Non-stick = Money Down the Drain!

Barry5kFebruary 22, 2004

I have had several non-stick pans over the years from cheap supermarket items to Calphalon. One thing I have noticed, is that sooner or later, I end up tossing them as the non-stick gets totally ruined. Five years seems to be the average life span of these pans. I just deposited my Circulon wok into the trash after five wonderful years! So maybe one should just buy the cheapest non-stick out there and throw them away every year! (By the way, I do take care of my cookware, so that's not the problem).

I bought a Scanpan skillet and wok about eight months ago and I am hoping these are the last I will ever buy! They are great and it is nice to use high heat and the occasional metal utensil - even though I feel the guilt rush over me every time.

I do have a couple of Cusinart Tri-Ply and they make cooking enjoyable. I do, however, go through a lot of olive oil. I am just wondering if there is a non-stick out there that will last ten years or more!!!!!!!!!

Or should one just forget non-stick all together??

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Even though I have good, expensive cookware and know how to take care of it, several years ago I started buying non-stick pans at TJ Maxx discount store or at the outlet stores near me. I worked in a gourmet retail store for a number of years and knew what brands to look for. Usually I could find a Chantal, Berndes, or heavyweight T-Fal non-stick pan for $20-30. I would use the pan for a few years (you're doing well to get five!) then put it aside when the pan was past it's prime. The Berndes pan I'm using now is the best in recent memory! I use it everyday, sometimes 3 times a day.

A cheap non-stick pan probably wouldn't cook to suit you. Just look around at other places you might not associate with cookware and keep your eyes open for sales or introductory offers.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2004 at 9:51AM
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I hear you Barry. I have gone through many a non stick pan. I prefer teflon pans for some jobs and yes I am very careful to use the right utensils and take oh so careful care of the pan and still they don't last. I really believe it is heat that causes the pans to wear out. I keep looking for a pan that will last but I have yet to find one. I am learning to cook more things in stainless steel. I still hold out hope someone will make a non stick pan that will last for years and years. They can send a man to the moon, why can't they make a pan that will last, that is how I think. Dreaming aren't I?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2004 at 11:30AM
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I've tossed a lot of non-stick stuff....but that which I have bought in the past 10 years has lasted verfy well. I liuke Meyer's professional series.....some Wearever is good. I look for stuff with a rough non-stick lining anda pan with a good heavy weight.....and a conductive stainless steel.
I am currently using one 10 inch Meyer non-stick that is more then 14 years's worn.....and the non-stick isn't as good as new....but it's not peeling.
Nope...not money down the drain!....
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 22, 2004 at 5:27PM
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I should never use a lap top.....without very careful proof reading......
Jeeze! Woulda never thunk i'D A WENT TA SCHOOL!
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 22, 2004 at 10:22PM
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You know what, I read somewhere awhile back that nonstick finishes can be ruined by high heat, soaking in water for too long, and using cooking spray. I have just started purchasing new cookware for my new stove, I should research this and see what I can find.

I know what you're talking about there, my old nonstick pans (tried various brands over the years) all went the same way. But, I used to use high heat and leave them sitting in the sink for a day before washing them so I wonder if what I remember reading is true. I'll report back if I find any good source :)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2004 at 1:36AM
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I have the Caphalon non stick large saucier skillet/roasting pan. I am so disappointed that the non stick part is wasting away. Should and will from now on buy all 18/10 gage steel. No more non sticks for me except for an eggy fry pan.. a little bitty one.

I just bought a new pressure cooker. Everyone is going towards the non stick ones.. I bought a 18/10 gauge Fagor.


here is a site..
you can check out the reasons you may want to avoid the Non stick pans here...

    Bookmark   February 29, 2004 at 2:45PM
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starbuster, I have the fagor (actually 2) a 4 Qt and an 8 Qt. and I love them. I occasionally use bar keepers to keep them looking like new. So much better than the old pressure cookers. Enjoy.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2004 at 5:43PM
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my mom, 76 year old, has given up on non-stick pans.
i have also done the same. both of us have both many of them over the years and all have worn out. we do not care for pans that we have to "pamper"
i am now trying out the glass type, the old cast iron and the stainless steel.
btw i am a 55 single male and no i do not live with my mom!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2004 at 10:30PM
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As stated on the link by Starduster, nonstick pans have potential risk when heated to extreme levels to where fumes are released.

