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Copper vs Stainless Steel Clad Cookware: Is it worth the $$$?


Shel_B
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No jamboniere, that I know of  (not sure what that is).  I have quite a few inherited antique or vintage cooking vessels.

I have several cast iron skillets, baking pans, bowls and a very old dough trough - made from a huge chestnut burl all in regular use.

 

I have several copper saucepans with lids that have the long handles - those are French from the '20s and '30s, all tin lined and I have had them re-tinned a few times.  In fact I used a kit for re-tinning them myself once - not too successful - it requires expert handling. 

 

I like cooking with copper because I have been doing it for a long, long time and I know what to expect.  As I said in an earlier post, it is strictly personal preference - how a handle fits your hand, how responsive the pan is for a particular task.

I don't care all that much about appearance - although there is something about the glow of copper that appeals to me but I don't have to have it highly polished all the time.

I tried to look up jamboniere and it is apparently a fiddle-shaped pan used for cooking a ham. Could not find a picture.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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It's clear that a lot of us love our heavy coppy copper pans ... there's no arguing with that. The question I'm considering is if I'd recommend them to someone who'd tohave to buy them new. And I can only think of a couple of circumstances where I would. This is because the benefits are not going to make a major, quantifiable difference, and the costs are huge.

 

I'd recommend them to someone with money to burn who just loves them for whatever reason. Or to someone  serious about saucemaking. For this I'd recommend a single slope-sided or curve-sided saucepan, 1.5 to 2 liters.

 

For just about everyone else, I'd suggest good cookware that costs half as much and that will do induction. Use the savings for an immersion circulator or two, a pressure cooker, and other things that will actually give new powers in the kitchen. 

I have an induction burner with an accessory plate so I can use anything on it.

I use it with my copper cookware which behaves about the same as on a regular electric burner.

 

Mostly I use it for boiling water in a deep stockpot in which I am going immerse a perforated insert for blanching large batches of fruits and vegetables  - I have it placed on a rolling cart that is several inches LOWER than my cooktop because it is awkward (and unsafe) to work on a higher level for me - and I am 5'6" so it would be practically impossible for someone shorter. 

 

I also use it for my tagines - because the temperature control is much easier than on gas - even with the copper plate and especially because I can go off and leave it without worrying that the flame will go out - - -

 

I originally bought the Max Burton induction burner that came with an 8" disc  but as I also have a BergHoff (to replace my old Supentown that died) and it has a larger diameter coil, I bought one of these because large pans sit firmly on the larger diameter disc. 

 

For me this allows more versatility in using the induction burners - I have a lot of ceramic and Pyrex stovetop cookware and this accessory disc allows me to use them. 

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Andie,

I know I'm being dense but are you saying you use such things as cazuelas, sandpots etc. on your induction cooktop with the "cheater" plate?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Andie,

I know I'm being dense but are you saying you use such things as cazuelas, sandpots etc. on your induction cooktop with the "cheater" plate?

Yes.  I have several tagines - various sizes - that work nicely on the plate.  Also use my Corning ware which work great, with even heat across the entire bottom - my gas stove top has two large burners, one medium and two small "simmer" burners and those produce hot spots in the Corning vessels that are wider.  I use the induction burners when I don't have adequate room on the stove top - or when I want to leave the house with something cooking in a tagine or cazuela or similar pot.   I also use it for my "stoneware" comal.

 

My friend who owns a bakery/cafe  has a double induction burner (commercial) and he has a lot of aluminum cookware so he needs the accessory discs so he doesn't have to replace all his favorites. 

He has a big range in the back kitchen but he serves Sunday brunches with eggs cooked to order in the front so got the induction burner rather than install a permanent appliance - he uses that counter for other tasks during the week.

 

Here's a good explanation.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I tried to look up jamboniere and it is apparently a fiddle-shaped pan used for cooking a ham. Could not find a picture.

 

Hi, Anna:

 

  Yes, a jambonniere is to ham what a turbotier is to flounder.  Here is a photo.  Another can be found in Jean-Claude Renard's "Les Cuivres de Cuisine" (Les Editions de l'Amateur, 1997).  I would scan the latter for you, but I have no working scanner.

jambon1.jpg

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[T]he issue is not using cooper pans...its buying cooper pans new starting out. 

That's a valid point if you assume everyone starting out needs to buy new copper. 

