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Copper Cookware: The Topic


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I'm looking forward to comparing a tin-lined (which this is) to a stainless steel-lined pan, so the next one will be a copper stainless steel-lined pan, maybe a small frying pan.

I love the look of the Falk pans, the color and the material and shape of the handles, and because the tin is in superb condition, substantial, and also a sauce pan (rather than a frying pan), I'm thinking this may do just swell.

I'll keep y'all posted.

Edited by devlin (log)
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Devlin... I don't think that can be a Falk Culinair pan.  To the best of my knowledge, Falk does not manufacture tin-lined copper cookware.

It's my understanding as well that they do (or maybe did). The piece is older, and it's a professional version as opposed to what I understand is the primarily American version (or the version marketed to "cooking enthusiasts" in America). The Falk Culinair line is, I believe, the copper stainless-steel line. This is a different line of Falk, an older chef's pan.

eta: It's also coming from the Netherlands, and that may be another significant difference.

Edited by devlin (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

The pot noted above came today. It's in beautiful condition, just as pictured, and is indeed a Falk. Just to the left of the handle, toward the top of the pan, an engraved imprint, "Falk Belgium."

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Just to provide the counter-view: I prefer the exact opposite.  I don't see any reason to spend big bucks on a hard-to-clean lid made of copper/stainless bimetal when it does not confer any cooking advantage whatsoever.  A 9.5 inch copper/stainless lid can add as much as 100 bucks to the price!  Rather, I like to buy high quality stainless steel lids of the appropriate size for 1/4 the price or less.  I also find that, as a general rule, I don't need a separate lid for every pot:  I'm not likely to use three 11-inch lids simultaneously, so I only have two.  If I really decided I needed another 11-inch lid, I could easily pick one up for 20 bucks or so.

Where can you find single/orphaned lids and do most cookware follow standard sizes? That is, if I got a 11" saute pan lid would it probably fit both an All-Clad and Calphalon pan?

Edited by sygyzy (log)
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Yes. An 11 inch lid would probably fit most 11 inch pans.

For example, my 9.5" pans are equally covered by my stainless Paderno Grand Gourmet lid and my glass Calphalon lid.

Here is a source for lids (more sizes here and elsewhere about the site).

Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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Shouldn't that induction stovetop work quite well with cast iron though?

Yes, but cast iron has its own issues. ... lousy for saucepans and saute pans and other things where you need control.

true. frying is where cast iron really excells. i never understood why le creuset are making sauce pans...

And there's the issue of the surface. Bare cast iron can be seasoned and has some nonstick qualities. But it's a reactive surface that can transfer color and flavor, and it can be problematic with acidic ingredients, and it can even partially come off if you deglaze the pan.

it's my experience that, once it's properly seasoned, you can deglaze to your heart's desire. only remember to wash it in hot water, put it back on the stove to heat gently through, and add a thin coating of oil.

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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Okay, just bid on a Falk and won. An 8 and 3/4 inch pan, wrought iron handle, 2.8 mm thickness (tin), impeccable inside and out, gorgeous, $51.00.

gallery_16410_5683_19.jpg

gallery_16410_5683_1268.jpg

gallery_16410_5683_9017.jpg

I had bid on this before I read opinions here on tin vs stainless steel, and hadn't really expected to win the bid. So anyway, I'm not displeased, although I'll have a better notion of what I'm doing next time.

devlin, that's one freaking beautiful, gorgeous piece de resistance! :wub:

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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Okay, just bid on a Falk and won. An 8 and 3/4 inch pan, wrought iron handle, 2.8 mm thickness (tin), impeccable inside and out, gorgeous, $51.00.

gallery_16410_5683_19.jpg

gallery_16410_5683_1268.jpg

gallery_16410_5683_9017.jpg

I had bid on this before I read opinions here on tin vs stainless steel, and hadn't really expected to win the bid. So anyway, I'm not displeased, although I'll have a better notion of what I'm doing next time.

devlin, that's one freaking beautiful, gorgeous piece de resistance! :wub:

It's beautiful, isn't it? I lucked out there, and it makes me hope that I can find similarly good deals in the future. I didn't have a clue what I was bidding on when I bid, and then forgot I'd bid at all. The gods were looking kindly on me, as they sometimes do when fools rush blindly into a thing. I'm very pleased.

