't matter if it is a LC, Lodge old revered Wagner ware pan etc. No way around it.""

                  I totally disagree with that theory or assessment. If the "air pocket" theory was true, the pan would literally self destruct. (This isn't to be confused with items like engine blocks, that has cast in channels for coolant. Those voids are "NOT all sealed up", as in an air pocket.)

                  Now, cast iron that has recessed or raised material will heat uneven. As some companies get cute and put their brand name on the base, I refuse to purchase them. I won't buy those wavy "sear" pans, as to me they are junk.

                  1. re: RShea78

                    Try the test I had to perform in college. We tested cookware by burning vanilla pudding in pans to show hot spots and to indicate which cooker (burned) more evenly. Cast iron always showed definite hot spots.

                  2. re: Candy

                    In casting there are air pockets developed, weaknesses which is why cast iron can break if dropped.

                    As someone who understands the metallurgy of cast iron (as well as other metals) I have to say (with all due respect) that this is not even close.

                    Cast iron cookware is made by pouring molten iron (or sometimes forcing it under pressure) into sand molds. After cooling, the sand mold is broken away and the pan is cleaned/polished, etc and packed for shipping. It cannot develop air pockets like bread. It breaks when dropped and cracks when cooled too quickly because it is formed by pouring molten iron into a mold. I could explain the metallurgy, but it would be way too boring for this forum.

                    The metallurgy of the formula and the consistency from batch to batch will be better from a good brand such as Lodge or LC over some no-name pan from China or India. All cast iron starts with scrap metal which can vary greatly from one load to another. A good mill will carefully mix the scrap and add extra stuff as needed to make a consistent iron. In my experience, the quality control from India, China, etc. is just not as good.

                    Other metal cookware is made from metal that was poured into giant ingots (Usually about 2 ft. thick or more and 10 or 12 ft long), rolled to the desired thickness (i.e. very thin) and spooled up on a roll. The metal goes to the manufacturer, where it is unrolled and stamped into shape.

                    In all cookware the evenness of the heating depends on the consistency of the alloy used and a consistent thickness throughout the pan. (Other factors such as the bond between layers is also a factor, but not in CI.)

                    Cast iron is used because it is cheap to make and can take a higher heat for a longer time without warping. The grilles in restaurants are all made of cast iron for this reason.

                2. Everyone who thinks that Barkeepers Friend is the best miracle cure in the world... That and people who think they can completely season cast iron in one afternoon.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: HaagenDazs

                    Yeah, one of my pet peeves is people who think the Earth is round! :-p

                    You are right about one thing...BKF won't get EVERYTHING - sometimes you have to use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

                    1. re: jzerocsk

                      But seriously, if there is a BETTER mildly abrasive cleaner safe for porcelain/enamel, let's hear it! I am always looking for a better way to keep my white porcelain sink white!

                      1. re: jzerocsk

                        THANK YOU. You've made my point. Many people think it is a cleaner. It is not. It's a polish. I think the manufacturer even refers to it as a cleaner, but here's my point. Soap is a cleaner. Kitchen sprays are cleaners. BKF is a cleaner in as much as silver tarnish remover is a cleaner. Maybe it's just semantics but I hesitate to call it a cleaner because then people start using it like one.

                        I think it's great for your purposes and I use it to brighten up my sinks as well, but I was talking about people who relentlessly try to clean their pots and pans with the stuff. There's one user lurking here who actually started cleaning his/her pans with fine grit sandpaper! That's the kind of hilarity and over-the-top nonsense (pet peeve) I was referring to.

                        1. re: HaagenDazs

                          The sandpaper seems a bit much, but the clean is clean.

                          If good microfiber can remove 99% of the bacteria on a surface without the use of any "cleaner," "cleanser," "polish," "soap," "detergent," "solvent," then microfiber is a cleaner, too!

                          1. re: jzerocsk

                            I hear ya - good point. People just turn to BKF before they do other simpler things like soak it in the sink and toss it in the dishwasher. Part of it stems from the desire that people evidently have to make their cookware shiny and clean and brand new looking. While I'm not for ratty looking pans, I also know that people see these mirror finishes on many of the pans they see on TV.

                            Digging deep here... I don't know if it's the same psychological effect that some women (and some men for that matter) experience by being overloaded with TV and magazine models and so they "learn" that they must look just like them and then start the eating disorders... I know that's going overboard but how else can you explain the use of something like sandpaper to "clean" your pans?

                          2. re: HaagenDazs

                            I am a major silver junkie. I use fork dip to remove tarnish from the tines of forks but in no way is it a polish. That is the next step. Just becuase you clean the oxidization off of fork tines doesn't mean the fork is polished. At no time should that stuff be used on the rest of the flatware. Some oxidation is intended to bring out pattern details.

                            1. re: Candy

                              I will say that polishing silver is in no way the same as using sand paper on your cookware! ;-)

                          3. re: jzerocsk

                            Try Bon Ami, It won't scratch, but it doesn't necessarily remove all traces of stains either. Just get your sink clean, and then spray it with clorox bleach cleaner. I had an ivory enamel sink that was tough to keep clean-looking.

                            1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                              When BKF is $3.79 and Bon Ami is .89 per can it is a no-brainier. I use BA to clean my stainless cookware without scratching or leaving "whirl marks" on it. You just have to be careful about rinsing it or it will leave a white residue when dry.

