Video:Buying Skillets and Saute Panswith Heidi Dehncke
Every functioning kitchen needs at least a few pans for everyday cooking. But with so many options on the market, it's difficult to determine which pans to buy. See our tips on buying skillets and saute pans to meet your kitchen needs.See Transcript
Transcript:Buying Skillets and Saute PansHi, I'm Heidi Dehncke-Fisher and welcome to About.com.
Today, I am focusing on cooking basics and what you should look for when purchasing pans, particularly sauté and fry pans as well as your omelet pan.
Determine Your Kitchen NeedsPart of what you decide to purchase will be based on what kind of a cook you are and what your needs are in the kitchen.
The difference between a sauté pan and a skillet is that a skillet (or frying pan) has somewhat curved sort of shallow sides while a sauté pan has a wide flat bottom. The sauté pan itself is not very tall, but it is very wide providing a lot of cooking surface to brown meat. An omelet pan, much like a frying pan, also has sloping sides, for ease of turning food and also omelet pans tend to have the non-stick surface.
Choosing the Best MaterialThe ideal material for pan construction would be copper, but copper sets are very expensive and can run over $1,500 depending on the maker and set. Cast iron is also recommended, but very heavy and not considered very portable. Also, cast iron can affect the flavor of acidic foods. Most people are left with heavy duty aluminum, anodized aluminum, or stainless steel options. The only quality stainless steel pans have a layer of copper or aluminum on their bottom or in-between two layers of steel. If the stainless steel pan does not have this it will be a poor conductor of heat.
How Many Pans to BuyThere are two school of thought when buying cookware. Either get everything you think you will need (and if you can afford it) in a reasonably priced cookware set. Or buy quality pieces as your pocket book and cooking needs allow, collecting lasting cookware over a number of years. Starting with a 10 and 12 skillet gives you more cooking options.
Pan and Skillet HandlesHandles should be oven proof and well constructed and riveted on. They should feel comfortable and never be made out of plastic. Having an interchangeable lid is a nice option too.
Non-Stick PansRegardless of claims, all nonstick coatings eventually wear out, and there is some concern about fumes from these special coatings when used at high heat. Because of these issues some people prefer the anodized aluminum, though it is not considered superior cookware.
Typically, you have to weigh your cooking needs, with quality and your pocket book.
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