Saturday, 30 August 2008

How to Find the Cookware Set That Will Work For You

Cookware sets are among the basics in any chef's kitchen tools. When you look to buy skillets, saucepans, and Dutch ovens, you will find that they often come in convenient sets. The trick is to choose sets that have all the pots and pans you want.

First, look at the base material of the set. Even heating is the name of the game with aluminum core saucepans and skillets. Some pans have a T-fal Ultra-base to provide the same quality. The basic copper-clad stainless steel cookware that was so popular in the past distributes the heat well too. However, the copper bottoms are prone to tarnishing.

Next, consider the materials of the handles and lids. Glass lids are great because you can peek in without lifting the lid. Sometimes it lengthens cooking time or damages the quality of the food when you let that steam escape. Other types of lids can work, providing they are tight-fitting.

Handles should be ergonomically designed so that they fit your hand nicely when you are spending long hours in the kitchen. They should be made of durable materials like stainless steel, silicone, or bakelite. It is important to find handles that are also naturally cool to the touch when you use the cookware.

The assortment is something to think about when you are selecting your cookware. You might want a very large set with several different sizes of sauce pans and skillets or a smaller set with only one of each. You may just want one item of cookware, like a large stockpot that can serve multiple functions in the kitchen.

Some of the popular sauce pans are 1, 2, and 3 quart sizes. Certain companies also make a convenient 1 and 1/2 quart size. Saute pans, or skillets, come in sizes of 8, 9.5, 10.25, or 11 inches. There are even large cookers that resemble big skillets in a 5 quart size. Dutch ovens are usually available in 4, 5, or 6 quart varieties. When you are choosing your cookware set, think about whether you would like larger or smaller pans, or a variety.
Then, of course, there are the special features. Many cookware sets have some sort of non-stick coating. Some cooks consider this almost a necessity now. Other sets have extras like nylon utensils, measuring cups, and measuring spoons. Look for Dutch ovens with steamer baskets, as these come in very handy when making steamed vegetables.

You home is never quite complete without good cookware for your kitchen. You can find cookware sets and individual pieces that will suit just about any taste. Do not be afraid to shop around for awhile before you buy. You will be living with your cookware for a long time, so it makes sense to choose carefully.