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Toronto416

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  1. The demise of tin-lined heavy copper cookware is as overblown as the demise of sailing, riding horses, film cameras, beeswax candles, and wearing stockings with garters. E.Dehillerin sells a large array of tin lined copper cookware - all new current production pieces by Mauviel that are constantly being replenished: http://eshop.e-dehillerin.fr/en/copper-copper-lined-with-tin-xsl-243_271.html If you go to Mauviel's French language site, you will see the tin-lined M'tradition line of heavy tin-lined cookware - just click 'Francais' and then 'les collections': http://www.mauviel.com If you click the English language option you are redirected to the American distributor's site, and alas no tin-lined copper. I ordered a new current-production 11" heavy copper tin-lined Mauviel rondeau from France in November 2015. It is 3.3-3.5mm thick, and marvellous for browning and then braising meat. The tin is quite non-stick, the pan suffers no hot-spots, and the thick copper conducts heat such that the contents are enveloped with heat, permitting wonderful stove-top braises. It of course also performs very well in the oven, but so do vessels that would not be suitable for stove-top braising. Cooks far more experienced than me have touted the advantages of heavy tin-lined copper cookware (see boilsover above, and the many photographic examples he provided of copper pots being very much in evidence in professional kitchens). As mentioned above, Julia Child was a big fan of tin-lined heavy copper cookware (just don't follow her cleaning instructions). When she was developing and testing the recipes in her 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she did most of that using tin-lined heavy copper cookware she had bought from E.Dehillerin. If tin-lined heavy copper cookware was good enough for developing one of the greatest and most enduring cookbooks of all time, then that's good enough for us mere mortals. Julia Child would have been excited to see the quality of cookware now being made in the USA by companies such as Brooklyn Copper Cookware. I just wanted to bring attention to this old-world artisanal approach to making copper cookware for those who value slowing down to make good food, drink good wine, and enjoy good company while respecting tradition and indulging in the finer things in life.
  2. The trepidation regarding cooking with tin-lined copper cookware is overblown in my opinion. Copper has superlative thermal conductivity, as does tin. With proper care and attention, you can protect the tin lining for many years. All you have to do is use wood or silicone utensils, and never metal ones, and clean it with only a soft sponge. You also have to be mindful that tin begins to melt around 425 degrees, so you will not leave an empty pan on a hot burner or sear streaks in a tin-lined pan - that is what cast iron is for! The advantages of tin are twofold - it has excellent thermal conductivity, and it is very smooth and non-stick relative to say stainless steel. A tin-lined copper rondeau is ideal for say browning and then braising meat. When Julia Child published "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in 1961, she did much or her cooking in tin-lined heavy copper cookware. And if you watch her early black and white videos, she did not baby that cookware or avoid using metal utensils. She bought all of her copper cookware in Paris from E. Dehillerin, which continues to sell copper cookware made in Normandy by Mauviel. Today the thicker copper cookware is available lined with either stainless steel or traditional tin. In the chapter on Kitchen Equipment in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, under the heading 'A Note on Copper Pots' Julia Child wrote: "Copper pots are the most satisfactory of all to cook in, as they hold and spread the heat well, and their tin lining does not discolour foods. ...... To get the full benefit of cooking in copper, the metal must be 1/8 of an inch thick, and the handle should be of heavy iron. The interior of the pot is lined with a wash of tin, which must be renewed every several years when it wears off...". To my horror she also wrote cleaning instructions that today would be considered destructive: "The tin lining is cleaned with steel wool and scouring powder, but do not expect it to glitter brightly again once you have used the pot for cooking. (All cleaning, alas, removes infinitesimal bits of the tin lining.)" - And so would sand-blasting it!!!! A gentler approach would be the standard of care today! Tin-lined heavy copper cookware has it's place next to more modern stainless steel lined copper cookware, and both have pride of place on my shelf as I enjoy learning how best to cook with them.
  3. The big box from Brooklyn Copper Cookware (BCC) arrived, and with anticipation I unpacked the 6 QT casserole + lid, and the 3 QT sauté pan. They are thick and heavy beautifully hand-made tin-lined 3mm copper pots with cast iron handles. Brooklyn Copper Cookware is on to something - these pots are very special indeed and BCC deserves hearty congratulations for producing these wonders! I am in awe - these are artisanal masterpieces, heirloom cookware that will make many wonderful meals during my lifetime and for generations to come. I can't wait to start cooking with them! BCC currently offers a selective range of products including a 3 QT sauté pan, a 3 QT rondeau, and a 6 QT casserole with a 10” lid that also fits on all of their current 9.5” diameter pots. They will be reintroducing a slightly smaller 14 QT version of their original 16 QT stock pot, and have announced the pending release of 1, 2, and 3 QT sauce pans: http://www.brooklyncoppercookware.com The Brooklyn Copper Cookware pots are more artisanal than my Mauviel pieces. The BCC pots are thick 3mm copper lined with tin, and they are entirely made by hand. My Mauviel pots & pans are all current production (acquired new in 2015) 2.5mm copper lined with SS, except for a tin-lined 11" rondeau which is 3.3mm thick. Mauviel is made on a larger scale with more automation, and so appear to be more modern than the BCC pots. If I could use a musical example to illustrate the similarities and differences between Mauviel and BCC: Imagine the Bach cello suites played on a modern cello with steel strings by Mstislav Rostropovich as opposed to Anner Bylsma playing a Stradivarius cello with gut strings. Rostropovich is appealing to more modern sensibilities in his style of playing, while Bylsma is striving for authenticity with a more historically informed performance practice that is as close as possible to what Bach would have heard. Both performances are superlative, engaging, and relevant - I enjoy them both immensely, and they both nourish the soul. To me Mauviel is akin to the more modern interpretation, and BCC is the more authentic and historically informed performance. They both have a place in my kitchen. I imagine that Mauviel made pots in say 1905 that were more comparable to what BCC makes today than to what Mauviel is currently producing. They have grown far beyond the operation they started in 1830, and have evolved into a modern interpretation of their artisanal roots. They are still a relatively small company owned and run by the 7th generation of the founding family, but they have a product range that appeals to multiple markets and price points, of which high-end copper is but one of their offerings. BCC on the other-hand is making a selective range of artisanal copper products by hand and without compromise. They are appealing to those cooks who want to reach the pinnacle of their craft, much as the Stradivarius workshop once did for musicians many generations ago.
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