If you are considering purchasing new cookware, you probably are wondering how to make the most sensible purchase and still get all the pieces and features you need. Price is always a major factor in deciding which cookware set is right for you. Choosing the perfect cookware set involves much more than color and the availability of nifty glass lids that you can see through. If you are a serious cook, or simply want the best deal for the price, you will need to be more practical in making your decision.
The main factor in choosing cookware is the material from which it is made.
Copper is very expensive, but conducts heat better than any other material. Heat conduction allows your food to cook evenly. You will undoubtedly find cookware that is constructed from stainless steel with a copper reinforced bottom. The problem with this type of cookware is that the bottom of the food will cook faster than the rest, making it very difficult to avoiding burning and/or scorching your food.
Braising is out of the question in a stainless steel pan with a copper reinforced bottom.
You need cookware that allows heat to be distributed evenly. You are probably very familiar with pans that have hot spots. Hot spots are places in the pan where the food cooks disproportionately faster than in the rest of the pan. Cookware with even heat distribution is imperative if you are serious about the food you cook.
The problem with copper, cast iron, and aluminum cookware is that certain foods will absorb a metal taste and color from the pans, not to mention you will ingest some of the metal that is transferred to the food.
Copper will scratch and discolors easily, but every cook should have at least one copper bowl for beating egg whites. Copper bowls will allow you to beat eggs whites to their maximum volume.
Aluminum is inexpensive, but as mentioned before, will react with certain foods in an unfavorable manner. Aluminum wears down quickly, although there are anodized pans that will cut down on reactivity and increase durability.
If you opt for aluminum cookware, anodized is the best choice. Cast iron is good for searing steaks and a few other specialized cooking tasks, but you must keep your cast iron cookware seasoned to avoid sticking and pitting of the pan.
The fact is that there is no perfect cookware. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Stainless steel is probably the best compromise. Stainless steel is in the middle price range and heat conductivity.
It is durable and cleans easily and will not react with any type of food you cook. Another good choice is stainless steel with an aluminum insert that goes all the way up the sides of the pan.
The conclusion would seem to be that in order to get a good set of cookware, you will have to spend some money, but it is not necessary to get the most expensive type.
A good stainless steel cookware set with a few special pieces such as a non-stick frying pan, a copper bowl, and any other extras you desire will be your best choice.
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