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Mar 15, 2011 05:29 PM

Hey YOU, cookware companies!

Here's my chance to let the companies know what I would like to change, or improve on, the cookware available today.

1. I want comfortable handles. I don't want skinny handles that twist and turn when I'm carrying a swishy heavy load. Give me handles like the French lines have - think De Buyer. If I could take all the All Clad cookware I have, pry off the handles and rivet DB's on them I would die a happy woman.

2. Hey, you cookware folks - make standard widths so we can buy lids as we need them. (I'm talking to you All Clad - within your own lines there's no consistency.) It shouldn't matter where you buy the product, if it's a 12 inch saute, I should be able to get a lid for a 12 inch saute. Think bathing suits - mix and match. If I want a glass lid for that 12 inch saute... (I know, good luck.)

3. Don't mess with me and NOT give complete specs. I want to know exactly how high the sides are, how wide the top is, how wide the cooking surface is, and how heavy it is. (In this case, I'm also talking to you baking-dish manufacturers. Don't just tell me the quart size. I want to know if I can fit a regular lasagna noodle in it, or if I have to add another one running the other way to fit.) List the handle length separately - I can add the two for the total length - I'm quick that way.

Side note: Speaking of lasagna wish list: I want a white French porcelain, 4 inches deep, absolutely straight-sided and squared, sized for lasagna, with a well-fitted lid and handles that I can actually grip easily. They will sell like hotcakes. I have friends.

4. Be honest about country of origin. Most companies are at this point, but hey - we're not going to let you slip, and the rest of you - step up.

5. Pay attention to hazards. I've seen baking dishes with ridiculous handles. Wear a Santa oven mitt, and that sucker can end up on the floor or worse. Design handles that I can really grip - cheese gets HOT for crying out loud.

Side note: I have small hands, but I need a thick flexible mitt. Why do they all look like Santa's mittens and so stiff I can't bend my fingers? Who has thumbs that stick out sideways?

What I DO like:

1. I love clad cookware for so many reasons. It cooks evenly, browns wonderfully. AND, even if the pan is nearly black, you can soak it and the stuff just lifts off. A little scrubbie and you're done.

2. DeBuyer, yes, my dear friends. Love your products. Make more of your various pieces available to purchase here in the States. We do love you. Really.

3. My Karahi Indian wok. It's Calphalon One, they don't make it any more (for some reason) and I'm soo glad I got it when I did. I would like a carbon steel version, but can't find the authentic version online. Anywhere. (Can use help here - thanks in advance.)

4. LeCrueset, Emile Henry, Pillivuyt, and others - you know who you are.

I have lots of other likes, but I will say finally I am so glad to read everyone's posts here at Chow Cookware, because it's nice to run with you folks!


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  1. #3: old used classic cookware? call 'Cookin' on Divisadero in San Francisco, owner is a total crank, but knows her stuff. she may not have what you're looking for, but could probably tell how often she's seen it in the last 20 years and what your chances of finding it are.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      hill food, I owe you - again :) After all these years, I'd never heard of this shop. Sounds amazing. Thanks.

      1. re: c oliver

        hope she's still there, she's a trip "do you have an 'X'?" growls back: "whatta ya making?" "YZ" "ahh nobody makes that crap anymore, over here I got the pan you need, but why you wanna make that beats the hell outta me"

        1. re: hill food

          Love it. You're a good story teller, hf.

    2. I agree about uncomfortable pot handles. I won't buy a saucepan I cannot handle, unless I already know about its handles.

      I wish they'd bring back those terrycloth potholders. I have 2 old ones that are getting on in age. The potholders I am thinking of came in bright blue or red, and the terrycloth was thick. I haven't seen any of those (new) in years.

      And why can't we buy actual old fashioned Pyrex, that doesn't suffer thermal shock, and that is as good as it used to be? I am going to have to replace my old glass pie pans. I won't be buying Pyrex, or Fire King.

      And, while I am thinking about this, why are most of the new tablecloths made out of synthetics that are flimsy and feel fake?

      And I have wished for, and given up on, finding a good modern toaster. I now use a toaster oven. But really, how hard is to make a decent toaster?

      10 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        I prefer a toaster oven over a microwave, but they really suck at actually doing toast.

        1. re: hill food

          My breville smart oven makes fantastic toast.

          1. re: flourgirl

            My Cuisinart Toaster Convetion Oven does many things well, including making toast as well as any toaster I've had recently. There is a good argument for not tying up counter space with a singe task appliance. I've tied up more counter space with the oven, but I really really use it!

