Finances and Food- the post about what cookware every home cook should have

When I think about the people that have observed my crazy adult self unfold over the past 20 years, you might be surprised when I tell you that my financial adviser Craig has just about seen it all:  20s/30s/40s, 6 jobs, 2 houses, a couple serious men in my life and a midlife career change.

I’ve never wavered in thinking that he was the expert of my finances, and thankfully he has never wavered in believing in what I”m doing.  He and his lovely better half Amy even made me feel like the expert of the cooking realm last week when we had this email exchange, which seemed to be so helpful to them that I figured I’d share it with you!

Amy, Good morning!  This is your message below (ital), with my comments included (in bold):

Thank you for your input on the non-stick vs. stainless steel.  You suggested cast iron.  Is this for everyday cooking and the casual cook?

I was lucky to inherit my great-grandma’s cast iron skillet.  I was afraid of it at first but did a bit of reading about its care (you can check out this article) and cooking with it, I fell in love with it.  Teflon is considered by some to be dangerous, and cast iron is tried and true and has been around for a long long time!  Plus you get the benefit of an iron supplement… naturally through your cookware!

Should one buy an entire set of cast iron, or just cast iron skillets?

I’d recommend getting one cast iron skillet (I have two but I cook A LOT.)  This one is a great choice– inexpensive, will be around forever, and is pre-seasoned.  I own the Lodge 12″ (as well as my great-grandma’s) and it’s a great, all purpose saute skillet.  I do everything from searing meat to making one-dish meals (like what you’d do in a crock pot) to making breakfast hash to sauteeing onions and garlic…. and for cleanup I just rinse it with hot water, wipe it out with a towel or washcloth and put it on a burner on low until all the water is gone.

Are there any cast iron sets that the handles are coated or would not heat up?

I bought a pot handle cover and it works beautifully when the skillet needs to go from stovetop to oven.  (that, by the way, is another benefit… for dishes that you start as a saute and put into the oven for baking- think homemade mac & cheese or fancy potatoes or even an apple brown betty.

Sauce pans – stainless steel?

I think SST is a great solution for saucepans, and I’d encourage getting something that will work with induction (magnetic) cooktops- just to have flexibility down the road.  Induction will work if a magnet sticks to the bottom of the saucepan.  I own three saucepans- small, medium, large- and that is probably all a home cook would need.

You didn’t ask about dutch ovens- every home cook should have at least one.  I think if you were to splurge and get two, I’d suggest one SST /ok for induction and one enamel-coated cast iron (I bought two cast iron dutch ovens at TJMaxx and they were $40-$50 each vs what you’d find in a high end store.  TJ or Marshall’s is a great place to find high end cookware at cheaper prices!)

I value your opinion!

Thank you so much for letting me bombard you
w/ cooking questions!!  Ask us anything related
to finances – and we can help – but when it comes
to cooking, not so much:}

(A note from Jen: I highly recommend Craig Twombly as a financial advisor.  He’s not a bad screenwriter either.  You can ask him about both topics by calling him at his office: 651-294-7911.)


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