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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cookware Basics: Quality Over Quantity

Earlier this week I was contacted by Khara of Cookware.com offering me the opportunity for their writers to author an article for Mom's Cafe Home Cooking. This is not a paid post so if you have a moment please check out their website. What interested me is they now have shipping to Canada! I accepted their offer and after a bit background work the following article written by Jamie S. of Cookware.com appeared in my inbox yesterday. The Thanks so much Jamie. The article is very much in keeping with my cooking philosophy and the spirit of this blog. I hope you enjoy Jamie's article as much as I did.

Enjoy!

Garden Gnome
©2006-2009

Cookware Basics: Quality Over Quantity

For some, cooking is a chore. Just something that has to be done every day. For others, myself included, cooking is a passion. Way more than a hobby, cooking for me is a constant learning experience. I constantly find myself experimenting with some of my favorite recipes - substituting this for that, with varying degrees of success.

When it comes to the cookware I use in the kitchen, I am an advocate for quality, often more expensive pieces that I know will last me longer and cook my food better. Let me guide you through my thought process when it comes to choosing for the best cookware.

The tendency for many amateur chefs and foodies is to buy a variety of single-use small kitchen appliances, when they could potentially save money by investing in premium quality bakeware, utensils and cookware sets. Case in point, a quality sauté pan will generally give you better results than a George Foreman Countertop grill.


Quality Materials, Quality Cooking:

If you plan on spending a lot of time in the kitchen, or you have a young family, I definitely recommend investing in some professional grade cookware and bakeware. From personal experience, I've found non-coated stainless steel and cast iron to work the best. While some people swear by non-stick cookware, there have been some concerns regarding the coating itself.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as C-8, is a chemical commonly used to bond the non-stick coating to the pan. The EPA asked eight US-based companies, including DuPont, to work towards the elimination of PFOA as it has been shown to cause cancer, low birth weight as well as raising a slew of other health concerns.

While these health concerns are constantly being disputed, I've found that in my personal experience, a non-stick pan will not give the sear that a stainless steel or cast iron pan will give. Ask most chefs, and they will agree that a quality stainless steel pan will brown your food better than its non-stick counterparts. Cast Iron will more evenly distribute heat while maintaining a steady surface temperature, good for pan broiling, stewing or baking.

Another benefit to purchasing some high quality cookware, instead of several countertop appliances, is the electricity you will save in the process! It all adds up! What, with a toaster, a coffee maker, a countertop grill, a rice cooker, etc., your electric bill is likely going to be higher each month, depending how often you use everything. Plus, by having fewer countertop appliances, you eliminate needless clutter, giving you more workable countertop space!


Essential Countertop Appliances

I didn't mean to imply earlier that all countertop appliances are rendered useless by quality cookware. No, quite the contrary! Having a few choice kitchen appliances will most certainly enhance your cooking experience. For instance, a durable stand mixer is a must-have for cooking and baking.

I also couldn't do without my blender and food processor. While there's something to be said for a fine set of kitchen knives, if you're prepping for a large party, you're not going to want to chop everything yourself without the aide of your food processor. These sorts of appliances make food prep infinitely easier, leaving you time and energy to focus on perfecting the flavors of your food.


For Your Consideration...

For many cooks, price point is the biggest hindrance when it comes to shopping for new cookware. In tough financial times like we're currently seeing, that's a very valid concern. You need to think about it in the long term. Quality, extra durable cookware will last you longer than the cheap stuff. You won't have to replace it in a year or two and the quality of your food will be so much stronger. It's a win, win!

Jamie


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