            1. re: sueatmo

              Yes, my toaster oven gets a regular work out. It's quite large, so I am often able to use it instead of my big oven, which is an energy saver as well.

            2. re: flourgirl

              I love my Breville smart oven, and it does make great toast.

          2. re: sueatmo

            Right there with you on the toaster. I don't want a toaster oven. I want a toaster. Mine needs replacing, but I don't want to buy another mistake. And I live in mortal dread of breaking my decades-old Pyrex. What do people replace it with?

            1. re: Isolda

              I don't regret buying my Cuisinart convection toaster oven. It makes acceptable toast, and it bakes fabulous potatoes. It heats up quickly, and shuts off after you turn it off. I can't say all of those apply to my big oven.

              I really like my toaster oven. But I wouldn't have bought it if I had thought I could find a decent toaster.

              1. re: Isolda

                DH wanted to get a toaster oven at the new house, but at the old house he burned bread bags against the side and lit taco shells on fire one too many times (and he's a wildland firefighter, no less) and the crumbs would get overheated because nobody ever emptied them and gods above, toaster ovens need looking after to a certain degree, and non-chowhounds in general and males in particular wouldn't ever think of emptying the crumb tray, so I put the kibosh on toaster ovens at this house and bought a nice cuisinart toaster. I did buy a toaster oven at Tuesday Morning but it's for my art projects, which I made clear early on.
                We don't have enough counter space for a rattyass burned-up toaster oven, in other words.

                1. re: EWSflash

                  I think you have good reasons for not wanting a toaster oven. :)

            2. They should all have a trade-in program and send me a check.

              1. If you can find leather/suede oven mitts/pot holders... you wont' be sorry. Just don't wash them.

                19 Replies
                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Wow, I can't believe I never thought of them. Thanks.

                    I have a pair of square suede pot holders which I love but dang... you nailed it.

                    1. re: hambone

                      careful you don't buy a retro vintage pair - asbestos fibers were used back then.

                      1. re: hill food

                        No. These are just leather.

                        The leather is thicker than the glove you might use for yard work.

                        1. re: Candy

                          love an OvGlove (ok was that too much alliteration?)

                          1. re: hill food

                            I shall check out this OvGlove you speak of.

                            1. re: hill food

                              Once they get oil on them that gets rancid they stink. No amount of washing seems to erase it. Mine now resides in my plumbing kit, for which I recommend it.

                              1. re: Paulustrious

                                I hate OveGloves, if they're the slightest bit damp you get burned, they get dirty very quickly and don't wash well as you've noted, and if you have small hands they don't stay put - the sides of the fingers seem to be less well insulated than the rest of the thing. When confronted with them as I am at my mother-in-law's, I use them folded as (inferior) potholders. And P, was just thinking the other day I hadn't seen boo out of you for ages (and missing it).

                            2. re: Candy

                              Googled it.

                              Not pretty but that could be a winner!


                          2. re: kaleokahu

                            You know I don't think welder's gloves are right for me! Aren't they large and stiff?

                            I really need to replace my terrycloth potholders, but I don't know where to find them. I believe the maker was Ritz.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              welder's aren't as stiff as those idiotic mitts. and as hambone points out the current welders ain't bad

                              1. re: hill food

                                What idiotic mitts? I am not fond of the mitts designed as potholders. I like a plain flexible terrycloth potholder. I did see an interesting leather barbecue mitt at Home Goods today. I stuck my hand in it, but it didn't seem to be a a good fit. Perhaps they are meant for the male hand!

                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  aww I just meant those ones the size of rabbits that I think the OP griped about, quilted-dy and inflexible and difficult to even grab anything. or feel that you're grabbing anything.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    No those aren't functional, are they? I've also bought potholders like that. Not flexible and perhaps too big.

                                  2. re: sueatmo

                                    This is the suede pot holder I was talking about.

                                    I had my first set for ~10 years. They stayed soft and best of all had a nice grip. Then they went through the wash and drier and were really stiff. I oiled them and that helped a lot but now that I see how inexpensive they are, I just ordered a new pair.

                                    1. re: hambone

                                      Oh! (light bulb lights above my head). Hey I might try one. Thanks.

                                      1. re: hambone

                                        I never knew suede pot holders existed, but it makes perfect sense! I hoard my old double-thick terry ones, too. I will have to try the suede.

                                        1. re: arashall

                                          I bet you won't be disappointed.

                            2. breadchick: Well-written. I hope they take some notice. Especially w/ regards to your Wish #3.

                              The cookware industry can be a wicked place. And it doesn't need to be.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                Thank you. It's just very frustrating, and as you said "it doesn't need to be."