Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What pots should I buy?

That is the question I am always asked at every demo. Thirty years ago, my mother in law bought me a set of Farberware pots and pans for my shower, commenting they had served her right in all her lean years, and she hoped they would do the same for me. And serve me right they did. A few years ago, I surveyed my "collection", a little wisfully. Yes, my pots and pans looked worn, and had a few bumps and a few loose screws and handles here and there, and I asked myself, "Don't you think it is about time to get rid of them battered pots and pans and buy a spanking new line?" After all, what could be a better showcase for me? After debating the question, very briefly, I asked myself again, why? Yes,why should I get rid of them? Everyone, feel free to buy $250.00 pots, but my cheap line and I have always been a team, and I owe it much of my reputation, and it has my complete alliegiance. In fact I was pleased to see, at a few prestigious houseware stores, a vamped up Farberware line, somewhat sexier looking than mine, but still very economical, and highly serviceable and efficient, sturdy 18/10 stainless steel.
Last year I was visiting my friend Shuli in Florida, and as usual, I found her slew of cats, which she likes to call by their idiosyncratic Hebrew names: Feivish, Chaimel, Esti, etc... This time I noticed a new one, and she told me his story. She found him at the ASPCA, who was about to put him out of his misery because he was quite old and ailing. She begged them to do no such thing and to let her take him home. She said he did so well in his new setting she actually had to have him neutered. What do you know, he had a lot of life left in him!
So: no such thing as an old pot! It works, why discard it? I just won about a thousand dollars worth of magnificent All-Clad pots for a demo I gave in Bloomingdales. As soon as I took them out of their wrappings, they looked so insolently beautiful that I put them away safely and completely, where my old pots, my babies, who were getting so upstaged, couldn't take a look at them, and more importantly, couldn't be looked at: how could I do them such an affront? Besides, as my husband, the quintessential self employed worker, always says, "The service is you". Yes, you, not the pot. Thirty years and much delicious food later, my opinion hasn't changed, au contraire! I hope you are not disappointed to hear such plebeian comments from a professional. In fact, I even hope you will be enboldened to use your ordinary tools to make wonderful food without waiting until you can afford the designer line.

If you have never cooked with All-Clad, you don't know what you're missing. These pans retain heat beautifully and are worth every penny. BTW, if your old pots and pans are aluminum, THROW THEM AWAY. It's unhealthy to cook with aluminum, the aluminum leaches into the food. Don't criticize what you've never tried...take out those new pans and use them, right alongside your 'babies'.
Please note I never criticized the All-clad, exactly the opposite. I only said I put them away so they don't upstage my faithful modest pots. Of course I have cooked with All-Clad, so rest assured I am not missing anything. No, my collection is not aluminum. As I mentioned, they are sturdy, reliable 18/10 stainless steel. Old, old, old, but reliable. Judjing by the delicious food that is produced in my modest kitchen, we surely must be doing something right!
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