HOWEVER, please recognize that the health risk is NOT in the "eating" of teflon (which is not digestable & has NEVER had any ill effects in that manner - per multiple resources), but risk is in the inhalation of those fumes. I'm in the health profession & am a victim of over-research-itis when making major purchases (such as cookware). Look at your own habits. If you leave pans to boil dry @ high heats, don't use nonstick cookware! If you do not fall into that category & really prefer nonstick, then cook away... just do so as an informed individual. ... and periodically check the EPA for updates.

My $0.02

    Bookmark   March 1, 2004 at 7:02AM
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I've also bad experiences with the less expensive and lower quality nonstick skillets. And heed well what Lori writes about the fumes! Had one skillet that bubbled and buckled and the fumes were ghastly! However, I did want to do perfect fried eggs (never could get the good old cast iron skillet to do that for me, even with years and years of conditioning!)...I finally bought a rather expensive, lifetime warranty Calphalon skillet. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! I don't use a heat higher than Medium, it does eggs perfectly, yet I get a nice brown saute on fish, chicken and veggies.

That's the only nonstick pan I own, and money well spent...for everything else, including roasting pans, I prefer the heavy tri-ply stainless steel.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2004 at 12:19PM
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FYI - "money down the drain"?
Ans: Not if you take care of them. ...

All-Clad responded to my e-mail on their "lifetime of pan" nonstick warranty with ...

Your All-Clad pans are covered under warranty for as long as you own them. If you ever needed to send a piece to us for warranty replacement inspection the only reason they would not replace cookware is if the warranty department can determine that the problem was caused by user abuse (i.e. using metal utensils in nonstick pans and the consumer wants them replaced because the nonstick is coming off).

    Bookmark   March 4, 2004 at 6:57AM
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Calphalon also has the lifetime warranty. I've had the commercial nonstick set for almost 8 years. Am on my 3rd 10" skillet and 2nd 8" skillet! I simply traded them in at my local Bed Bath and Beyond (although I could have sent them into the manufacturer). What I did wrong with the 8" was to deep fry taco shells in it (the oil residue wouldn't clean off well) so I bought a SS pan just for that purpose. Because this was the 2nd 10" skillet whose nonstick surface stopped working, I went with a similar Emeril pan instead. The salesman told me he had similar problems with his Calphalon but not with the Emeril. So far, so good.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2004 at 2:46PM
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absolutely agree, and like you i've had the really cheap ones all the way up to the most expensive calphalon non-stick. traded to a new calphalon twice, then gave that up and traded it for an all-clad stainless. i now use inexpensive 20-30 non-sticks from wal-mart or wherever i can get them at that price. i replace them about once a year. non-sticks are a major PITA. my wok at $13 has been with me for YEARS. same thing with my s/s pans. will be upgrading some of my pieces soon to copperware and le creuset, but i'll probably stick (LOL) to cheap non-sticks.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2004 at 11:40PM
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I have tried most of the non-stick pans out there, and Scanpan is the only one that works just as well 2 years (and counting) later as it did brand new. I have tried to make the non-stick fail by abusing it every which way, and a quick scrub with a Chore Boy brings it back to condition. The original Scanpan wasn't very good, granted, but their new stuff (2001+ or titanium treatment) is great.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2004 at 11:59AM
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For us, having one NS skillet is essential for cooking eggs, but other than that, no way. Ours is a 12-inch All Clad. It gets constant use, goes in the dishwasher several times per week and still looks new. No signs of aging. The rest of our All Clad are stainless, plus we have a huge set of Le Creuset enameled cast iron.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2004 at 12:24PM
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Perhaps in the long run, you might be grateful that your non-stick pans fall apart and you have a good excuse to throw them out, because now it seems that in addition to being cheap and a source of solid waste, they may have more formidable health risks than previously publicized. AND, DuPont, the maker of Teflon and other similar non-stick products, has been suppressing information about the health risks of Teflon, including the emissions near their plants. As a previous poster mentioned, the greater risk does seem to come from breathing rather than ingesting non-stick surfaces that have been heated too high, but it still seems wise to stay away from PFCs that are commonly found in the human bloodstream, not a locale where they belong.

