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Looking for advice on a frying pan

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For the last decade, I've been using a series of disposable nonstick frying pans, mostly Calphalon Contemporary stuff bought cheap during Christmas sales. I've noticed that the most recent one is warping, and want to get something more permanent (so non-nonstick) to replace it.

I'll use the pan mostly for cooking chunks of protein -- chicken pieces, pork chops, steaks, misc. fishes -- along with making simple pan sauces. I have a smoothtop electric stove now, but expect to have gas at some point in the medium-term future. Price isn't really a concern for me, within reasonable boundaries -- if I'll spend over a grand on a laptop that I'll have to replace in a few years, it seems silly to quibble about a few hundred bucks on a pan that may last decades.

After doing some reading, I'm looking at the Falk 12.5" frying pan. From what I've read, the big downsides are weight and the need to hand-wash. Falk says the pan weighs 8lbs; I've put weights in an existing pan to match that, and the weight seems fine -- I can still carry it easily one-handed, and it does have a helper handle if I need it. Hand-washing isn't a problem; I hand-wash most of my pans anyway, and I'm not that concerned about keeping the copper bright and shiny, just clean.

So: Any other downsides I'm not thinking of? Anything else you'd recommend instead (keeping in mind that "nearly as good, but much cheaper" isn't something I care about)?

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  1. Falk frying pan, I assume is the one with a copper body lined with a stainless steel surface. My concern has to do with this: have you ever cooked with a stainless steel surface frying pan? There is definitely a hurdle for people who has never tried it. If you have cooked with a stainless steel surface frying pan before, then great. If not, I suggest you borrow one from a friend and see if you like it.

    Nonstick cookware didn't become popular for no reason. A lot of people have trouble working with stainless steel surface cookware. It is not difficult in my opinion, and it is certainly something you can learn.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I'd add a heavy carbon steel pan like a DeBuyer mineral pan to try, eggs are the toughest to cook without sticking and on the 4th use of the pan eggs slide right out

      1. re: Dave5440

        This is an excellent point Dave.

        Mkozlows. It depends what you value more. If you value better heat evenness across your pan, then the copper pan is better. If you value a semi-nonstick surface, then a carbon steel or a cast iron frying pan is better.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I sort of loathe cast iron from a maintenance standpoint, and it's been my belief that making pan sauces (deglazing with wine) isn't something you'd want to do in cast iron. So that's why I'm not looking in that direction.

          1. re: mkozlows

            Make sense. Good thinking.

      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Yeah, I have an All-Clad saute pan that I also use. I have the nonstick stuff out of a conviction that I should have nonstick cookware in case I need it for something; but I never cook eggs, and I essentially just use it because it's larger, and I don't need to crowd stuff as much when I cook, e.g., three chicken breasts.

        1. re: mkozlows

          Oh great. if you already have an All Clad stainless steel pan, then you know what to expect. The copper pan will give you even slightly better heat evenness and presumably better heat response as well (since there is only one stainless steel surface and not two) than your current All Clad. As Dave said, a carbon steel or cast iron pan will give you something different. Not as heat even, but less sticky. They are all good choices.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I have SS pans as well that haven't been used in yrs because of the sticking issue but proteins didn't stick at all in the carbon, mine seems to heat quite evenly but i'm on gas so maybe that's why(I also haven't used copper in yrs so maybe I just don't have a comparison to go by)

            1. re: Dave5440

              I think everyone has difference preference. Mine is probably closer to yours. I find it much easier to cook my fish filet on carbon steel or cast iron pans because of the near-nonstick property. For mkozlows, he is considering stainless steel on copper, so the issue is really the same for stainless steel on copper vs stainless steel on aluminum.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I think part of it is that I don't tend to cook "fragile" fish -- tuna and swordfish steaks, salmon (which I usually -- okay, always -- cook in a way where it's mostly skin-down in the oven, so the nonstick is less important), and tilapia (which I breadcrumb, which makes it easy enough to handle).

                In theory, I think that nonstick stuff is useful and I should have some; but despite the part where I always have had some, I mostly am indifferent to it with the stuff I actually cook. An egg allergy probably helps with that. :)

                1. re: mkozlows

                  I am not disagreeing with you. I think each of us just has different things to look for.

                  Actually for copper/aluminum based pan and cast iron/carbon steel pans are good for fragile fish, but for very different reasons. For cast iron and carbon steel pan, the semi nonstick surface makes it easier to move and turn foods without tearing them apart. For copper/aluminum pan, the even heating surface makes it easier to evenly cook the foods decreasing the need to move or repeat turning of the foods.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Yep, I was just thinking aloud and expanding on why non-stick-ness seems less important to me specifically than it does in a general sense.

      3. I would actually recommend that you consider an alternative. I love non-stick for eggs and crepes, use my steamer for veggies, and use cast iron for pretty much everything else.

        Cast iron is ideal for protein and pan sauces and will easily last a lifetime. I have the Lodge Logic 10", 12" and dutch oven. The 10" is my everyday pan and gets constant use. I only use the 12" here and there but that's because most of my daily cooking is just for two. The dutch oven is perfect for making large sauces - I do this about once a week. While your budget is substantial, these are all reasonable and will leave you with a lot of leftover cash for more interesting things like good Japanese knives, etc.

