Why I love my waterless cookware
I recommend stainless steel cookware – the best quality you can possibly afford. I started out with “budget” cookware and have gone through many sets in my almost-40 years of cooking. I now have a great set of 5-ply stainless cookware, supplemented with several Kuhn-Rikon stainless steel pressure cookers, one non-stick skillet (ceramic) for omelets, and a cast iron skillet for quesadillas (so I can burn the finish to my heart’s content!). The stainless steel cookware can be scoured, and the set I have is waterless and heavy duty. My daughters have requested this cookware as starter sets so they don’t have to replace theirs every few years like I did!
Always heard that stainless steel cookware “sticks”? Frying an egg seems to be a good test of the quick-release of a pan, so we tried it on camera! (Sorry this was before the days of video — I’ll try to add a video later.)
I coated the 11-inch skillet with a quick runaround of the brush with my lecithin-oil mixture (my standard non-stick ritual, in lieu of Pam) and broke the egg into a heated skillet on level 6 of my GE range (medium heat range).
After a few minutes of not touching it, I could literally tip the skillet and the egg slid on its own across the pan. (Notice the various positions of the egg in relation to the handle and helper handle; no spatula touched this pan!)
I then flipped it and finished cooking.
No egg residue, no brown marks, nice egg. Didn’t even have to use the spatula to get the egg out of the pan onto the plate – the egg slid right out.
To see a video of scrambled eggs (with cheese!) cooked “nonstick” in the same pan, check out my later post: https://everydayhomemaking.com/scrambled-eggs-stainless-steel-pan/
About my particular waterless cookware
The set of waterless cookware I have also comes in a 7-ply version; there are extra layers specifically intended for use on an induction cooktop. If you don’t have an induction cooktop, the 5-ply would likely be quite sufficient. There is virtually no perceptible difference in the weight from a cook’s perspective. However, the 5-ply also passes the magnet test for induction cooking.
Want more information? Here’s a letter I wrote to a “reader,” explaining in-depth what I like about the Steam Control cookware:
I fell in “want” with the nifty “waterless” cookware at the state fair, and drooled for years at the demos, but just couldn’t justify the $2000-$3000 price tag. I knew I really wanted stainless steel pans, something heavy-duty, and that waterless cooking would be a plus. After LOTS of research, and many e-mails and calls to various manufacturers, distributors, etc. I decided to try this set – I couldn’t even find a decent set of regular stainless cookware for this price, much less waterless. Worst case scenario would be that I would have a decent heavy set of stainless steel pots and the waterless part might be a bust.
But it wasn’t. Right off the bat, I was amazed at how colorful and flavorful my vegetables were, in less time and very little water (waterless cooking should actually be called less-water cooking in most cases). The carrots were awesome! I can cook meats and vegetables in the same pot, sort of in layers, in less time than conventional cooking – the steam control valve provides a sort of low-pressure pressure-cooker effect, cooking the foods in less or no liquid in less time. Meats sear to the bottom, then release as they cook, in no liquid – and clean up is easy. Even foods that seem to be “stuck,” like the little browned parts of fried potatoes, soak off in minutes and clean easily. Anything that doesn’t remove completely in water comes off readily with a Brillo-type pad (hooray for stainless steel!).
Something else I appreciated was that the sizes were ALL good sizes for our growing/larger family of ten. So many sets include little pans as standard, then charge a fortune for add-ons like 3-qt saucepans, etc. This set gave me four saucepans, a pretty big frying pan (just under 12 inch), plus the biggest Dutch oven I’d ever seen, at over 7 quarts! And the smallest saucepan is almost 2 quarts, so it’s actually useful. The egg poaching insert with easy-clean cups is a bonus; great for quick breakfasts!
I have had my pots and pans since January 2001 (17 years, at this writing) and they get HEAVY use. They still look great and work wonderfully. These are the pots and pans my daughters want for their kitchens. We liked the set so well that we wanted to make this cookware available to our friends for their kitchens. [Update: It’s now been over 22 years, and my granddaughter wants this same set when she gets married this summer!]
Combine this heavy duty stainless steel set with a few Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers for a well-outfitted kitchen!
By the way, this same manufacturer has another line besides Steam Control, but the distributors I “interrogated” said the others aren’t quite the top of the line that these are. These should be the last pots you’ll ever need!
To use the steam control valve, start cooking on medium to med-high heat (don’t use high heat unless boiling something, like pasta water). Then when the valve begins to whistle (like a teakettle), close the valve and turn the heat down to low and finish cooking. The 9-element construction allows you to stack cook with this cookware (although I have not personally tried this): Begin cooking on individual burners and when the valve whistles you can invert the lids to stack the pans to finish cooking. The handles are resistant to heat, cold, and detergents.
I’ve been amazed at how easy-release they are even though they aren’t “non stick,” and they clean up very easily. (The one thing you need to remember is that they arrive with a thin coat of factory oil over them, so you should wash them really well before first use or they could slightly discolor from cooking the oil all over the outside.)
I also use my Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers DAILY, by the way. The KR cookers and my SS cookware are a great combination.
NOW AVAILABLE: 16-minute DVD on Waterless Cooking.
Need some recipes for cooking in your stainless steel cookware or pressure cooker? Check out Everyday Cooking! Newly revised with double the content!
A few product you might be interested in:
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Maxam 9-Element Waterless Cookware Set, Durable Stainless Steel Construction with Heat and Cold Resistant Handles, 17-PiecesWorld’s Finest 7-Ply Steam Control 17pc T304 Stainless Steel Cookware SetNetted Dish Cloth (set of 2) – NorwexEveryday Cooking by Vicki Bentley