Read on at

Seems like a good time to get back to cast iron and some other classics...

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 2:12AM
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I'll second the vote for Scanpan! I haven't used teflon for years due to toxicity reports but recently just got fed up with trying to cook eggs on ss. I bought a Scanpan a couple of months ago and just love it! Everytime I use it I just marvel over how great it performs! It cleans like a dream.
I think it was only $39 for the 9inch skillet, too bad the bigger skillets are so expensive, I'd get more.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2004 at 5:42PM
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i bought the Farberware Millenium pots about 8 years ago, i was sucked in by the "lifetime" warranty. well, i'm still alive and my pots aren't!! after a year or two, the most frequently used pots because to peel. i can now see bare metal on the bottoms of a couple of them. i'm about to trash the whole set (which by the way cost me 700.00) and purchase new cookware. i'm leary about buying non-stick now, even a reputable high end brand. i recently purchased a T-fal large non-stick saucepan because i loved the size of it and the straight sides as well as the glass lid. well, the bottom of that one is looking a little rough now too. we only use plastic utensils in our pots/pans, never any it too much to expect these non-stick things to actually hold up?

p.s. my mother has a set of pots that she received when she was married, 40 years ago!!! obviously they are not non-stick, but she cooks with them every single day and could never be persuaded to give them up for some "new-fangled" pots. she says if something sticks, she'll just soak the pot to get it clean. maybe i should learn a lesson from her and buy some non non-stick pots!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2004 at 7:20AM
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If cookware is guaranteed for life, then turn it in for a replacement.

I specifically went with the top of the line Calphalon because of the lifetime warranty and I LOVE the stuff.

The problem with the less expensive non-stick in some of the lines is that the cookware itself isn't so good.

Since I cook non and low fat almost all of the time, I wanted my non-stick pans to be excellent and Calphalon fits the bill. I am sure All Clad non-stick is also good but I prefer anodized aluminum.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2004 at 9:19AM
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I have a set of KitchenAid non-stick that are 1 1/2 years old and still look good. They are heavy gauge pans which I like and work really well on my electric smoothtop.

The only skillet that is no longer acting non-stick is the 8" -- it is because I deep-fried tortilla shells in them and can not get the oil residue off.

I have high hopes for these pans and will be happy if they last me 5 years.

Also, no metal utensils, no soaking for long periods of time , let the pan cool off before washing and no High Heat!!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2004 at 8:07AM
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No non-stick pan is going to last like a good stainless pan. A high-quality pan like those by All-Clad or Cuisinart should still be in use by your grandchildren.

Even the best NS pans eventually chip or scratch, and if you leave the pan on the stove too long, it's ruined. Plus, you can't put them in the dishwasher and hope they'll last. A SS pan doesn't need coddling.

You can get some NS warrantied for life, but sometimes the warranties don't cover certain defects. Might as well get a good quality SS pan to start.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2004 at 1:42PM
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jiggreen, I hear ya! My Millenium is all deteriorating, too. I've read a bunch of complaints on the net about how the brand name has been sold, and there's no one around that's honoring the warranty. After the big $$$$ I spent on that stuff, I'm not a happy camper at all.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 11:59AM
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If cookware is guaranteed for life, then turn it in for a replacement.

hear, hear! Even if only to:
1) let the company know they've got a problem (they only listen to $$)
2) get something new that you can SELL to offset the cost of the OTHER brand you will actually buy to use.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 3:30PM
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Talley, the problem with Millenium, as I understand it, is that there's no "the company" left to get in contact with. The original owner of the brand name sold it to someone else. The new owners of the brand name disavow responsibility for anything before they bought the brand, and the old brand owners don't acknowledge responsibility for it, either. I suppose, in theory, one could sue them both to legally force someone to take responsibility, but for $500 worth of cookware it's just not worth the time and money.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 3:48PM
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Along with the two posters above, I am very happy with the Scanpan fry pan I bought a year or two ago. Not even in the same league with other non-stick cookware I've owned. It's a pleasure to use.