        Please note, yes - they do come "factory per-seasoned". BUT - they definitely need additional seasoning. This is easy to do, either in the oven or cooktop. I'd recommend that you give them 4+ treatments - before initial use. After this, they will be rock-solid, be very non-stick, and may then be "abused" any way you like and won't rust. I now regularly leave mine to soak etc, without harm.

        http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-7-Q...
        http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-10-...
        http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L10SK3-12...

        Jeff

        6 Replies
        1. re: jkling17

          I used to have a cast iron pan. What I didn't like about it was: 1) It took a long time to come up to heat, so when I was making something quick, preheating the pan was just an awkwardly long part of the process; 2) you're not supposed to use soap to clean it, so it was irritating have to have a second scrubby sponge just for that pan; 3) it's so slow to react, so if you do end up getting it too hot and want to reduce the heat, you're completely out of luck, because you can take it off the burner all you want, but it's going to stay hot for a while; and 4) if you're not careful with it, drying and oiling it after each use, it'll rust.

          When mine rusted, I threw it away and swore good riddance to cast iron forever.

          1. re: mkozlows

            You may wish to reconsider. It's actually all BS about the "no soap" thing. Also BS about needing to oil and dry them. If you give them a REALLY good seasoning (4+ coats), they become just bulletproof. Once I truly did a good job of seasoning mine, I stopped babying them and they never rust. I use soap. I let them soak in water. I don't bother oiling them or drying them. Guess what? No rust.

            This wasn't the case when I first got them but once I Google'd how to season them properly and did it several times over ... no more worries at all. They are the most carefree pans I've ever owned, and unlike non-stick - can handle high heat for searing meats.

            1. re: jkling17

              That's been my experience as well.

              1. re: jkling17

                Okay, but even if all that's true, it only addresses some of my problems with cast iron. It still takes a long time to heat up. It's still dificult to cool down while cooking if I got it too hot. It's still not great for wine-based pan sauces.

                And the advantages of it over stainless-lined copper are... that it's less sticky? And that it works somewhat better if you transfer it to the oven? Okay, that's nice, but at least for me, it doesn't seem worth the trade-offs.

                1. re: mkozlows

                  If it doesn't work for you for you that's cool , those are valid reasons , and copper does look so good too bad they don't make copper/carbon steel.

                  1. re: mkozlows

                    I have stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron, copper, enameled cast iron, and non-stick cookware. I find them all useful depending on what I'm cooking. (I only own one non-stick pan--a frying pan which I use very occasionally.)

                    I use my carbon steel fry pan for my scrambled eggs, omelettes, fried eggs etc (cooked in butter). I also use it for pancakes, crepes etc. I use my cast iron fry pan to fry a burger or steak when I don't need to deglaze the pan for a sauce. I use my cast iron grill pan on my outdoor 60,000 BTU propane burner because I can get that pan to 700F quickly and with no worries. I also like using my 12" cast iron pan for frying chicken--it's relatively non-stick, thick and does a good job frying chicken.

                    Most of the meals I cook are in my 3 quart stainless steel/aluminum clad saute pan.

                    I like braising in my 3 quart shallow covered casserole enameled cast iron pot. I like making beans and stews in my 6 quart enameled cast iron pot.

                    I love my non-enameled 3 1/2 quart covered dutch oven for baking my artisan loaves of bread in.

                    I like caramelizing onions, cooking bacon in the single non stick fry pan that I have. I haven't had much good luck with eggs in non-stick frying pans--seem to come out better from my carbon steel frying pan.

                    I use a copper (stainless steel lined) saucier for my sauces.

                    I use various sized stainless/aluminum clad pots for soups, rice, stews etc..

            2. I'm going through the same process of trying to find the perfect generously sized frying pan for cooking up protein (pork, chicken) and making simple pan sauces and gravies. I have just one additional criterion: it must be induction-compatible because I use an induction cooktop.

              Four pans have come reasonably close, but none are completely satisfactory -- De Buyer Prima Matera (too small at 11", no pouring lip, no helper handle), All-Clad 13" paella pan (I chose this to avoid the "uncomfortable handle" rep of All-Clad, since it has two loop handles -- no pouring lip, but on the plus side it has a nice lid), De Buyer Affinity 12.6" 7-ply skillet (no pouring lip, no helper handle), Le Creuset Tri-ply 12.5" skillet (the closest so far: effective pouring lip, helper handle -- just feels a bit too light to me). I've ordered a Viking 13" 7-ply frying pan that I hope will (finally) do the trick -- generous size, very solid and heavy, a pouring lip, and a helper handle. It should arrive in a couple of days.

              5 Replies
              1. re: tanuki soup

                Yeah, I was waffling over induction-compatibility, and finally decided that, in the unlikely event I ever got an induction cooktop, I'd just budget new induction-specific pans for it, because trying to get something that works well over direct heat and induction seems a bit too much of a jack-of-all-trades situation, where it's not really ideal for either.

                1. re: mkozlows

                  I think you're right there. Aluminum or copper (without exterior cladding) should be best over a gas flame.

                2. re: tanuki soup

                  How did you like the Viking 13" 7-ply frying pan? I am looking for a reasonably priced frying pan that won't warp. I would use it for mostly for fixing Venison.

                  1. re: antlerflicka

                    The Viking pan has worked out great for me. It's my go-to pan for making pork chops with pan gravy. Very even heating, generous capacity, perfectly flat, nice solid feel, comfortable handle (and helper handle), effective pouring lip, easy to clean. My search is over!

