Why is Non-Stick Cookware so Popular?

The use of non-stick cookware in the United States spread like wildfire following its introduction to the market by DuPont in 1945. And, the American chef, professional or otherwise, has really never looked back.

It should be noted that the term “non-stick” can be applied with different meanings. Some refer to the non-stick qualities of cookware materials like iron or stainless steel. Here, though, it is being used to describe Teflon or other PTFE coatings.

And, there have been advancements. The 1980s saw the introduction of ceramic-based non-stick surfaces that have been infused with everything from titanium to diamonds to increase its strength. But, they still fall within the non-stick class of cookware.

Non-stick cookware is everywhere. It would not be far-fetched to guess that there is at least one piece of non-stick cookware in every American kitchen today.  It is the go-to cookware for nearly every cooking demographic in the country, whether you’re an amateur or pro, young or old, on a budget or in the money.

What makes non-stick cookware so popular? It comes down to three things: it’s inexpensive, there’s a lot of it out there and it gets the job done.

Cost

You can get a complete non-stick cookware set for as little as $30. There’s just no other type of cookware that can offer that price point. It will not be the greatest set in the world, but for someone on a budget who needs a way to heat up soup it’s just the ticket.

On the other hand, you can find high-quality non-stick cookware sets for as much as $600 or more.

The advantage is that non-stick cookware is not beyond the reach of any budget. But, why does the price for non-stick cookware fluctuate so much?

Variety

It’s not so much what’s on the inside as what’s on the outside when it comes to non-stick cookware. The non-stick polymer coating can be sprayed on to a variety of metals, which can be incorporated into any number of designs with varying build quality. That way, you have your choice between an $8 non-stick aluminum pan and a $140 non-stick stainless steel pan with a copper core.

Cooking Ability/Quality

Why do people love non-stick cookware? Well, because food doesn’t stick to it! Good non-stick cookware can be used even without butter, oil or spray and food will still slide right off of it. This paves the way for healthier cooking, too, which only adds to the value.

Since a non-stick polymer can be applied to any metal you are not really limited in the quality of non-stick cookware that is available. A non-stick polymer is most commonly applied to hard anodized aluminum to create affordable cookware of good quality, but it can just as easily be applied to stainless steel cladding, titanium, bronze or even porcelain enamel.

So, whatever cooking benefits you’re seeking, whether it is light cookware, cookware with good heat conductivity and so on, you should be able to find it with a non-stick coating if that’s what you prefer.

Non-stick cookware is also easy to care for as long as you take care not to scratch or chip the coating. If you follow this simple rule your non-stick cookware will provide years of service at a price that fits your budget.

Heavy Metal: A Cookware Material Review

Sometimes too many choices can make a decision more difficult, and thing is certain when choosing a new cookware set: you have a lot of choices.

Cookware is manufactured using all kinds of materials, but the most common are anodized aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, enameled metal, metal coated in a non-stick polymer and titanium. There are more, and copper can stand alone or be incorporated with some of these materials because it is a good conductor of heat, but these are the main categories.

So, let’s take a look at the properties of each.  

Anodized Aluminum 

You can probably find inexpensive pots and pans made from simple aluminum, but most aluminum cookware sets will be anodized. This is an electrochemical process that enhances aluminum, increasing its non-stick properties and rendering it non-reactive to acidic foods.  

The benefit of this over a non-stick polymer is that it is not easily damaged by metal utensils. It is also very durable considering how much lighter it is than cast iron or stainless steel.  

The drawback is that durable, lightweight non-stick quality tends to come at a higher price than cheaply made inexpensive cookware sets. That being said, Amazon have very competitive prices for anodized cookware sets such as the Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Cookware Set. read the review

Stainless Steel  

Stainless steel is durable, non-stick, stain-resistant and stylish. Stainless steel can be manufactured in several different ways with varying balances of metal added to the required chromium that makes it “stainless,” and these differences can impact quality and cost.

