By reviewing the main tools of the trade for the home kitchen we find pots, pans but also other accessories such as ladles, dishes, spatulas and various kinds of objects, most of which come into contact with high temperatures.
Under a careful look at health in the kitchen, we cannot leave out the appliance par excellence, the extractor, but alas, its price is often very expensive and we replace it with our faithful hand blender. Attention is not the same thing and I will dedicate a post later on the effect of cutting on foods and their taste and properties.
Let’s start with the main tools and then talk about the pots pans and pans. The first aspect to be addressed is certainly the material. The list of construction materials is long, starting from stainless steel up to Teflon and copper, the latter material preferred by great chefs.
Let’s start with stainless steel: the most popular material in Italian kitchens. The main advantage of steel pans is certainly given by the robustness which combined with a high resistance to corrosion and ease of washing makes it one of the favorite choices for housewives. Those that have a triple bottom that is at least 6 millimeters thick are preferred, a key feature to reduce the possibility of food sticking to the bottom of the container. However, we must not overlook the fact that steel can release metal particles such as hexavalent chromium or nickel during the cooking and maintenance phase of acidic foods such as tomatoes. Therefore it is strongly recommended to avoid the use of steel pans for cooking and keeping in the fridge for acid products.
Further attention should be paid to the salt added to the cooking water which must never remain on the bottom because it favors the release of harmful substances.
Solution: the leftover must be transferred to a neutral glass container.
You must add the salt to the water only when it is already boiling and mix well to prevent it from settling on the bottom.
Moving on to aluminum, we find the tool favored by chefs for its thermal conduction performance: it quickly heats up and uniforms the temperature over the entire surface. It is strongly recommended to avoid cooking acidic foods and salt because aluminum is very toxic to the human brain. Cleaning with abrasive wool pads and too corrosive detergents should be avoided.
Speaking of this material, it is only right to say a few words about aluminum coffee makers that are often offered on the market at low prices and with the idea that they are faster, we must pay close attention to our choice, paying attention to the risks we run. In this case, those in stainless steel or those with a steel water container and ceramic top are preferred.
Speaking of aluminum, we cannot avoid mentioning capsule coffee machines; undoubtedly the favorites in the homes of Italians today for convenience and speed. In this case, the water pressure combined with the high temperature that wets the capsule favors the transfer of aluminum and plastic to the coffee we drink.
Solution: Use aluminum pans with anodized surfaces to ensure scratch resistance. Use with these pans only wooden ladles in order to avoid scratching the surfaces. Clean the aluminum pans with warm water which is left to act with bicarbonate and then wiped with a soft sponge.
For the coffee machine, prefer a French plunger solution where the drink is formed in a glass container together with boiling water.
A material that is certainly very popular in the kitchen for its ability to avoid burns is Teflon. The advantage of using pans with this material is the healthiness of cooking since it requires less fat but all this is true if you avoid scratching the surfaces and exceeding the temperature of 200 ° C. In fact, at high temperatures the bottom softens too much and in this condition even a simple wooden ladle can scratch this surface allowing the perfluorooctanoic acid to be transferred to the food with harmful effects for the liver and thyroid.
Solution: avoid the use of steel ladles and never heat Teflon pans above 200 ° C and do not use scouring pads to clean. The golden rule for Teflon pans is to throw them away as soon as they get scratched.
The ceramic pans are a guarantee in terms of mechanical resistance and healthiness of cooked foods. The advantages of ceramic pans are that they are scratchproof and are resistant to very high temperatures which, however, must always be avoided in the kitchen. They are a guarantee in the kitchen even if the price is often very high. They are not attacked by fatty foods and reduce the dispersion of nutrients and are inert to the attack of even the strongest detergents.
Copper pans represent on paper the top in the kitchen for their culinary performances but problems such as the disproportionate cost combined with the care necessary to manage them make them a product that is difficult to use for home use. on the surface in case of lack of maintenance it is toxic therefore the great chefs are suited to stagnate tools by specialized laboratories.
Pyrex is a very resistant material to high temperatures but above all it is unassailable by acidic foods and is very easy to clean. It is ideal for cooking in the oven which in my opinion is also the healthiest cooking that exists if done at the right temperatures.
Terracotta is ideal for soups, the undisputed queen of the kitchen of the past is suitable for cooking in the oven at moderate temperatures and on the stove but in the latter case it is necessary to use a flame spreader to prevent cracking. For proper use, it is necessary to soak them in water for 12 hours before their first use and allow each time to dry upside down so that the moisture evaporates from the bottom. It is also important to remember in the case of terracotta a valid grandmother’s trick which is to rub the entire surface with a clove of garlic which helps to seal the porosity.In the case of glazing surface treatment it is necessary to pay attention that these glazes do not contain lead or other heavy metals which could then be released when acidic foods are cooked. Speaking of terracotta it is necessary to speak of tajne; the pots with conical lids typical of North African cuisine. The latter are cumbersome in the kitchen but offer an exceptional medium-flame cooking with low fat since the cooking is very tasty and healthy since the foods are cooked in their humidity with just the addition of water, spices and aromas. North African culture teaches that vegetables, fish and meats can be combined.
Iron pans have an excellent performance in the kitchen for any type of cooking but care is required in use: do not wash them in water to avoid rust formation, but use only a damp cloth. The iron pans should be dried carefully, perhaps using kitchen paper and absorbent paper, and finally grease them with a little oil. This treatment, if done continuously, turns into a natural protective patina that effectively makes the pan non-stick. Omelettes on iron pans are unattainable with other materials.
Ladles, spatulas and cutting boards. To mix in hot cooking it is preferable to use wooden tools and in particular those in olive or bamboo are better because they are more resistant.
After use, it is important to wash it carefully to avoid food remains in the scratches. Silicone tools must be used to mix only cold compounds for example creams where their softness will be very comfortable. There are no scientific certainties that can reassure us 100% for the use of silicone at high temperatures. When in doubt, we choose ceramic or pyrex cake pans rather than flexible ones that are increasingly fashionable. A nice professional plastic cutting board is fine if we cut cold things as long as you always pay attention to cleanliness.
Cutting tools. It is known that knives for a chef are one of the most important accessories, you don’t need many knives for a good job in the kitchen as long as they are good and always well sharpened.So an essential set of knives must contain: a knife with a sufficiently large blade and rigid to comfortably slice onions and other vegetables that form the basis of many dishes; a stiff-bladed knife to open the back of the fish; a knife with a thin elastic blade for filleting; two or three small knives for peeling and cutting simple things like lemons or other things; a pelucchino for finishing work such as removing fat or nerves from a piece of roast or boiled meat a potato peeler; a hacksaw knife of bread and finally two or three graters of different sizes.
Steaming. Knowing the importance of eating vegetables, it is important to focus on the steam cooking method. therefore in no kitchen should be missing a stainless steel basket to cook with this natural and healthy technique even a set of Chinese bamboo baskets or even better a beautiful Pyrex glass steamer. With the same technique you can cook fish, small pieces of meat, vegetable patties, legumes or cereals or minced meat.
Blenders. Small, economical and convenient for use, the hand blender is an indispensable tool in all kitchens. The blender is essential for making soups of legume vegetables or for making creams and sauces.
Other … it is obvious that the list of kitchen equipment could become very long, enriching itself with appliances and various multifunction robots from the machine to make bread for children and an infinite series of manual accessories.