                              I had an ivory enamel sink that was tough to keep clean-looking.

                              Just do what we do...keep it full of dirty dishes all the time and no one will notice the sink. : > 0

                            2. re: jzerocsk

                              A baking soda paste made by mixing a little with water? Baking soda and vinegar. Polishers, cleaners, whatever. They do the job.

                              1. re: jzerocsk

                                THAT was the reason I finally traded my white porcelain enamel sink for stainless steel. And I've never looked back!

                            3. re: HaagenDazs

                              Indeed ... when actually the second coming is Barkeeper's Friend + vinegar (as recommended elsewhere on this board).

                            4. Le Creuset- Why is it that a $260.00 dutch oven comes with a freakin' Plastic knob?! C'mon Frogs, you can do better than that.....Adam

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: adamshoe

                                Biggest pet peeve is glass covers -- for someone like me who's a little klutzy, they are an accident waiting to happen.

                                Hey Adam, be gentle with the French! I agree that the plastic knobs on enamel cast iron always seemed brain dead, but you know, it works well enough. That stuff was never intended for the hi-temps that people subject it to (no-knead bread). FWIW, Staub is French but their knobs are brass or stainless.

                                Not sure how you can't find the right size dutch oven -- the variety of sizes and shapes is remarkable. It is expensive stuff, so you could blow through a lot of cabbage figuring out what works. (Or try a few plain cast iron pieces -- they are fairly inexpensive and you might decide that the enamel is not all that important to you.)

                                1. re: MikeB3542

                                  ""Not sure how you can't find the right size dutch oven""

                                  Well too low in height with too wide of base is a Brazier - too tall in height with a medium base is a sauce pot. It would be nice to see about an 8 and a 10 quart DO in proper height/base proportions. Also within a $40 to $60 price range.

                                  Now comes another pet peeve- Lids cost extra on most of these other pot (non-DO) configurations. I may find acceptable for example a 10 qt Brazier but something will freeze over if they expect another $20-$30 for a lid.

                                  1. re: RShea78

                                    I see your point. The proportions of the traditional Dutch (or French) oven are kind of locked in. If black iron is OK, consider suppliers like MACA (they make extra-deep camp ovens -- they work just fine on the stovetop and in the oven). Wish I could help you with price -- we're all hurtin'.

                                  2. re: MikeB3542

                                    Biggest pet peeve is glass covers -- for someone like me who's a little klutzy, they are an accident waiting to happen.

                                    HERE! HERE!

                                  3. re: adamshoe

                                    LC probably choose plastic knobs because they are a insulator and they do not get hot on the stove top. If you chose to use the pan in a hot oven, you need to either remove the knob off or wrap it in a double layer of foil.

                                    1. re: Kelli2006

                                      They (the Frogs) do make metal knobs you know... I bought one of these for my LC.


                                      Cheap enough, $9 at BB&B.

                                      And where would we be without the Frogs? Example #1) Statue of Liberty. I for one am not into the fad known as Frog bashing. "Freedom Fries?" What kinda crap is that?!

                                      1. re: HaagenDazs

                                        Thanks for that tip, because the knob on my LC oven is severely cracked and chipping.

                                        1. re: Kelli2006

                                          Contact LC directly. I'm very sure they'll send you a new one at no cost to you.

                                        2. re: HaagenDazs

                                          I was being "amusant" when I bashed the Frogs.... Some of my best Brothers in Law are French, as well as my (ex-pat) Soeur. Vive La Belle France. (Cue the Marseillaise.....) Adam

                                          1. re: adamshoe

                                            LOL! I don't find your "frog" remark to be offensive--taken in the context it was written--it made me laugh. My SO is french and I'm always kiddin' him by calling him "frogman" always with a laugh!--that said, my feeling is the French can basically do what they want with the cookware because it is superior to ours. What I really go nuts over is those tins of fois gras that they have--the shape is really weird--a rounded triangle. You cannot open them with a normal can opener!!!!!!!!! It takes forever--I need to use a can opener and a knife. And when my dear fiance tries to open those cans his face gets red and he starts speaking loudly in french--the word "merde" is used a lot! The French simply need to redesign their fois gras tins..that's all!

                                            1. re: jarona

                                              a nefarious french plot: a rounded triangle for foie gras!

                                      2. re: adamshoe

                                        Actually the knob is not plastic and if you want to replace the knob, they do make stainless replacement knobs.

                                        1. re: adamshoe

                                          YES! That is my major pet peeve as well! (but good to know that I can replace it with a stainless version)

                                          1. re: adamshoe

                                            I love those plastic knobs ... no potholder required 99% of the time.

                                          2. Lemon Zestors or graters other than Microplanes. What a waste of time, money and drawer space

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: thinks too much

                                              I actually like my citrus zester - I use it to make nice curls of zest for things, as well as on carrots in Vietnamese dipping sauce. I have too many graters, some aren't great, some verge on useless, but I have one large one that is great for grating cheese, particularly parmesan. With the microplane, I find the parmesan is too fluffy for my taste.

                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                I've never gotten the zester to work right. I was referring only to graters advertised for citrus-related purposes... or fresh ginger. I use an old, battered and beloved mouli grater for my parmesan.