If anyone is interested, the following site has some good introductory specials.

Here is a link that might be useful: Scanpan

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 4:26AM
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You should try one of the restaurant supply stores non-stick pans. They sell them at Sam's club. My mother-in-law has been running one through the dishwasher for two years with no ill effects.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 12:03AM
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Alton Brown recommends not spending a lot of money on non-stick cookwear.

Eventually the coating goes, and you have to toss it.

Put your money in your good regular cookwear.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 5:17PM
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As mentioned above AllClad has a lifetime warranty including their nonstick pans. We have turned in a nonstick pan due to warpage that was used for about 5 years. The nonstick coating was still in very good shape, although the new one is obviosly in better shape :)

Its hard to beat nonstick pans for things like eggs.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 4:30PM
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Many thanks!! After reading these posts, instead of throwing out 2 all-Clad non-stick frypans that had lost their non-stick properties after several years of heavy use, I returned them to All-Clad and received 2 brand-new pans from them today. I've used All-Clad for 20 years, and think their products are great. Now I know their lifetime warranty is great, too.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 5:35PM
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Hmm, maybe I should have returned my non-stick pans to All Clad also. I called them some time ago and they told me to let them sit with a couple of denture cleaning tablets and some water. I have done that; they still stick.

Instead of non-stick, I now use cast iron. Well-seasoned it works just as well and you get better browning.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 9:58PM
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How much difference in oil usage between the non-stick & stainless cookware? I've gone the way to use non-stick since it is supposed to use less oil as I must be on a low-fat "diet" because of my heart.

Viewing the cooking tv programs, oil is sure poured into the stainless versus my using the oil mist sprayer onto the non-stick.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 7:08PM
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If you use olive oil it's actually good for the heart. I've included a link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Olive Oil & The Heart

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 5:31PM
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First User -- There is a significant difference in the amount of oil I used in my nonstick and stainless pans -- I have both.

I use nonstick for stir fries, for sauteing fish and paillards and really anything that doesn't have deglazing and braising/simmering in a liquid sauce as part of the cooking process.

While olive oil may be a heart healthy oil, any oil still needs to be used in moderation for health and weight maintenance.

Just compare the nutritional stats between recipes that make no effort to lighten up and those you find in sources such as Cooking Light. The amount of oil is vastly different -- a Cooking Light dish might use 1 to 2 tablespoons for a recipe that serves 4 as opposed to a Rachel Ray/Tyler Florence recipe that probably STARTS with 1/4 cup of oil and then adds additional fat -- my eyes boggle when they saute bacon in oil to start :)

My nonstick is high quality -- some guaranteed for life (Calphalon) and some for 10 years :). I also have regular stainless but it's extremely difficult to lighten up your cooking without nonstick for many if not most dishes.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 9:35AM
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SolarPowered- did you ever try contacting Farberware (or whever they are now) yourself to see if they'd honor the warranty or suggest some options? Voice your displeasure directly to them. 700$ is a lot of money spent on cookware, I'd expect it to outlast me for that price!

How's this for stupid? I have a set of lifetime warranty-d Circulon that I never sent the warranty cards in for? Do you think I can still replace my guaranteed to stick non stick skillet?

FWIW I bought my mom some Scanpan & she absolutely loves the stuff. She's very arthritic & hasn't been able to scrub pots for ages so she specifically requested some nonstick pans. She finds these a dream to clean and uses nothing but metal utensils on them- they still look & work great.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 11:35AM
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Farberware web site says to send defective cookware to the address shown below.

