Questions on selecting, maintaining, and using cooking tools and equipment.

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1answer
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Is there evidence that adding salt to water prior to boiling can damage a stainless steel pan?

In the context of boiling water for pasta or other purposes, all over the Internet the advise is oft-repeated that salt should not be added to the water when it is cold in order to prevent damage to ...
12
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1answer
2k views

What kinds of pressure cookers are there, and what are they good for?

I have never owned a pressure cooker, nor been in a kitchen which has one. But they have been a topic around the site and the blog lately, so I got curious. When I took a look, I noticed that they ...
11
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8answers
7k views

Using cast iron on a glass range

I currently rent, and the only problem I have with the house we're in is that it has a glass-top range. I absolutely love my cast iron cookware, and use it as often as possible. I've heard a few ...
7
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3answers
1k views

How to clean and maintain cast iron lids

I have a number of cast iron lids that fit skillets, dutch ovens, etc. Most have the little cone-shaped spikes on the underside to collect and return moisture to the food. I have no issues cleaning ...
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5answers
6k views

What is the best material for a cooking spoon?

We use standard wooden spoons, but they soon pick up stains from the various dishes. What are the pros and cons of the various woods, e.g. olive, Cilio Toscana Olivewood, beechwood, maple, bamboo, ...
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2answers
3k views

Why would heating salt in a pan prevent food from sticking?

Quote from www.saltworks.us: Preventing food from sticking - Rub a pancake griddle with a small bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking. Sprinkle a little salt in the skillet before frying ...
5
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3answers
625 views

Fruit peeling techniques

I came across this page (How to peel a mango) while surfing and I found it very interesting. What kind of methods and knives/kitchen gadgets do you use to peel fruits? Are there different tools to ...
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5answers
481 views

How can I measure the performance of my stovetop pots and pans?

Am I looking for the ratio of burnt dishes to fine dishes? Well-cooked to not? My general happiness? When should I replace a pot or pan? I am unsure where to begin.
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7answers
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How many ceramic knives do I want?

I've heard that ceramic knives are the new thing. It's far easier, though, to find metal knives that look and feel nice. So, budget notwithstanding (within reason) and assuming that I have to buy a ...
12
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7answers
2k views

What foods *require* a food processor?

I've got an immersion blender, a normal blender, and will eventually be getting a stand mixer. Are there any foods I absolutely have to have a food processor to make, where I can't use one of those? ...
11
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4answers
3k views

Do specialty cheese-cutting tools have specific advantages over an ordinary knife?

I cut block cheese (mostly cheddar or muenster) into slices or cubes using an ordinary non-serrated stainless steel knife. I used to use a T-shaped slicer that had a wire and an adjustable roller (for ...
11
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4answers
1k views

Why buy a more expensive kitchen scale

It seems about time for me to give in to peer pressure and get a kitchen scale like everyone else. It seems like they would give my cooking more consistency if nothing else. I've payed attention to ...
10
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3answers
436 views

Suggestions for convenient and safe methods of transporting a few meals without a vehicle?

I'd like to prepare a few meals for a cousin who recently gave birth. She lives about an hour and a half away, and I will be walking and taking public transportation to get there. Does anyone have ...
10
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3answers
3k views

Do you use paper or cloth towel for patting a meat dry before frying?

It is advised to pat a steak dry before frying. I've used paper towels in the past for this, but sometimes parts of them stick to meat. Now and then I've used a clean cloth kitchen towel for patting ...
10
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3answers
1k views

What are the advantages of using a stove instead of an oven?

Are there any advantages to using a stove instead of oven? As a woman of science, this is a question that has been lingering in my noggin for a very long time. The main points I'd like to see ...
8
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5answers
3k views

Are there significant differences between different brands/models of immersion blenders?

I'm thinking of purchasing a new immersion blender as a gift for somebody that has a very old one which is quite literally being held together with duct tape. I own a Sunbeam model which I believe is ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Stainless Steel Pan — gray bottom. Why?

