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Cast Aluminum

chicgail Jan 13, 2011 02:59 PM

I have a couple of ancient Wagnerware cast aluminum saucepans and a dutch oven. I've replaced their matching pans long ago with Calphalon some time ago, but I'm beginning to notice how oddly lightweight they are for such big, thick metal cookware.

I'm thinking of replacing the pots, but I don't know with what.

All-Clad? Cuisinart? Calphalon? Something else? Is copper core worth it?

I cook a lot and blog about food and I'd love to get your input before I make the investment.

  1. paulj Jan 13, 2011 11:40 PM

    Why do you want to replace them?

    One of my favorite pots is a 10" hard anodize aluminum dutch oven (GSI Outdoors). While I bought it with camp cooking in mind (it has the rimmed lid for coals), I found it works great at home. I just braised beef shank in it. I bake biscuits and scones in it.

    1. Chemicalkinetics Jan 13, 2011 06:07 PM

      Like the two other person have said, an aluminum cookware offers great cooking performance. Quick thermal conductivity and light-weight. Bare aluminum has its disadvantage. For one, it discolors in acidic solution, and it is easier to bang up aluminum than stainless steel.

      When you said you have replaced some of your cookware with Calphalon, exactly what kind of Calphalon. Calphalon was famous for their aluminum and anodized aluminum cookware, but its stainless triply cookware are also very popular.

      I don't think you will get better cooking performance by switching to All-Clad, Cuisinart, Calphalon...(assuming you are talking about their triply). However, it is easier to take care of a stainless steel surface cookware like All-Clad. For one, you can put them in dishwasher and you can use a metal utensil and be relatively rough to a stainless steel cookware.

      Now, if you like aluminum, but you wish you can cook some acidic foods, then anodized aluminum is a good alternative, but I am not even sure Calphalon makes that anymore because I think Calphalon discontinued that line. Now, all its aluminum cookware have nonstick surfaces (different kind of nonstick, but nonstick regardless).

      1. k
        kaleokahu Jan 13, 2011 05:34 PM

        These are nice pans. If the acid thing or handwashing aren't bothering you, it's hard to see how your proposed alternatives would be any better. Straight-gauge 3mm and above copper would be a step up. but hard to find used, next to impossible new, and $$$.

        Beware the claims of copper-core clad. Unless the maker will tell you the thicknesses of all the layers and it "adds up", the copper core is probably quite thin. Likewise the 5- and 7-layer bars.

        1. greygarious Jan 13, 2011 03:29 PM

          Your old pans have very good heat retention. I see no reason to replace them unless you have nothing else in which to cook high-acid foods.

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