Here is an informative youtube video that covers cookware and kitchen gadgets.

Let’s Talk Cookware

Which pots and pans do you really need? What is the difference between nonstick, stainless steel, and cast iron skillets? What is a Dutch oven and do you really need one? I will try and answer these questions and more.

If you are new to cooking (or a terrible cook like I used to be) please don’t skip this page. The information presented here is important for cooking success.

Let’s begin our discussion with some great videos:

Skillets and frying pans

  • Cast Iron skillet – is an incredible (and inexpensive) work horse that belongs in every kitchen. They can be used for pan-frying, sauteing, searing, baking, braising, broiling, roasting, and more. Here is a link on cleaning and seasoning your cast iron skillet. Note: Cast iron is not a good choice for acidic foods. Here is an article from America’s Test Kitchen on cast iron skillets.
  • Stainless Steel skillet – the key to using a stainless steel skillet is to ensure your pan is sizzling hot before adding food. Place your skillet on a heat source before adding oil. Once the skillet is hot, add the oil. The oil will shimmer. Continue heating until you can see the first wisp of smoke. This is when you want to add the meat. The trick is not getting the skillet too hot yet ensuring it is hot enough. If done correctly, food will not stick and cleaning is very easy.
  • Nonstick skillets – the only time that I use nonstick skillets is for fish and eggs. I can think of no other reason to use them.
Toxic cookware and safe alternatives

DUTCH OVENS (aka cocotte)

Lodge Dutch Oven

Dutch ovens are a heavy, thick-walled pot with a tight fitting lid that is made out of cast iron. They can be used to braise, fry, stew, bake, slow cook, and poach food. They are a must-have for combination cooking techniques. Choose one with an enamel coating.

Here is an article about cooking with dutch ovens and why you should have one by America’s Test Kitchen.

Another great article on dutch ovens: 6 Rules to follow when cooking with a dutch oven.