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CI Saucier Testing


Porthos
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My dear FIL subscribes to CI and when he's done with them he passes them along to my DW and me. He gave me the March/April 2016 edition Tuesday and pointed out the article on hard-cooking eggs. My aged-and-steamed hard-cooked eggs virtually always peel nicely, peeling the focus of this article, whether I steam 6 eggs or 5 dozen.

 

The article that did catch my attention was an equipment test on sauciers. I do not have blind faith in CI's testing but I thought it would be an interesting read, which it more or less was. What stood out to me, however, is they centered their testing around, for this cheapskate, pricey offerings. The saucier that they didn't include but I feel should have been included is the good old Vollrath 3 qt saucier. I paid around $50 for mine. I have been happy with it since I got it; I used it last night preparing dinner.

 

The only thing they did as part of their testing that I never thought of trying was making risotto in a saucier. I will give that a try.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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5 minutes ago, Porthos said:

The article that did catch my attention was an equipment test on sauciers. I do not have blind faith in CI's testing but I thought it would be an interesting read, which it more or less was. What stood out to me, however, is they centered their testing around, for this cheapskate, pricey offerings. The saucier that they didn't include but I feel should have been included is the good old Vollrath 3 qt saucier. I paid around $50 for mine. I have been happy with it since I got it; I used it last night preparing dinner.

 

They didn't test any copper.

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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I am probably a heretic by egullet standards but copper cookware has never appealed to me. I'm a wipe-it-off-wth-a-sponge-and-put-it-in-the-dishwasher kind of guy. I have only one knife that I do not put into the dishwasher. The idea of cleaning and maintaining copper is beyond me. That said, I agree. Not testing any copper sauciers is also a sad omission on their part.

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Porthos Potwatcher
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CI rarely does anything like a comprehensive test.  This is the first one I've seen in a long while where they actually had a decently-varied selection of entrants.  Historically, they can be counted on to run at least one Zwilling-Henckels, a couple All-Clads and at least one Le Creuset, and never any Demeyere, deBuyer, Bourgeat, Fissler, Falk, Paderno, Vollrath, Sitram, etc.  So I was surprised to see they even tested the Demeyere Atlantis and Paderno World Cuisine sauciers.

 

They also have a habit of damning pans with faint praise.  IMO, the Demeyere stands head and shoulders above all the rest tested here, yet they dissed it for having too-high sides.

 

My take on CI's gear reviews is:  "Frequently wrong, never unsure."

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9 hours ago, boilsover said:

...Historically, they can be counted on to run at least one Zwilling-Henckels, a couple All-Clads and at least one Le Creuset, and never any Demeyere, deBuyer, Bourgeat, Fissler, Falk, Paderno, Vollrath, Sitram, etc.  So I was surprised to see they even tested the Demeyere Atlantis and Paderno World Cuisine sauciers....

I would guess their choices and reviews are geared towards the mainstream of home cooks which is whom they respond to in terms of their preferences. You and I obviously have different standards and expectations.

 

p

Edited by palo (log)
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Maybe.  If so, it's remarkably inconsistent that they dumb-down their gear reviews, while emphasizing how advanced their approach is to advancing the art of cooking.  It's a little like a wonkish car magazine that only evaluates Ford and GM sedans.

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I just don't trust CI on this kind of thing. Their ratio of self-assuredness to actual knowledge is just off the charts. It leads them to making sweeping, unquestioned judgements that end up 180° opposed to those of more knowledgable cooks and testers. A rare example of them getting called out was their 2006 olive oil tasting embarrassment, in which four of their top-picked oils were labelled "defective" by trained tasters. Full article here. Sauce pans are easier to test, but I'm still skeptical of everything in the magazine. Since they're so often wrong on things I know about, how could they be trusted on things I'm learning about.

 

Here's some advice on sauciers: if you're using them as intended, for sauces that require rapid stirring and whisking (emulsified egg sauces, etc.), then the most important thing is low thermal mass. You want something that will cool off quickly when you turn the fire down. Good heat distribution is helpful, but by far the best way to ensure that is to use a burner / heating element that's the right size for the pan. Generally for pans this size, hot spots aren't an issue unless the pan is terrible and the burner is badly mismatched. And you want a stainless steel interior so you can see what you're doing.

 

That's it. Something like an all-clad laminated pan with thin walls is perfect. There are lots of similar pans. Stay away from any kind of cast iron, or anything with a very thick disk on the bottom. 

 

 

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Ci is selling, ...  what their selling.

 

same as consumer reports. Indeed CR a while back got called out for loving and raining highly what their

 

demographic loved and already purchased.  bad for subscriptions is you tell your readers their 2,500 $$ washer

 

might look snappy, but didn't clean the clothes.

 

they target an audience  and inundate them w a good idea or two  in 76.5 different forms, for profits

 

I looked the review over.  

 

their Test Market is now in the $ 250 range.

 

whats more important is to see what they say about the pans, not necessarily the ranks.

 

one of these comments might speak to you, or hit you in the " Funny Bone "

 

that's it.  it helps , so that you don't encourage them too much, to get the issue(s) from your local library

 

re olive oil :  you like it ? fine.  a trained tester likes something else and not what you like , much less important

 

they key is that its olive oil and not Crank-Case Oil refined in Italy but with a Tunisian origin.