                    1. re: tanuki soup

                      good to know... I'm going to order one... Thank You!

                3. cast iron...

                  1. Had to read every thing twice to make sure I didn't jump to conclusions or miss information. Glad I did. Just get the Falk and have fun. You have indicated you have a variety of cookware based on needs, and are looking to expand. Have fun.

                    I cook on 12 inch propane burners. With no oven, I obviously fry and boil alot. I have a large carbon steel wok, an aluminum teflon wok, 16 in cast iron, 10 in cast iron deep frier, 10 in All-clad. Each is used for it's different cooking properties. And number of people I am cooking for. Everybody has their favorite.

                    Buy the Falk and hopefully you will start a new thread detailing the differences in cooking you have discerned and if it has performed to expectations, or beyond. Enjoy.

                    On the other hand, if you really want to be hedonistic, search out a pure nickel fry pan from before the depression. Found in high end restaurants of the time. Most were melted down for scrap for the war effort. Worth the search. A friend has one. More like 10 lbs though.

                    1. I don't think you have made a bad choice with the Falk. The main thing with stainless versus the seasoned pans is finding the sweet spot temperature wise where it is going to stick the least. Takes a little experimenting and when you switch stoves you will have to do it again.

                      1. Hi mkozlows,

                        I'll suggest another option: tin-lined copper. Especially since you already have plans to switch to a gas range down the road. It won't make much difference in performance (vs SS lined cu) on a ceramic top electric, but it should once you switch to gas.

                        The tinned surface is surprisingly non-stick, especially compared to SS. You do have to be a bit more careful, but not really any more so than what you should already be doing with non-stick Calphalon. That means no extreme heat, no metal utensiles, no abrasive cleaners, etc.

                        With your very practical approach to costs, I think you'll be much happier long-term with tin-lined cu vs SS-lined cu.

                        Just something to consider.

                        41 Replies
                        1. re: Eiron

                          It seems to me that for my purposes -- especially in a frying pan! -- the minor benefit in responsiveness or whatever that you'd get from tin is outweighed by the increased need to baby it (no metal implements, more delicate cleaning) and maintenance of eventual retinning.

                          Yeah, I'm lazy. :)

                          1. re: mkozlows

                            Hi, mkozlows:

                            Another thing about tinned copper to consider is that the thickest bimetal pieces like Falk are comprised of, at most, 2.3mm of copper. Going with vintage tin can increase that to true 2.5, 3, and sometimes even thicker. I wouldn't trade my Dehillerin 3.2mm saute for any bimetal pan made.

                            I have to smile whenever I hear someone who'd rather trade down in quality of pan rather than buy a wooden utensil or two. Still don't get it.

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Well, maybe I should look into it more. What tinned copper cookware would you recommend? (Assume I am buying on the internet from the US, not flying to Paris, as much as I might like that.)

                              1. re: mkozlows

                                Hi, mkozlows:

                                If you're already considering a $$$ Falk, and you want a new frying pan, I would start you out at looking at a Mazzetti in 2.5 or 3mm. These are handmade Italian pieces. Their 3mm frypans are available with lids, helper handle and silver lining. I have a 26cm tinned frypan of theirs in 2.5mm--I think it was 99 Euro. The only *small* downside of Mazzetti is they insist on using brass handles, a problem I solved by adding a $5 silicone handle sleeve.

                                http://www.rameria.com/

                                With Italy and Europe in financial trouble, the exchange rate may make this a good deal.

                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  Okay, it looks like price-wise, it's pretty close -- the 3mm one is a bit more than the Falk, the 2.5mm a bit less.

                                  I guess my biggest concern with the tin is the exhortation (repeated on Mazzetti's site) not to get it too hot. If I want to sear meats in the pan, it seems like it'd be a bad material to use.

                                  1. re: mkozlows

                                    Hi, mkozlows:

                                    If your searing means flash searing at high temperatures, your concern is justified (less so with the silver than tin). That is, if you're from the school of thought that you get the pan smoking hot, flop in the meat, do a quick flip and remove from the heat to finish, then this is not the best choice.

                                    But it is an *excellent* choice for lower-temp sears and frys. I did >2" thick filets mignon for NYE in tinned copper, with no damage to the pan, and a nice seared crust on the meat. IME, the key is to preheat the pan with your fat on something like med heat, frequently holding your hand over the pan to gauge the heat--it will heat VERY fast. Your flop should give you a very faint sizzle, and you time your turn so that there is no finish, just a brief rest.

                                    Falk is excellent cookware, w/o any doubt. I just wanted to point out that even Falk comes with a bit of a tradeoff. If they could make their bimetal from 3mm foil and 0.2mm of SS, IME it would be even better.

                                    Aloha,
                                    Kaleo

                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      I've never heard of silver-lined copper before. Is it a gimmick, or something that actually is practical? I don't see any of the Mazzetti pans that explicitly say they're silver, though I didn't look through all of them.

                                      1. re: mkozlows

                                        Hi, mkozlows:

                                        No, not at all is silver-lined copper a gimmick. It's just very rare, as is nickle-lined. And yes, it's practical, in the sense that silver, at 2.5-3 on the Mohs scale, is substantially harder than tin, at 1.5-2. I'd be surprised if you *did* find a review.

