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Dec 26, 2008 03:15 PM

Am I alone? Very Traditional Cookware.

I read threads about crock pots, nuclear clad cookware, Viking Platinum Made stoves and a gazillion gadgets. I cook a lot from a wide variety of world cuisines.(We save dining out for travel.) I feel I am in the minority in the tools by which I cook. I have never had or used a crock pot, cook on or in cast iron or old copper/stainless pots and pans and wok. I cook on a simple 50 year old gas range or a wood stove. Have a Webber grill and a Brinker smoker, both charcoal powered. I rarely use our gift given food processor; I like to chop and dice (very therapeutic). We have a root cellar with our garden crops and since or fridge is small, use the cellar and garage as refrigerators. Are there other simple chefs (in cookware not methodology) out there?

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  1. Sure. The overpriced cookware from
    gourmet stores and catalogs
    won't make food taste better. I now just
    buy from restaurant supply

    1. Funny how one person's 'traditional' is another's exotic or newfangled. What's more traditional than wood stoves and cast iron? A wok over a charcoal fire? A ceramic pot for slow cooking?

      Your subject line made me think of the Spanish terracotta 'cazuella' that I bought a few months ago, or the Chinese sand pots. OK, I do use them on a new-fangled butane hot plate, but that's in part because my stove is an electric coil one. Is a 30 yr old Presto pressure cooker traditional? Cast iron chicken fryer with glass lid? What's more old fashioned than blue-speckled enamel ware? French carbon steel crepe pan? Mexican steel comal (tortilla griddle)?

      5 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        Yes, I forgot my pressure cookers! Pinto bean Mexican heaven! One is full of garbonzos as I type to make a big batch of hummus for a healthy snack for the 2 college kids home for the holidays.

        1. re: paulj

          >>Funny how one person's 'traditional' is another's exotic or newfangled.

          amen to that. i grew up watching my mother cook with a wok and using a rice cooker almost every night, and watching my friends' parents make cornbread in a cast iron skillet. for me, you can't get much more traditional than these. on the other hand, my mother didn't own a crock pot and i never used one until graduate school, when i scored one for free and discovered the joys of lazy braising and oxtail stew. so 'traditional' is definitely in the eye of the beholder!

          i can't wait to try this new fangled pressure cooker doohicky for the first time, passadumkeg. ;)

          1. re: cimui

            A pressure cooker is bean (and chuck roast) heaven! My pressure and camping grill got me through grad school w/ 130 lbs. of pinto beans and 4 bushels of chiles (2red and dried and 2 roasted, pealed and frozen) Our youngest (19) and I did 4 cups of dried garbozos yesterday and made and froze ( to take back to college) bunches of different types of hummus. I must confess, that when mom died in Oct. I inherited a Cuisinart food processor. We used it for the first time yesterday. After overloading the first batch and making an olive oil and fresh squeezed oj mess, it worked slicker than sh*t through a tin whistle. Easier than our 70's blender.
            Our unemployed sociology major was dropping heavy hints that he wanted a $130 rice cooker from Santa. But good ol' Dumkeg Santa, true to form, got him snow shoes ( DW and I still have trouble w. these new fangled, hihg tech, non-wood,non-gut and non-leather contraptions.) and tool kit and handle bar bag for his bicycle.
            I going on the radio this afternoon at 2 to sub on Woodstock Radio (For over-the-hill hippies and hippie wannabes) on WERU (Commie Radio), give it a listen.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              Here's the corrected link, Passa:

              Looks good. Break a leg!

        2. Passadumkeg, we are out here! Cay

          1. Cast iron is very traditional and I suggest you try it, cheap, versatile, unbreakable and there are simply things you can do with cast iron that you cannot do as well with other pans, like searing for example. I agree that simplicity is wonderful.

            6 Replies
            1. re: virtualguthrie

              My writing was unclear, I have 4 cast iron frying pans, 2 Dutch ovens, 1 pot and on sauce pot.

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                Okay then. I was about to be indignant.

              2. re: virtualguthrie

                Cast Iron is not unbreakable. Drop it or hit at the right spot and bye-bye cast iron. The process ny which it is wrought does make for weak spots. Breakage is definitely possible,

                1. re: Candy

                  Yeah, I know! My wife has broken several cast iron skillets over my head late at night!

                  1. re: Candy

                    Once when we moved, I packed a set of glass mixing bowls inside a cast iron skillet.
                    Have NO idea what happened but the skillet cracked in half and the mixing bowls were fine.
                    Go figure. Must have hit something at just the right - or wrong - angle.

                  2. re: virtualguthrie

                    Cold water on hot cast iron will crack it. NEARLY unbreakable, however.

                  3. I'm with you. I have a tiny, boring old kitchen, use my cast iron 99% of the time, store my main dry goods in my grandma's old tin containers, and my two jelly roll pans get more use than any other baking container that I own. A set of fancy pans would be wasted on me. My most used kitchen appliance is my (old, boring) slow cooker, which to me feels pretty old school. I'm all about ingredients and technique. It's easy to be all about technique when money is tight! :o)

                    I'd love a root cellar. We do a winter farm share (CSA) each year and I end up with potatoes and such coming out my ears. I try to improvise; if I had a garage, I'd be using it! I grew up with a freezer for a side of beef out in the garage next to the steel shelves full of canned goods and condiments and baskets of fruits and veggies. I miss that luxury!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Vetter

                      Our freezer I bought for deer meat, but due to a very harsh winter last year, the "harvest" was down 50% this year and no deer for me. Oh dear!