Something to remember about stainless steel is that it does not conduct heat very well and is often combined with either aluminum or copper. This is done by adding a disc of material to the bottom of the piece to help distribute heat, or the stainless steel is “clad” over an aluminum or copper core so that the conductive material runs up the sides and so better distributes heat.

Knowing how your stainless steel cookware is constructed will help you know how it will perform. In either case, though, high-quality stainless steel cookware performs very well. One of the best Stainless Steel cookware sets is the Cuisinart MCP-12 MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set. read the review

Stainless steel cookware can be heavy and it should be polished from time to time to keep it looking like new, and it should be hand washed.

Cast Iron

Cast iron cookware may be the most durable of the lot. It is heavy, dense and can survive a beating. It also cooks evenly and is easy to care for once it has been properly “seasoned.”

Seasoning cast iron cookware is necessary to keep it from rusting and to bring out its natural non-stick properties. It involves coating the metal with oil or shortening periodically throughout the life of the utensil. After seasoning a cast iron utensil should only be cleaned using hot water, and dried with a clean cloth.

Raw cast iron cookware is generally inexpensive and durable, which makes it a good choice for small investments. But, it is also very heavy and bulky and can be tiring to use for everyday cooking. 

Enameled Cast Iron

Enameled cookware is metal cookware that has been coated with enamel – a kind of smooth glass created with high heat. The metal coated could be aluminum, cast iron or some other metal.

Enameling can improve heat conductivity for more even cooking, as well as provide a non-reactive surface for cooking acidic foods. It is also very attractive and often comes in bright colors that can liven up a kitchen. 

Le Creuset have set the benchmark for practical, functional and beautiful enameled cast iron cookware

The drawbacks are usually cost, as well as being mindful of chipping the enamel. These pieces are not fragile, in fact they are chip resistant but they should be hand washed and they will chip if banged on with metal utensils. read the review

Copper 

Copper is common as a core metal in high-quality cookware because it has superior heat conductivity. This enables a copper utensil to evenly distribute heat as well as hold precise temperatures very well.  

Copper is also very beautiful, and gives a kitchen an unmistakable Old-World feel.  

The concern about copper, however, and the reason why it is used more frequently as a core is because it is highly reactive with foods and can alter the taste. In fact, most copper cookware is lined with tin or steel, so the only real benefit as compared to a clad utensil is the style and appearance.  

Finally, copper cookware is comparatively expensive, but it is beautiful, unique and delivers high-quality performance.

Titanium 

Titanium combines super lightweight material with durability to make the perfect cookware for all-day use, or for people who can’t lift heavy objects. The question is whether the weight of the cookware you use is a significant factor in your cooking.  

The reason is because titanium does not evenly distribute heat and so will be lined with another metal. In other words, aside from being lightweight and durable, the titanium metal provides no other benefit.  

Titanium cookware sets are amazingly durable considering how light they are.  

So, you can see that there are many material options when it comes to cookware. So many, in fact, it is important to consider your needs and budget before jumping into a purchase. Hopefully, these short descriptions will give you an idea of how to best outfit your kitchen.  

 

 

 

 

Swiss Diamond Frypan Review

We love cookware as you can probably tell (since we own this website) and we love to review products to see how they measure up to the manufacturers claims. Recently we were asked to review  the Swiss Diamond 11” (28cm) fry pan.

Swiss Diamond makes an extensive range of cookware but they are perhaps best known for their unique diamond reinforced non-stick coating. Yes, you heard correctly – their cookware actually contains diamonds!

But what does that mean to you and me. Well for one thing, the diamond crystals give you a virtually indestructible surface which is more durable than most non-stick surfaces available on the market today. Diamonds are after all one of the hardest materials on earth.

The pan arrived in excellent condition as it was well packaged.  We scrutinized the frypan to ensure that there were no faults visible and checked that the handle was firmly secured before heading off to the kitchen to put the pan through its paces.

I have to say that I do like the balance of the pan, it is easy to hold and the stay-cool ergonomic handle has a comfortable grip.