                                        Yes, individual preferences and priorities can differ. SS-lined is definitely more durable (yet not indestructible, witness Falk/Mauvel problems with salt). But as I said, if you want copper thicker than 2.3mm, SS-lined isn't an option. For me, I'll accept what you call "fragility" (my 12-pound saute is ROFL to hear) and deal thickness more to the top of the deck. I also feel better about having a pan that may have been in service for 100 or more years, is effectively renewable forever, and will probably never be knowingly discarded (bimetal being a recent advance and of unknown longevity, but when it's gone, it's gone).

                                        Let me suggest that SS-lined may be a good choice for convenience, especially if you cleave to the notion that pans are strictly tools, slaves, means to ends. If however, you're open to the philosophy that food, pans, hobs and cooks can be synergistic if not equal partners...

                                        Aloha,
                                        Kaleo

                                        1. re: mkozlows

                                          Silver has the advantages of a melting point close to copper (but lower than), with excellent heat conductivity. So it is easy to plate to copper, while being less susceptible to damage than tin, which melts at a much lower temperature. The disadvantage, of course, is cost.

                                          1. re: GH1618

                                            Questions I would have about silver are: 1) Is it reactive with food at all? 2) How well will a 15-micron layer hold up to regular wear-and-tear?

                                            1. re: GH1618

                                              Not just cost: Tarnish from foods containing sulfur (onions, eggs) and acids (most food). You'd be having to polish it all the time.

                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                I don't think you would ever have to polish a silver-lined pan. The tarnish shouldn't affect the cooking properties. I would pre-tarnish the whole thing to a uniform black. A pan is not jewelry.

                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                  Hi, GH1618:

                                                  And *that's* why there are these things out there, passing us mere mortals by, like Van Goghs at garage sales. I don't even want to think about how many silver-lined pans have been scrapped, only to be replaced by... clad.

                                                  Aloha,
                                                  Kaleo

                                          2. re: kaleokahu

                                            After some time googling, I can find not a single review of silver-lined copper (but a number of things suggesting that it's a super-thin electroplate and would wear out quickly and be impractical to re-line), so while it sounds promising, I suspect it's still gimmicky at the moment. As for the Mazzetti stuff, I find a lot of posts recommending it, but almost entirely from you. :)

                                            And after reading more stuff from tin partisans... enh, I think I'm still leaning toward stainless. There's no consensus on whether it's actually less "sticky" than stainless; the increased conductivity of tin seems to be offset by the tin layer being thicker than a stainless layer; and the maintenance/fragility of tin is just orders of magnitude more problematic than stainless.

                                            The most notable thing to me is that lots of people who have both tin and stainless-lined copper strongly prefer the stainless, and only a couple prefer the tin -- and the tin-lovers' reasons tend to be more on the aesthetic/tradition side, whereas the stainless-lovers' reasons are all very workaday and practical.

                                            1. re: mkozlows

                                              "Gimmick" implies that it has no real advantages. It does, but has become impractical due to cost.

                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                I guess I meant it in a different sense -- i.e., it might have advantages, but it also has some serious disadvantages, which is why it's not more widely used.

                                                If it was really just cost that was keeping it out of the market, I'd be shocked not to find it used on some premium label somewhere. I mean, if it really has none of the downsides of either tin or stainless, then a company that made silver-lined copper would have no problem at all getting all the people here at least recommending it as the unquestioned best copper cookware, you know?

                                                1. re: mkozlows

                                                  Silver plate was probably much more common in an earlier era. Here is an example:

                                                  http://www.antiques.com/classified/10...

                                                  1. re: mkozlows

                                                    HI, again, mkozlows:

                                                    "I'd be shocked not to find it used on some premium label somewhere."

                                                    There is Georg Jensen's Taverna line. And others. Just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

                                                    And what would you consider to be silver's "serious disadvantages"?

                                                    Aloha,
                                                    Kaleo

                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                      I have no idea at all, which is why I put that in the speculative (although I see that I phrased it ambiguously).

                                                      But if there was really a material that was actually ideal for lining copper pans -- durable, non-chemically reactive, amazingly heat-transmissive, safe with high heats, not too "sticky", easy to maintain -- then I would think that, in this internet era, there would be someone actively making these pans and promoting the various undeniable benefits of them, and that people on forums like this one would lust after them and talk them up all the time.

                                                      So basically, from the observation that this isn't happening, I'm extrapolating that there must be a reason for that. Or it could just be that the cost is way more prohibitive than I'd think, and that nobody's going to buy a $1500 saute pan.

                                                      1. re: mkozlows

                                                        Hi again, mkozlows:

                                                        I share your puzzlement concerning why there are not more (or sometimes any) silver- and nickle-lined offerings. I do not believe, as others do, that it is strictly a matter of silver's cost. Silver is expensive, sure, being a precious metal, but the amount of silver required to line a pan is not that big and therefore not that expensive. A decent analogue might be gold, MUCH higher-priced, yet gold-leaf isn't that expensive in signmaking (or cooking or at the liquor store).

                                                        My friend who is in the copper cookware trade bandies statistics that would indicate that, even among the affluent, the ownership of ANY copper cookware is exceedingly low. We talk about the many reasons for this, but I have concluded (perhaps too cynically) that the reason is that we, as a herd nation of consumers, are largely content to buy what we are offered, and not think or seek outside what in reality is a narrowly drawn circle. We tend to know what we *think* we know, and blithely assume technology and overweening contempt of the past will work improvements, when in fact much of the best of the past is better than what we're now offered. If there are already *very* few consumers buying copperware, consider how many fewer still start out in the market looking for silver-lined. There can be only a small number worldwide.

