Wednesday, March 27, 2013

#BargainNinja: Ancient Secrets of the Ninja - Cookware

Someone posted the question: "[Which is better] KitchenAid or Paula Deen cookware?"

Well, in my experience it is more a question of: how well do you cook?  Like me for instance -- I tend to burn things.  Therefore, cheap aluminum or steel core cookware is not for me, as they do not distribute heat evenly or consistently.  If you are like me and find yourself using scouring pad/cloths (like steel wool) a lot, then you may want to either get a heavy stainless steel/copper set of cookware (as the the stainless steel can stand up to abrasion, and copper helps with heat distribution) or a serviceable non-stick aluminum cook set and some non-stick cooking spray.  However, be forewarned: non-stick coatings can degrade over time and once this starts to happen you are leaching toxic chemicals into your food.

This copper-clad bottom cook set by Revere is tops for the stove-top and new gourmands.    With proper care this is a cook set you could one day pass on to your children, as there are old Revere Ware cook sets still going strong after decades of faithful service.

On the other hand, if you don't burn things, you clean (dry and store) your cookware as soon as you are done using it, and you don't use scouring pads/cloths to clean then you can graduate to cast iron, ceramic, or glass cookware from makers like:  Lodge, Le Creuset, Corning Ware, and Pyrex are the best.  Products from the first 3 manufacturers are able to be used both in the oven and on the stove-top, and can go from heat to water without cracking/shattering.  Glass products, like those made by Pyrex, are heat sensitive and will crack or shatter if introduced to water that is significantly different than it in temperature and are not designed for stove-top cooking.  Corning Ware might be the most versatile of them all as it, along with Pyrex, is usually microwave safe.

Some of the best meals I have ever eaten, and I have eaten many meals, have been cooked in Le Creuset'ss enamel-coated cast iron cookware.

A final option are product's like Greepan's thermolon-coated cookware.  It purports to be "Green" (environmentally friendly) non-stick cookware that does not use harmful non-stick coatings like Teflon.  It allows for a more flexibility but still needs to be treated with kid-gloves when cooking and cleaning.  It should be noted that the aforementioned cast iron, ceramic, and glass cookware are already fairly "green," last nigh unto forever when taken care of, and are much cheaper to boot.

For what it is worth, I have witnessed first-hand the quality and longevity of the brands mentioned here with the exception of Greenpan.  Moreover, if a kitchen appliance is what you are looking for you cannot go wrong with KitchenAid.  Do not be swayed by designer cookware with some celebrity's name on it, unless it is a George Foreman grill -- those things work.  Good cookware can be a real lifelong investment or a real source of continual aggravation.  If you buy based upon features, quality and reputation and you will be a lot happier than if you buy based upon aesthetics and endorsements.  Hope this helps.

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