We Are All Different
Talk to any group of competent chefs and you will find differences in the type of frying pan used for basic cooking. This is because our preferences are determined by personal considerations, some of which might include :-
- What type of material is the unit made of ?
- Is any of this material toxic to human beings?
- Is the cooking surface flat and even?
- Can it be washed effectively in a dishwasher?
- How well does it retain its heat?How heavy it is?
- Is it nonstick?
- Is it easy to keep clean?
- What is the handle made of?
- What sizes are available?
- What is the price?
Choose The Frying Pan Right For You
It can be seen, with all these considerations (and possibly others), that it’s important to know what you want and why you want it. So spend some time reflecting on your own personal needs and the needs of anyone you are preparing meals for. By doing this you will avoid disappointment and the possible waste of funds.
To help you with your selection, think of your frying pan as a “tool” and as every trades person knows “the best tool for the job is not necessarly the biggest or the cheapest. As a tradesperson myself, I know if a tool is too big for the job it will only create other problems, such as clumsey handling and other unexpected potentially disasterous outcomes, including embarassment if other people are involved.
Buying the cheapest new item can also be hazardous. Often the cheapest item will look just as good as the more expensive one but as is often the case, (which in the case of frying pans, I can testify to), you may find the handle is not appropriate, the base of the unit is not flat, or the non stick coating does not live up to your expectations. So the lesson here is make sure you make a wise investment based on your requirements.
A Word Of Warning
Many different types of frypans today are coated in teflon which has ended the painful duty of scraping food off the bottom of the pan after the cooking process is finished.
The problem with teflon arises when when it is scratched or starts to deteriorate. In my research I have found the US consumer group, EWG (Enviornmental Working Group) stipulated in a 2006 publication, that teflon begins to deteriorate and give off harmful chemicals once temperatures reach 350 degrees C (660 degrees F) and will show signs of decomposition above 350 degrees C (660 degrees F). EWG also advises that oils, cooking fats and butter will smoke and scorch at about 200 degrees C (392 degrees F) and that meat will fry between 200-230 degrees C (400-450 degrees F).
With this in mind it must be remembered that teflon has been on the market since the 1930’s and has an outstanding record of safe use and that under normal cooking conditions presents no risk to your health.
There Is A Lot To Choose From Out There
Lets now look at the different types of frying pans out there and map out some important considerations when choosing one.
The following is a list of the most popular on the market:-
- CopperCast Iron
- Carbon Steel
- Anodized Aluminium
- Stone Frying Pan
- Stainless Steel.
For teflon free units choose – Stone frying pans, cast iron, copper, carbon steel or stainless steel.
For easier to clean units choose – Anodized aluminum or cast iron.
For non-stick units choose – Stone frying pans, Anodized aluminum, cast iron, copper or carbon steel.
For the best heat retention choose – Cast iron or Carbon steel, stainless steel and anodized aluminum to a lesser degree.
For dishwasher safe use choose – Stainless steel or anodized aluminum, avoid putting cast iron, carbon steel and copper in a dishwasher.
For even heating choose – Stone frying pans, cast iron,copper or carbon steel.
As everyone is different weight and cost considerations should be evaluated at the time of purchase.
Having considered the important questions to ask, the attitude behind using the frying pan, the cautious use of teflon and the purchase choices available, you now have ample information to be able decide on the type of frying pan which is right for you.
Armed with this information, as well as any extra from your own research, you will be able to avoid the indecision which often comes from being overloaded with information. You will also be able to avoid the trap of purchasing an item a sales person has recommended, only to find out later your needs have not been fully considered.
With a frying pan that meets your needs and expectations you will find, you not only have a high degree of alertness when preparing meals but also your confidence level will have been greatly increased, resulting in comments from friends and family such as:-
- You are a wonderful cook
- I wish I could cook like you
- You are an inspiration
- I admire your cooking ability
- You spoil me with this delicious food
- Can I have the recipe for this superb meal
My final words are, move forward with courage and demand only the best….you won’t be disappointed.