Monday, August 23, 2010

And the World May Be Approaching Its End... (Kitchen Edition)

In my fantasy world, I wear pretty dresses and sweaters and waft about my perfectly clean home, that never gets dusty or cluttered or dirty and when I'm hungry I eat ice cream, cake, bonbons, and the occasionally perfectly cooked gourmet meal.  These meals obviously cook themselves and don't require me to do any cleaning up after them.  Rather, I lounge about (always managing to maintain a trim, youthful figure without having to lift a finger or toe to burn calories) and read novels or go for meandering walks at dusk.

In case you hadn't noticed, this whole fantasy is totally wrapped around the notion that I don't have to do any housework at all.  I am not a domestic goddess or diva or any type of royalty.  Aside from caring for and playing with my little people, I have no real affinity for domesticity - a sad fact that my parents and in-laws have and continue to lament.  I'm good at other things - I do well, even excel, in the workplace and enjoy decorating and designing interiors, but do not enjoy washing, cleaning, sweeping, mopping, dusting, putting away, etc.  I can't even claim it's because I don't know how - I'm totally competent at housework.  I just hate it.

So you can imagine it takes quite a bit to get me excited about a kitchen implement.  But here you go.  Something's done it.  And this morning I actually thought about spending my discretionary funds for September on a set of cooking pans.

A sign of the swift approach of the end of days?  Maybe.  Maybe...

I have been a fan of Greenpans for a while.  They make non-stick pans that are healthier and more environmentally-friendly than traditional non-stick pans, using a ceramic-based coating called thermolon instead of teflon.  Teflon pans have long worried me, with all the stories about how they're possibly cancer-causing and how they release toxic fumes when overheated, etc.  When I discovered the Greenpan (wok on sale here), I made the switch, finding to my delight that they function wonderfully - they clean so easily and are wonderfully non-stick.


The only problem?  They scratch pretty easily, when they come in contact with metal utensils (similar to Teflon coated pans).  And while Teflon-coated pans can be replaced for $20 or so, Greenpans, with their hefty pricetag ($70+) are a definite investment, and it hurts when you damage them, in a totally different way.  This is why when recently, Crate & Barrel put all their GreenPans on sale, I urged my friends and family to go buy some while they could, and ran down to my local Crate & Barrel to try and grab an extra.  Sadly, by the time I got to the store, they'd sold out and there was none left.  I stood there, looking at their display of Calphalon and Cuisinart, and wondered why they would stop carrying such a cool product....

Well, I found out why.  It's because they'd found a possibly cooler product.  Today, I got an email from Crate & Barrel, announcing their new line of healthier, environmentally-friendly non-stick pans: Scanpan.  To make a long story short, this line of pans also makes a product that is healthier for your family (no cancer-causing flaking Teflon coating the pans) using Greentek, which is a ceramic/titanium coating that's 10 times  harder than steel, as a non-stick coating for their pans.  Why does that matter?  Well, it means that you can actually use metal utensils to cook with these pans, without fear of scratching the coating.


Scanpan 8-piece cooking set with bonus, on sale here at Crate & Barrel.

**Cue the heavens opening and celestial choirs singing**

So, what do you think?  Should I put off the Ha'penny cardigan and the AG Stevie Cords and Southward Stop (Bird) Dress and the Tweed Pheasant Skirt and buy pans instead? (Yeah, makes me worry too. Maybe the heat is going to my head...)

15 comments:

  1. I have been looking for good quality pans to replace my old MAcy's brand ones. These seem to fit the bill perfectly. I may be forgoing an anthro sale or two in order to purchase these.

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  2. I don't know since our situation is different. I don't have a family to cook for. I lack space, so I always try to do less with more. My favorite pans to cook in are All Clad. I know food can stick to them, but it comes off really easily, and nothing browns like an all metal pan. If I don't use All Clad pans, I use Le Creuset/iron cookware. For frying eggs, I use a well-seasoned cast iron pan. That's my preference.

    I would vote a pan over a sweater. I'd rather be well fed than well dressed. Besides, I think there would be less guilt associated with it since the pan is for the family while the sweater would be an indulgence. Does that make sense?

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  3. Ooh what a great find! I'd definitely snap up those awesome Scanpans and skip out on Anthro for a while. Besides, the items you like are new enough that I doubt they're going to sell out soon, and Anthro may come out with something even better during September for you to set your sights on! A good set of pans though ... they won't go in and out of style! :)

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  4. Hmmmm...go for the pans, we can find the sweater for you later!

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  5. I'd go for the pans too. I know how hard it is to sacrifice your clothing budget for things your family needs - I do it practically every month since our current budget is VERY tight. Do I feel guilty over buying the Williams Sonoma Pantry Dishware that we needed over a few sweaters that I wanted with my "fun spending" portion of last years tax return? Nope! I think you'll feel the same about your pans and might regret not getting them when you had a chance - especially on sale!