 

I don't think CI took the trouble to look into that, Im just guessing.

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On February 19, 2016 at 11:15 AM, rotuts said:

re olive oil :  you like it ? fine.  a trained tester likes something else and not what you like , much less important

 

Sure, if you're doing your own tasting for yourself. But if you're going to publish a review, especially one with the air of authority that CI assumes, I think you should do your homework.

 

Just like with wine, not everyone is going to like what the trained tasters like. There are recognized flaws wine that some people specifically enjoy, like taint from brettanomyces yeast. But it's irresponsible to print a review that goes counter to the industry standards without acknowledging it. CI was recommending oils that had rancidity flaws—not because they were championing a controversial position, but because they had absolutely no idea. 

 

Which means they had so much confidence in their own imagined authority, that they didn't even bother to ask anyone who knew anything.

 

So looking at something like saucepans, why would I trust that anyone there actually knows anything about saucemaking? It's a craft I studied for years—the only meaningful opinions I have about saucepans are rooted in that knowledge. Without it, you'd easily arrive at very mistaken conclusions about what's important, or you'd subscribe to the usual lore, like "use a heavy thick-bottomed pan ..." How many times have we heard that? Advice like this could lead us to sauciers made from enameled cast iron, or ones with a 10mm aluminum disk on the bottom, both of which would be terrible. Useable—because you can make anything work—but definitely the most difficult to use.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

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good points

 

if would be very interesting to find out how many of the CI subscribers liked what they liked.

 

I dont recall their wording of the report, and I probably did not read it as i only look at Ci from the library.

 

did they suggest that they and their testers were an authority ?

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I shudder trying to defend the Imperium of Imperator Kimball.

 

however  to be a bit fair, they use much of the stuff their sponsors give them ( to show off ) on their show..  What happens to this surf at night  ........

 

one of their major sponsors is KitchenAid.   they did not like the most recent KA food processor.  they do not use it on their show.

 

they did review this and stated their reasons in a coda somewhere a bit obscure on the pub. CI

 

no matter.  Why kick the Golden Bull in the 'Las Bolas ? ' [ed.:  Bolas is feminine ?   O.o ]

 

well the Imperator is now gone, having had to subdivide his Imperium by 1/2, then 1/2 again, and again, ad nauseum.

 

if there was a fault in their Oil review  is was perhaps not mentioning that most of the olive oil you find, might be refined in Italy Tunisian Crank Case Oil.

 

may they did mention this?

 

 

 

 

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On 2/18/2016 at 11:39 AM, Porthos said:

The only thing they did as part of their testing that I never thought of trying was making risotto in a saucier. I will give that a try.

So my DW and I went over to my FIL's home and cooked him dinner this evening. I brought my saucier along and made risotto in it. I found it a bit troublesome. Particularly when sweating the onions I had a hard time with them wanting to move up the sides of the pan and I had to keep pushing them back down in the main flat area of the pan where I wanted them.  The rice did this to a lesser extent. The risotto turned out fine but I will defer to my large saute pan in the future.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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weinoo, I would never plunk down my money for that publication any more. I did once, several years ago. I do occasionally pick up some useful tip, but that's about it.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/17/2016 at 3:00 PM, boilsover said:

My take on CI's gear reviews is:  "Frequently wrong, never unsure."

 

On 2/18/2016 at 10:46 AM, paulraphael said:

Their ratio of self-assuredness to actual knowledge is just off the charts.

 

On 2/19/2016 at 11:44 AM, paulraphael said:

Which means they had so much confidence in their own imagined authority, that they didn't even bother to ask anyone who knew anything.

 

On 2/19/2016 at 0:29 PM, paulraphael said:

My impression with CI is that they always suggest that they're an authority. It's partly their tone, and partly that they don't make the effort to acknowledge the limitations (or even the subjective nature of the choices) in whatever tests they're doing.

 

Well said, everyone.  This is exactly why I gladly let my subscription lapse after a couple of years, quite some time ago.  I felt I'd gotten all the useful tips I was likely to get, I realized I had no interest in their overly complicated approach to every cooking task, and I was irritated beyond measure by the smug tone and the faux expertise.  If they thought they could get away with it, these folks would advise you that after weeks of diligent experimentation in their laboratory-like test kitchen, they'd determined that the "best" way to boil water involves four steps, two different heating methods, and three pieces of equipment, all manufactured by All-Clad or Le Creuset. 

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perhaps

 

I don't read the review in the various Mags that I eventually look at from the library.

 

on the TV shows :  for equipment  they clearly state why they liked something  and why they didn't like something else.

 

you can agree or not.    In their publications, they do over work  " Best "   its how they make their money.

 

on the Taste Tests with CK, those have gotten very pedantic and CK is of course obnoxious.

 

but they say what the panel like and why  take it or leave it.

 

I always leave Ck's opinions and won't miss him at all.  Dead Wood.  and the smirks on what's  ' expensive ' are flagrantly disingenuous.

 

where do you think all that expensive stuff ends up ?  A Cracker long gone Stale.

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