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Equipment & Gear: Common Materials of Cookware
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 3:50 am    Post subject: Forgot a type of cookware Reply with quote

Enamel clad Aluminium You might be more familiar with one of the better brands called Graniteware. Usually dark blue with greyish flecks.

This type of cookware is thin aluminium coated with enamel inside and out. Used by our Grandmothers when cooking and still around. Relatively cheap. Usually found in camping stores or where you find home canning supplies for the larger pots.

Excellent if you want to boil anything. Horrible if you want to cook something slowly.
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Cathy Tallmadge

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 9:06 am    Post subject: Cookware Reply with quote

Some of the best cookware is availible at restaurant supply stores. I discovered a line that is like All Clad but at about half the price called Tribute, made by the Vollrath company. These stores also have the best non stick fry pans for eggs, omelets, frettattas etc. I recommend the Lincoln Wearever Ceramigard line for this type of cooking. There is no set of cookware that does everything. I use cast iron, enamel clad cast iron and even glass, depending on what I'm doing. Cookware doesn't have to match, it has to work. As for enamel clad aluminum cookware, it's good for one thing..... nothing. O.K. maybe boiling water.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 8:48 pm    Post subject: Non-metallic cookware Reply with quote

You do not include Corningware or pyrex in your survey. I do use a Corning glass double boiler and also use itin the microwave. THe poor conductivity of glass makes it unacceptable for most other uses. I have not tried Corningware -pyroceramic- recently, but as I recall it had much the same problem. In general I find glass -pyrex- ideal for baking with the exception of slow cooked beans which do best in earthenware.
Will there be another article on what works best in an oven?
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Chef Jim

Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 6
Location: Metro New York

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As has been mentioned there's no set that will satisfy all needs. I use All-clad as my primary set, love it, does excellent job, great quality. I have a set of non-stick Calphalon that I am very disappointed with seems to wear out almost as quickly as T-fal, wearever, etc. but was far more costly. But now I'm limiting it's use to eggs and fish so no problem! I also have two non-stick Revereware sauce pans, they have pouring spouts and glass lids with strainers. These do come in handy, great for heating leftovers, sauces, etc. Also have two castiron pieces a 12in frypan and a two-burner grill/griddle. Next purchase will be Enamel over castiron dutch oven. 16Qt Stock pot is All-Clad but only the bottom is three-ply which is fine for simmering stock and Pasta Pot is inexpensive S/S with glass lid. Wore out one that I loved it had s/s lid with two vents and could cook pot of pasta with lid on and no boil overs! This glass lid only has one vent and it has to be watched for boilovers constantly, on the good side it is glass so you can anticipate better!
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Mark Leng

PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 3:19 pm    Post subject: No need for non-stick coating Reply with quote

Despite my wife's insistence, I had a hard time believing stainless steel would be almost as easy to clean as non-stick coated pans. I'm happy to say our All-Clad is very easy to clean, especially if you don't let the food dry on it overnight. ;-)

The worst cases have required some soaking with water and dish detergent but that's it. And there's no seasoning required, unlike cast iron.

The only thing that really stuck to the All-Clad was a melted $3 plastic steam basket. (don't ask)

Freezing, WD-40, Simple Green and Wright's Silver Cream cleaned the pan up nicely. My only hope is that I didn't damage the corrosion resistance of the stainless steel.

Does anyone know if I could have permanently damaged the stainless steel somehow?
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Joined: 18 Jul 2005
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stainless is an alloy from which the pan is made, not a coating ( ie teflon or anodized aluminum.

Here's a fun place to start inquiy into stainless:
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jim.

I had read about the chromium-oxide "layer" on stainless steel (see below) and wondered if I had damaged the corrosion resistance of the All-Clad, or any of its inherent non-stick properties.

I'm really out of my element here so my questions might seem a bit "daft." Wink

Is the chromium-oxide layer important for cookware? If so, does it require maintenance or special care?


"Stainless steel can corrode in service if there is contamination of the surface. Both pickling and passivation are chemical treatments applied to the surface of stainless steel to remove contaminants and assist the formation of a continuous chromium-oxide, passive film."

"The purpose of passivation of the surface is not only to clean and remove free iron, but to maximize the chromium content of that top, very thin "layer" of chromium oxide. (Other metals in the alloy also greatly affect this.) This gives the best corrosion resistance,"

"As you are no doubt aware, one of the attributes of stainless steel is the fact it has a built in oxide layer over it. This is in the form of chromium oxide and it is this that gives it its corrosion resistance. If you want to enhance this, you have to be careful how you do it; if you simply anodically polarise it, you will run the risk of breaking down the existing layer and dissolving out the metals. You could try putting it in hydrogen peroxide and leaving it, or better still, try electropolishing it."
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Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Florida USA/Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am new to this forum but have been reading the excellent articles on cookware materials! Thank you! I have been ruminating for the past week almost all of my day! Shock over which cookware set to purchase and hope someone can offer advice. I have a cast iron 5 qt dutch oven and cast iron frying pan. I am not a pro but just very interested in cooking/baking with high quality pans at a reasonable price. I read about some test that put tied for 1st place Tramolina and Cuisinart cookware. I have no other info on who did the test (read about it at Chef's Depot but no detail) I have seen at Burdines a Chef's Classic set by Cuisinart and there is a Cuisinart Multiclad which is what I was interested in and (I think) is their professional line. It has the aluminum going up the sides, too. The problem is, I have no idea how to find out the THICKNESS of the ALUMINUM. I don't know what else to do. Sale ends VERY soon on this 12 pc CUISINART MULTICLAD set which has ALL the pieces I need for $210. Any suggestions? Could the thickness of the aluminum be published anywhere or can anyone point me to any tests/awards? Supposedly, the Cuisinart line is endorsed by French chef (I think his name is) Paul Bocuse. He endorses the Chef's Classic line which has the aluminum disc only (not up the sides). I know endorsements often don't mean a thing. I am so confused. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:54 pm    Post subject: Teflon? Reply with quote

Nice, thorough discussion. There is more to cookware, of course, than the material, as other posters have noted.