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  6. As I was reading your comments about the Greenpans the little voice in my head was screaming "No Carol, If you're going to get nonstick get a Scanpan!" Boy was I relieved to read further and see that you are already on to them. I've had two Scanpans for years and can't say enough nice things about them. The are everything they are claimed to be. Like Tien, I generally use All-Clad (without non-stick) and a well seasoned cast iron pan for eggs and things like that. I like cast iron because it has nonstick properties but can also is oven safe (most nonstick pans are not). Oh, and cast iron is ridiculously cheap. But if I could only have one pan it would be my ScanPan 12¼” Covered Chef/Saute Pan. It's a workhouse and is large enough to make one dish meals (like stirfrys or sauteed pasta dishes) to feed a family of 5. Although I'm a vegetarian I can see it getting well used to cook seafood and meat dishes too. The price is steep but I assure you it is worth it. I don't know whether Crate and Barrel will carry it but you should be able to find it at Great News in Pacific Beach. I bought mine there a few years ago and used their coupon (20% or 25% off) which helped defray the cost. If you want more cookware info let me know. I'm happy to talk/email further. It's the least I can do after all the fabulous fashion advise I've taken from your blog.

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  7. And if I may chime in further (you asked for advice, right?) I would not buy the C&B Scanpan set. I'm not a fan of boxed sets. I think it's much better to determine what pan styles and sizes best suit your cooking needs and buy individually to suit your needs. For example, I would be surprised if you really need a non-stick sauce pan or stockpot. Nearly anything you cook in these is not likely to be a problem at clean-up time so why pay the non-stick Scanpan premium price for these items when you can find (or may already have) regular pans that will do the job just as well. And why on earth would you need 3 fry/saute pans in varying sizes? IMO it's better to have one that is large enough to accommodate all your needs instead of 3 to clutter up your cabinet space. The 12¼” Chef pan I mentioned will do that and also has higher sides than the fry pans so it doubles nicely as a wok. If you do have a need for a smaller nonstick fry/saute pan (e.g. for making omeletes) I suggest buying that separately. OK, I think I've said my piece. Sorry for the eyeful. ;)

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  8. Honestly? Pans. If you think about cost per use, it's pans all the way. I mean, I love clothes, but I love food more, LOL. Food brings people together.

    Have you thought about the cast iron? Others have chimed in about it, but add my voice to that choir. My most often used pans are well seasoned cast iron that I got several years ago 3 for $20 from Target, plus a bigger 12" Lodge cast iron pan from Amazon that was also $20. I've gotten so many other fancy schmancy pans, but always go back to the cast iron. They can take a beating (cooking with metal utensils, going directly from a burner into the oven), and if they do leach anything, it's leaching iron into food (good for most people), nothing toxic. After cooking a couple rounds of bacon in them (or seasoning in the oven) they become naturally non-stick. The more you cook in them, the better they get. PLUS they make the best grilled cheese sandwiches, eggs, pancakes, steaks, stir frys, etc. EVER.

    Then again since Kelly swears by her Scanpan over cast iron, maybe it IS worth it...

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  9. Oh, Kelly! You're so right! I shouldn't buy the whole set...I should just get the saute/chef pan, which is only about 1/3 of the price...leaving me a little left for the cardi? =D But in all seriousness, you're right...who really needs a nonstick saucepan? Good grief... (yes, see? This is why my MIL deplores my housewifeliness...or lack thereof.)

    And the rest of you are lovely. I know now that you'd never steer me wrong. =D

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  10. Oh, and yes, I have a cast iron pan, which is really lovely. Except that I'm a compulsive washer, and I have a hard time not scrubbing it with soap. I need to re-season it, and leave it be. Sigh...

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  11. Hi Carol - I applaud the idea of creating a safer home, and because there's so much misinformation out there about Teflon, I'm not surprised that you are concerned. I'm a representative of DuPont though, and hope you'll let me share some information with you and your readers, so that everyone can make truly informed decisions.

    In regards to PFOA and cancer - The weight of evidence gathered from a number of significant health studies continues to indicate to us that there is no health risk to the general public from exposure to PFOA. Additionally, no authoritative body has designated PFOA as a human carcinogen. The U.S. EPA stated that it is premature to conclude that PFOA causes cancer. For more information, please visit www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/pubs/pfoarisk.html. http://www.teflon.com/Teflon/teflonissafe and www.pfoa.dupont.com can provide you with additional information.

    I'd truly be glad to share additional information about it if you are interested, and appreciate your consideration of this comment. Thanks, Ross.

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  12. Carol,

    Thanks for alerting us to this information. I use all cast iron and Le Crueset but have one nonstick chef pan that I infrequently use. I have wanted an alternative for quite some time. I will check out the brand in further detail. Also, I wish they make bakeware.

    Terri

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  13. hmm...how could one give up anthro items over *cough* pieces of metal? sheesh..really carol!
    hehehe tell your husband that you need the anthro items to look good for him AND that you need the pans to COOK for him! oh dear...im living in the 1950s!

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  14. Heck no! Don't buy the pans! Sheesh, am I the only voice of reason here. Can't you ask your parents for the pans for Christmas or something? Seriously. No.

    No.

    I'm not a cook. Or the least bit concerned about my pots and pans...so that probably sways my vote (just a teensy bit) I had Calphalon, and ditched it for T-Fal and Faberware that I can throw in the dishwasher (yes, I am that lazy).

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  15. Jen and Jan - you two are my girls!!! =D Hahaha, Jan, I actually read your comment out loud to my husband, and he laughed too.

    Kelly was right - I only need one pan. And you're right too - this is something my mom would happily buy me for Christmas. Brilliant. Problem solved! =D

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