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    after i discovered shun knives via a tip from the ever-helpful @greg, i’ve been collecting a few here and there as i find bargains. and bargains are not easy to come by with such a popular brand–they are seldom discounted by very much.

    btw, greg recommended i do exactly this when i was considering a block set–to find knives i liked from any brand and fill up my own empty block. being the avid shopper i am, i decided to go both routes and get a block set immediately and then add the oddballs.

    so far, i still like the german steel and the hefty, balanced feel of the wusthof classic and, despite early reservations, i find i like the new ikon line better, but it is very much more expensive.

    and pending use and wear and durability, the zhen line of taiwanese knives using japanese steel are excellent value for the money. and their shears, which are 1/4 the price of the name brands, are the best i’ve ever used.

    also, the mac brand is supreme quality at a price below the shuns and the ikons. they feel indestructible and are razor sharp. plus, they have american blade angles unlike the zhen and shun which use asian angles. wusthof makes a drag through sharpener with both angles which is very handy and inexpensive.

    i did find that they have been putting out ‘limited editions’ which amazon doesn’t usually carry, but specific online store do. i got two ltd-ed paring knives for about $99 and from the premium line at that. i have a mix of classic and premiere so far and although the classics aren’t as heavy, i sort of like them better as they have a ‘d’-shaped handle and a less ostentatious blade. the premium does have a better looking handle though and looks more like wood grain. evidently, real wood is currently shunned (sorry!) in knives nowadays and i hate to see it even while i realize the problems with real wood.

    anyway, thought i’d post a deal i found just a couple of days ago on a shun classic limited edition set. i found it because i had come across the shun ‘ultimate utility’ knife and it really intrigued me and i determined to hunt one down, but not the 6″ size which is the one most prevalent.

    i never shop at williams sonoma but i got a 20% off july 4th coupon in my email and went to their online store where i discovered a shun set i hadn’t yet seen and might be exclusive to them. it was the 3.5″ version of the ultimate utility knife, a 3.5″ paring knife (both in the classic line), and a hinoki cutting board. the board was tiny but would make a good cheese serving station and those boards are very expensive in the larger sizes.

    at any rate, after my coupon i got this set for right at $60 with free shipping. i was very pleased indeed! and meanwhile i had found the 4.5″ classic version for $60 as well. so i got three shun knives (albeit small ones) and a deluxe cutting board for $120 and most shun knives go alone for more than that.

    anyway, i’m delighted to be filling up my shun block and collecting a diverse variety of them. i’m hoping that this utility knife and my wusthof classic ikon tomato knife (also found at a deep discount) augmented with the occasional larger and heavier duty knives will become my go to duo.

    note: oh, forgot to mention. as part of one of these deals, i was able to buy two ceramic knives for $10 for the pair. i haven’t owned a ceramic knife in probably 20 years since i bought one of the first ones ever produced made by boker. to say i was underwhelmed is understating the case considerably. a gorilla couldn’t have cut your throat with it. so i’ve been wanting to at least try the latest generation of them.

    and i also got a free ‘granny’ fork. about 10″ long with three tines. this thing looks great and i foresee great things ahead for granny in the future!



    Is granny meant to be on the receiving end or the blunt end? :P

    You seem to be going overboard on the knives. Save a little money for the pots n pans.


    yeah, i know. hopefully it’s out of my system now. it’s the inevitable consequence of introducing a lifelong knife collector to a new category of knives coupled with poor-to-no impulse control. [g]

    oh, and on the other topic of discussion — i got a catalog from chefs in my package and saw an electric skillet. i suspect you guys don’t consider that an option over the induction burner and a separate pan?



    My mother had one of those. She cooked some truly memorable meals in it. Sadly, they were memorable for all the wrong reasons.

    They have probably improved since then. But it remains a specialist piece of kit. If you want to do something other than fry, you have to buy a whole new gadget. A cooker with a saucepan and frypan will do everything it will do and much more. Specialist items are great IF they do something not easily achieved otherwise. if you want thin slices of veggies, it is hard to beat a mandoline. Yes you can use a knife but unless your knife skills are way better than mine you won’t get them as consistent and even. On the other hand Sautéing a piece of steak is easy to do lots of other ways.


    The last electric skillet I owned I used 3 times and gave away. The guy I gave it too loves it and my sister uses the one I gave her often.

    In the 60’s I had a cast aluminum one that was wonderful. And I also had a smaller version given to me at one time that I loved as well. Sadly both were lost in a move.

    I do not like the newer non stick ones. Every one I have tried does not distribute the heat well. The food boils over the element and a lot of stirring is required. It would be okay for sautéing as one must stir anyways.

    Plus a frying pan or practically any pan is easier to clean and generally store easier.

    Lots of people like them though.


    Interesting post about knives. A useful item to collect.

    This year I came to Teslin without a knife. Someone gave me a Dollar store paring knife which is surprisingly efficient but not sufficient.
    Usually I bring an assortment but I guess I was fixated on bring my PC and circulator and missed many other essentials.

    I found myself trying to beg borrow or steal a knife and realized what a dumbass thing that was and had someone buy me a couple of Wiltshire knives from Wal-Mart. I did not want to invest in quality as I have too many knives at home. I would actually like to simplify my knife collection.

    Unfortunately I really like these cheap knives I just bought. Perhaps only because I have been pretty well knifeless for 2 months.

    One of my friends in Teslin is a chef from the Philippines and he has a Shun knife which he bought there. It is lovely.


    my problem with buying such beautiful knives is that i’m too anal to actually use them! i have to keep telling myself that i’m worthy of an expensive knife and, in any case, i’m old and someone random will end up with them when i die anyway, so there’s no use protecting the collectors value.

    still, some of my very favorite utensils were off-the-cuff purchases from discount stores and until a few weeks ago when you guys corrupted me (!), the most expensive kitchen knife i owned and used was under $10.



    wow! teslin. i had to zoom out at least a dozen steps on google earth just to put that place in context its so isolated and remote!

    it’s actually not that far (in relative terms) from the aleutians where i was stationed for a year long long ago on adak. did you know the japanese actually occupied adak in ww2? their land mines are still there.


    hey guys! i just realized that i can’t live on eggs’n’bacon (well, i probably could i love ’em so much!) but might as well shop for a small-to-medium saucepan and i’ve been dying for some pasta for months now and i haven’t yet found an acceptable way to cook it ‘naked’ in the ip. i’ve seen a couple of recipes about cooking it with sauce, but there’s times i like it one european way with just butter.

    anyway, they have ‘sets’ of a fry pan (although i think i’ll still get the tfal one i listed even if i get a set), a saucepan or three, and usually a larger pot which looks suitable for pasta.

    so i have a couple of questions:

    1) how small a pot can i get away with for cooking pasta? i’m only cooking for one, but i’d want at least 3-4 meals out of a batch.

