Cooking with Effective Cookware

Surprisingly, more often than not consumers choose cookware that is not in their best interests. Many purchases are based upon brand recognition, colour, style, previous acquisitions, or even as a result of being recommended by some TV chef.

As the old saying goes, "The customer is always right", so I don't want to appear critical of your right, or my right for that matter, to exercise personal choice. If you are happy with your choice for whatever reasons that led to that choice, then let me be the first to applaud that decision; I hope you experience many happy years with your purchase.
On the other hand, I do feel it is high time that someone articulated the argument for cookware that delivers more effective results - and for the sake of this article I will focus the term cookware to saucepans, fry pans and their cousin's saute pans, casseroles and stockpots.

First of all, let's consider what is meant by effective cookware. It may come as some surprise to you that you can take two different pans yet achieve different results even though the ingredients and recipe were exactly the same. Surprising Perhaps. Logical Certainly. As an illustration to this, I know many golfers who started out using a modest range of clubs, balls and the like, yet over time as their game improved (hopefully!) they realised that certain golf clubs, balls, shoes and the rest can improve their final score. Yes, technique and practice are essential to success, but so is using more effective equipment. From personal experience I can confirm this for other sports and from a personal and professional perspective this is most certainly true for home cooking.

In an open, free and dynamic market the choices can sometimes appear daunting. My advice is to consider your interests before those of the supplier. So let's see if we can breakdown some of these interests:
Hob type. Some pans don't work on every hob or are not as effective on every hob type. Take for example the growing popularity in induction hobs, which works by creating a magnetic field between the pan and the hob and by doing so creates heat. As a consequence, all pans used on an induction hob must have a magnetic-conducting metal base.

The test for pans claiming to be induction safe is simply to place a magnet on the base - if it sticks, then it passes the test!Heat distribution. If you are one of millions of home cooks who has ever made a sauce that burnt slightly on the bottom of the pan, before the rest of it cooked through, then you may have experienced poor heat distribution. Ideally you want a pan that heats evenly from the base and then throughout the pan without the need to overheat the base using too high a flame.

Stainless steel, a material we are all familiar with in the kitchen, is a good conductor of heat, but not a great conductor. Quality manufacturers have developed technology to compensate for and improve upon stainless steel, such as "Tri-ply" technology, which adds a layer of a better conducting metal between two layers of stainless steel. The net result being pans that are extremely good heat distributors and ultimately very effective kitchen pans.
Another technique is to encapsulate the base of stainless steel.

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This means that they add a layer of a better conducting metal to the base to aid is heat distribution. A warning to all consumers: just because a pan has an encapsulated base does not make it sufficiently effective for improved cooking. It just means that it is better than nothing! As an example, low gauge pans will not sufficiently distribute the heat from the base to the sides, so pans that have a thicker gauge are in your interest! I have some experience with pans whose base is completely covered in copper and this is yet another good technique for improving your results. That's all for now look out for part 2 soon.

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About The Author, Jack Mack