 

I now have around 50 pieces in my batterie, all but one of which are vintage pans.  I used to keep a running total comparing what I spent on the copper pieces with what like pieces from All-Clad, Demeyere and (the horror!) Le Creuset cost at retail.  At least until I stopped keeping track, I had spent less on used copper than I would have on new first-rate clad or enameled cast iron.    

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Yes.  I have several tagines - various sizes - that work nicely on the plate.  Also use my Corning ware which work great, with even heat across the entire bottom - my gas stove top has two large burners, one medium and two small "simmer" burners and those produce hot spots in the Corning vessels that are wider.  I use the induction burners when I don't have adequate room on the stove top - or when I want to leave the house with something cooking in a tagine or cazuela or similar pot.   I also use it for my "stoneware" comal.

 

My friend who owns a bakery/cafe  has a double induction burner (commercial) and he has a lot of aluminum cookware so he needs the accessory discs so he doesn't have to replace all his favorites. 

He has a big range in the back kitchen but he serves Sunday brunches with eggs cooked to order in the front so got the induction burner rather than install a permanent appliance - he uses that counter for other tasks during the week.

 

Here's a good explanation.

Thank you. I think I knew this. Perhaps it was even you who explained it before. I have two of the Max Burton interfaces but I'm reluctant to use them on my GE profile range. I could afford to risk a Max Burton but not this. Still at lower levels of heat....

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Hi, Anna:

 

  Yes, a jambonniere is to ham what a turbotier is to flounder.  Here is a photo.  Another can be found in Jean-Claude Renard's "Les Cuivres de Cuisine" (Les Editions de l'Amateur, 1997).  I would scan the latter for you, but I have no working scanner.

That is BEAUTIFUL. Thank you for sharing.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Hi, Anna:

 

  Yes, a jambonniere is to ham what a turbotier is to flounder.  Here is a photo.  Another can be found in Jean-Claude Renard's "Les Cuivres de Cuisine" (Les Editions de l'Amateur, 1997).  I would scan the latter for you, but I have no working scanner.

That is gorgeous.  I sold my large fish poacher years ago - it was constructed very similar to that vessel.  And recently sold my huge copper couscousiere on ebay.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Hi, Anna:

 

  Yes, a jambonniere is to ham what a turbotier is to flounder.  Here is a photo.  Another can be found in Jean-Claude Renard's "Les Cuivres de Cuisine" (Les Editions de l'Amateur, 1997).  I would scan the latter for you, but I have no working scanner.

That looks like the perfect shape for roasting a Schmoo!

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That looks like the perfect shape for roasting a Schmoo!

I remember Shmoos.(no "c")  I was ten and Lil Abner was one of our favorite funnies.  I had a Shmoo figurine, glasses, egg cup, pencil box and writing tablets. 

You are correct!  This pan would be the perfect size and shape for a Shmoo roast.

Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I now have around 50 pieces in my batterie, all but one of which are vintage pans.  I used to keep a running total comparing what I spent on the copper pieces with what like pieces from All-Clad, Demeyere and (the horror!) Le Creuset cost at retail.  At least until I stopped keeping track, I had spent less on used copper than I would have on new first-rate clad or enameled cast iron.    

 

About half of my Creuset and Staub etc. are vintage.... comparing the price I paid for those with new first-rat copper is as sensible as your comparison  :rolleyes:

Edited by fvandrog (log)
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About half of my Creuset and Staub etc. are vintage.... comparing the price I paid for those with new first-rat copper is as sensible as your comparison  :rolleyes:

Hi, fvandrog:

 

 No, it's the opposite of sensible.  Above, rototus argued that copperware is unaffordable compared with other materials for cooks starting out.  My point was that if you're willing to patiently scrounge for vintage copper, it can easily be cheaper than buying new clad or ECI.  And at that point, you HAVE copper which should outlive you.

 

 That's really good you've apparently scrounged your own LC and Staub.  You therefore saved a LOT of money, because the resale value for these pieces is quite low.  We could explore the reasons for this in detail, but IMO the basic answer lies in the wide gulf between the two in terms of practical culinary use.  Really good vintage copper tends to hold its value (or appreciate), whereas the minute you use an ECI piece, the resale value drops away sharply.

 

  If you want to compare the costs of acquiring vintage copperware with vintage ECI, you might save some money.  But you'd still be cooking on ECI.

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sorry, what is ECI ?

