Posts Tagged ‘premium cookware’

High Quality Backpacking Cookware

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

I love backbackping and I love cooking – so it’s not a big stretch for me to write about high quality cookware for backpackers! Now most likely you won’t use the same kind of cookware that you use at home for your backpacking trips. A nice iron-cast or stainless steel pan is great for a homely kitchen – but if your out in the wilderness or on a canyon tour you don’t want to carry these extra pounds on your back. If you constantly feel pushed down from carrying a heavy load in your backpack and your back aches and your feet are tired then what’s really the point of going on a trip in a first place? It’s all about enjoying it, having fun and going for the experience. But to make the experience fun you will need to prepare and inform yourself first and find out what’s best for you. Depending on your budget there are several options available and I can understand that somebody who goes on a backpacking trip every second year probably won’t spend as much money on his travel cookware as somebody who’s on the road for 6 months every year.

Backpack cookware should also be easy to store – for example detachable or foldable handles. And then there’s the question for how many people you will cook – are you a happy family chap with 12 kids or a lonely ranger? It’s no fun having to cook for a dozend people in a one-person-meal pot, but if you are on your own then family size won’t do it either.

The most popular choice for backpackers is aluminum. It’s reasonable priced and lightweight – and it really has the typical “camping feeling” to it when you cook your meal in a aluminum pan.
Aluminum cookware also has a dark side to it. Food usually sticks to it quiet easily and when you are in the wilderness cleaning is never as easy as in a kitchen. But the biggest issue might be health concerns – aluminum can react with foods, contaminating it with toxic substances. So if you are going to eat several months out of the year out of your camping aluminum pan, I suggest you consider buying another model (see the options below). But if it’s just for maybe two or three weeks a year then aluminum is still a good choice in my opinion and save to use. Just maintain it properly – when you buy aluminum cookware the manufacturer will most likely also include maintenance instructions that you simply should adhere to.

For long-term backpackers I suggest lightweight stainless steel cookware. It has all the characteristics of stainless steel but is much lighter (and unfortunately but not surprisingly also more expensive). Heat distribution won’t be as good as aluminum, so that means you’ll have to stirr your food constantly so that it doesn’t get burned. But it’s very strong and will stay with you forever.

And if your budget allows so – go titanium! Titanium cookware is lightweight, durable and has very good heat conduction and is non-stick.

And another really basic thing is to look for are tight closing lids – they will reduce your cooking time substantially and thus save you lots of fuel (which means you don’t have to carry a lot of fuel around or pick up lots of firewood after a long days march).

I hope you found these tips on high quality cookware for backpackers useful – if you have any comments or questions please just leave a comment here and I will look into that.

High Quality Cookware

Friday, April 4th, 2008

There are all kinds of high-quality cookware sets – most commonly stainless stell (which is my favourite), non-sticking, cast-iron, copper, titanium, enamel, hard-ionized, etc.
In another article I wrote that in my personal opinion you will probably want one-size fits all cookware – that is, you don’t want to have to have several different pans for several different dishes. My choice is stainless steel cookware, because of my personal cooking preferences and the fact that I am quiet often on the move, so I don’t want to have to deal with schlepping around a lot of stuff – and I still think that way, but a friend of mine pointed out that different cookware materials are very well justified for some people. If you specialize in low-fat cooking a non-sticking cookware set might be right for you (most often teflonฎ coated cookware).

Cast Iron is also great because you it’s basically a “do it all” kind of cookware – it too will last you a lifetime long, you won’t ever have to worry about scratching it like with coated cookware that can release toxins in the food once the coating is damaged, etc. Yes, cast iron has to be pre-seasoned, but nowadays you won’t have to do that yourself anymore because most of the high-quality cast iron cookware companies pre-season the cookware for you and when you get it it’s already ready to use.
Price can be an objection when buying cookware. For me, I happily shelled out more than $200 for my stainless-steel copper-core pan from Williams Sonoma, and I’m still happy about that purchase. I use this pan almost every day and I enjoy it every day! Putting it all together, on knives, pots, etc. I spent several thousand dollars on my current cooking equipment, but it’s worth it. Almost every day when I’m spending my one or two hours of cooking in the kitchen I feel like I’m on vacation and it really is a luxury to be able to spend this kind of time on cooking.
I used to be resistant to buying high quality cookware because I had so much great, delicious and healthy food when I traveled through Thailand, Vietnam and China and the street vendors there used the cheapest kinds of cookware available. But I found that while I don’t mind eating delicious food that comes from $10 wok, I do mind cooking my food in a cheap pot, having to deal with it when it starts to show signs of wear and tear, replacing it with yet another cheap pot again and again. In the end my “expensive” high quality cookware is probably gonna be cheaper than any kind of discount cookware.

How To Buy High Quality Cookware

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

High Quality CookwareCooking enthusiasts know that a good set of high-quality cookware can make the whole experience so much more fun. And not only that, it really makes the food much more delicious and healthy.

Basically there are two routes to go: buying a cookware set or buying your cookware individually.
When choosing your first class cookware set you should watch out for several things.

First, know what you need and want. If you like to cook food that is “popular” in general, then the standard cooking sets are probably right for you. But if you are into exotic foods or specialize on some cooking-niche you might need a more individual approach. The good thing is that many cookware manufacturers also offer you to combine your own cookware set for just a good price as if you would buy the a standard cookware set.

Of course you could also buy everything you need just individually from several different companies – but you’ll have to pay a price for that. Because it takes a lot more time to put together your own individual set and it also is a lost more expensive. But both routes are valid and no true cooking enthusiast will pinch pennies when buying cookware.

I’m not saying that would won’t be able to cook great meals without high-priced cookware – some of the best foods I ever ate were from streetvendors in Asia who used crap-cheap cooking equipment. But since you are probably not a street vendor and are really cooking for the joy of the experience, high-quality cookware does matter to you.

One common “trap” that people fall for when buying cookware sets is to buy sets that offer different sizes of the same pot or pan. For example you have three titanium pans – small, medium and large. Guess what will most likely happen? Two sizes will end up catching dust in the shelf because most cooks really just need one pan size. The only exception is if you enjoy cooking for yourself, but you also cook for guests and family, then you might want two sizes – small if you cook a one-person dish, and large if you cook for several people. But that’s about it.

Another common mistake when purchasing a high-quality cookware set is to get a set that is of high-quality but has pretty unusual cooking items. Like triangular pans or strange forms like this. If you see one or two major items in the set that you know you won’t use then better refrain from getting this set and look for another one.

Now your cookware should be one-size fits it all. That means you will want to use the same pan for all kinds of dishes – you don’t want a pan to make crepes, a pan to make fried vegetables, a pan to make a steak, etc. That is where material considerations come into play: I’d say you should go for stainless steel. Stainless steel is good because it is robust and will probably last you a lifetime. Stainless stell cookware doesn’t react with acids and it won’t corrode. It should have a copper core or aluminium core so that heat is conducted good.