    2) how large a pot can the induction burner reasonable handle?

    3) where’s the intersection between #1 and #2? [g]



    found this set which looks ideal for my purposes. first, it has both an 8″ and a 10.5″ saute/fry pan which would mean i would save the $25 purchasing the tfal 8″ one (i’m assuming the one in this set is comparable quality–it might be the newer model more lightweight one greg mentioned–it does say it has aluminum in the base) and it has small and medium saucepans and a stockpot for pasta. and, a big attraction, it has glass lids.


    i think i’m going with it pending whether the induction burner i’m considering will handle a 5qt stock pot or not.


    ok, i pulled the trigger. but i can’t afford an induction cookbook, so you guys are gonna be my owners manual and recipe database!

    cookware: http://amzn.to/1KvKCEw

    (it’s got my favorite meal in the pan! how could i resist?)

    burner: http://amzn.to/1KxEJoS

    i also got some stainless steel polish which seemed highly rated and inexpensive. it might work for knives as well: http://amzn.to/1NAezBY

    also, some cutting board oil although i have some mineral oil.

    sorry i didn’t wait for the verdict on the stock pot working @greg. i read a few dozen of the 200+ reviews on the burner and i found one guy who said he used a 5-qt pot on top of it. but i’m scared that with water that’s going to be too much weight–especially since it seems to have a pot sensing mechanism built in.

    but duxtop sells cookware sets for this burner which include a large stockpot. and i think i’ve cooked pasta in a medium saucepan before–but you’d have to chop up spaghetti. no loss–i like the penne and rotini better anyway!

    had to order in a hurry to get free monday delivery. i’m surprised it’ll be that fast considering the independence day holiday.


    found this pretty comprehensive review:


    also found the owners manual pdf (score!) and a link to a review of induction cookware which i’m just now starting:


    the reviews i’ve read so far seem very favorable (good job @greg!) with the reviews pointing out that the weak points usually apply to all the other brands as well.

    although the cookware description said ‘induction suitable’, i’m wondering about the layer of aluminum in the base. is this going to affect the magnetism field enough to make a difference?

    [later note: the duxtop cookware for their burner has an aluminum layer, so this should be a non-issue.]


    A few comments. Not sure if I will answer all the questions but here goes.

    Not sure why you can’t cook pasta in the ip. Laura has a few recipes I use all the time. If you want to add your own sauce, just use water to cover,oil and salt. Leave out the spices, tomato and tuna. I’ve done it. It works. Then drain if necessary and top with your own sauce. And yes I use just butter as a sauce too. I call it “super simple pasta”. Though I usually toss in some chopped parsley too. Or is this one of the few things Laura advises against using an electric for?

    For traditional pasta cooking From memory, at a minimum, use one litre of water per 100g. That’s about a cup of short pasta and equates to a single serve. And a quart for you backwards Americans. ;). For spaghetti you’ll want to use more water (and salt) and a bigger pot so the pasta will fit in easier. IMO you want to cook pasta fresh each time. Not cook a big batch and reheat.

    As for the pans, the q@a mention they are induction compatible. But there are lots of admonishments not to cook on high. That means they won’t be much use for doing a post SV sear. And I worry that the metal will be too thin to even out the hotspots.

    Anyway, when you get them, remember heat then add oil then add food. And wait. The meat will stick initially but should auto release when it is ready to be turned.


    since i posted that i’ve been reading and it seems all-clad has licensed their tech and if you’re willing to buy chinese you can get similar items at much lower prices.

    duxtop offers an 8″ saute pan which looks like uses the all-clad tech (or they’re scoffing at the copyright!). oh, my bad–they call it ‘whole clad’. the reason i’m looking at this is that it’s the duxtop brand and you’d think they’d tested it on their own product and it does claim: “… oven-safe to 550 degrees F…’ which should do the trick, right?


    just as a double-check, i just went to my stove and removed the stack of bowls and the cover over one burner and cranked it up to high. i waited 5 minutes and it was stone cold. i don’t even know if they electrically connected it when they installed it–they sure didn’t label any of the breakers.

    btw @greg, i found i enjoyed the ground peppercorns so much, i found a small bag of the kampot pepper on amazon and a reasonably priced pepper mill by dxo since i’ve never gotten anything disappointing under that brand.


    This is a review of all clad but it talks about the intricacies of pan design and also suggests cheaper alternatives. I wish I had read it before I started my pan collection.

    Actually, have a look at some of the other links on that page. There is some very worthwhile stuff there. Guess what induction cooktop he recommends in the under $100 range? :)


    glad you sent the review. evidently he rates the cuisinart multiclad just slightly below the allclad.

    i was able to cancel my tfal saute pan order and got the cuisinart one for the exact same price. i also got a 1.5qt saucepan from the same line.


    everyone knows magazines have fought for life for 20-30 years now. they no longer can survive on the subscription model (even internet emags have the same problem, e.g., new york times) and only subsist on ad revenue. which prices, ironically, are set by the number of subscribers!

    so, magazines have been essentially giving away subscriptions since they then get to count you and charge advertisers higher rates. if you shop around you can get nearly all but the hugely popular ones for under $1 a copy.

    there’s an outfit called ‘discount mags’ on the internet and i usually wait for one of their deep discount sales where you can get $5, $4, even $3 a year subscriptions, and without auto-renewal if you pay attention.

    the last offer i got was for 5 magazines for $20 and along with car&driver i got some cooking mags this time. two of them came in for the first time today: saveur and bon appetite.

    i admit i didn’t read 99% of the recipes and there weren’t even any useful equipment reviews in either issue. in saveur, there was only a single item of interest and it was an ad (go figure!). evidently there is a product out there called ‘black crack’ and no, it’s not what you were probably thinking (!) but ‘black garlic’. i give it an award for one of the most clever item names of all time! and i must have some although it looks like it might only be available from the one company.