                                                        My sense is that the paucity must be rooted in that ageless corner-cutting: convenience, not performance.

                                                        If you are interested in investing a little time, you will find silver- and nickle-lined copperware occasionally on eBay. When it is misdescribed or unrecognized, it is quite affordable.

                                                        Best,
                                                        Kaleo

                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                          "Corner-cutting". I love it.

                                                          Maybe some people value convenience more than performance, no?

                                                          You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but please get off your high horse and stop masquerading as though those opinions are facts.

                                                          1. re: NotJuliaChild

                                                            That's so nice of you to say, thanks. My mask slipped and I got my foot caught in my draft horse's stirrup, sorry.

                                                          2. re: kaleokahu

                                                            It's not just the cost of the silver, but the availability of craftsmen who work on copper pans who are using silver at all. As you write, there are few people using copper pans, and fewer still who would want to have it, so the retinners just don't provide it at all. The craftsmen who are using silver aren't making copper pots. So if you want a silver-lined pan you not only have to buy silver, but find someone who can (and will) do it at an affordable price. It's the total process that is unaffordable, not merely the cost of the silver.

                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                              Hi, GH1618:

                                                              I agree with your logic here. But as long as the *maker* takes it upon itself to offer silver-lined (e.g., Mazzetti) , I don't consider it unaffordable. More like scrimp-worthy.

                                                              Aloha,
                                                              Kaleo

                                                            2. re: kaleokahu

                                                              Silver is expensive, sure, being a precious metal

                                                              Price closed today at 29.970 usd/oz , pretty cheap if you ask me considering how many pans you could coat with one oz.

                                                              1. re: Dave5440

                                                                Hi, Dave:

                                                                That was pretty much my point. A day's wages will buy a lot of silver jewelry.

                                                                Aloha,
                                                                Kaleo

                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                  I just notice I replied to you , not GH, I see your point completly

                                                                  1. re: Dave5440

                                                                    Great minds think alike...

                                                            3. re: mkozlows

                                                              "But if there was really a material that was actually ideal for lining copper pans -- durable, non-chemically reactive, amazingly heat-transmissive, safe with high heats, not too "sticky", easy to maintain "

                                                              If there is a material that are "durable, non-chemically reactive, amazingly heat-transmissive, safe with high heats, not too "sticky"".... all of these, why wouldn't you just make the whole pan out of it instead of lining with copper, right?

                                                              Try diamond.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Diamond is a good heat conductor? I was under the impression that good heat conductors are also good electrical conductors

                                                                1. re: Dave5440

                                                                  Well, diamond is actually pretty good if we are talking about thermal conductivity, much higher than copper or silver:

                                                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

                                                                  At the same time, as you said, it is an electric insulator, so it is very safe. As I told a fellow poster a few years back, you won't get electrocuted while holding it. It is pretty durable as it is a very hard substance. Not too reactive (or else no one will wear it on their rings). Safe at high temperature (3500 oC for melting point), almost as light as aluminum....

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    Well I learned something today then, I was always under the impression that the lack of electrical conductivity went hand in hand with thermal

                                                                    1. re: Dave5440

                                                                      Hi, Dave5440:

                                                                      Now you just have to wait for LC to grow you a diamond crystal in the shape of a pan. I bet Aubergine and Teal will be discontinued by then, you think? ;)

                                                                      Aloha,
                                                                      Kaleo

                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                        Oh I don't touch the LC or stub in our house it's the bosses stuff, I'm prettty sure the discontinued stuff will come back as a limited time offer

                                                    2. re: kaleokahu

                                                      I've read a little of this thread and have a couple of comments. First, isn't silver tarnish toxic? To me, a solid-silver pan lined with .2mm SS would be better, but not much and WAY more expensive. Bear in mind that copper has 94% of the conductivity of silver at a fraction of the price.

                                                      Also, in what way would 3.0mm of copper with .2mm of SS be better than the current 2.5mm bimetal? If thicker is always better, then I would agree, but it is not...

                                                      And to the salt issue--salt pits all SS, but only if crystals are left in contact with the metal in the presence of moisture. I've been cooking with SS lined copper for 16 years and have yet to pit a pan. I can also tell you that in the 16 years that I've been in this business and10's of thousands of pans shipped, I have heard of only two or three examples of salt pitting. Salt pitting is always user error...

                                                      1. re: mharpo

                                                        Hi, mharpo:

                                                        "[I]sn't silver tarnish toxic?" Not that I know of. It is possible to metabolize *soluble* silver, and it you get a LOT of it, it can cause argyria, which is a permanent bluing of certain tissues, e.g., the conjunctiva. This condition is almost always limited to careless silversmiths and the unfortunate health nuts who take 'way too much "colloidal silver" nutritional supplements. If eating from silver poisoned folks, it would have been banned 100 years ago, and Victoria, Albert and the Kaiser would all have been azure, don't you think?