The frypan is made from thick pressure cast aluminum and it has a nice flat bottom which allows for even heat distribution.   

The first thing is to give the pan a wash in hot soapy water,  dry, and season by wiping it over with some oil on a paper towel. This is something we do with all new products as it removes any manufacturing coatings if there are any. And it’s always nice to start with a clean surface.

Okay we are ready to start. I turn the gas to medium and place the pan onto the flame to heat up.  You only ever need to use low or medium heat because of the high thermal conductivity of  Swiss Diamond Cookware . Another excellent feature is that this cookware is designed for use on all ceramic, gas and electric cook tops. 

Souffle Omlette in Swiss Diamond Pan

So after pre-heating the pan for a couple of minutes 2-3 is about right, I sprinkle a few drops of water into the pan to see if it’s ready. This is a quick and easy way to test if the pan is ready, if the water sizzles or beads then the surface is hot enough to cook on.  If the water evaporates immediately then the pan is way too hot so remove it immediately from the heat and turn the heat down.  After a l you don’t want to damage the beautiful cooking surface which can happen if the cookware is overheated.

I find that scrambled eggs or omelettes are a good way to test just how non-stick a frypan really is. No worries here, the scrambled eggs release easily from the pan allowing me to turn the egg mixture without any problem at all.

After the eggs are cooked they slide easily from the pan to the plate and nothing sticks to the surface. 

The next test is the omelette. I have decided to make a soufflé omelette that will need to be placed into the oven to finish it off. So I heat the pan again on medium heat and add the egg mixture. The soufflé rises beautifully thanks to the even heat distribution.  Then it’s time to place the pan into the oven to brown the top of the soufflé.

Swiss Diamond frypans are oven safe up to 260°C (500°F) which makes it so handy for those dishes that you need to start cooking on the stove top but want to finish off in the oven.  NOTE: Always use an oven mitt when you are taking the frypan from the oven.

The diamond hard surface of the Swiss Diamond frypan means you can use metal utensils; however, I don’t possess any as I like the feel and performance of silicone utensils.  So I can’t comment on that aspect.

As always there are a few sensible things that you need to practice so DO NOT:

  • Cut or chop food in the frypan. (This is not as silly as it may sound; I have a rather expensive Jamie Oliver frypan that my husband cut up his steak in, thereby ruining the non-stick surface.)
  • Do not use an electric beater to mix things in the frypan.

So now to the clean up part of the process, Swiss Diamond frypans are dishwasher safe, but I found that the pan cleaned up quickly and easily in hot soapy water. No fuss, no bother, I don’t see the point in subjecting the surface to those harsh dishwasher chemicals which may end up diminishing the performance of the non-stick surface over time, when it is so easy to wash up by hand.

As you can see from the photo there is very little residue left behind on the pan once the omlette has been turn out, and this washed off very easily, no scrubbing or elbow grease required, a simple wipe over and it was spotlessly clean.

Swiss Diamond frypans are not an inexpensive item but if you want a quality product that will last you for many years then this will be money well spent.

So what is my verdict – I love it.

So to summarize:

Everything you need to know about Swiss Diamond Cookware:

This cookware is produced with a keen eye for technology. The company is always working hard to create the newest, most effective features and manufacturing methods to enhance and improve their cookware offerings. This has lead to a number of advancements in the Swiss Diamond line, including the addition of Nano-composite coating, which utilizes diamond crystals and non-stick Nano-components.

What Makes Swiss Diamond Cookware Unique?

Swiss Diamond is not just another cookware manufacturer. The company is innovative in its approach to household items. Their cookware stands out because of its patented diamond reinforced non-stick coating. This allows consumers to prepare their favorite recipes on a durable heating surface. The non-stick element also makes cleaning Swiss Diamond cookware much easier. The unique material used in Swiss Diamond cookware’s non-stick coating strengthens the piece as a whole. The surface will not peel or crack.