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WOW, perfect pan at a killer price. I am overwhelmed with jealousy right now :D

Was this off of ebay?

Yes. I can't think how I got that lucky. But I'm thinking it's a good way to buy this stuff. You just have to be tenacious. Or not, come to think of it, because I'd forgotten I'd even bid on this pot and then I got the message I'd won the bid.

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  • 1 month later...
Devlin... I don't think that can be a Falk Culinair pan.  To the best of my knowledge, Falk does not manufacture tin-lined copper cookware.

It's my understanding as well that they do (or maybe did). The piece is older, and it's a professional version as opposed to what I understand is the primarily American version (or the version marketed to "cooking enthusiasts" in America). The Falk Culinair line is, I believe, the copper stainless-steel line. This is a different line of Falk, an older chef's pan.

eta: It's also coming from the Netherlands, and that may be another significant difference.

Hi to all,

Haven't been here on the forum for quite some time and was looking around to see if anyone was talking about Falk. The piece that is in question is a VERY old piece and appears to be tin-lined and has copper rivets. Falk has not made tin-lined cookware for probably more than 30 years. They do some re-tinning still for pieces that are in restaurant use in Europe, though, and I suspect that is where this came from.

All Falk copper cookware is now of the same bi-metal construction, as is all stainless-lined copper cookware sold, AFAIK. There is no "Americanized" version. :biggrin:

Michael Harp

CopperPans.com

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eta: also, browsing a site selling Ruffoni, I came across this notice about some of the products: "California Prop 65 Warning: 'Products sold on this site including the brass used on the handles of Ruffoni Cookware may contain chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.'"

Which of course gave me pause. Can anyone elucidate a little further?

I believe copper is also a toxic metal that can leech into acidic foods, hence the reason that copper pots and pans are lined with either tin or stainless steel (which are non- reactive toward acid). Don't know if they still make unlined copper pots (except maybe for sugar work).

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  • 7 years later...

Hi,

 

I came over here from CH since I am kind of a fan of copper, having one Hammersmith pan. I look forward to picking up something of their new stuff and appreciate the good feedback here.

 

IMG_20121215_121826.thumb.jpg.e2f9523824

 

I don't normally post, but I want to comment on heavy copper cookware being available at discounters and clothing stores. I bought two Baumalu tagged skillets at TJ Maxx a couple of years or three ago for practically no money and stacked them in the backseat of my car on the way home. By the time I got them in the kitchen the tin on the bottom pan was coming off in big flakes. I was disappointed, but they were final sale so I decided to send the bad one to Hammersmith/BCC for retinning. I'd gotten another pot repaired by them and thought even retinned the flakey pan would work out cheaper than normal new price.

 

Well, I'm very glad I did. I got a call from Hammersmith telling me that the pan I'd given them tested positive for lead(!) in the tin. They had seen this before, apparently the acid they use turns a different color when lead is present. Aluminum rivets are apparently also a giveaway and the acid damages those so my pan needed new rivets (it was only about $10 more). They fixed it and all together it still was an inexpensive pan (about $100 with the new tin), but scary.

 

I sent them my second pan, same thing. They told me that there are a lot French fakes out there, maybe thousands. And even if they have Made in France stamped in them, they're not and the tags are copies, and I learned that fakes are usually sold through discounters and remainder stores, the kinds of places you don't normally see premium cookware (the store buyers don't know any better they're just trying to get the best deal, just like I was!).

 

So, buyer beware! But if you are going to discount shop at least pick up a $10 lead test kit to make sure you don't "Flint" yourself on a cheap deal, and be ready to get it retinned. Personally, I've learned my lesson. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Edited by MariaG (log)
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19 hours ago, MariaG said:

Hi,

 

I came over here from CH since I am kind of a fan of copper, having one Hammersmith pan. I look forward to picking up something of their new stuff and appreciate the good feedback here.