    *evidently, there is only a single source for black crack and it’s $25 a bottle (which does have a built-in grinder) and a 3-week delay. guess i’ll wait until amazon gets it …

    the bon appetit issue was more rewarding and had a half-dozen pages devoted to seafood. the ‘theme’ of both these mags was grilling and the seafood article concentrated on that aspect of prep. still, a highly useful reference but not very useful unless it’s in digital format.

    i just looked on my order from them and the other 3 on this order were: rachel ray [.?.], the atlantic, and rolling stone. with the first two i’d say that’s a good deal for $20, even if a few prove useless. oh, and i just remembered. i got a sub to ‘cooks illustrated’ as well, but that one wasn’t discounted and cost me $20 for that alone. and might only be six issues–i can’t remember.


    @greg, i’m still pulling gold from that review of all-clad. i just discovered another link in that to a splatter cover and guess what? it’s the one i got just a few days ago for the pressure cooker although hopefully now i won’t have to use it for browning anymore.

    and i noted in the differences between the all-clad lines, he said that the d5 line wasn’t worth the premium price and to skip it unless you got a deep discount. and guess what?

    [digression: i’m the world’s best shopper. this is both a blessing and a curse, as you can imagine. like the two shun knives and cutting board for $60 i stumbled into.]

    so you’ve guessed–i found one piece of all-clad on clearance at sonoma-william today. the sale is just for the weekend. if you remember, i already sprung for an 8″ fry pan and a 1.5qt saucepan from the cuisanart multi-clad line, but the all-clad was a 3qt saucepan and i’m hoping that’s large enough to cook small portions of pasta in. the price was about 1/3rd the cheapest price i could find on the web for this piece and i even found an additional 20%-off coupon so even with shipping (i had a free shipping coupon, but they’d only let me use one) it was barely above the price of the shun knives which i got from the same place.


    all i had left from my last pressure cooker batch was enough potatoes for one meal. i did have a piece of salmon, but it was already battered from the store and pretty thin.

    i looked it up and the charts said 125/51º or 135/57º for more done and of course i opted for the latter. the time was 15-60 minutes and i set my timer for 30 minutes.

    you recall the problems i’ve had so far getting a vacuum, so this time i used my portable foodsaver for the first time with one of its bags. worked much much better than i expected and i could tell there was very little to no air a few seconds after i applied the vacuum. still, it was difficult to get all the salmon below the surface–i think maybe the stiffness of the bag might have had something to do with it and finally i used my homemade lid to aid in getting it all belowdecks.

    turned out very well indeed although, as usual with the sous vide, the food is cold to my taste when it comes out. i mean, i like my coffee scalding hot and i prefer to blow on my food in order to eat it so i threw it in the microwave for 15 seconds which didn’t seem to hurt it.

    anyway, success is as success tastes and the meal turned out above my expectations. at least i know now i can get a great vacuum if i don’t go broke buying the foodsaver bags. i did find some glad or ziploc vacuum bags at the grocery store and they even come with a hand pump (which i didn’t try yet) and those might well be a cheaper source for foodsaver substitutes as i’m pretty sure the foodsaver battery vacuum machine would work with them too.


    3 quarts is plenty large to cook pasta in. I am a bit of a Philistine in that I always break my long pasta in half or thirds. Tastes exactly the same to me an I do not want to twirl long strands around my fork.

    When cooking pasta like linguine or spaghetti I boil the water, put in some salt and oil, not much of either, Bring back to a boil for around 1 minute and turn it off. 10 minutes later it is how I like it. Firm but not chewy and the sauce sticks to it. But it will hold quite well for quite while. I just crank up the heat for a minute before straining.

    And speaking of pasta that isn’t actually pasta (pretty sure it is low glycemic) spaghetti squash cooked in the instant pot is wonderful


    tks @helen! yeah, i haven’t even scratched the surface of pc or sv and now this induction burner is opening up another whole vista for me to fail at. [g]

    before i knew better about the cuisinart and all-clad lines, i ordered a relatively cheap set of t-fal stainless cookware. it has like two fry pans, two sauce pans, and a 5 qt stock pot. so hopefully it’s going to be like the mundial knife set–the t-fal will fill in the gaps until i can collect enough of the really good pieces as i find sales. i really think though that an 8″ fry pan and 1.5qt saucepan from the cuisinart line and the one all-clad 3qt sauce pan should take care of 80% of my learning phase. good to know i won’t have to use the 5 qt stockpot for my pasta since i still can’t find out whether a pot that large will work on my induction burner. with water in it, i would fear for the sheer weight of it–especially considering the duxtop has a sensor and a thermometer built in under the cooking surface.


    I wouldn’t worry about the weight. I have used my 12 litre Kuhn Rikon PC on my even cheaper Nu Wave induction burner. It was a fail from a PC point of view. But it didn’t harm the burner. Just put it on carefully rather than drop it on. And try to avoid it overhanging the controls.

    Your cheap saucepans will be fine for most things. As long as you have water or oil in there to spread the heat around, cheap is every bit as good as the most expensive pans on the planet. Until they warp or get dropped anyway. It is frying/sauté where you need to consider more expensive stuff. And then thick cast iron or steel are as good a choice as any as long as you are prepared to look after them.


    Greg I have used some pretty big pots on my induction burner, and it is possibly one of the first ones sold cheaply. Not to mention that amazon has a very good warranty/return policy. Plus you can make pasta in the Instant Pot on the sauté setting if you actually need a bigger capacity.

    We all forget that they were first sold as a multi cooker, probably because we want to:)

    And as far as learning goes, I like to think it an adventure of sorts.
    New tastes to experience
    Food that tastes better than what you have paid big money for at a restaurant.
    Less junk/fast food
    New shiny ‘Gear’ (as Greg calls it) to acquire as long as one can stuff it into the kitchen.

