Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Stainless steel is just that..it is cookware that holds its finish whether you are cooking acidic ingredients or just sauteing
Cast iron is heavy duty cast iron cookware that has been used for centuries. It is thick walled and is good for stove top, roasting or baking as well as campfires. It cannot be
used with most ceramic or smooth topped stoves as it will scratch the surface.
Non stick is any type of cookware that has an applied surface that keeps food from sticking during its preparation. Some surfaces are better than others.
Aluminum can be the thick walled variety that is cast, like cast iron, or it can be the conventional thickness of ordinary cook ware. It heats at a different rate than other types. It also can show stains from cooking some foods and sticking can be a problem.
Hard anodized is an actual process where the metal is treated in such a way that it has non stick properties, but isn't applied like most non-stick coatings. It is preferable to nonstick types.
I can only give you my experience of why I choose to cook with various pots and pans. Because I don't believe in buying "sets" of cookware. I believe in buying cookware for what I cook.
One of the things that are important to me is whether the bottoms have at least triple ply of heat conductive metals and won't warp.
Another is that they all have metal handles so that I can put them in the oven if needed to finish a dish.
I prefer 18/10 stainless steel but am not opposed to Calphalon.
I want the tops of my pots and pans to have glass tops so that I can see at a glance what's going on. Cast iron is exempted from this.
I want my individual omelet pans to be hard anodized as well as my 14 inch frying pans. Soup pots need to fit my burner size and be fairly deep. Saute' pan and sauteuse don't need to be anodized.
I swear by my LeCreuset (porcelain over cast iron) and regular cast iron for roasting, and slow oven cooking.
I like to pan sear steaks over gas using my cast iron, also.
My wok is heavy duty steel and I only use it on my gas burner, not my ceramic top.
My crepe pans are also hard anodized and work beautifully but any well made 8 inch pan can work if dealt with properly.
My camp gear cookware is mostly aluminum, some is hard anodized and my cast iron fills in the gaps. I don't take the expensive stainless cookware out on bar b ques and camp dinners because it isn't necessary and I don't want it to get dinged up. Besides, it's to fancy looking for camp dinners.
Here's what I have for cast iron and what I use it for. (most of it was inherited and has been in use for over 80 years as my family used it long before I was born).
Deep dutch oven:
Pork roast, roasted chicken, potato and ham casserole, roasted beef brisket, pork loin and apples, any kind of soup
Deep fry skillet
French fries, Indian fry bread, hush puppies, apple fitters, corn fritters, filled fruit pastry, meat pastries, fried fish or fried cat fish
10 inch skillet
Omelets, fritters, apple cake, upside down cake, gravy, chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken cutlets, caramelised onions, bell pepper saute', corn tortillas, fajitas
Corn stick molds: Jalapeno cornbread, sweet cormbread
Round Scone molds: Scones, sticky buns, cinnamon buns, camp French toast rounds
I have all the way down to a 4 inch skillet and very old sauce pots which you never see nowadays in cast iron. I use the pots for keeping maple syrup warm, or gravies and sauces warm after they have been made in the larger vessels. I also use the smallest fry pan for melting butter in.
My aluminum cookware is good for steaming, boiling and deep frying, as well. I also use it for cooking rice, or for cooking potato cubes or pasta for salads. I even use it for mixing things in like the soup pots. Better than a bowl sometimes.
Hope you don't mind the long answer, but your question was a good one and deserving of a full answer.
* 19 hours ago
I am a personal chef who cooks on location and specializes in
* 1 Rating: Good Answer
* 0 Rating: Bad Answer
* Report It
5 out of 5
This answer was a good one and deserving of a full point :) cheers.