Just started using a stainless steel pan. First thing I cooked in it was bacon followed by some fried rice. Stuff stuck to it, but a quick soak and it all came off. However, once I cleaned and dried ...
7
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6answers
10k views

Do I need to season a stainless steel saute pan?

Okay, I received a nice stainless steel saute pan for Christmas and in looking around online there are people that say I need to season it. Most of the techniques I've seen involve oil and salt and ...
7
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12answers
1k views

Best Office Coffee Solution

What is the best coffee solution for a small office (about 10 people)? We are looking for something that is: Tasty Fast Easy We have fairly discriminating taste, although it doesn't have to be ...
6
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7answers
5k views

What kind of wok should I get?

I saw the question on the site about preparing a wok, but I'm curious what kind I should get. I have heard of stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, etc. Also, there's a non-stick variety. I'm new ...
5
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9answers
8k views

Sous vide without plastic bags?

I really like the idea of cooking steak using sous vide. However, I am very wary of heating food up together with plastic, and then eating the food, as I believe that at high temperatures, chemicals ...
5
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7answers
5k views

What is the proper way to maintain a can opener?

I bought a hand crank can opener (Oxo) because of the good online feedback and only use the "shake" dry approach. It quickly developed rust in between the metal. If I invest the time and scrub, I can ...
5
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6answers
2k views

How should I clean anodized cookware?

I'd been bought an anodised wok as a birthday present a couple of years back, but recently, when using a honey/mustard marinade, I managed to burn some of the excess marinade, and now can't seem to ...
4
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1answer
491 views

Stainless vs Enameled Porcelain Grates?

I need to replace the grill grates on my Weber Genesis grill, and I see that I can get either enameled porcelain (like I already have) or upgrade to stainless steel. A few concerns spring to mind ...
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4answers
1k views

What's the best option for water for tea in the office?

When making tea at home, I have all the equipment I need to make a fine cup of tea. In the office, however, my options are more limited. It seems my sources for hot water are: Straight from the tap ...
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1answer
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Couldn't make pesto in a blender

I was making pesto one day and couldn't find the lid to my food processor. So first I tried mixing it all in a blender. Didn't work, the leaves wouldn't go down to meet the blade. I had this pastey ...
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4answers
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What is the purpose of seasoning a skillet?

I've seen a couple questions on how to season a skillet, and this may be a dumb question, but why do you season a skillet? Does it impart flavor onto the food? For how long? (which I guess is one ...
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4answers
4k views

Why is the dishwasher not recommended for my All-Clad MC2 line of pot and pans?

I just looked on the All-Clad website (faq 7 and faq 13). It says that because the MC2 has a brushed aluminum alloy exterior, it mush be hand washed. Why is the dishwasher bad for it? It's just soap ...
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5answers
15k views

What's the purpose of a bread box?

For some reason I always thought bread boxes were supposed to be wood, and that some property of wood helped keep bread fresh. Like a cigar box, perhaps. But after looking for a bread box, I see ...
12
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2answers
18k views

Does water boil faster with the lid on?

When bringing water to a boil from cold water, what effect does a lid have on the time to boil? Does it increase or decrease the time? How much? Why?
11
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3answers
12k views

How can I safely use a blender with hot liquids?

One instruction in a new barbecue sauce recipe I'm trying out is to take the pot of simmering sauce and run it through a blender or food processor. I have now learned the hard way that blending hot ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Ideal fridge temperature accounting for temperature spikes

I've read the question on the ideal fridge temperature, but am asking a more involved question about a baseline temperature and temperature spikes. How will a few hours each day at 10 C effect the ...
8
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7answers
3k views

Advantages of using a non-glass teapot?

I currently have a borosilicate glass teapot. Glass seems to have the advantage that it will not absorb flavours and so can be used for all styles of tea. What are some of the advantages of using ...
7
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4answers
4k views

Why would I prefer carbon steel (rust prone) kitchen knife?

