Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My pots are going to pot :(

This is the second time in probably less than a decade that I've burned a pot so many times that the seam joining the aluminum-cored, stainless-steel-clad bottom to the rest of the pot has popped open, forcing me to put the pot into the recycling bin. My mother is probably having a conniption fit in heaven, wondering what on earth I'm doing to the pots that she gave us before making aliyah. I really must be more careful about using a timer. Being a "housewares hazard" is becoming hazardous to my financial health.


Anonymous TOTJ Steve said...

I hate to say this, but in my 40 years of cooking, even including the hand-me-down pots and pans from my grandfather, I've never, ever seen this happen. Are you saying that the layers on the bottom of the pan de-laminated?

As a start, if this is a gas range, it's time to stop cooking everything at the highest possible flame. Once water comes to a boil, and you've put in the pasta or anything else you're cooking, turn down the flame. There really isn't a reason to ever have a flame at much more than 60%, except for boiling water, especially if it's a non-stick pan.

The amount of abuse a pot would need to delaminate is very substantial. I wouldn't have commented except that this is a huge safety thing; it's amazing you haven't burned down your house.

Tue Sep 20, 02:11:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Delaminated? I don't think the layers actually came apart, but they did separate from the rest of the pot at the seam. On the other hand, I noticed a popping sound coming from the stove, and when I turned off the burner, the popping sound continued--it was coming from the pot. So it's possible. I figured that any noise that weird was a danger signal. So yes, I am quite lucky that I caught the problem before a fire ensued.

I will certainly keep in mind that I should be careful about not cooking with the flame turned to max, as I have no desire to burn down our apartment building.

Tue Sep 20, 02:31:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Miami Al said...

I think you need to invest in some decent pots and pans that can take the abuse and more. You seem to cook so infrequently, you could probably get by with 2-3 pots on each side. Get some quality stuff.

Oh, and if it's non-stick, toss it after a year or two, that stuff doesn't last. Don't buy high end.

I love my non-stick stuff, lets me cut out a LOT of oil, but I buy stuff from a restaurant supple place and replace every 18-24 months.

Tue Sep 20, 03:22:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

The pots I "fried" were Farberware, and both dated back to my childhood. I replaced the first one with another Farberware pot, and intend to do the same for this recent "victim." We eat dinner at home most nights, so I actually cook fairly frequently, albeit not particularly well. My current specialties are (a) microwaved fish in a smidge of water, with dried basil and dried dill, and (b) lentils, which I cook with fresh onions that I've already fried quite thoroughly in extra-virgin olive oil. I do a nice fruit-sweetened carrot-and-sweet-potato tzimmes, too, using a can of pineapple junks packed in juice.

Speaking of non-stick, I would appreciate recommendations for a *non-toxic* non-stick frying pan. I understand that some folks have questioned the safety of Teflon.

Tue Sep 20, 04:24:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I knew I'd post this somewhere: Here's my fruit-sweetened tzimmes recipe.

Tue Sep 20, 04:37:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Miami Al said...

Some folks have questioned the landing on the moon as well... :)

once the teflon is scratching, it's time for a new pan, hence my recommendation of cheaper non-stick items.

America's Test Kitchen recommended Calphalon's for sauce pans... I just went to a restaurant supply place and spent $30 each on blue and red handled fry pans, and go back annually...

Tue Sep 20, 05:57:00 PM 2011  
Anonymous TOTJ Steve said...

There's a simple way to avoid any issues with non-stick pans -- do not cook with very high heat. Generally, medium to medium high should always be sufficient.

While I am also guilty of using extra virgin olive oil for sauteing, it's really not a frying oil -- in fact, it's rather expensive for that purpose. It's better for dressing and taste; as its doesn't handle high heat well and can cook to an "off" taste; better to keep some store-brand canola oil on hand for anything that will involve heating more than a tablespoon or two of oil.

And as Miami Al recommends, as soon as the nonstick surface starts looking beat up, its time for a new one. You can prolong the life of such pans by (a) using only plastic or wooden utensils in them and (b) hand washing them. The latter is particularly difficult in my home as my spouse has come to appreciate the miracle of the dishwasher and believes that all cooking vessels are best cleaned therein. Sometimes, shalom bayit wins out over preservation of cookware.

Wed Sep 21, 12:21:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Don't worry, TOTJ Steve, I'm using only enough olive oil to keeping the onions from sticking to the bottom of the pan. I doubt that I ever use more than 2 tablespoons of oil in my cooking.

I'll keep the heat down, and remember that my non-stick pans should be replaced as soon as they begin to look the worse for wear.

Wed Sep 21, 03:01:00 PM 2011  

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