I stand corrected, thanks to wekick!
I recently started a post about Thermal conductivity and the physical properties of cookware:
-with the point being that it is the skills of the cook that makes the pan and not the other way around.
Although that is still basically true, today, a pan made a recipe that was really good into one that is perfection.
A chowhound by the name of wekick mentioned that they have a thick, 14" aluminum pan that fries potato pancakes to perfection. I have a wonderful recipe for potato pancakes, and although they are good, they just don't have the balance of the right chewiness of the inside to the thin layer of crispiness on the outside that my Mom used to make. This is not just some sentimental nostalgia, but a fact. I got a Vollrath 14" E4014 this weekend and made potato pancakes in it. This pan allowed me to fry them just the way my Mom did and my family was practically in tears as I churned these babies out - wow, they were perfect! The recipe and my skills as a cook are the same as the last time I made them (about a month ago), but this pan took them to the next level.
I happily, stand corrected! Thank you SO MUCH wekick for that wonderful example!
IYO, was the natural finish on the Vollrath pan critical to your success? I ask because like you I've struggled with potato pancakes in the past, always cooking them in average (2mm) nonstick aluminum. Mostly I just don't bother, because they're only meh.
I recently acquired a really thick (5mm) anodized aluminum pan, but it's got a nonstick finish. Will it matter?
EDIT - What were you using prior to this? Aside from the electric skillet, that is.