                                                        Yes, a silver/SS bimetal would be 4% "better" than copper/SS bimetal, all other things being equal. "[I]n what way would 3.0mm of copper with .2mm of SS be better than the current 2.5mm bimetal?" Evenness of heat. I'm not familiar with the calculation, but I have seen it written that the theoretically optimum thickness for evenness is 2.87mm of copper, which leaves the 2.5mm bimetal more than half a millimeter short of ideal. IMO, within reasonable manufacturing limits, thicker (say 4mm) would be even better. Falk Culinaire disputes this, and has taken the position that thay would use copper thicker than 2.3mm if it made any difference. I have seen no attempted proof of this claim, and think there are other reasons for their choice of thickness. Even assuming that the 2.87 is the optimum thickness for *evenness*, there is the factor of heat capacity to consider; IMO, >3mm will strike a better balance between conducting and holding heat.

                                                        Re: salt damage... Yes, practically, speaking it takes physical grain-to-lining contact and moisture, but these linings would not outlast a standard industry saline spray test, either. I mentioned salt pitting because Falk reserves the right not to warranty pans they determine are salt pitted. You obviously have more knowledge and experience than do I about actual numbers of such returns/rejections, so I defer to you. However, common sense would indicate that: (a) Falk wouldn't disclaim warranty without a reason; and (b) If pits develop (through user error or otherwise) 2/10 of a millimeter isn't all that much protection. Finally, if letting crystalline salt settle to the bottom of a pan is user error, then it's a very common--and counterintuitive--one with SS. Salt corrosion might be one reason why All-Clad uses 0.46mm for its cladding (over twice the thickness of the Falk bimetal).

                                                        Aloha, Kaleo

                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                          I can't remember where I saw the argument made about thicker than 3mm copper being suboptimal, and Falk is too much of an interested party to rely on much, but I imagine the idea is that when thicker than 3mm the copper has enough thermal mass to cut into its responsiveness to loss of heat. This wouldn't be a problem for many cooking applications (stock, braises) but would be for sauces, custards, etc.

                                                          An almost moot point, since pieces thicker than 3mm are very few and far between.

                                                          Copper tarnish is toxic, so I am not ready to dismiss the idea that silver tarnish might be. Most people who use silver flatware daily ingest very little tarnish, since polished silver only needs washing to stay tarnish-free. But a pan surface is something else again -- many times the surface area of a fork or spoon, and food stays on it significantly longer than on an eating or serving implement. Silver is very sensitive to salt and to the sulfur in eggs, cabbage, etc.

                                                          1. re: ellabee

                                                            Silver and copper are not and do not behave the same way chemically. Keep in mind some other uses for silver, such as dental alloys for fillings. Also, silver flatware is sterling silver, which is an alloy of about 92.5% silver and the remainder being copper or other metals.

                                                            1. re: mikie

                                                              Good point about the alloy nature of silver used in flatware. A lot of European silver is .800, i.e., 20% copper and/or other metals, and American pre-sterling-standard silver (roughly before 1870) is all over the map, though generally near 90% silver.

                                                              I'm assuming the alloy of silver used for dental fillings is a very different mix.

                                                              Silver used to line copper cookware would probably be sterling.

                                                              I'd still like to understand more about the toxicity of silver tarnish.

                                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                                Hi, Ellabee:

                                                                If you don't want to take my word for it, call Zapffe Silversmithing 800--544-9313. Since 1919.

                                                                Aloha,
                                                                Kaleo

                                                              2. re: mikie

                                                                Dental amalgam (silver) filling material contains mercury (about 50%), silver, tin, and copper. Mercury is, of course, a serious poison. The use of it (and other metals) in dental fillings depends on the stability of the amalgam, not the harmlessness of the ingredients.

                                                                Nowadays, amalgam isn't used as much as it once was.

                                          3. I use Swiss Diamond. Yes it is non-stick but not Teflon. It has an industrial diamond surface, it can brown which is something Teflon does not do well, you can use metal in it and the heat distribution is excellent.

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: Candy

                                              It may not be official Teflon, but it looks like it is still a non-permanent coating. Which makes it awfully expensive as a temp pan...

                                              1. re: Candy

                                                Hi, Candy:

                                                I was under the impression that SD was caught making claims that they don't use Teflon, when in fact their diamond matrix *is* made with non-tradename PTFE.

                                                Is this not the case?

                                                Aloha,
                                                Kaleo

                                                1. re: Candy

                                                  Swiss Diamond uses the same chemical as Teflon. It is only because Swiss Diamond the company didn't buy the PTFE chemical material from Dupont, so it is not called Teflon. Teflon is a Dupont brand name for PTFE. This is like Advil is the Pfizer brand name of ibuprofen.

                                                  http://www.swissdiamond.com/info/faq/...

                                                  That being said, it really depends what mkozlows wants. If the original poster is getting away from Teflon because he wants a more permanent pan, then Swiss Diamond may works for him. If the original poster is concern of the Teflon chemical (justified or not), then Swiss Diamond will not work for him.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    The health concerns of PTFE are certainly a thing, but mostly what it comes down to is that I can get perfectly decent temporary pans (the Calphalon Contemporary nonstick frying pans) for $25. So if the Swiss Miss stuff lasts five times as long but costs six times as much, it's still not that compelling. (And anyway, is it really less likely to warp than Calphalon? It's still just a straight aluminium pan...)

                                                    The goal is to get a pan that lasts essentially forever, which rules out any form of nonstick.

                                                    1. re: mkozlows

                                                      "So if the Swiss Miss stuff lasts five times as long but costs six times as much, it's still not that compelling."

                                                      I know. This is certainly a money concern. I always hear people said this cookware can X times as long .... Yeah, but it costs >X times the money.