    And most of all the pleasure of a new interest/hobby. I seem to acquire couple of new interests a year, but if I didn’t life would be more mundane.


    yeah, i like to say i’m 3 miles wide and 1″ deep. [g]

    i warn you, i’m going to have boucou (tech term!) questions about the stainless pans. i’ve been calling the fry pans ‘saute’ pans, but they are really just stainless skillets, right?

    i’m [ass]uming that no break in or salting is going to be required before use. but i’m already confused by what i’m reading about the warm up period. for example, the pc instructions for browning say that for a stainless pot you should not put any oil in it until it heats up. but i’ve read that for the stainless skillets you need to put oil in before you start heating it and the couple of youtube videos i’ve seen show them putting butter in before starting to heat to cook eggs.

    and @helen said i could do pasta in the 3qt pot, but @greg’s formula called for one liter of water to each cup of dry pasta. the pan is 3 qts which means 2.8 liters which means i could only use 2 liters of water and 2c of pasta. how much is 2c of cooked pasta? it sure doesn’t sound like very much.

    ok. enough for now. i already strain your attention spans way too much with my novel-length digressions. [g]

    ps: @greg, i’m already looking at a Demeyere’s Proline skillet. this sucker is 4.6mm thick and 7-ply! since i’m already getting an 8″ one, their 9.5″ one would be the next logical size and about as large as i’d want to go. godz forfend i should find a deep discount!


    so i just had an idea, but it didn’t pan out. remember my dead gowise pc which i salvaged the 4qt stainless pot from? it seems just about a perfect size for cooking pasta so i gave it the magnet test on the bottom. no joy whatsoever–not even a little bit.

    i remember reading that they have to make the induction-compatible cookware with 18/0 stainless on the bottom even though they use 18/10 elsewhere. does this mean that the gowise pot is either not stainless or that it’s 18/10?


    found this in the links @greg sent:

    “– You can pre-heat the pan with some oil to ensure that foods only encounter lubricated hot steel, which is a lot less sticky than bare, not-so-hot steel. Preheat the pan, then add oil, THEN add food. Do not put oil into a cold pan and heat them up together; it doesn’t work as well.”

    so how do you know when it’s pre-heated and ready to add oil?

    also, i’m hooked on spray olive oil (ala pam) and i spray it into every container before cooking, the inside of my pc pot and even in my plastic microwave containers. i’m wondering if a very thin layer of this would be ok before i put the skillet onto the ‘burner’ at all.


    I think 1 cup of dried pasta is about like 2 large cans of Chef Boyardee so unless you are cooking for company you will have enough. Pasta is cheap. 1/4 of a standard 1 lb package will give you lots. 1/8 will be maybe 4-6 servings. You can refrigerate/freeze it or if it did not turn out costs very little.

    Warm up period I never paid much attention to until recently. Still don’t except for my cast iron.

    But this is my bad as we both know metal expands and contracts etc.
    My understanding is that if you warm them slower they will cook more evenly and be easier t clean and last longer. But if I a going to boil water I am not going to boil it gradually. Probably should but life is too short.

    Most pans are fine with rapid heating, but most mfg recommend never heating on high heat.

    I am pretty confused on that though


    The naming of pans is fraught with difficulty. Not only do very subtle differences get a different name, the name varies from region to region. And according to what you are doing with it.
    Here technically, a frypan is any wide shallow pan. If it is VERY shallow, it is called a crepe pan. If it has gently sloping sides it is called an omelet pan IF you use it to cook eggs and nothing else. Skillets are always electric. Though I have seen it applied to a large crepe pan. A saute pan has steep sides and a lid.

    Over where you are I THINK (but am by no means certain), I think a skillet is what I call a saute pan, and a saute pan is what I call a frypan.

    Similarly, here frying is what you call sauteing. Shallow frying is what you call frying (in about 1/2″ oil) and deep frying is the same in both places (oil deep enough to swim in). Sauteing here is covered frying so it steams as well as fries. When I say grilling, it is what you understand by broiling. Grilling here is done on a barbecue or indoors on a griddle – a frypan with ridges and is a very fast cook over high direct heat. What you call barbecue is rare here. When it happens, it is called American barbecue. but as it requires specialist kit it is likely to remain rare.

    So I have just given up, and call them all frypans as that is the term I grew up with. They all do pretty much the same job anyway.

    As for when to add the oil, the method I was shown was to flick a few drops of water on the pan. If they flash to steam pretty much immediately (or skate across the surface like a hovercraft!) then the pan is ready for the oil. However, I have taken to using Laura’s method: When the rim is hot to touch but not impossibly so, the pan is hot enough for oil.

    When I scramble eggs (pretty much every day as Pam likes them for breakfast) I put the oil (ghee actually) in cold, heat it to smoking, then cool it back down then put the eggs in and proceed with the cooking. I find they don’t stick that way, but you have to wait until the pan is below 55ºC (warm not hot to touch) again before the eggs go in.

    As for pasta, I use 100g (1 cup) per person when calculating serves. I eat about that. Pam has a little less. If it is a type I am familiar with I just use a cup measure. If it is a new variety or a long variety like spaghetti of fettuccine I weigh it.


    There are several reasons to avoid high heat.
    1. The non stick coating can burn off, releasing toxic fumes
    2. The pan can buckle and warp possibly irreversibly. Not a problem on gas but a real issue for conventional electric and induction.
    3. A laminated (hi tech) pan can delaminate.

    #1 Obviously only applies to non stick pans.
    #2 is mainly a problem for cheap pans with thin metal. And laminated pans as the different metals can act like a bimetallic strip ( what makes thermostats work)
    #3 needs fairly extreme heat if the bonding was done properly, but I have seen it when I loaned out my very expensive laminated set that had silver(!) as one of the layers. I was NOT happy.

    Because I like to use very high heat for searing, I chose simple but thick (3mm) carbon steel frypans. Cast iron is also pretty good, but a lot heavier as you want about 5mm (1/4″) thickness to avoid warping.


    great info @greg–thanks mucho!

    obviously, our terminology differs a bit and since i’m just starting cooking i defer to your definitions.

    but when i was growing up the cast iron pans (which were all we had back then) were invariably called ‘skillets’ no matter their intended purpose. so that’s what i’m used to and what i associate with cooking a variety of items such as bacon & eggs and sauteing veggies and meats. we didn’t have separate omelet pans.

    and speaking of terminology, that review of the demeyere skillets is hard to match up with the corresponding item. he calls it the proline 5-star gold line or more exactly: “Demeyere Proline Skillet a/k/a Frying Pan 28 cm & 32 cm diameter (11 inch & 12.6 inch diameter) aka Gold 5-star”

    worse, that doesn’t like the 7.9 or the 9.4″ skillets although he does mention he owned the 9.4″ and found it too small, so i have to assume it was from this same line. it’s very likely that the belgian company labels it differently according to the destination export country i guess.

