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European Traditions in Linens and Housewares

Our discoveries along the byways of France and Beyond

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Cookware & Cutlery

French Cookware and CutleryMost of us have read a great deal about choosing quality French cookware and cutlery and have already decided on some favorite pieces based on how we use them.  The cookware manufacturers have different ways of treating them to make them easier to maintain, to help prevent sticking of foods during the cooking process and to make them more attractive to use.  I will be brief about the qualities I look for in both my cookware and cutlery and then go on to what we are choosing to offer in our e-store.

As you all know, the cookware we use on the top of the stove should have heavy bottoms to insure even heating.  These may include aluminum, copper or cast iron as the preferred choices as they all are good conductors of heat and all heat evenly.  I also prefer to have the material used on the bottoms of the cookware also continue up the sides of the pots or pans to more evenly conduct heat and retain it for longer periods.

 Some manufacturers of cookware encase either copper or aluminum in stainless steel while others encase cast iron in porcelain.  Still others have a special treatment for aluminum to enhance both its conductivity and its ability to reduce the likelihood of food sticking during the cooking process.  If we follow the manufacturers’ instructions when we first buy the cookware, it performs well.   I have used copper, cast iron, aluminum, and stainless steel cookware and have found that I prefer copper or stainless steel with aluminum cores for my purposes.  I can use low to moderate heat for all my recipes, the cookware is attractive when in use and generally it is easy to clean and maintain.  I have also tried using some lighter weight cookware and have finally relegated it to being flower holders, gadget organizers or water carriers.  They all had hot spots, burned food, were hard to clean and lost their luster very quickly.  If you take into consideration the wasted food, time, and energy as well as the initial investment, they were a waste.

The choice of cutlery and cooking utensils in general also can be a matter of what our experience has led us to choose.  When I choose I look for sturdiness, balance and attractiveness.  Why attractiveness?  In my small kitchen I have few drawers and therefore many of my knives and utensils are hung in convenient places on the wall for all to see.

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