Sunday, February 25, 2024

Gone To Pot

I’m not against downsizing kitchen equipment or even upsizing, but what I’m really for is RIGHT-SIZING. 

Every time I make soup, I'm faced with the dilemma of using a pot that is much too big... 

or one that borders on being too small... 


Okay I'm being a bit dramatic, but I really love my 12 quart stainless steel pot that I use for huge recipes. It’s my go-to for boiling 20 potatoes on Thanksgiving for example. But reasonably-sized recipes get lost in it and it IS a bear to wash. I also love my 5 quart pot (I think of a POT as having two rounded handles on opposite sides and a PAN as having a long handle, although some say pots are deep and pans are shallow.🤷) But many times if I double a soup or stew recipe the 5 quart pot borders on overflowing, which is never desirable. 

Sooooo, I finally bought an EIGHT quart pot, which is just the right size. 

I absolutely adore it! Size really does matter! It’s big enough to double a recipe and stir it freely without sloshing its contents all over the stove.

Speaking of pots we love, have you ever had a pot you HATED? Whether it was some cheapo aluminum pot from college that always burns on the bottom or a scratched up nonstick frying pan that you should have thrown away long ago. 

For me, my least favorite pot is a Cuisinart (I know!!!) stainless steel Dutch oven type with two handles and a VERY rounded bottom. 

I got it because it was dramatically on sale, and also my previous Cuisinart 5 quart pot (that I used for everything from boiling water to softening onions) finally gave up the ghost. The pot itself was still okay, but it had 2 wooden handles riveted to metal brackets. The wooden pieces eventually blistered and cracked and ultimately fell off after years of dishwasher abuse. 

That left me with a very tricky situation. If I wanted to move the pot (and when DON’T you want to move a pot?) I had to hold it by its poker hot (and sharp) metal brackets. It wasn't a good situation. SO I found this rounded bottom also 5 quart Cuisinart pan, which was seriously on sale. However my old pot had straight sides and I had no idea of the ramifications of the rounded bottom.  Omg, what a pain!

The old pot had a ten inch diameter at the top AND bottom. The new pot has an EIGHT inch diameter on the bottom and an 11 inch diameter on the top. 

On the left, the old pot's interior looked like this. On the right...argh!!!- a rounded bottom.

Do you know what that means?? It takes water FOREVER to boil because you can’t turn the burner on high or the flame will travel up the outsides of the pan. ANYTHING you cook in it takes longer to get going.

I don’t mind spending hours in the kitchen, but I don’t want to be waiting for this stupid pot to be heating up. I struggled for a long time and finally, just like with the soup pot, I couldn’t take it any longer. I did feel bad about buying ANOTHER 5 quart pot, so I bought not the most expensive one in the world, but it seemed well-reviewed. It was this Tramontino one (the one I showed above as being too small for double recipes).

From the first second I put it over the heat, I breathed a sigh of relief that my water would boil efficiently, my onions could be brought to a quick (not languishing) sizzle and each additional ingredient added to a stew wouldn’t take hours to come to a simmer. So sometimes, downsizing is not the answer and a new piece of batterie de cuisine brings harmony and peace to the kitchen.

By the way, there are two things that are absolutely sensational cooked in my round bottomed pan – matzo balls and chicken and dumplings. You’d be surprised how many more matzo balls or dumplings you can cram into an 11” diameter pot, compared to a 10” one. So I won’t be getting rid of that pot anytime soon.


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