Thursday, March 14, 2013

Martha's Pans

Oh yeah, you read that right - this is a blog post about pans!

One of the things that's been going on around here is a lot more cooking. Actual cooking - not simply heating up some frozen thing, which was my basic approach for quite some time. It's not that tough to make meals that fit within Paleo guidelines, as long as you're willing to make things from scratch. In addition to more cooking, there's also been more dishwashing! I was really lucky when I first set up my own place back in 2006, just after graduating from college. While I was in college, my mom's mom passed away. My mom saved all of Grandma's pots and pans for me. Many of them were in great shape and have stayed that way. Some weren't, and there were some pans that got to suffer through some "learning experiences" in my kitchen. So, I can safely say, until this past weekend, I had never bought a pan!

But, it was time. The little sautee pan I use all the time, because its the perfect size when cooking for one, was in especially bad shape.
In this photo, the pan is dirty, but it doesn't look all that much better when it's clean. And yes, the marks on the bottom are places where the non-stick coating has worn off. For quite a while, I thought this just meant I had to use a little extra oil, which didn't bug me that much. But, then, I looked in my ultimate reference...

That's right, Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook has an entire page devoted to how to clean your pans. I looked this up in the first place because the areas where the coating was gone were particularly difficult to clean.

And then I read this:

I know the pic is a little difficult to read, but the upshot is that Martha's advice is to ditch a pan whenever the coating is coming off. I wasn't entirely surprised by that counsel, because Martha Stewart's brand suggests she's nothing if not a perfectionist. But, then I did a little more research on the internet and found that this advice is common! The New York Times has some thoughts about how to care for your pans, and had even more to share. Um... okay. Scratched pan, hit the road!

I also have a bigger skillet, which doesn't look quite as bad.
At least, not dangerous bad. But still. Ick!

Orangey, aztec-looking detail? No thanks.

So, when I was shopping at TJ Maxx recently, I came across a display of simple, pretty non-stick pans. And it took about 2 seconds for me to decide that it was time to rip the band-aid, invest a total of about $25.00 including the sales tax, and just get some new pans. Here they are!

On Sunday, when it was time to fry up a couple of eggs for breakfast, I decided to give the little guy a whirl. I pulled off the label - and then realized the pan comes with instructions! I don't know why I found this so befuddling, but I really did.

The print is tiny and light, so I know you won't be able to read it, but I was so stunned I had to take a picture and share it with you guys. It's insane! I realized as I was taking the photo that I've actually never bought a pot or a pan before, so no wonder I have no clue that the manufacturer has all these neat little ideas for you.

Like seasoning a non-stick pan.
I've heard of the importance of seasoning a cast iron skillet, but never even imagined that would be useful with a non-stick. Apparently it is, though, as my internet research had also suggested, so I decided to go for it. These guys allegedly are non-stick on both the inside and the outside, but I decided to do seasoning only on the inside. 
I got freaked out by the idea of putting oil on those beautiful silver coils, which will have direct contact with the heating element on my electric burner. So, once the inside was lightly coated with oil and wiped dry, I was off to the races. Eggs for breakfast in my pretty new pan!

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