August 26, 2007

COOKWARE: Reader Jordan Schwartz emails:

I just re-read your cookware post from December of last year, but unfortunately, it didn’t answer one of my questions in my great high-end cookware search. I’m deciding between All-Clad stainless steel and Calphalon One Infused and Anodized collection (not non-stick). Do you have any preferences? You have mentioned that you use All-Clad before–have you ever tried the Calphalon One? It’s almost been a year–think its time for another cookware post?

I also seem to remember that you and I share a birthday–August 27th. If so, happy almost birthday!

I have the All-Clad and like it a lot. (I also have some of the much cheaper Cuisinart Multiclad stuff, and it’s quite good, especially for the money. My brother has it, too, and was saying just last night how much he likes it.) I don’t know anything about the Calphalon One stuff other than that it looks pretty in the stores, though if you follow the link to the December post you’ll see that Megan McArdle likes it. Any reader comments?

The only new cookware advice I have is that my brother — who’s taking advantage of the 59 cents per pound mangoes at his grocery store — swears by this GoodGrips Mango Splitter. He says it’s works perfectly, splitting and seeding them. Not bad for under twelve bucks. When we were kids, mangoes were a rare delicacy. Now they’re cheap, and you can buy specialized mango-cookware at Kroger. Three cheers for globalization!

And reader Ed Bush writes:

Over the years I must have missed you talking about your Romertopf clay pot. Someone like you would have to have one. If you don’t, get one and make your Insta Chicken in it.

I’ve seen these over the years, and they look cool, though it seems like something that might get broken in my household. And how easy are they to clean, really?

Also, I should note that this cheap nonstick skillet, which I picked up last year based on its promise to resist damage from metal utensils, is still holding up perfectly despite the best efforts of, ahem, some of the less careful cooks in my household.

And, yeah, tomorrow is my birthday. Thanks!

UPDATE: A Romertopf endorsement: “This baby is worth every umlaut. . . . Despite being made of clay, it is durable (eight years and counting with an accident-prone chef and two twitchy toddlers) and simple to clean.” That sounds good.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Paul Byers emails:

I have been using Calphalon One for over a decade. It has had other names in that time but still the same pots. They cook great! Even temps and brown really well. Cook a lot like well seasoned cast iron, which is what I learned on. I fearlessly use the OXO Stainless utensils without damage to my pots. I wash them with Scott brand pads and soupy hot water. If you take care of the pans they will glaze and then are much easier to clean. DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DISH WASHER! Have a couple of the newer stainless Calphalon pans that have been gifts from folks who know my loyalty to the brand. They cook well but not as nice as the anodized. Little harder to reduce in the stainless but the thick aluminum plate on the bottom keeps the hot spots to a minimum. I have owned and passed on All Clad, Old copper bottom Revere Wear and well seasoned cast iron. I am all Calphalon now, even when I am camp cooking on a charcoal grill.

That dishwasher thing is a dealbreaker in my house Others may feel differently. Meanwhile, reader Mark Butterworth writes:

I’ve picked up a number of Calphalon pieces on sale and built up a nice set of pots, but I’ve also added some All-Clad which I love. They are beautiful and I thought my Saucier pot heated up faster than others I use.

To prove it, I did an All-Clad pot vs. a Calphalon pot of similar dimensions. I put two cups of water in each and set both pots on equal gas burners (two small ones on my range).

It took about 8-9 minutes to get a rolling boil and much to my surprise, the anodized aluminum Calphalon won. It beat All-Clad by a minute or so.

I still prefer my All-Clad. So pretty. So Shiny.

Mmm. Shiny.

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