Relative merits of long handles vs dutch oven style pots?
HI. I understand the relative merits of straight versus curved sides in pots & pans, but is there any resaon to use a pot with a long handle when a similar style dutch oven with short handles on each side is available.
I prefer those for storage, etc, but maybe I'm missing their merits.....?
Depends heavily on whether the applications for the pan include the need to "flip stir" the food, as monavano mentions, and whether that kind of manipulation is possible given the weight of the pot and contents.
For a big, 11" saute/braiser pan, the two-handled version is much more useful for me because I have a small oven (when I had a long-handled one, it would only fit into the oven in one spot, and was impossible to do anything else in the oven at the same time).
I have a 3 qt saucier with one long handle that I sometimes wish had two loop handles, but just this week I was frying a curry paste and finding the long handle convenient for once, as I "stir fried" the contents. I still wish it had a helper handle, for stability when moving it when filled with liquid.
Even for pans where "flip stirring" isn't practical, there are many occasions when I find it advantageous to tilt the pot while cooking and then stir or mix the food, often with tongs. A long handle makes this possible.
This might just be my adaptation to weak wrists and inability to lift a pan full of food to toss it, but it works for me.
Also, pans that are less than perfectly flat benefit from long handles, too. They make it easier to hold the pan in place while moving food around in it.
I can't really explain it but, I love how the Lodge 3qt Combo Cooker has "long" handles. I've said it before on Chow that I wish they made a 5qt version. It is easy to rotate a quarter turn with long handles, I guess. Flip turning is almost impossible with larger cast iron so flip turning isn't why I like long handles. And lifting the "skillet lid" and putting it right side up without dripping everywhere is a perk... Its more of a pain with a normal lid. Perhaps its easier for me to also store the things on top of my cupboards also. I'm 6ft and 160 pounds of almost-zero fat, so its probably easy for me to one-hand a heavy device. To each, their own. Long versus short handles aren't the first selling point for me though.
Less tendency to burn an oven mitt over the flame with long handles too, I'd suppose.
I think of a pot with short handles as a soup or stew pot.
However, I really like the short handled pots, and am moving away from larger saucepans. That is, I don't feel the need to own one. I do have a longer handled med saucepan.
One advantage to a long handle, is that you can carry it in one hand from the stove. And if the handle is hollow or split, it will stay cool to the touch longer than two short handles.
In my kitchen, any pot/pan that holds 4 quarts or more has two handles, because I need them to lift a full pot or pan of that size. I'm sure that other people might think I'm a wimp, but that's my boundary. I also want two handles for anything heavy that goes in the oven, because I don't want to drop or spill things going into or coming out of that very hot space. Also, it's harder to fit a long handle into an oven.
That said, I have a nice array of long-handled skillets and saucepans hanging from my pot rack. They are easy to tilt, flip, etc., and they are probably used more often for everyday meals than my larger pans.
I should point out that my daughter lives in a somewhat cramped big-city apartment, and she uses mostly the short-handled pots because of space limitations. Only things she has with long handles are two skillets. She does just fine, and probably you would, too.