    i mention this because i found the 9.4″ one at a very deep discount at wayfair.com and it never mentions atlantis or 5-star or gold and simply calls it ‘proline’. so i’m back doing research to make sure it’s the same one from the review–it could be an older model without the curled lip or the special ‘nonstick’ coating.

    btw, the specs list this pan at 4.4 lbs (2.0kg). i wonder what the equivalent cast iron would weigh? my grandmother’s were very heavy–you wouldn’t want to get bonker with one!

    and bbq requires special kit? i admit i haven’t done any of it, but every yahoo cooks bbq in his backyard here using only a grill of some sort and a sauce to slaver over it while it cooks and even that is optional–some of the best won’t even furnish a sauce at the table.


    oh, and two cups at a time of pasta is just fine if i can cook it in the saucepan and new induction burner because i understand it only takes 10 minutes or so as opposed to the pressure cooker which would take at least 30-50 minutes because of lag times on both ends of the cooking times which are even worse with a 6qt pc than the 4qt i already complained about.

    oh, and do you use a silicone spatula for eggs? i saw a youtube video on induction egg cooking and he set the temp at 270/132º. i don’t trust a metal one not to scratch and i don’t trust a nylon one to be neutral smell and not to melt. the silicone ones toggle between a 450ª top end and 600º top end and might be overkill for eggs.

    oh and nevermind on the product labeling. i just went back and looked again and in one brief mention in the description they refer to the pan as a ‘5-star’ pan, but in a generic, not a specific, way. but it convinced me the discount one was indeed from the 5-star line and although they didn’t list some specific features the review does, the specs they post match up with his specs.


    I don’t see any problems if you are boiling water. The water will keep the pan temperature down to 100ºC so no warping should happen. Ever. It is when you are frying that problems can occur as temperatures are much higher.


    here’s what my grandmother’s skillet looks like and what i think of when i hear ‘skillet’:


    oh, and this is my very favorite line from the demeyere review:

    “Durability: 5/5 Excellent. These pans will last you a lifetime or until the Zombie Apocalypse, whichever comes first. Even better, you can use these sturdy pans to defend yourself during the Zombie Apocalypse, too! ”


    In the PC you are cooking pasta at low pressure and releasing it as fast as your machine will let you. You don’t need to worry about the cool down time. As for the heat up time, pasta takes (about) 10 min once it goes into the boiling water. You have to get the water boiling first. And it is a lot quicker to get 1 cup (0.25l) of water boiling (PC) than it does to get two or three litres to boil. I find if I do boil pasta the old way and the new way in the PC, I have finished eating the PC pasta BEFORE the boiled pasta is even thinking about being ready. And yes I have done the experiment.

    I use metal spatulas for eggs. Silicone are too thick to slide under them easily. I don’t use nonstick anymore and I don’t care about scratches in a steel pan. Of course if you have seasoned the pan right, the eggs will just slide out when you tilt the pan so you don’t need any spatula.


    I checked out your grandma’s skillet. That looks like an excellent frypan. I don’t know why you are asking me for advice. She clearly knows a thing or two about cooking.


    unfortunately my grandmother passed the veil many years ago, but she lived to 96 and still worked in the garden. and although she could cook some things well which are still my goto comfort foods today, she never saw an egg she didn’t burn to a cinder in that skillet. maybe that’s why i eat so many eggs today–trying to get the taste out of my mouth! [g]

    watching ‘chef’ on netflix. imdb rates it very highly and it’s pretty good although more than somewhat frenetic. some real name brand actors but really the lead guy has 98% of every scene.

    i’ve decided to send the t-fal set i ordered first before i found random pieces back to amazon. if it had stuff in the set i thought i might need i’d consider keeping it, but the only thing really special about it is the 5qt stockpot which i’m not even sure yet will work and since @helen said the 3qt saucepan will work fine, i don’t plan to make ‘stock’.

    so here’s the bits’n’pieces i’ve found on deep discounts so far and all are highly rated in the review @greg sent.

    Cuisinart MCP19-16N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 1-1/2-Quart Saucepan

    All-Clad d5 Stainless-Steel Essential Pan, 3-Qt

    Cuisinart MCP22-20N MultiClad Pro Stainless 8-Inch Open Skillet

    Demeyere Proline 5-Star Skillet 9.4″

    this should be plenty to get me started and give me time to determine what, if anything, else i need to add. i realize that the skillets are pretty close in size, but you never know–maybe the larger one will be useful if two eggs or two pancakes can’t be put side-by-side in the smaller one.

    hope you guys are having a great weekend. amazingly, the neighborhood seems to have used up all their fireworks the week before july 4th–i’ve been flinching all week long so i appreciate the lack of explosions. luckily we had an abnormally large rainfall over the last 6 weeks and the ground is not near as dry as it usually is this time of year.


    From Serious Eats, one of my favorite food sites.


    Myth #6: “Modern cast iron is just as good as old cast iron. It’s all the same material, after all.”

    The Theory: Metal is metal, cast iron is cast iron, the new stuff is no different than the old Wagner and Griswold pans from early 20th century that people fetishize.

    The Reality: The material may be the same, but the production methods have changed. In the old days, cast iron pans were produced by casting in sand-based molds, then polishing the resulting pebbly surfaces until smooth. Vintage cast iron tends to have a satiny smooth finish. By the 1950s, as production scaled up and was streamlined, this final polishing step was dropped from the process. The result? Modern cast iron retains that bumpy, pebbly surface.

    The difference is more minor than you may think. So long as you’ve seasoned your pan properly, both vintage and modern cast iron should take on a nice non-stick surface, but your modern cast iron will never be quite as non-stick as the vintage stuff.

    This and other articles are why I went with the ceramic cast iron.

    I do find it heavy though and might get a carbon steel but will more likely get a blowtorch. I have way to many pots and pans. Even my ceiling is running low on space.


    Nice selections
    I am a bit envious of the all clad one with its curved bowl. Would be very useful.


    No harm in buying both an 8 and 9.4″ skillet. I would opt for a 6″ or 7″ as well or instead of one.

    The reason(s) being.
    I use my large 9 or 10 inch skillet about once a year, even when cooking for guests. I use my 6″ t-fal more than twice a week.

    The reason(s) being.
    Small, handy to each for, seconds to clean, requires less fat or oil.

