I have slacked on cooking in the last two months because of my travel schedules and moving to a new place. But that did not stop me from picking up some good pots and pans. For nearly three years we had been operating with a motley of mix and match cookware – couple of sauce pans, one stock pot, pressure cooker, and two identical 12-inch anodoized frying pans. Most of our cookware were gifts or random stuff we had bought. We always wanted to get better cookware, but it never happened for a variety of reasons. Ever since I started blogging we began thinking of getting better cookware. I turned my attention to seconds sales and clearances.
It was at a seconds store that I first spotted the French copper saute pans in the summer of 2009. The discounted prices were still beyond our budget. So I asked the sales counter staff for a possible discount. My plea was turned down and I left. One month later I walked into the store, and the pots were still there, with the prices down a notch, but still high for us. I kept on checking the store, each time praying that the pans were still there, and hopefully with further markdowns. This exercise lasted through November.
In December, few days before leaving for India I checked again – the pots were still on the shelves, with a new discounted price. I picked them up, walked over to the sales staff, put on best demeanor and asked her..”I have been checking this pans since July. I really would like to have this pans. But I cannot pay the price that is advertised, so I would be obliged if you could give me a discount?” Few minutes of uncertainty followed. She then told me pick up something else so that she could give me a seasonal discount. So I picked up a Le Creuset crepe pan for about 40 dollars. Later on when I calculated, I had saved more than 50 percent of the cost initially advertised in July.
During my trip to India I wanted to buy a big iron wok. Utensil shops in Bombay sell nice carbon steel cookware that just needs to be seasoned. I did pick up a wok (which is still lying in Bombay), but what I bought along with back to the US were two carbon steel paella style pans. I have been seasoning them since I bought. I first washed the pans with soap and warm water, then boiled with tamarind, and let the pan rest overnight with the tamarind water. Tamarind helps remove any traces of rust. I dried the pan over heat, and wiped it down with oil to prevent it from rusting. I did this process twice, and now the pans are ready. Lime is also a good alternative to tamarind.
Two weeks back I was walking by a department store in my neighborhood, and on a whim I went inside to check the “AS IS” section. The first thing I spotted in the section was a heavily plastic-wrapped packet. It looked so bizarre, that I had to check it out. It turned to be two All-Clad fry pans and one casserole pot. They were parts of a 7-piece collection, but three were missing, so the rest ended up in the “AS IS” section. I walked over to the manager and asked for a discount. He rolled his eyes, but eventually gave me nearly 35 percent discount!! I had got my first All-Clad cookware!!
The breakdown of what I acquired –
1. Two 11″ French copper saute pans
2. One 14 inch Le Creuset crepe pan
3. Two carbon steel paella pans – 11″ and 14″
4. Two All-Clad frying pans – 8″ and 10″
5. One All-Clad 4qt. casserole pot.