Cookware are essential elements in the kitchen and help cooking a wide variety of food and dishes, in many different ways. Pans, pots, stewpans, saucepans are all items of a versatile design that serve several scopes. Each shape corresponds to a specific way of cooking specific types of food. Normally, the classic stockpots are great for boiling; pans are used for relatively quicker cooking and to sautéing meats and vegetables; stewpans are used for long cooking that can at times begin with cooking on the hob to then finish with oven cooking (in this case the pot can directly be moved to the oven if no parts n plastic are present).
How to choose the right material for cookware
Pots, pans and stewpans are available in diverse materials, each one with their own specific characteristics, up and downsides. Undoubtedly, aluminum is the cheapest material, besides being light and handy. Its high thermal conductivity makes aluminum cookware less easy to be used for beginners, but they are the favorite of professional cooks ever since, because this material is able to homogeneously distribute the heat on the bottom as well as on the sides, thus enabling a better control of the cooking temperature. Steel is the best material to roast and grill meat, to which it confers a beautiful brown color. In particular, stainless steel pans are to be preferred, since they prevent from any alteration of the food color and flavor and are easy to clean. Currently more popular, at least in private contexts, are the pans with non-stick coating, which averts food from sticking to the bottom and therefore makes cooking easier, even for the less experienced. Such coating also allows to cook without using fats or dressings, but is especially delicate, thus it is recommended to avoid using utensils that could scratch it. Much less common in contemporary kitchens are tinned copper cookware; in spite of being an excellent heat conductor, resulting in shorter cooking times, the maintenance of copper is rather demanding. As a matter of fact it requires a periodical stagnation, so as to prevent the taste of tin from being absorbed by foods. In the case of kitchens equipped with induction hobs, it is necessary to have an appropriate cookware set, since only specific pots work on this kind of hob.
The perfect cookware set for your needs
A cookware set is made up of a varying number of elements. The smallest sets include from three to five pieces (lids included), while the most complete feature up to twelve pieces. The perfect choice is always one that combines the different options available on the market with the habits we actually have in the kitchen. It is always best to start with an average size set where more elements can be added, when the need comes. Not only pots, bake trays and pans, but there are also woks, for those who like Asian cooking, grill pans, for those who love cooking without fats and with high temperatures and accessories such as pasta strainers (at times integrated with the pot for a better handling) and the steamer inserts. Nevertheless, in addition to hobs, the oven is often a place where it is possible to cook. Besides saucepans which are also suitable to withstand high cooking temperatures (as they do not have plastic parts) it is necessary to have one or more baking trays, either made of metal or of ceramics. The most refined ones are made of a porcelain dish and a support structure in steel, which allows the pan to be brought to the table and be also used as a serving dish.
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