    When I cook breakfast for myself it will cook 3 bacon cut in 1/2, then while the bacon is draining I can fry or poach an egg before the bacon gets cold.
    I also use it for sauces or gravy in small quantities because I find a smaller pan is better for smaller amounts.


    tks @helen! no special insight though, these were just the ones which were on short-term sales which looked the most useful and got highest marks in the review link @greg posted.

    if the 3 qt one proves large enough, i think the only other one i would like in the short term is a 2-4 qt covered saute pan for like a batch of meatballs or something.


    i actually had a 7-inch skillet in a cart or maybe that was the one i cancelled when i found the larger two. i couldn’t decide if one that small would fit two sunny-side up eggs or side-by-side pancakes or not.

    but i might look for a 5 or 6 inch one although in all my shopping i’m not sure i saw one that size of a quality i’d want. but i can see where it would be handy for many jobs and since the actual induction area is less than 8″ it would be very efficient.


    I cook my meatballs in a skillet without a lid. Then I freeze them and add them to a sauce or gravy or serve them as an appetiser as needed.
    You should be able to buy a lid for your 3 quart pan and one of the skillets for a few bucks.

    The Instant Pot is the best place to make a stock or a tomato sauce. Incredibly easy for both. There is a vegetable store close to me in the real world where you can buy 5 lbs. of tomatoes for $1. The best tomato sauce I ever tasted.


    this one is a very reasonable price (although they have some cast iron ones for about 1/3rd even this) and says ‘induction capable’ but it seems not to be cast iron or steel.

    of course cast iron, as you are aware, takes some (to me) fussy maintenance. one big advantage to this model is the huge range of sizes.

    i’d rather try to find one that’s clad and in somewhat the style of the ones i’m getting i think.

    now this one is just gorgeous! i love copper. but evidently not induction compatible:


    this one is a nice size and shape, but it’s non-stick and i’m still not sure whether i want at least one non-stick one or not although it might be nice to have a comparison against the plain stainless ones:



    @guy I wasn’t thinking induction when I mentioned it (6″). Should work, but maybe not. Won’t do two pancakes. Would do one fair size puffy one.

    It is all good with what you have on order though and it will be fun for you I think. They say living well is the best revenge, and eating well and healthily is a very big thing in my book.

    Tonight I am having pan roasted crusted cod with sautéed oriental vegetables, a starter of Chili garlic prawns, Garlic Toast, and apple pie.

    I did not cook this myself, but got it at the one restaurant in Teslin for 10.99 (I get a discount)
    It came in 5 boxes so I imagine I will have more than one meal, and the chef is quite talented for this part of the world.


    You think iron is too much maintenance but are prepared to entertain the thought of copper!!!???

    And I thought I was mad. But then I have three small copper pots already. And one copper skillet.

    And nonstick aluminium with more said about the designer than the pot. Sigh.
    I think I’ll go eat some worms.

    You have the makings of a very good cookware set. I am quite jealous of some of those pieces. Don’t go and ruin it by adding nonstick aluminium.

    Dinner here is Laura’s beer can chicken with oven roasted potatoes (par boiled in the PC) and probably some other stuff.


    speaking of jealous, i’m envious of the meals you guys are having. i’m pretty well out of food until my replacement ip comes in or i learn induction cooking in a flash.

    long long ago i had beer can chicken at a big chain restaurant and i would have been better scooping up some dirt from behind the kitchen.

    and, if you guys get the time, pls read this page and watch the video where this lady claims that we can season our ss pans one time and they will be non-stick (i guess the implication is i can cook entirely without oil if i wish) forever after.

    my first reaction is that if ss absorbs this butter into its actual molecules, why not other foods?

    is this possible? if so, i’d love to do it first thing and not have to worry about it again or whether i put in enough oil or not.



    so, here is the end goal for induction cooking in a ss skillet. if i can do this i’ll know i can tackle nearly anything:


    but i do have a number of complaints as i cruise around and watch these sorts of demos. the question is–are all the cooks who put out these things total and irremediable idiots? i mean, unless someone has yet to slip me my list of code words, telling me to cook on ‘medium’ or to ‘let it sit a few minutes’ is utterly useless babble. do these people [ass]ume that everyone watching or reading is using the exact same equipment as they are and/or that their particular sample might be an outride? and don’t get me started on ‘a few minutes’ either.

    i guess they also [ass]ume that i’ll recognize by the food when ‘a few minutes’ is over.

    but you see why i was immediately attracted to pc and sv. both these have parameters and protocols (whether strict or looser) to be followed. hopefully there are some cookbooks out there that don’t depend on such amorphous instructions.


    That is how I make my omelettes usually. It really is simple.

    Medium, high low etc. are used because most stoves/cookers have analog controls.

    And yes they do assume that you will recognize it by the food. That is how it is done by most. A restaurant chef will jab the teak on the grill with a finger to test for doneness. You can only learn this through trial and error. Sous vide is of course easier.
    Cooking times are seldom absolute because people have different preferences as to doneness etc. I like my yolks runny and my whites firm. I will not bother to eat a hard boiled or fried hard egg even in a sandwich. Others like their eggs cooked to the point of being black. I like meat rare, you like well done. I eat as much raw fish/shellfish as I eat cooked. Probably make you cringe in disgust:) I have known people who go through a lot of toasters because they like to eat charcoal like toast. They literally set the toast and sometimes the toaster on fire.

    If you will be cooking a lot of eggs a squirt bottle of water is handy. To firm the tops of fried eggs (called basted) you add a splash of water, and cover with a lid for about 1 minute. Easier than flipping when you stat out. Also will firm up a omelette or melt cheese.

    Pretty hard to ruin an omelette, worst case you have very tasty scrambled eggs. And that method actually worked for me the first time.

    Cookbooks with pictures are great to look through and I have a lot. But nowadays I usually just look at the recipes and/or videos when I am trying something different.

    Don’t worry, you will do fine.


    (In this I am using oil and fat interchangeably. They are basically the same thing and do the same job. These days, I mostly use ghee (clarified butter) myself, with occasional forays into olive oil, coconut oil, butter and peanut oil as the dish demands.)

    You will notice that what Omelet guy says is exactly what Helen, Laura and I have been saying from day one:
    For a bare steel pan – SS or otherwise – heat the pan. Then add the oil and heat that. Then add the food.

