Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Screamin' Deal on Cookware

I've been cooking a long time and have owned a wide array of pots and pans. For many years, Revere Ware was my favorite. I added cast iron skillets to my collection in the late 60s, when I married into a family with Southern roots. They taught me to "season" those skillets so nothing stuck to them. I had one iron skillet for chicken and one for cornbread (and nary a drop of dish soap touched either one.) They were marvelous. Heavy, but marvelous.

Years passed - the marriage ended. Fried chicken and cornbread left my regular menu rotation and along with them, the cast iron pans. I was working full time and raising kids and wanted quick cooking and clean up. I flirted briefly with non-stick cookware, which was OK until I noticed scratches in the bottom of the pans and wondered where that plastic coating had gone. I figured that it had probably ended up in our dinner and that couldn't be good for us. So - back to the Revere Ware.

Now there's a lot to like about Revere Ware. It cooks evenly, cleans up without much fuss and the handles stay cool so you don't need to use pot holders. But the downside is that those handles are not oven-proof. So about 15 years ago, I started buying pieces of a popular brand of heavy aluminum cookware hoping to have, at last, found the perfect cookware. But alas, about the only good thing I can say about those expensive pots and pans is that their handles are oven-proof. In every other way, they have been unsatisfactory. Food sticks, they discolor in the dishwasher, handles get too hot on the stove top to be handled without a pot holder, etc. And then there is the issue of food reactivity with aluminum. Is it safe? I don't know.

For a long time, I've wanted a new set of stainless cookware, but I wasn't willing to spend $350 - $450 to do it. Then a few months ago on Amazon, I saw a great price on Cuisinart pots and pans. The price is so low, I was skeptical. But the reviews were great and I thought, hey for far less than I spent on a heavy aluminum stock pot alone, I could have a whole new set! So I bought myself the set for Christmas.

After using this cookware just about every day for three months, I have to say that I could not be more pleased! It looks good, is heavy enough to hold heat, but not so heavy that I need two hands to lift the bigger pans. It cleans up easily, the handles are oven-proof and they stay cool on the stove top unless I've been simmering something for quite a while. This cookware has pretty much everything I want.

To round out my set, my son, Ryan, bought me the 12" pan with a domed lid. You have to see this pan to fully appreciate it. Beyond being good cookware, it is a beautiful vessel. It is elegant enough for serving and the price is unbelievable!

So there you have it - good quality at great prices. There may be a recession going on, but you can still enjoy good cookware and/or give good cookware as gifts. Enjoy!