Regarding the possible health risks of using teflon, there are none.,04820.cfm

It is true that there may be some health risks caused by a chemical used to make teflon (namely perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA), but that is a problem for chemical factory workers and perhaps people who live near the factories, not people who use teflon. There is no PFOA in actual teflon.

Teflon itself is chemically unreactive; in fact, it is one of the least reactive substances ever discovered. If we ate some teflon, it would pass through our bodies unchanged. None of it would enter our blood stream. But even if it did, it would would not affect any of our biochemical processes, since it is unreactive. It would interact with the body about as much as a stone reacts to me shouting at it. In fact, that unreactivity is part of why it is so slippery. Maybe the subject of another article in Cooking for Engineers?

People pay lots of attention to health scares, as they should, but they often don't take time to look at it carefully. PFOA is not an "ingredient" of teflon, it is one of the chemical precursors of teflon, like oil is to polyurethane. If oil is bad for you, it doesn't mean that polyurethane is. (And in fact, high-density polyurethane is totally inert in the body just like teflon, so it is used in artificial joints and the like.)

Like EMF radiation from powerlines, this one appears to have been cooked up by trial attorneys looking to make a buck.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:10 pm    Post subject: DDTs were great too..... Reply with quote

"Frying pan fumes kill canaries"

Admittedly, canaries are not humans, but Teflon seems to break down under high temperatures according to one group of researchers (absolutely not! says the other side - Teflon is unreactive).

It's always like this - everyone argues and there are strong motives for lying and exaggeration - but at the end of the day we're built out of the same basic stuff as canaries so I think I will give Teflon a miss - if it's killing them then it's most likely partially killing me...

(from the viewpoint of an economist in his 20s) < always important for evaluating info i.m.o - how much do they really know about x, y or z after all... perhaps not too much in my case, but I do like to think critically - I dislike selective evidence - now you have both sides to consider. ^.^

[edit] from that link posted earlier:

Although nonstick pans will wear away with hard use and particles may chip off, the Food and Drug Administration has stated that these particles would pass unchanged through your body and pose no health hazard. A coated pan heated for long periods at high temperatures will give off fumes, but these are less toxic than fumes given off by ordinary cooking oils.

Do these people ordinarily cook with crude oil or something!??!
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Ted N.

PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:17 pm    Post subject: Great stuff and solid advise Reply with quote

The info you tell reflects the experiences I have with cookware. it is accurate and on target in my opinion. I spent 20 years cooking and 5 selling cookware. all clad is good stuff but priced high, there is tri ply from cuisinart and calphalon at a lower cost. viking is great and more ample in space but way up in price. my personal favorite is the Gourmet standard tri ply, it has the best comfort with solid performance. I love the handle and the solid construction. I am not afraid of teflon but keep the heat down its not my choice for searing or high temps best for eggs and pasta. I protect the pan surface with the panjacket cover to store all my cookware that way. keep up the great info. Ted Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:33 am    Post subject: Cast Iron Reply with quote

After years of trying various combinations of expensive and more expensive aluminum, teflon coated aluminum, anodized aluminum, stainless clad aluminum etc we have gone back to cast iron for most uses except boiling. Cheap, easy to clean, bombproof, nonstick, even heating, and can be made really really hot for searing without worry. Heavy, so we just leave it on the stove.

Runner up is stainless clad aluminum, but it is harder to clean and not as nonstick, and much more expensive.
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Joined: 29 Nov 2005
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:08 pm    Post subject: Tri-ply = good stuff Reply with quote

Thanks for the great information source.

To add a data point:

After much research and reading here and else where, I picked up the member's mark tri-ply cookware at Sam's club. I could never afford an All-clad set right off so this get's me the same performance at a great price. So far the quality and performance is right up there with All-Clad. I know I'll probably pop for something from the big "A" just for the fun of it but I'm very happy with my selection.

Reading about material and construction/performance here was a great help in my selection.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 3:55 am    Post subject: Induction cooktop vs Copper/Aluminum cookware Reply with quote

Thanks for the straight-up science. Bring on the physics!

I am very close to picking up a set of Copper-clad cookware from All-clad. It is copper-lined w/ stainless steel coating so it should have the best of both worlds- good heat properties and low reactivity with food. But, it will not work as good with an induction cooktop as good, old-fashioned steel or cast-iron.

There are several things I like about induction cooktops (stays cool to touch), but the biggest is it's rated efficiency. Can anyone compare the efficiency of an induction cooktop to a high-end ceramic cooktop? What about the heat properties of a good stainless steel set on an induction stove to a aluminum/copper clad set on a decent stove?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:11 pm    Post subject: Stainless Steel and Chromium Oxide Reply with quote

For the poster who asked about maintaining the oxide layer on stainless steel, from a consulting metallurgist:

The oxide layer on stainless steels is (a) self-maintaining, and (b) very diffficult to remove. Unless you're performing electrochemical experiments in your cookware, or cooking with concentrated acids, you won't damage the stainless. If you are doing those things, the condition of your cookware is probably not your biggest problem.
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