I've seen this question and obviously carbon steel (not stainless) knives look quite bad without extra care (picture from the linked to question) Now my question is - why face the trouble? Why ...
7
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4answers
5k views

What does the “bold” setting on my Cuisinart coffee maker do?

I recently bought a Cuisinart coffee maker. It has a button to switch between "regular" and "bold" when brewing. I have no idea what this actually does. I thought that usually bold coffee came from ...
7
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3answers
2k views

What are frying pan ridges for?

I expect frying pans with raised ridges are for a few purposes such as adding "grill lines" to meats and keeping food out of grease somewhat as it collects. Why or when should I use a frying pan with ...
7
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2answers
484 views

Do chillis impregnate a wooden chopping board?

After chopping away at a chilli earlier today (well, 10 minutes ago) I then went through my normal ritual of scrubbing my hands to remove what traces the chiles leave on my fingers. And it made me ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Should a serious cook own a blowtorch?

And what does he/she principally use it for? I'm thinking of crème brûlée to start with and maybe blackening the skin of a pepper. Apart from that mine sits on the worktop pretty much unused. Oh ...
7
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7answers
589 views

Are there benefits to using a lemon squeezer?

There are lots of products on the market to ease lemon squeezing. I've never used any of them. Are there any benefits to using one? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the different ...
6
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3answers
3k views

How do I care for a carbon steel knife?

I recently purchased a Dexter-Russell carbon steel Chinese cleaver, because they're supposed to be amazingly useful. I'm used to caring for good stainless steel knives, but don't know what special ...
6
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2answers
544 views

How can I sharpen my peeler?

Is it possible to sharpen a peeler? And if it is, how should I do it? Are there any things to look out for? (Such as ending up with concave blades.) This is the sort of peeler I'm talking about:
6
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3answers
3k views

What's the difference between a French oven and a Dutch oven?

I've been haunting the discount cookware sites looking for Le Creuset pieces that won't put me in the poorhouse. I found two pieces that are similar size and price - one is a French oven and the other ...
6
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2answers
144 views

What features should I consider when getting an ice cream or gelato machine?

Obviously, there's the amount that it can make in one batch, and there seem to be three basic types (ones you freeze the bowl ahead of time; ones you pack it with salt and ice, and ones that ...
6
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4answers
6k views

How do I keep the rice cooker from boiling over?

Possible Duplicate: Stopping water from bubbling over when cooking rice I am having epic rice-cooker failure here. I measure out the amount of rice suggested by the little cup thingy. I ...
5
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3answers
4k views

Safe to leave oven on at 180F while at work to cook ribs?

I'm currently at work and I'm having a little panic attack. I followed a recipe that require the ribs to be wrapped in foil and cooked at 180F for 9hours. I left about 30 minutes ago and for who ...
5
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1answer
968 views

Are fluted knives a gimmick?

I haven't been able to find a post specifically on fluted knives, so hopefully this isn't a duplicate. I was wondering if fluted knives actually work. I came across a comment (possibly an Amazon ...
5
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2answers
2k views

How do I clean this silicone tray?

I use this silicone muffin pan to cook things in the oven. It's supposed to be non-stick, but actually food sticks to it quite a lot. Often I can just scrape dried food off with my fingers, but it's ...
5
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2answers
21k views

How do I know if my meat thermometer is ovenproof?

Ever since a supposedly "ovenproof" thermometer shattered glass on my turkey Thanksgiving 2006 I have been afraid of these things. Is it generally safe to use them? Any maximum temperature I should be ...
5
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1answer
394 views

Using a Dutch Oven as a Heavy Skillet replacement

I don't own a large heavy skillet - the one I do own is small and can't hold much. Is using my Dutch Oven on the stove a reasonable replacement, if I leave the lid off?
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4answers
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White stains and stainless steel cookware

I know this question has been asked before in some form or another, but I can't seem to find a definitive answer. I've looked on SA, chowhound, martha stewart, about.com, etc., and answers seem to ...