    What is happening on a microscopic level:
    Steel has tiny fissures and ridges in it. When you heat the pan, they get bigger. When you add the oil to the hot pan, the oil flows into the fissures and effectively seals them. This stops the food from getting into those crevices and getting caught.

    What Seasoning gal is saying is you can do this in advance. And I agree up to a point.
    1. I disagree with her choice of oils. coconut oil has a distinct flavour which goes with some foods, but not others. It also has a relatively low smoke point
    Ghee: 252ºC
    peanut oil: 225ºC
    lard: 200ºC
    olive oil (EVOO): 210ºC
    butter: 135ºC
    coconut oil refined: 195ºC
    coconut oil virgin: 177ºC
    This means that the pan will not get as hot, so the fissures will not open up as much so the pan will not be sealed as well as with some other oils.

    2. You cannot wash the pan after use. Otherwise you will strip the oil out of the fissures, and you will need to do it all over again. To her credit I think she said to just wipe the pan out with a paper towel. Or was that Omelet guy. I can’t remember.

    3. Her assumptions are that (i) oil is bad and (ii)oil’s only purpose is to provide a slippery surface. IMO both of these are wrong.
    a. oil brings flavour to a dish. It is a common mantra among professional chefs that “fat is flavour”. I agree. It not only brings its own flavour, it also acts as a carrier for other flavours. That doesn’t mean you have to drown things in fat. A little goes a long way
    b. oil acts as a heat transfer mechanism. a solid food is rough. In a dry pan, the food will rest on some parts. Other parts will have an air gap under them. And air is a very good insulator. That means that some bits will over cook and some will under cook. Having a film of oil under the food will smooth this out and promote more even cooking. Her method means that the film will be missing. It will probably be there in the first cook, but it will get less and less as time goes on. This will result in a reduction in performance over time.

    4. The oil in the fissures will go rancid over time. That means that with time the flavour of your food will degrade.


    tks for the omelet tips @helen! i have to get to the grocery store and get eggs and butter. i’ve never bought any stick butter–i usually get those overpriced tubs that have a mixture of butter and olive oil or added omega3 components. so if i’m going to be using it in bulk i need to get generic butter instead.

    and you might be surprised–i might match you bite-for-bite on raw seafood! i don’t eat out, so i haven’t had the chance to sample any sushi other than what the grocery store packages up and somehow i doubt that represents the quality of real sushi.

    i might like my meat well done, but i do like my eggs to have runny centers. and i don’t char-broil my toast as i like it to be able to soak up the egg yolks.

    but evidently there’s not much agreement on seasoning and pre-heating and washing stainless pans and not on proper temperature either. most of the youtube omelet videos i watched they cooked at 270º whereas many others recommended never going over 250º with stainless pans. which is confusing because when you brown in the pressure cooker with a stainless pot, it goes up to 350º before the display says it’s ready.


    good review @greg! tks. i notice in your chart that butter is much lower at smoke point than olive oil (which is not in the higher level either). the seasoning lady said a high heat oil was needed and if she’s right, butter wouldn’t be suitable i guess. i’ll go with olive oil then since that’s what i have. i don’t know enough about other oils to know i’m not getting the bad ones–i thought peanut oil and coconut oil were in that category, in fact. and i doubt i can get ghee here without some difficulty.

    so is there a specific temperature where the pan is heated? is heated the same as pre-heated? or is that water test the simplest way of determining. i watched the videos, but i couldn’t tell the difference between it being nearly ready and being ready, the water looked like it reacted the same.

    oh, btw, i’ve been reading several hours today and discovered that zwillings bought out demeyere and that their ‘sensations’ line is essentially the same as the demeyere proline and for about the price of the all-clad. so basically, a discounted demeyere line if i understood it rightly.

    oh, and found this informative site today:


    has links to nearly everything in the all-clad line.



    Your comment about “babble” has some justification. However you need to remember that every activity has its own jargon. If you are going to start this activity you will need to learn the language that goes with it.

    Part of it is because cookers vary. If he says to put it on “3” that will mean something different to someone who has a scale from 1 to 9 than it will to someone who has a scale from 1 to 3 (or as these are usually labelled; high, medium & low) And as for me, my stove has “Max”, “Min” and nothing else. Any other setting is pure guesswork.

    If he says “medium” every one has some idea where to go. Not at the top end. Not at the bottom end, but somewhere in the middle. If it still scorches, you know to go a little lower next time. If it doesn’t cook in time, go a little higher. Most cook books only talk about three heat settings (High, Medium and low) for exactly this reason. Some times they will also talk about “simmer”. This generally equates to low, but is talking about the food rather than the controls.

    I just noticed Helen slipped in while I was typing my novella above. What she said about personal preferences.

    But I will add a little more.
    “Let it rest a few minutes” is normal for conventional cooking. It doesn’t apply to SV at all, and is less important for PC. Conventional cooking relies on a temperature differential. the heat applied is much higher than you want your food. That means that the outside, nearest the heat source, will be over cooked while the inside will be undercooked. The normal workaround is to remove the food a little early and let it sit a few minutes. Heat will continue to flow from the hot edges to the centre continuing the cooking process. This can be a few seconds for a thin schnitzel or up to half an hour or more for a thick roast. So the exact amount of time will vary according to the thickness of the cut. It will also vary according to the preference of the diner.

    It is not needed for SV as you cook at the target temperature. As soon as the food comes out of the bath it is perfectly cooked edge to edge. No need to rest.

    It is less important for PC as food is usually cooked “well done”. the outside temperature is not as severe as other methods of cooking though, so the cooking is more even. So not as much need to rest.

    If you really want to get precise directions, you need to follow modernist methods.
    Modernist cooking strives for repeatability and precision. So precise measures and temperatures are given. They will say stuff like “Add 0.25g Xanthan Gum” and “heat pan to 173ºC” (Actually they say to use SV at 58ºC). Head over to ChefSteps and check it out.


    On pan seasoning. She says it will remain non-stick unless you use soap. I am not too sure I believe this but you never know. Maybe I will try it when I go back to the real world where my coconut oil lives.

    Caveat on coconut oil. Some tastes strongly of coconut, some is tasteless or neutral.
    It isn’t overly expensive, but unless you want your eggs to taste and smell like coconut check the reviews.