Farberware Cookware
Attn: Warranty Inspection
One Meyer Plaza
Vallejo, CA 94590

Be sure to include a short note inside the box explaining the problem with your Farberware Cookware, along with your name, address, and a daytime phone number.

We recommend choosing a shipping service that provides a tracking number or proof of delivery service that allows you to track the status of your shipment to us. We are not responsible for shipments not received at our facility.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 5:00PM
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I have been using Ameriware prefessional non-stick cookwares for over a year now and love them. You can only get them from home shows or sometime your local Costco. I got mine from Costco when they had their shows here.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 10:41PM
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I vote for Berndes, a German outfit. It's really good.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 8:18PM
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I vote for Berndes, a German outfit. It's really good.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 9:38PM
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My fiance and I are registering for pots and pans. My question to you is, Caphalon Nonstick of Stainless Steel?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 7:25PM
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Not Calphalon, period. Register for some All Clad stainless and it will last the rest of your life, and be a joy to cook with every day.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 8:39PM
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I have a full set (and more) of Calphalon Pro pots and pans. My 12" NS fry pan is useless as a non-stick at this time. I believe it was the PAM I used for cooking on it.

Calphalon did not have a warning NOT to use PAM or other non-stick sparys when they first came out. I used pam and it has destroyed the non-stick properties of the pan. It has created some sort of coating on the surface that I cannot remove. I also have two Calp. Jelly Roll pans that the surface is peeling/flaking off of them.
I'm getting ready to send them back to Calphalon and see how good their warranty really is. Only problem is that it's goingto cost me $12.00 to send them back.
I'll let you know the response I get when I send them back.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 9:01AM
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My car doesn't last forever, my carpets don't last forever, and I don't expect my pans to last forever. Some nonstick - some not - happy person here.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 10:44AM
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Your car doesn't have a "Lifetime Warranty" like some pots and pans.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 1:56PM
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In 1966 I bought pans with a lifetime warrenty. I'm still alive - the company died. Guess the warrenty was for the life of the company.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 10:23AM
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I vote for the cast iron.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 2:17PM
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Ya... Companies who give a "Lifetime" warranty never state who's "Lifetime" they are talking about !

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 10:31AM
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We have an Emeril 8" non-stick frypan which we use for eggs. Works great. The Scanpan grill-style is good for fish, burger and kebabs and presents them well due to the grill marks it creates. We also use a slightly smaller French steel omelette pan which, when properly seasoned with lotsa butter and wiped clean (not washed!) when done, works great as well. Tinned copper works well, too, as it has some natural non-stick properties. The key seems to be moderate cooking temperatures, attention to the job at hand, and no Pam.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 11:35PM
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My Analon Nonstick Pro pieces have been in use since I bought them at a department store back in '99. They look like the day I bought them. Most amazing nonstick I've ever owned. A little dot of dishsoap on a wet paper towel and I don't have to waste space in the dishwasher after cooking eggs and sausage.

I also have both cast-iron pots made by AGA-Rayburn and cookware by Faulk Cuilinaire made of stainless-lined copper with cast-iron handles.

Choosing the right pan for the job is understanding how they perform.

The AGA cast iron casserole pans have a machined-flat bottom that brings things to a boil very quickly. The flat surface contact overcomes the slow thermal properties of cast iron in comparison to the Faulk copper cookware that isn't machined flat.

Faulk's copper speed is best attained on an open-flame cooktop as their bottoms are not machined flat.

So, if I bring a syrup to the hard-crack stage, it will take off faster with cast iron. But, it will also get burned/ruined faster because of thermal overshoot inherant to cast iron.

While it takes longer to boil in the Faulk copper pan, it cools down or transitions much quicker because of the copper construction. Important when keeping something on the edge of scorching to get carmelization.

Just not good when you are serving food banquet style as it cools down equally fast.

Something that scorches easily, i.e. custards, sauces, might not burn as quickly with a slow heat-transfer of a cast iron pan.

For eggs or cheese, I don't think you can beat Analon pro non-stick.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 4:14PM
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