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THE SCIENCE OF GOOD COOKING > COOKWARE MATERIAL > Flashcards

Flashcards in COOKWARE MATERIAL Deck (13):
1

Copper

Conducts heat extremely well, but it is expensive, heavy and tarnishes easily. Copper is also reactive, leaching into many foods to produce off-colors and flavors. For this reason, copper cookware is usually lined with tin or stainless steel.

Bottom line: It looks great but not worth the expense.

2

Aluminum

Second to copper in conductivity among the metals used for cookware. It is also light, inexpensive and retains heat well--provided it is of sufficient thickness--although the soft metal dents and scratches easily and it can react with acidic ingredients. Anodized aluminum cookware has a harder and less reactive outer surface. But its dark color can make it tricky to monitor the development of fond.

Bottom line: Unless anodized, aluminum is best used in combination with other metals.

3

Cast Iron

Heats up slowly but retains heat well. Cast-iron cookware is also inexpensive and lasts a lifetime, but it is heavy, reactive, and must be seasoned before use (unless you buy pre seasoned cast-iron cookware, which we recommend). Cast iron is often coasted with brightly colored enamel, which in nonreactive. Because heavy cast-iron pots retain heat so well, they are perfect for recipes like frying and stewing that require precise temperature control.

Bottom line: Cast iron is great for skillets, and we like enabled cast iron for Dutch ovens.

4

Stainless Steel

A poor conductor of heat. Inexpensive cookware made entirely of thin-gauged stainless steel is prone to hot spots and warping. Stainless steel is, however, nonreactive, durable, and attractive, making it an excellent choice for coating, or "cladding," cookware made from aluminum or copper.

Bottom line: Buy cookware made with stainless steel that is combined with other metals.

5

Clad

Clad cookware is what TK recommend most of the time. The "cladding" label means that it is made from layers of metal that have been bonded under intense pressure and heat. For most clad cookware, these layers form a sandwich with the "filling" made of aluminum and the other outer layers made of stainless steel.

Bottom line: Clad cookware heats evenly and quickly, and is easy to care for.

6

Name three "reactive" metals.

Aluminum, copper (not lined) and unseasoned cast iron.

7

What happens when acidic ingredients are cooked in "reactive" pans?

Trace amounts of molecules from the metal can leach into the food. These minute amounts are not harmful to consume, but they may impart unwanted metallic flavors.

8

TEST KITCHEN: TOMATO SAUCE SIMMERED IN ALUMINUM, SEASONED AND UNSEASONED CAST IRON AND STAINLESS STEEL.

Tasters noticed a strong iron flavor in the sauce from the unseasoned cast-iron pot and a more subtle metallic taste in the sauce from the aluminum pot. Sauce cooked in seasoned cast iron and stainless steel tasted just fine.

9

When should nonstick pans be used?

For delicate items such as eggs or fish. Nonstick pans don't brown food as well as conventional pans; there's no fond left behind for pan sauce.

10

Accounts for half of all cookware sales in the US.

Nonstick cookware

11

Safety issues with nonstick.

First, production can pollute local ground water. Second, ingestion of nonstick surfaces (once the coating starts to peel and flake) isn't good for you. Third, they can emit fumes if the surface reaches temperatures in excess of 600 degrees; kills birds and causes flu-like symptoms in humans.

12

How do you avoid temperatures in excess of 600 degrees?

The only ray to reach it is with an empty pan. Make sure you have an oil that will smoke around 400ºF so this problem doesn't occur.

13

Alternative to nonstick cookware.

Cast iron is the most effective. Over time, cast-iron pans develop nonstick properties as the oils and fats used in cooking polymerize and essentially fuse with the surface of the pan.

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