It’s never too late to learn something new. No matter your age, your status, or anything else, knowledge is power. Although, there are certain things that we never really think about needing to learn. That is, until something or another pokes our curiosity, or makes that information relevant. When it comes to understanding your cookware, there may be some vital information of which you’re unaware. Not by any fault of your own, but just because it was never presented to you.
That said, understanding your cookware can be vital to making it last a lifetime and in cooking tantalizing dishes that impress your friends and family (and maybe even the occasional love-interest).
Not All Cookware is Made Equally
First things first, not all cookware is made equally. This is true of any product on the market, really, but when it comes to purchasing cookware, it’s important to keep your context in mind. If this is your first-ever kitchen set, you may want to opt for something that is a little more budget-conscious and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. On the other hand, if you’re tired of using the same old pot set that you’ve always used, it may be time to look at a higher tier of cookware.
There is a plethora of options when it comes to the home-kitchen and cookware industry, which gives consumers the ability to tailor their cooking experience. However, this can also make it difficult to navigate for first time or novice chefs.
Materials Matter; Aluminum, Cast Iron, Ceramic, Copper
When narrowing down your cookware options, one of the first decisions to make will regard material. The materials with which your cookware is made will dictate the best cooking techniques to use and which dishes to make, while also guiding the maintenance and care process. The most popular materials that cookware is made with include aluminum, cast iron, ceramic, and copper. While stainless steel cookware is also widely popular, there is a reason that it doesn’t appear on this list.
Stainless steel cookware is actually made through a layering process. In other words, the stainless steel doesn’t do any of the actual cooking. This is because stainless steel by itself is a poor conductor. As such, stainless steel cookware relies on a middle-layer of metal that functions as the main heating element. This core layer is typically made of aluminum, though some pots and pans have a copper heating element.
The preference for copper based cookware is founded by its higher levels of conductivity, which make it a more effective metal when it comes to heat conduction, retention, and distribution. Being a better heat conductor translates to more precise temperature control on the chef’s end of things. While this can create an elegant and extremely smooth cooking experience, copper based cookware comes with a higher price tag. This makes aluminum based cookware a more consumer-friendly and budget-conscious choice for the average at-home chef.
No matter what metal is at the core of your stainless steel cookware, stainless steel is extremely easy to clean and maintain, which adds to its consumer-appeal.
Meanwhile, cast iron cookware is regarded as one of the most difficult materials to care for. While hot, soapy water will do the trick in clean-up, cast iron cookware must be seasoned before each use. This is the process of creating a slick semi-non-stick barrier between the metal and the food by repeatedly heating and cooling oil on the cast iron cooking surface.
Finally, ceramic cookware offers a uniquely modern approach to creating body-friendly, green and non-stick surfaces that are easy to clean.
Uncovering The Mystery of Non-Stick
Non-stick surfaces have come a long way since their original debut. In their first appearances on the market, non-stick cookware relied on PFOAs to create their innovative technology. PFOA is better known to the average person as Teflon. Understandably, consumers weren’t too pleased to be cooking with Teflon in their pots and pans.
As such, the industry responded and modern day non-stick technology is completely and totally PFOA free, allowing it to be combined with other effective cookware materials like stainless steel and aluminum hybrids.
Cookware Should Make Cooking Fun
When it comes to your cookware it should feel personalized, individualized, and most importantly; it should make the entire cooking experience fun. Your cookware should empower you and motivate you to experiment with new dishes, add your own twist to classics, and to spend more of your time enjoying your kitchen.
With a little bit of knowledge in your back-pocket about the ins and outs of cookware materials and which are best suited for what, will certainly help you in narrowing down the options on the marketplace and making a selection that fits your individual cookware and kitchen needs.