    I have a variety of oils. Cheap and expensive. Mostly I use olive oil when it is suitable because of the cholesterol claims. For deep frying I use whatever is cheap. I rarely deep fry though.

    I do not have a palate for oils, I cannot distinguish the taste of food cooked with olive or canola. I can barely distinguish the taste between margarine or butter. At one time I could.

    If there is an oil you enjoy more just get a big bottle. Oil is much cheaper in a big bottle with 4 litres costing less than double of 1 litre, sometimes it is exactly the same price. Get a 1 litre bottle with a good nozzle and use that for cooking. I’ve never had one litre go rancid on me even kept on the countertop.

    Coconut oil and peanut oil are better at withstanding high heat, with canola and safflower being next I think. Olive oil burns easier as does butter. Mixing 1/2 with a higher heat tolerant oil will give you a pretty good flavour and heat tolerance.

    Usually I use whatever oil the recipe calls for if I have it, because why not, but most oils are fairly neutral in flavour so I will just use what I have.

    Some flavoured oils, such as stir fry oil (ginger+garlic etc.) are very inexpensive, have a high heat tolerance and will do for a quick and easy seasoning. Chile oil and sesame seed oils I use fairly often. I would not make fried rice without sesame oil.

    The moral of this windy post is that even if the pans remain seasoned you still will need oil. Even though I often can’t tell the difference between some, food generally tastes better with some form of fat.

    Health is important and less or healthier fat is better, but all things in moderation is good IMO.

    I eat way more veg and much less meat these days but as you know I occasionally indulge in a good steak/roast or even mystery meat like bologna.


    I would NEVER cook an omelet in an IP. Eggs need gentle heat. Not the bast furnace temperatures required to sear meat. Which is what the IP “braise” function is all about.

    As for 250 vs 270 (I am guessing ºF) I am sure either will do. Lower longer or higher shorter. It’s that personal preference thing again. Pick one and try it. If you are not happy, try the other.

    It is the impurities in butter that lower the smoke point. Ghee is really easy to make. Just melt butter over a low heat ;) and allow the solids to separate and sink to the bottom. Skim off any froth at the top. Pour off the oil being careful to leave the solids behind.
    Actually, ghee and clarified butter are slightly different. With clarified butter, be careful not to char the solids. If you char them a little, it adds a nutty taste to the oil. This is ghee. If you char them a lot and let it go rancid, you get Smen, common in Moroccan cooking. But this last is definitely an acquired taste. Ghee is readily available online. Though the quality varies. Sometimes it is closer to clarified butter. Sometimes ones I have bought are closer to Smen. I won’t mention brands or sites as these will be different for you.


    Every so often I go on a modernist cuisine reading binge. I do have some of the ingredients, like xanthan gum, agar etc. bought on sale, but have yet to try anything.

    The agar I got to make soup dumplings where the soup is enclosed in a wrapper. Tasty but worth the effort? It was worth the effort as an experiment which turned out well, but was a lot of work and messy and I would have to make a lot of soup dumplings to get proficient.

    I love the look of spherification and many other techniques, but don’t want to buy special equipment for something I would likely only do until I got it right.

    Besides Chefsteps Stella Culinary is a good site with precise measurements and instructions in various techniques and of course Serious Eats is excellent for the reason that Kenji takes his food experimentation very seriously but most of his recipes/techniques do not require special equipment or hard to find ingredients. His beer cooler sous vide is where I started.

    Pretty sure guy will do just fine. In fact I am confident he will do better than fine.


    I use and love sesame oil too. I would never do any stir fry without it. Not just fried rice. But it is mostly only available here in small(0.25 cup) bottles (Unless I visit Little Korea) so I tend to just add a teaspoon or so as a flavouring. Rather than use it as the cooking medium.

    I must be just unlucky. I have only had coconut oil that tastes strongly of coconut. Wonderful in a Keralan Chicken Curry. Awful in a French Omelet.


    I buy my Ghee in the grocery store. Possibly not as good as home made but no preservatives and seems to last indefinitely, or until I use it.


    so what i’m hearing is …

    … TRIAL & ERROR & TRIAL & ERROR & TRIAL & ERROR lather rinse repeat.


    ok, well i’ll give you guys a rest and wait until i’ve had some trials (& errors) and hopefully will have much more specific questions.

    i love sesame and sesame seeds. i’ll have to get some sesame seed oil. i’ve been using olive oil nearly exclusively although it has a ‘funky’ smell and i’m not sure i could even tell whether it’s gone rancid. i have a half-full bottle in my cabinet i’ve been using for 10-15 years now. of course i haven’t really been cooking and had it mostly ‘just in case’ or to coat eggs trays and suchlike.

    if i couldn’t tell something is cooked in sesame oil with the distinctive smell i’d have to say i’m insensitive to oils like you are. i already discovered that most of the spices i’ve been adding to my dishes before cooking just disappear in the final flavor which is why i usually add stuff right before eating.


    Well we seem to be posting simultaneously. Imagine that. Last time I bought coconut oil I saw it on sale in a flyer, looked up the brand, reviews said it was neutral and it was.

    The first coconut oil I bought about 10 years ago I got in a health food store and luckily for me it was neutral. The next one not so lucky. I like coconut but not on everything. So I ended up throwing it out.

    My sesame oil, which I happen to have, even in Teslin, is 180 ml. The most common size here. I find sesame oils goes rancid quicker than most oils even in the fridge so I rarely finish the bottle. I only use it as flavouring because a little goes a long way, but I have found it to be the missing ingredient in so many Asian dishes from egg rolls to dumplings, especially for those dishes that use a lot of cabbage.


    Yes I like the look of Spherification too. I actually enrolled in the CS course a few months ago but am yet to start it.

    I actually think that Modernist Cuisine is more for the professional than the home cook. Much of it has to do with presentation and repeatability. Neither of which are terribly important at home. Mine anyway.

    That is not to say that some of their techniques aren’t relevant. I have taken SV on board as a major improvement to my cooking technique. I am currently playing with whipping siphons. I tried and rejected them decades ago as a cream whipper, but the other uses are enticing.

    I am also intrigued by the why and how of cooking. The Modernists tend to get into this sort of detail, so I really like following them for that. But I am just as intrigued by McGee who is not even a chef.

    Still Guy is insistent on his precise directions. For that matter so am I. Modernist is the place to go for that.

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