after dinner sneeze

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An Ode to Calphalon Non-stick Pans

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t says: #5 on the list … and whoa! Snoozefest! You must be thinking:

Pans! You’re going to start your top 5 pieces of interesting kitchen equipment, and you’re going to mention pans!? On top of that, some Calphalon pans! And non-stick pans at that! But ‘real’ home cooks praise All-clad and Mauviel for pans and dis’ non-stick as only for pansies!  And if they absolutely have to use non-stick, they go ScanPan.  So what person who claims he’s “obsessive” and does “research” before making purchases is going to praise Calphalon!?”

Me … but don’t worry – a story’s coming [below] …

First off, let’s make this clear: I’m not going to pretend that these pans heat the quickest, distribute the heat most evenly, or anything like that. Actually, Cook’s Illustrated already tested these kinds of non-stick pans, and I’m pretty sure that the Calphalon pan didn’t win (All-clad always wins – ugh – so expensive!). So why bother with the Calphalon Contemporary non-stick pans?

It ain't All-clad, but I like it!

1) They look pretty. Ok – this is an opinion – but the brushed exterior looks great out of the box and does an ok job hiding the inevitable disgustingness fairly well (pans are meant to be used).

2) They’re cheap. Not only that, although they’re cheap, they’re not so thin that they’ll warp when heated – that’s a good thing! Sadly, that particular link doesn’t include a lid in the price – but I’m sure that similar options can be found.

3) Their non-stick is reasonable. It’s not the slickest ever (I like to play it safe and wipe it with cooking oil on a paper towel), but always cleans up in a cinch, no matter what I burn on it.

4) Lifetime warranty. What? Warranty? Why? Well, I personally don’t think that there exists a non-stick pan that will stay non-stick forever. Furthermore, I don’t think there’s a non-stick coating that won’t peel … eventually. Every non-stick pan I’ve used has had this happen to it – and I’m betting that even ScanPans will degrade over time with repeated cleanings. Lo and behold – back when I had only this one pan and therefore used it nearly every day (including some very high-heat applications – which technically one shouldn’t do with non-stick pans), it lasted only a year before I noticed that the coating was peeling! I was not amused, as I made certain to use only the finest, softest sponges when cleaning the interior.  I called up Calphalon and was afraid that they’d simply accuse me of abusing the pan (like “wear and tear”) and wouldn’t do anything. Wrong. I mailed it to Calphalon the next day and a brand new one came to me ~3 weeks later (I only had to pay shipping one way). The next time this happened (i.e. the following year, as it was still my everyday pan), I was a little more whiney and complained when I called and voila (or as that dumb tv commercial says: “wa-la!”), this time they even covered the return shipping and got it to me in 2 weeks. Now that I have other pans to play with (and use my non-stick only for eggs, fish, and pancakes), I likely won’t have to return it as often – but I always know that I can if I wanted …

So, in the end – I guess all I’m really saying is this: we like non-stick pans with awesome lifetime warranties. Whether it’s Calphalon or not is irrelevant – just so long as they don’t blame you for “wear and tear”.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

10 March 2010 at 9:56pm

Odes to Kitchen Equipment

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t says: We’re going to start up a new category of posts on the after dinner sneeze.  Sorry to disappoint, but it won’t feature poems – only more of the same stream-of-consciousness prose that’s on the rest of the blog.  But this time, we’re talking about things, not food. Ever since we we got married, g and I have come across some interesting and not-so-interesting pieces of equipment.  We’ve decided to showcase a few items here as a way to pay homage to their makers.  We can’t live without these.  Some of these will be weird. Some these will be obvious, but are loved for reasons you wouldn’t expect.  Some of these will be just plain obvious.

Here’s our top 5 …

5) Calphalon Non-stick Pans

4) Gravity-Activated Salt and Pepper Shakers/Grinders

3) Sharp Knives

2) Rice Cookers

1) Microplane Zesters/Graters

Honorable mention: Dutch ovens

Written by afterdinnersneeze

10 March 2010 at 8:28pm