 

BTW  this is what i currently covet :

 

http://eshop.e-dehillerin.fr/en/induction-copper-curved-saute-pan-24-cm-xml-243_269-1243.html

 

there is always something 

 

F.D.:  I also appreciate that what might come out of the above pan will taste exactly like what currently comes out of my 

 

older AllClad MCaluminum sauciers.

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sorry, what is ECI ?

 

BTW  this is what i currently covet :

 

http://eshop.e-dehillerin.fr/en/induction-copper-curved-saute-pan-24-cm-xml-243_269-1243.html

 

there is always something 

 

F.D.:  I also appreciate that what might come out of the above pan will taste exactly like what currently comes out of my 

 

older AllClad MCaluminum sauciers.

Yikes! It's beautiful. ECI is it enameled cast iron.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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if you go to here:

 

http://eshop.e-dehillerin.fr/en/copper-inox-induction-copper-xsl-243_269.html

 

plenty to look over.   on my browser the images  ( food p0rn ) do not show up on the initial page.  Thanks be to God.

 

but click on this stuff one by one.

 

if you have the Will Power.

 

next time I get a lottery ticket that gives me > 100 million ( USD ) 'in the pocket'  Im going to try a few.
 

and get a MegaAmp induction top.

 

just saying.

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BTW  this is what i currently covet :

 

http://eshop.e-dehillerin.fr/en/induction-copper-curved-saute-pan-24-cm-xml-243_269-1243.html

 

... [W]hat might come out of the above pan will taste exactly like what currently comes out of my 

 

older AllClad MCaluminum sauciers.

 

 

Well, maybe.  Obviously the pans' constructions don't impart any different tastes from one another.  However, if evenness and responsiveness or the ability to turn the pan on a dime counts for anything in a prep, you improve the odds of a better outcome with copper.  For the preternaturally gifted cook who makies no mistakes, perhaps there is little difference.  Alas, I find there is sometimes a difference in outcome--in taste or texture or timing.

 

Have you also salivated over deBuyer's Prima Matera line? 

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I normally use stainless steel because it's cheaper to buy and more versatile however it's doesn't retain heat well. Cooper is great at retaining heat but for some, there might be an after taste. Also cooper is a pain to maintain, you'll need to scrub and wash right away or it will discolor.

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I normally use stainless steel because it's cheaper to buy and more versatile however it's doesn't retain heat well. Cooper is great at retaining heat but for some, there might be an after taste. Also cooper is a pain to maintain, you'll need to scrub and wash right away or it will discolor.

OK, what are you talking about?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I normally use stainless steel because it's cheaper to buy and more versatile however it's doesn't retain heat well. Cooper is great at retaining heat but for some, there might be an after taste. Also cooper is a pain to maintain, you'll need to scrub and wash right away or it will discolor.

Avast, Captain: 

 

  --Cheaper to buy?  Check.

 

  --More versatile?  Debatable but disagree.

 

  --SS doesn't retain heat [as] well?  Largely irrelevant and incommensurable because of the internal conductive layers in clad.  Thicker aluminum disk bases tend to hold heat better than (available) straight-gauge copper because aluminum has fantastic specific heat by weight.

 

  --Copper is great at retaining heat?  In "extra-fort" and above thickness, actually yes (copper actually has very respectable specific heat measured by volume).  In 2.3mm thickness and less, not so much.

 

  --Aftertaste?  I'm with weinoo on this one.  What are you talking about?

 

  --Pain to maintain?  Only if you consider hand-washing a pain or require a mirror polish at all times.

 

  --Discoloration?  Copper discolors immediately with heat whether washed or not; tin slowly discolors no matter what.  It's the nature of the beast.  Id.

 

Arrghhh    

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I polish my copper pans about twice a year, and I use the "half-a-lemon-dipped-in-salt" method because the salt acts as a "scrubber" to get the baked-on crud off the bottoms of the pans.  Otherwise I leave them alone to slowly accrue a bit of "patina" which is acceptable to me since I no longer have help...

There was a time I had a live-in helper who would polish everything and my kitchen always sparkled and shone. 

 

I have a lot of stuff that hangs and the enameled stuff goes into the dishwasher periodically - as does the stainless steel but the cast iron (lots) and copper (nearly as much) gets the hand wash treatment. 

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I wash my pans after use.  No 'crud' on them !

 

now days I have to wash them again before use, as I did the other day.  to rinse off the dust and ask the spiders to move on to another pan 

 

near by.

 

Mine are lined w nickel.  but they are > 30 years old.

 

at least that's what Dehillerin said back then.  but they're French, they'd say that.

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