Cooking is an artistic process that generally relies on the cook. What most people, however, fail to realize is that the cookware is equally important as the cook. Even the most adept chefs like Mario Batali will attest to the importance of the cooking set. The right cookware will not only cook the food to perfection but also make the culinary process very smooth. So, if you are new to the world of gastronomy or maybe you want an upgrade to the best cookware set on a budget, then you are in the right place.
What does a cookware set consist of?
Not to be confused with other utensils in the kitchen, cookware are appliances strictly used in cooking. Many appliances make up a cookware set, such as pots and pans and additional kitchenware like cooking spoons and spatulas.
It all depends on the size of your household- how many people are living with you? You may be single, but your friends are always coming over. It is worth noting therefore that a proper cookware set should have saucepans of various sizes for you to be on the safe side. The sizes should differ by ½ to one-quart margin. The most basic set should, therefore, have at least five saucepans of 1 quart, 2 quarts, 3 quarts, 6 quarts and 8 quarts with a 10-inch skillet.
What specifications to consider
One, is it dishwasher safe or not? If you are among the lucky people who own a dishwasher, then ensure that the cookware is safe for the dishwasher to avoid future spending. Even if you do not have a dishwasher currently, go for the safe ones, because most cookware lasts a lifetime. Sooner or later, you will be able to afford a dishwasher, and you will thank us for not investing more money in new cooking appliances.
Secondly, is it oven safe? Make sure the appliances are both safe for the oven and stove. Various dishes require cooking both on the stove and oven. We wouldn’t want you to miss out on delicacies, because you chose cooking appliances that are only stove-friendly.
Which cookware material is the best?
There are various materials used in cooking appliances. They include stainless steel, aluminum (pure and hard-anodized), nonstick and cladded. Nonstick appliances are coated with Teflon to prevent food from sticking on their surfaces. Cladded cookware are made up of various layers of different metals fused to form the cooking appliances. This is done to improve heat conductivity. A good example of cladded cookware are stainless steel pots that have aluminum or copper cladding in between them.
Why stainless steel cookware
Stainless steel cookware is the best. We highly recommended them because steel is very durable and most of these appliances are safe for both the oven and dishwasher. They are also great conductors of heat because they are fully clad with either copper or aluminum. Another great feature of steel is that it is a non-reactive metal and does not react with acidic foods.
Why cookware with nonstick surfaces
With nonstick appliances, you can use little to no oil when cooking, because food does not stick on their surfaces. However, most of these appliances are not safe for both the oven and dishwasher. Their surfaces can also be damaged by metallic spoons, exposing the metallic surfaces that may affect the taste and quality of food.
There are also concerns that nonstick cookware contains Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). This chemical is released under very high temperatures and may pose serious health risks. Although there are conflicting reports as to whether PFOA really affects humans, it is safe to be on the lookout.
Why aluminum cookware
Most cookware is made up of aluminum because it is a cheaper alternative to steel and is also a great conductor of heat. Unfortunately, pure aluminum ware reacts with acidic foods resulting to degradation of their taste. There is also aluminum cookware that is coated with enamel. The only problem with the enamel coating is that it easily chips away exposing the aluminum surface. The only best alternative is hard-anodized aluminum pans because they are nonreactive. They are also resistant to deep scraping and gouging that occurs during washing.
Why cast iron cookware
Although many people have since moved from cast iron appliances, they are still great when it comes to cooking. The major concern is that they are susceptible to rust. However, this can easily be solved by scraping the rust off with a mix of sand and vegetable oil. They are also not dishwasher safe, so you have to go the manual route with these appliances.
What about the handles?
Handles are as important as the cookware and should also be a defining factor when purchasing the right cooking appliances. Plastic handles may break easily and are also not safe for ovens with temperatures above 350?F, although they do not heat up while cooking. With metal handles, you will require pot holders because these handles get really hot. The good thing is that they are sturdy and will not break.
Wooden handles, on the other hand, do not get hot, but they are not dishwasher safe. Cool-touch handles are the best. They can be handled with the naked hand even when the pot is under severe heating. The cool-touch feature, however, does not work in the oven, and you will need a pot holder in this case.