copper pots and pans question...

joss-1November 30, 2010

Hi All, Can anyone tell me what to look for when buying a copper pots and pans set? I'm not sure if I should get new or vintage that can be used. I like the vintage look, but I will need them for cooking. I've looked on eBay and some say "tin-lined"... is that important? Anything else that I should look for? Thanks for any input and help. Joss

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Coper is itn lined because cooking in bare copper is toxic . However, tin wears oujt & the pots need to be retinned, a not-inexpensive undertaking. If you can find copper pans line w/ stainless steel, you won't have to be concerned w/ relining the pots. Keep inmind that cooper requires a lot of maintenance to keep looking good.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 4:33PM
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And keep in mind that copper is VERY expensive. The brands to look for are Falk Culinair, Mauviel and Bourgeat. (The little bit of copper on Revere ware isn't enough to significantly affect the performance.)

Unless you have someone nearby who can reline a tin-lined copper pot, you're better off with copper lined with stainless.

For a definitive discussion of copper and other cookware materials (and advantages and disadvantages of each one) read the article at the link. You'll know far more than the average cookware salesperson.

All Clad has a copper core line that is copper with both interior and exterior layers of stainless, but that's about as expensive as the copper/stainless big boys like Falk Culinair.

Here is a link that might be useful: stovetop cookware

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 10:57AM
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Actual copper cookware is expensive, heavy, and will be dull brown after a few days' use unless you clean it with certain products. It will be solid copper at least 2 mm thick, not copper plating over steel (Revereware and much ''vintage'' copper cookware) and not a very thin copper layer inside a sandwich (All-Clad CopperCore). The best copper cookware for actual cooking is 2.5 mm thick. The thinner stuff tends to be more for presentation. It has to be lined, either tin or stainless steel, the latter is far more practical. To clean and keep the shine, use Twinkle paste (some True Value hardware stores, Sur La Table, etc). Some use BarKeepers' Friend, I haven't tried it - check how abrasive BKF might be, because even a mildly abrasive product will dull the polished copper in time. Let me know if you have more questions. I have mostly copper cookware and love it, and you have to ''love'' it as from a purely functional standpoint, the advantages of copper are outweighed by the inconveniences, at least if money and time are not free.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 3:38AM
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My favorite copper polish is Bistro Polish, now made by Matfer-Bourgeat. It is, however, not cheap. A little goes a long way, though. No, I'm not spamming; I'm just an ardent copper freak and this is where I get my polish, after a lifetime of collecting copper, shlepping pots and pans from all sorts of travels, and trying all sorts of polishes. If you have any issues with hand pain and/or want the absolutely least abrasive polish, this is the one.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Chef's Favorites

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 11:36AM
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kitchendetective, I'd like to see pictures of your copper, if you wanted to post. I love copper but my pieces are not very interesting. All Mauviel or similar, all bought from D'Hillerin, no ''stories''.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 10:08AM
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I will see if I can resurrect my Photobucket account on DH's computer, with the caveat that I deserve the World's Worst Photographer award and own the World's Worst Camera. Don't know that my pieces are fascinating, but they are almost as old as I am.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 1:26PM
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Here's DS2's iPhone documentation of the Thanksgiving aftermath. Not a good recommendation for copper polish, I fear, but it does show part of the copper collection, amid generalized chaos.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 9:32PM
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More explanation.
This is probably 40% of the collection. I'm noticing how the phone camera homogenizes the color and detail. Many, if not most of the copper is hammered, but you cannot tell from the photo. Also, the pieces were in various states of high polish, but you cannot tell that from the photo, either. The photo was taken after Thanksgiving, 2009, and five days of a varying population of 10-14 house guests. One of those pans is from Denmark and lined in silver. Only one DS and I are allowed to use it--it requires great attention to heat adjustment, as you might imagine. Many of the pans are BIA Cordon Bleu, Mauviel, Bourgeat, various Villedieu-les-Poeles manufacture pieces. The jam pot was used yearly when we lived in California, at the end of strawberry season, for jam-making. (The rest of the year was spent cleaning up sticky counters we discovered.) I carted many of the pieces back from when I lived abroad and the customs folks considered them used, so didn't charge me, which was a relief, especially with respect to the stockpots, which aren't visible in the photo.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 10:47AM
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To the original poster, if you go with vintage, be absolutely certain that the bottom of the pot or pan is level and of even thickness. If the pan is tin-lined, you can have it retinned, so the condition of the tinning is not critical (although the expense of the tinning can be), but the condition of the copper does matter. I would recommend a retinning service, but I feel the people I used to use have gone downhill, so I no longer recommend them. Also, I do see a marked difference in sensitivity between the pieces lined in tin and those lined in stainless steel. For truly delicate sauces, use the tin-lined pieces. They cool down quickly in response to lowering the flame, which has definitely saved me when I'm doing lots of things at once. Here is a link to a retinning service that I've not used, but that I've seen advertised for years, in case you want an idea of pricing

Here is a link that might be useful: Retinning

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 11:18AM
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That is a gorgeous heirloom collection of copper. Thank you! for sharing.

I've never had a hammered piece, and will definitely keep my eye out for one. I think we're going to France next year . . .

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 1:27AM
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What an impressive collection! Thank you for sharing.

I have an extra heavy, hammered pan from France that I bought at Marshalls - of all places - mixed in with their thin, decoration-type pieces. All were the same price & I grabbed it with record speed!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 11:23PM
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I recently bought a copper fry pan made by John Lentz coppersmiths of Los Angeles. Can anyone tell me the history of this company?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:11PM
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You might try this Gallery that had some of his copper tubs.
Thomas Hayes Gallery
6162 Santa Monica blvd
Hollywood, CA 90038

Phone: 323.463.4434


    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 4:08AM
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I have a set of Cordon Bleu BIA hammered copper cooking pans from France that I bought in the late 70's / early 80's. My question is this: There was some kind of plastic (I think) coating on the pans when they were new. I tried everything to get that stuff peeled's like it adhered permanently to the pans. We now have (finally) a gas range and I'd like to USE these pans....but cannot figure out how to get this coating off. Some of it has peeled off in teeny-tiny strips, but most of it remains and is STUCK to the pans. I am stumped on what to use to get it OFF! Paint thinner won't even remove the !@*# stuff!! Any suggestions very appreciated!! there a buyers demand for this stuff?? I might be interested in selling.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 1:17PM
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The coating was probably a lacquer that was intended to prevent tarnish before use and was supposed to be boiled off before use. I believe the importer said to place the pot in a larger pot filled with boiling water and gently boil off the lacquer. I recall reading this, but I could be imagining it! I'm not sure that they import copper any longer, but perhaps you could talk to someone at the company who will remember what the coating was and what one was supposed to do with it. Anyway, this is a place to start.

Here is a link that might be useful: BIA

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 6:43PM
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Here's another link.
And yes, I'm sure there's a market for used copper pots and pans. Check Ebay and the like for an idea of what used cookware commands these days.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fantes advice

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 6:52PM
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