To compliment their functional non-stick surface, the company has also designed its cookware to be thicker using pressure cast aluminum.  The added thickness allows the pot or pan to heat up evenly, which translates into a better distribution of heat and thorough cooking.

Why Choose Swiss Diamond Cookware?

One of the biggest problems consumers have with non-stick cookware is its restrictive nature. No metal utensils can be used or the surface may be damaged.  Abrasive cleaners and scouring pads cannot be used either for the same reason. Swiss Diamond cookware doesn’t have these restrictions, this cookware can stand up to metal utensils without damaging the non-stick coating. It is  also dishwasher safe for fast and easy to clean.

Safety is very important in the kitchen. Swiss Diamond cookware’s durable non-stick construction can protect you from ingesting harmful substances that can sometimes find their way into food due to a damaged heating surface.  Swiss Diamond’s products also include stay cool handles that will remain unheated up to 260 degrees Celsius for easy, comfortable handling.

Swiss Diamond Cookware  comes in many sizes and designs. Consumers can choose from grill pans, roasters, frying pans, stew pots, casserole dishes, sauté pans, sauce pans, woks, and stock pots. Specialized items are also available, such as double burner griddles, breakfast pans and oval frying pans. Each produce is designed with Swiss Diamond’s unique technology. The reinforced construction helps make each pot and pan very durable meaning  you will get many years of use out of your Swiss Diamond cookware.

The Different Types of Cookware

Cookware is an important part of anyone’s kitchen. Without the right cookware it really makes it difficult to cook quality meals at home.

There are a variety of different materials to choose from when buying cookware. The first is stainless steel. This is the most popular and for good reason. Stainless steel cookware is strong, durable and is easy to clean. If it contains a layer of aluminum or copper in the base then it is even better as it provides even cooking and prevents hotspots.

The second type of cookware is cast iron cookware. Cast iron cookware is a favorite for many people. It is strong and almost indestructible. It also cooks foods extremely well but it does have its drawbacks. It’s heavy so takes a bit of muscle to remove from the stove particularly if there is a lot of food in it to begin with.

Cast iron also requires seasoning so there is a little bit of maintenance involved to keep it working as it should. A popular alternative to bare cast iron is enamelled cast iron. This type of cast iron cookware has the best of both worlds. It has all the attributes of bare cast iron, however you don’t need to season it and clean up is a lot easier.

A third material commonly used in the manufacturer of cookware is hard anodized aluminum. This is a very popular choice as this type of cookware is non-stick making for easy cooking and even better – easy clean up! Hard anodized cookware is also quite strong.

Copper is another material used to manufacturer cookware. Copper is the choice for chefs who understand the benefits of copper. Copper is quick to react to temperature changes making it ideal for delicate sauces and gravies. It also cooks evenly preventing hotspots. The disadvantages of copper are that it can be expensive to buy and also difficult to maintain. That beautiful shiny copper needs to be cleaned regularly in order to keep it looking as good as the day it was bought.

Cookware Review: Calphalon Contemporary NonStick Roaster Set

calphalon-contemporary-nonstick-roaster-setOur lastest review is for the Calphalon Contemporary NonStick Roaster Set.

With Thanksgiving  fast approaching  we thought that this was the perfect piece of cookware to review.

Not that its use is limited to Thanksgiving. You can use this roaster at any occasion when  friends and family get together to to celebrate and enjoy each others company. Good food – good wine  – good company, what more could you want.

Now I have to tell you what we love about this roasting pan.  Well for a start it will fit a turkey up to 25lbs and  then there is the added bonus in that clean up is a breeze - the non-stick surface makes it so easy. And who wants to spend most of their Thanksgiving and Christmas scrubbing away at pots and pans – not me that’s for sure.

There are some bonus pieces included with the roaster  - a non-stick rack, a baster and lifting forks. This roasting pan and accessories are great value for money and this roaster is one you will use for years to come.

Read the full review here: Calphalon Contemporary Non-Stick Roasting Pan