Paleo Retiree writes:
Over the years, my wife, an excellent home cook, has been unhappy with the nonstick pans she’s tried. They don’t distribute the heat effectively; they don’t impart any flavor; the surface loses its effectiveness in just a few years; she’s already a virtuoso with her beautifully-seasoned, decades-old $25 iron pan … so what’s the point? Recently, though, I did a lot of research and treated her to a ritzy Woll nonstick pan, and she’s been using it nearly every day. The base is heavy and handles heat well; the nonstick surface is a newfangled material supposedly incorporating titanium and diamonds that’s said not to have a lot of Teflon’s disadvantages; and the very comfy handle detaches, which turns out to have some benefits. So far, she’s enjoyed the Woll for cooking fried eggs — they develop a diner-worthy brown-and-webby crust — omelettes and frittatas (that she finishes under the broiler), and for sauteeing veggies that she’s pre-steamed. She’s just begun to experiment with fish and shrimp, and so far the results have been promising — a piece of delicate fish like flounder is less likely to fall apart when the surface is nonstick. The pan seems beautifully made — a satisfying example of Mercedes-like Awesome German Engineering — so we’re feeling optimistic about its lasting powers.
- Woll’s page on this line of pans.
- Here’s an unenthusiastic review of the line.
- An informative yakfest among some foodgeeks at Chowhound. Like my wife, most of the Chowhounders think you’re generally best-off avoiding nonstick pans.
I think it’s wise to avoid all non-stick cookware. For egg dishes I like Le Crueset’s enamel coated cast iron pans the best. Blue-steel pans are good too, but they’re prone to rust. Both of these work best with Kerrygold type butter.
That said, I do have one non-stick pan that’s held up very well and that I will use with low-to-medium heat: the 11-inch Ikea 365+ frying pan with a metal handle ($20). Good for reheating leftovers and for gently searing vegetables. Ikea doesn’t sell a glass lid for it, but you probably already have one that will fit it.
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I have a good T-Fal, which won over America’s Test Kitchen. Can handle over heat to around 400 though I wouldn’t push it. And since I tend to use high heat a lot there is no real substitute for that good old cast iron.
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Cook’s Illustrated just had a really good piece on carbon-steel pans and how amazeballs they are. They are even non-stickier than non-stick pans, apparently. Their best buy was a Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel pan for $44.38 on Amazon.
Pretty sure their web is all password protected, but if you get the mag it’s in the September issue.
I struggled for a lot of years with non-stick pans. They’re great, but you have to keep the heat low. Eggs are fine, a quick saute too. Anything higher heat, I use a cast or stainless fry pan. Even then, the non-stick pans aren’t going to last like plain metal will. But if you use them for what they’re intended for and replace them every 3-5 years, they’re definitely worth having.
Thanks for this. Now I know what to get my girlfriend for Christmas. Seriously, she will be thrilled to death; she complains about the inadequacies of non-stick pans on a daily basis.
I have an old Julia Child French Omelette Pan from the Pot Shop of Boston https://www.potshopofboston.com/products/omelette
which, while needing seasoning two or three times a year, is pretty much perfect for cooking omelettes and fried eggs. During the height of Julia Child’s influence on upper middle class housewives mom said everyone special-ordered them. I guess mom and friends were sort of proto-foodies. It’s heavy cast aluminum–not hard to lift one-handed like my treasured 10″ cast iron skillet (that is older than my mom, glossy black, and as perfectly non-stick as one could wish). It is very solid, with a wooden handle, and satisfying to cook with in a way that no modern cookware that one might buy at Bed Bath and Beyond is. Needless to say there is no rivet or screw inside the pan for the handle attachment. I’m pretty much with the Chowhound people–does one actually NEED nonstick pans? It doesn’t deplete one’s life force to scrub a pan. I’m not crazy about stir-fry but if I were I’d probably get a wok.
I wonder how they would have reacted to being called proto-foodies back in the day.
Thanks to everyone for great tips.