                                                      Anyway, no, I think I doubt it is less likely warp than Calphalon. Calphalon cookware are usually very thick in comparison to many aluminum cookware. In addition, Calphalon is a leader in aluminum cookware especially anodized aluminum.

                                                      "The goal is to get a pan that lasts essentially forever, which rules out any form of nonstick."

                                                      Then again it begs your original question. If a forever pan last 60 years (which is essentially forever in human term and the realistic time frame you get to enjoy), but it costs 6 times as much as those 10 years long pan, then what?

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        5 less trips to the store and the privilege of cooking on the best for 60 years ;)

                                                        That said, I think the perceived differences between a lot of cookware is the result of marketing plans and advertising not actual significant physical performance. Most, if not all of us, do not have the equipment or technical wherewithal to measure the real differences. And, if we did, I suggest that much of that would be academic; we would all still learn to cook with what we got.

                                                        IMO, all this stuff about multiple layers boils down into just two things: an equivalent, so to speak, bulk layer (which has the most substantial mass) and the one that contacts the food. And, if you must have it, an outside layer for cosmetics. Anything more is superfluous.

                                                        We have cooks here who swear by cast iron, solid copper, stainless steel and every combination thereof. They can't all be delusional. Jaques Pepin cooked for a president without d5 multiclad pots. ;)

                                                        I've cooked many different things on enameled cast iron, multiply SS, tinned copper and really cheap who knows what. Granted, it was always a little trickier on the truly cheap stuff, but never fatal.

                                                        The more expensive cookware is often better made in ways that will give greater longevity (riveting, quality of metals and laminating) and that is worth something. I recommend spending as much as they can comfortably afford because the really good stuff will never be any cheaper than it is this year. Every time I pull out one of my Le Creuset french ovens, I chuckle about how much I paid 30 years ago and what they are selling for now. Now, if I only had the forethought to do the same with my skillets and saucepans...

                                                        1. re: plainv70

                                                          "And, if we did, I suggest that much of that would be academic; we would all still learn to cook with what we got."

                                                          This, I agree wholeheartedly. Recently, I bought an usuba knife: not too expensive, not too cheap, just enough for my skill level. There are higher level ones which the real experts of usuba can take advantages of, but that is not me. Some of these differences are very pronounced, like frying an egg without oil on a Teflon pan vs frying an egg without oil on a stainless steel pan. While many other differences are very subtle.

                                                          "I chuckle about how much I paid 30 years ago and what they are selling for now. Now, if I only had the forethought to do the same with my skillets and saucepans..."

                                                          Were they cheaper back then?

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            30 years ago, 10 inch All-Clad skillet was in the $20.00 range. They had just started selling to the public and the only style was brushed aluminum exterior. Teflon fry pan from K mart was less than $5.00.

                                                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                              Interesting to know. I am using an inflation calculator. It states that $20 in 1980 has the purchase power of $52 of today's money, and $5 in 1980 is the same as $13.

                                                              So it seems the K-mart low end Teflon pan sounds about the same price then.

                                                              http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl...

                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              "Were they cheaper back then?"

                                                              Surely, you jest. lol. 2 saucepans, 2 french ovens, all with lids and a fry pans for something around $200-300--the price of a small fo today. Much before it became trendy and the marketers took over...

                                                              The surprise is not the price inflation but that with some care and smart use they look almost as good today as they did when I bought them. $200 was A LOT of money for me in those days (still nothing to sneeze at), I wish my investments had paid off as well.

                                                              1. re: plainv70

                                                                I don't know. It does not sound hugely different.

                                                                It sounds about the same if we account for dollar inflation. $300 in 1980 is about the same as $783 in today's term.

                                                                http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl...

                                                                Here I found a small Le Creuset set for $498.

                                                                http://www.amazon.com/Creuset-Classic...

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  Obviously, I haven't looked at the price of a set lately. They appear to be a better deals than the open stock on sale; a 5.5qt french oven is over $2-250. The set you linked to is $560. Thing about sets is that you always get something that never makes it out of the cabinet; the 8x10 roasting pan would not be one of my first choices. Otherwise, it's not a bad selection. My set had one more french oven/lid and saucepan/lid than this one.

                                                                  Inflation is all about how it is calculated. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index went up 182% from 1980-2011--and it is known that CPI is a conservative estimate. So, it appears to me that a Le Creuset set can be had for about the same amount of money, adjusted for inflation.

                                                                  I retract my statement about investing in cast iron futures. :))

                                                                  I like my cast iron sauce pans, hot spots are never an issue; sure, they cool slower than the thinner more conductive metals, but that has never been a problem. As I said, I have some SS variants, but that was due more to curiosity and advertising/promotion (and a price I couldn't refuse) than it was for outright performance needs.

                                                                  If I had to do it over again, I'd probably get SS saucepans, french skillets & saute pans and enameled cast iron french ovens. A large part just because the former are lighter and easier to shake and shuffle on the stove.

                                                                  1. re: plainv70

                                                                    "A large part just because the former are lighter and easier to shake and shuffle on the stove."

                                                                    That is very true. Something there are so many things between heat response and heat evenness. Ability for a cookware take some abuse is definitely an important one too.

