Join Date: Oct 2002
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Favorite galley pot?
I may not sail well, but I know a bit about pots and pans. I think the problem with iron is that it doesn''t transfer the heat from the center of the skillet or pan as well as aluminum or copper. It is also slow to heat up and to cool down, so temperature adjustments are more difficult and it takes more fuel to get it to cooking temperature. Then after having cooked in it, the iron gives off a lot of heat into the air which is just wasted energy. It is better suited to slow cooking (which uses more fuel and heats up your cabin more) as opposed to quickly whipping up breakfast eggs or sauteeing an evening meal of, say, vegetables and fish. Another thing about iron is that a little salt water really corrodes the surface overnight and, though this isn''t harmful to the person or the pan, it''s a bit of a mess to wipe out in the morning. Otherwise, you have to rinse with fresh water after washing. Also, it is significantly heavier than aluminum to carry. Plus, they don''t make cast iron pressure cookers, which are good for preventing spills, cooking quickly and further saving fuel.
On the other hand, cast iron is, and always will be, a standard for cookware materials; probably second to copper. It has fair cooking qualities, and, can be gotten inexpensively anywhere in the world. It will always be found in rustic cookery. It is durable, wears to a smooth finish, takes seasoning well and, when hot, produces fairly even heat distribution. Another advantage of iron is that it continually adds necessary iron into the diet as the surface wears off during cooking.
By the way, contrary to reports popularized decades ago and still passed along by word of mouth, aluminum does not cause Alzheimer''s disease. Aluminum cookware was developed at the same time when people began to live longer. It was as a result of having more older people in the population that there came to be a slightly greater prevalence of Alzheimer''s per capita. It was not the new aluminum pots. I only dislike bare aluminum because the pots tend to abraide and wear easily. And they taste funny when I lick them. (Just kidding-- not really).
I myself switched from cast iron skillets and pots to stainless-lined, anodized aluminum (with some copperware and copper-clad aluminumware thrown in) for home use. On the boat, I use an All-Clad skillet and sauce pans, my non-stick Cybernox completely-metal skillet which works well for eggs, and my Fagor pressure cooker which is good for soups, stews, and large roasts (and can be used for breadmaking, but I don''t). But of course these are all luxuries and I happen to have them already. If they are ever lost, and I am outside the US, I would buy the local cast iron, I guess. Cast iron certainly beats stainless steel!
But if you can cook up a hearty meal on tin and aluminum cans, you probably don''t need or want fancy pots.