 

IMG_20121215_121826.thumb.jpg.e2f9523824

 

Aluminum rivets are apparently also a giveaway and the acid damages those so my pan needed new rivets (it was only about $10 more). They fixed it and all together it still was an inexpensive pan (about $100 with the new tin), but scary.

 

 

Your photo also provides another clue that something's not right--the riveting itself deformed the pan walls.  If this is the reason the pan made it to TJMax for liquidation (i.e., arguably a "second"), then it raises the unsettling question of whether (at least some of) Baumalu's first-quality pans have the same lining.  This is the kind of thing that gives rise to people like Mark Bittman falsely claiming that all tin-lined copper has unsafe levels of lead. 

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6 hours ago, AlaMoi said:

I wonder if they're actually chinese knock-offs....

Absolutely.  There are a lot of Chinese FAKES being sold as "Made in France" and you have to know, with the scrap price of copper so high, especially in Europe, there is no way that good, thick copper can be sold for those cheap prices.

 

I have a lot of copper, including some that is now "antique" being over 100 years old and some has been retinned several times but I no longer use them as I transitioned to the stainless lined more than a decade ago.

 

There has been a lot of copper on ebay recently and the REAL French copper has bronze or cast iron handles - some may have brass handles but I don't care for them.  the Mauviel Bourgeat is what I like but there are some E. Delillerin pieces on offer right now.   

The weight is key - a Matfer Bourgeat fry pan, 10 inch, weighs 4 1/2 pounds.  The cheap ones weigh half that, or less.

  • Like 1

"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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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Everybody,

 

It seems BCC/Hammersmith is now just Brooklyn Copper Cookware, and I called there to see if anyone remembered my case, or if it had come up again. I spoke to Mac, who did not remember my specific pan, but he said that he had seen this problem many times over the past 5 years. He did not want to guess how many, but in every case the pan was from Ross Dress 4 Less, Tuesday Morning, TJMaxx, or a few others. Mac had a little more information, so I thought I'd follow up on this thread. I think I took pretty good notes, but if you need more information call Mac (check the BCC website because their number is new) or your favorite retinner.

 

Mac is sure the bad pans are not from the real manufacturers. Apparently it's very easy to have a metal stamp made and to fake tags. But the real issue has to do with low-priced copper sold in Europe. Inexpensive already lined pans and handles are imported to France as separate pieces and riveted together in France. This allows them to be legally stamped "made in France". At some point some bad pans lined with lead-laced tin were imported, but they were caught containing lead so could not be sold in Europe. Rather than return them, somebody bought everything really cheap and riveted them with cheap aluminum rivets (first sign of fraud) and shipped them to the US. Aluminum looks like tin on the inside of the pan, but you can see aluminum on the handle side too, and good French manufacturers usually use copper rivets.

 

Mac said it makes sense that they got into the US easily, since customs sees copper cookware from France all the time. The importers sold the frauds wholesale through big conventions where buyers from discount stores buy. When they saw solid French copper for $20 (second fraud sign) they could sell for $40, they scooped it up. Mac said no one knows exactly where the bad pans came from, but in many places roofing tin (which has lead in it) is often sold as just tin, so it's probably somewhere with no tradition making copper cookware.

 

BTW, acid is used to break down old tin for retinning a copper pan, not necessarily to test for lead. When a real tinned pan is dipped in acid it turns one color, and when there is lead it turns another color. I'm not sure that was clear in my previous post?

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  • 2 years later...
On ‎3‎/‎31‎/‎2008 at 4:13 PM, slkinsey said:

Sugar pots and polenta pots are still made in unlined copper.

 

I've been preparing my polenta in unlined copper -- as I am about to get up off my rear end and do for dinner.  But I have to ask:  what is the reason for employing unlined copper rather than tinned or stainless lined which are almost as responsive and more readily available?  I am not afeared of death by PTFE or copper poisoning but I am curious.

 

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

 

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