                                                  2. Lots of interesting ideas here. Would anyone's advice be different if the OP *had* to keep the smoothtop electric stove (that's the boat I'm in)? I have/love CI, but it's not always the most practical.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                      Hi pine time,

                                                      I'm in the same boat as you. We recently received a ceramic top ("smoothtop") electric range to replace our exposed coils ("Cal-rod") electric range. I've played (only a little) with 3 different pans:
                                                      1) Tin-lined solid cu (9.5" diameter)
                                                      2) All Clad Copper Core (ss/al/cu/al/ss, 10" dia)
                                                      3) Calphalon Tri-Ply (ss/al/ss, 10" dia)

                                                      I can tell you from my own experience (others' experience may differ) that the ceramic top drastically reduces the response time of the generally accepted "most desireable" materials (tinned cu) to be nearly the same as the generally accepted "least desireable" materials (ss/al/ss). Cooking "quality" (how well each pan cooked the same breakfast) was identical. This is great news from a cost perspective, as the Tri-Ply pan was the most affordable.

                                                      There are other considerations, some of which have been brought up in this thread already. One of those is the better (IME) non-stick properties of the tinned surface. Foods released better for me when stirring, & never became as stuck-on. I was even able to use less butter/oil than in the ss-lined pans. Of course, the trade-off is tin's lower durability compared to ss.

                                                      One consideration that I haven't seen mentioned is pan flatness. Both the All Clad & Calphalon pans sit more flush on the surface, which means a better potential for even heating. Since a full cu pan is inherently softer than a ss/al clad pan, it's likely not to be completely even across the bottom. Mine wasn't, & I bought it as a new pan. I tried gently coaxing it into flat with a rubber mallet, & was somewhat successful, but I still don't have as complete surface contact as I do with either of the other pans.

                                                      Of course, this means nothing to those using flame, such as mkozlows & kaleo.

                                                      1. re: Eiron

                                                        Thanks, Eiron. I'd give my right arm (well, maybe my favorite oven mitt) to "use flame," but alas, even with the kitchen re-model, repiping just wasn't in the budget. Sigh.

                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                          If you want the performance of flame without the need to pipe in gas, go with induction. We swapped out our halogen flattop for induction recently and it is truly amazing! It has the instant responsiveness and super-high heat capabilities of gas (higher, in fact - the largest element on my cooktop can put out the equivalent of 26,000BTU on a gas burner, higher even than Capital or Blue Star), coupled with dead simple cleanup. You can even place paper towels under your pans to catch spatters and spills while you cook and they won't burn.

                                                          There are really only two downsides: you can't use a round-bottomed wok (which I don't anyway), and you must use ferrous cookware - basically, if a magnet will stick to the bottom of the pan you can use it, otherwise not.

                                                          Which is what led me to this thread in the first place, as I'm looking to replace some of my old non-ferrous cookware (mainly the non-stick items) with stuff that will work on induction. Swiss Diamond makes a non-stick line for induction that looks quite good, but it is ridiculously expensive (and their induction line seems to be twice the price of their already-pricy standard line), so I've been searching out user stories as to whether it's worth it.

                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                            "use flame," but alas, even with the kitchen re-model, repiping just wasn't in the budget. Sigh.

                                                            I find that hard to believe, I piped in our gas stove for 60$

                                                            1. re: Dave5440

                                                              Certainly don't know your circumstances, but the bid to bring gas to our kitchen: $8,500 + "any unforeseen costs." Added to the already escalating remodel costs, couldn't do it. Glad you could for $60.

                                                      2. My mom passed away last year and left me a 10 piece collection of Georg Jensen Taverna, that are solid copper with a silver lining and stainless steel handles. She bought them in Germany in the 70's and never used them--they are still in the original bags. I think she was worried about polishing all the silver and copper!

                                                        I was going to put them on EBay, but would you all recommend I keep them to use? I have been using cast iron and All Clad (seconds got at the outlet).

                                                        Thanks, Sue

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: drscrowe

                                                          Hi, drscrowe:

                                                          10 pieces! Thank your mother! To use a car analogy, this is like finding out Granny had a NEW '50 Packard stashed in the garage.

                                                          Should you keep them? If you want fabulous cookware, yes, definitely. If these are NIB, they are very valuable, and should bring well>$100 apiece on eBay. They bring considerably more on eBay.uk

                                                          I have one of the Taverna frying pans. The copper itself is only about 2mm.

                                                          What pieces do you have? I need a casserole/Dutch Oven. Please contact me if you ever wish to sell, and I will pay a more than fair price.

                                                          Aloha,
                                                          Kaleo

                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                            Thank you Kaleo, but I don't have a dutch oven,

                                                            I am not sure I want to be responsible for all the polishing and it doesn't sound like these pans will cook any better than what I already have, so maybe I should just put the whole set on ebay.

                                                            1. re: drscrowe

                                                              Hi, drscrowe:

                                                              Please let me know if you do.

                                                              Aloha,
                                                              Kaleo

                                                        2. As an update to this thread a year later, I did get the Falk frying pan, and I absolutely love it. It is absolutely marvelous to deal with in every way, and has ruined me for just about anything else. It's my go-to pan, and I use it for just about anything where it's even vaguely appropriate.

                                                          Highly recommended, and I plan to replace more of my All-Clad stuff with copper as I get the budget for it.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: mkozlows

                                                            mkozlows, exactly which Falk frying pan is it? Do you have a model # or link? I assume this is a bimetal SS version?

                                                            Thanks
                                                            NWO