This is going to be a bit of fluff turn from my usual more “important” topics.
I really really like the Paula Deen pot that I bought.
Walmart has a whole 10 piece set for something like $90. I’d originally just bought the “1 quart butter warmer” for something like $14? whatever.
Well, it’s a bit of an embarrassment, but … I was in the decades long habit of putting a pot of water on the stove then going to the living room, or turning my back to do dishes, and when I’d hear the soft murmur / hiss of a pot on the boil, pouring it over a tea bag.
But my hearing was damaged long ago, and recovered, but has started to fade again. Especially in the high frequencies where water hisses and boils.
So, well, “more than once” I’ve returned to the kitchen after forgetting the pot, smell alerting me to ‘something too hot’ in the kitchen… to find a pot ruined. I’ve lost a couple of “bottom pots of double boilers” this way. One was “stainless steel”, (bought after the ‘aluminum bottom’ one had the bottom melt…). Turns out the cheap Chinese “stainless steel” had a core of ‘something else’ that also melted. I suspect aluminum… So the bottom ‘skin’ of Stainless steel is now delaminated from whatever was under it and acts as an insulator…
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Paula-Deen-1-Quart-Covered-Sauce-Pan-Red/11015399?sourceid=1500000000000003260370&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=11015399 (Yes, the link says “covered” but the “butter warmer” does not have a cover…)
Well, the inevitable happened. I came to the kitchen to find the pot, dry, on a glowing red element. The deep red enamel finish a dark black all over. Ruined, I thought. Turned off the burner. Grabbed the handle. The bottom of the pot is fused to the heating element. After some tugging, I wrenched it free. (A mistake… more below). And set the pan aside.
It cooled. And the black slowly returned to a perfect red. What?
Seems that the enamel changes color with the heat, but suffers no fault. More importantly, though the label says it is made of aluminum, it didn’t melt. I figure they used some higher temp alloy than most? Or maybe the black radiates heat really really well? Or, one would think, maybe I was just lucky and got it off in time?… but… So I looked at the bottom of the pan, and there are some minor divot / scar points where some of the enamel was damaged from wrenching it loose, but nothing else really. Maybe the non-stick in the bottom looked a bit odd, but it was still there. So I keep on using it.
The label says the pan is “porcelain nonstick” so who knows what part is what.
Another day, another “focus moment”… then come from the office a good 1/2 hour later to see, yes, a jet black pot on a cherry red element. This sucker has been cooking for “a while”. Knowing it’s stuck (a small tug to confirm), I just shut the burner off and go to the living room to contemplate my stupidity. I’m deaf, I think. I know I’m deaf. No, not stone deaf, “only” about 40 db or 50 db, but still. I’m NOT going to hear water boil any more, and I’m NOT going to remember it when I get sucked into something interesting. Idiot.
I go back to the kitchen about an hour later, to try again. There had been a faint “click” that I figured was something cooling. I go to wrench the now cool enough to touch pot loose from the burner and find: It is completely free. On cooling, it releases itself. Inspection of the bottom shows nothing new in the way of marks. The teflon or porcelain or whatever inside is clearly thin / evaporated some (and I’d applied ventilation to let smells out when first found).
OK the really embarrassing part. I did it again. Same thing.
Now each time the nonstick coating got a bit thinner (or at least turned a grey metallic color) and this time in the wash, the bottom inside of the pot is clearly metallic silvery. Up to about 1 inch on the sides. Food doesn’t seem to stick (then again I only really use it for heating canned goods or boiling water) but I’ve toasted the coating or strongly discolored it.
The pot is still FINE. Exterior finish is fine. No distortions. Not melted. FINE.
I don’t know WHAT it is made of, but it’s good stuff.
So today I bought another one. Next “pay day” I plan to get the whole set.
The ‘wrapper’ on my new one says: “Made in Thailand for Meyer Corporation, One Meyer Plaza, Vallejo, Ca. 94590″ and it lists “Suitable for” and has pictures with captions for “Solid Plate, Ceramic, Radiant Ring, Halogen, Gas”. From which I learned that there is a ‘Halogen’ burner stove… who knew? Well, something else to absorb / learn about… ;-)
Also, to ease folks minds, I now require that I stand at the stove and watch the water for tea… It seems to boil much faster than it did a few years ago ;-) and I’ve not had a ‘hot pot’ episode since.
One other point. The pots have a very pleasing “curved” shape to their sides. It almost reminds me of something you would see in a 1950′s cartoon pot. I don’t know why, but it just makes me feel good to look at it, and to hold the handle. It also seems to stir a bit easier (things headed up the side get sent toward the middle of the pot, so don’t slop out) and it pours very nicely from the pour spout on either side. I don’t know what they did, exactly, but these pots are just fun to use. Also the handle is a kind of plastic over metal. Realize that I grabbed that handle when the bottom of the pot was fused to a red hot surface. It was very warm / somewhat hot, but not dangerously so to grab. I suspect it must be a silicon of some kind as it had ZERO damage from the heat in the metal. I don’t care what you are cooking, unless you have the handle over a flame, it will be OK to grab it. The wrapper has the note: “Dual riveted handle provides a comfortable, secure grip and is oven safe to 350 F” so whatever it is, it’s sturdy.
On returning to the store, for the first time I discovered that the sets come in a variety of colors. (The ‘lone butter warmer pot’ was only stocked in red). I’ll likely get the Aqua / blue ones (as I’m usually not fond of red pots). I hope the Aqua enamel is as sturdy as what’s on the red ones, but I have no intention of ever finding out ;-) It also comes in black and orange, and a yellow for the 12 piece and in stainless steel with copper bottoms for $40 more.
At any rate, I’m just one very satisfied customer who has found one very reliable product. My only complaint would be that the set does not include a double boiler (and I need a new one ;-) But there is one for $40 in stainless steel that google found at Target and several other stores.