Pot Lessons

With so much pot from which to chose, where do you begin?  Is it all in the thrill and how long it will last?   Do you want a mellow pot, or a crazy pot that will handle the heat for a long time?  How do you pick the right pot so you don’t get burned?

Will the one you chose satisfy the munchies? These are very delicate, but necessary questions to answer in order to make the right choices. For many years I was not getting all the benefits of the right pot.

I hope I had you going there for a minute even though to me a good kitchen pot find is a high that last longer than the planted type. Let me give you a few pot lessons to help you make some great choices for your kitchen.


I am never going to be the one to push those lovely, pretty sets of pots and pans. Personally I think they are a lot of money and half of what comes in the collection are useless pieces. They take up space and are too expensive to toss out and all they do is clutter up you drawers and cabinets.

These are my beliefs about kitchen pots

 Le Creuset Stock Pot

Le Creuset Stock Pot

  • Numero Uno! – A great, great stock pot. I am the creator of #SoupWeek and soups around our house are the life blood all winter and fall. I make large batches, enough to share with friends every time. (#ShareASoup week on Twitter and Facebook in the Fall 2013. Details this Summer.)  My stock pot is heavy bottom and is a 20 quart. Ya’ll may need smaller but you need at least one of these pots in your collection.  I also make my Sunday Gravy in this pot. Full of pork chops, meatballs, sausages, lamb and anything else I can find on sale in the meat department usually ends up in there.  (I always need extra to share and sometimes 20 quart pot is not big enough. I do, however, like watching people eyeing the last meatball.)  I have had great Mama Italian cooks tell me I make the best sauce they ever had. I take this compliment with pride and honor their opinion deeply. It would not be possible with out my great stock pot. (All Clad Copper Core Pots) 
  • You need a great saute’ pan or two in a couple of sizes. From omelets to veal cutlets, items should fit into the pan correctly for the best results.  Selecting a heavy bottom with a layer of copper somewhere in the mix to spread the heat properly is key.  There are several great choices out there. Find the one that is the most comfortable in your hand because you and your a saute’ pan spend a lot of time together.  (Staub’s Round Cocotte) 

    Next you need a great Dutch Oven for slow simmers on your stove top and long braises in the oven. Select one that can be used in both places – that is important.  There are a couple of really great companies that make the heavy enamel pots in many colors. Pick one that will fit a good size roast or that will simmer a nice beef stew.  These types of pots are a great addition to anyone’s kitchen and necessary for success in certain dishes.

Some people rave about copper pans and pots, I am one of them. However, they are not for everyone and you need some years around the kitchen to use them. They conduct heat very quickly and can burn very easily. But when you master their use, they are they best.  Cooking with copper pots is a delicate balance that differs on every single stove. They are very expensive, but will last your lifetime and your great, great, great grandchildren and 100’s of years after that if maintained properly.  (Lodge Cast Iron Pots)

    Everyone should own at least one very seasoned, preferably your grandmothers already broken in, cast iron pan.  I buy mine at antique stores because they are great after re-seasoning and are ready to go. Do not leave acid based ingredients in cast iron for too long or the pan will rust and your food will taste like iron. I make a vinegar chicken in mine to die for, but after you add the vinegar and the food is done cooking, it is off the stove and into the sink for cleaning. Nevertheless, don’t let your cast iron cookware sit around on the stove with the food still in the pan.

    William-Sonoma has all the pot bells and whistles one could ask for. When they are having a sale this is a great place to start. People are generally very knowledgeable as far as pots and pans go who work there. 

    As far as these $70 tiny pots to melt butter in and the steamer part of a $1200 set of pots- that’s crazy.  Your money is better spent on a $3 glass measuring cup to melt butter in the microwave or a great Chinese style steamer basket. Then you will have $1177 left over for a great pair of Jimmy Choo’s for the other MaMa in you!!!!


Posted on May 23, 2013 and filed under tools of the cook.