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All Natural (non-petroleum-based) Way to Protect Cutting Boards?

I didn't realize there were so many phobias until I started on CH. Mineral oil has been used as a laxative for decades, you get it in the drug store and take it by the spoons full. It's FDA grade. You couldn't get enough out of a end grain cutting board to ever know. It soaks in and is more in the wood than on it.

Cooking oil will go rancid, mostly in the board not on it, but I'd rather take my chances with the mineral oil, personally. Your board, your health, your choice.

Straight Beeswax is going to be mostly on the board and not in it. This will provide some protection, but not as much as mineral oil and then a mineral oil / beeswax mixture. Even if you heat the beeswax to melt it, it will have too high of a viscosity to actually penetrate the wood and that's what you want. You also run some risk of having it too hot and damaging the glue in the cutting board.

If you really can't bring yourself to use mineral oil or a beeswax that's been cut with mineral oil, you are probably looking at just beeswax and hope for the best, I would leave it untreated before I would use cooking oil. There are 2 reasons to oil a board, 1) is to fill the wood fibers to stabalize them, 2) is to keep crud that you don't want in your board out, this would include stains from cutting certain fruits and vegetables and oils that might turn rancid. I can just about make a 100% prediction that someone will come up with some oil from something that they have used and claim it doesn't go rancid, probably not really the case.

about 21 hours ago
mikie in Cookware

Recommendations on mid-range SS cookware?

If I couldn't spring for the really good, allbut expensive stuff, I would go after the Cuisinart French Classic cookware. A bit thicker than the really inexpensive stuff but not as thick as the relly expensive stuff. Right now there are some really good deals on this cookware.

Aug 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Best pots/pans?

We don't really depart there as I agree thicker is definately better. Compared to "standard" Cuisinart that was mentioned in the OP, I think the French Classic is a better deal than most, and if one is looking for bang for the buck, this is a fairly good bang for a very small buck.

I think my Demeyere saucier and Viking saute, frying pan, and sauce pan are thicker than either All Clad or Mauviel M Cook. But, since I don't have the other two and measurements on this type of surface is difficult to do accurately I'm only speculating based on my visual determination. Personally I would buy the thickest cookware I could afford and/or lift comfortably. These options are not always within the budget restraints or available. If one is copper phobic (afraid of copper maintaince) heavy ply like Demeyere is probably the next best alternative.

Aug 18, 2014
mikie in Cookware
1

Best pots/pans?

I'm not sure there is a "best bang for the buck" when it comes to cookware. The really great cookware comes with a really great price (assuming you are buying new). A more appropriate question might by what's the best $500 9 piece set of cookware, or $1500 9 piece set. I think you can find a thread on the best $200 set of cookware, the point is these are totally different answers.

As long as you are not on an induction range, thick (2.5 - 3 mm) copper is the best for sauté pans and skillets, because of the even heating. But new copper of that thickness is very expensive. Next would likely be thick multiply, typically SS/Al/SS combinations with 3 to 7 layers. These conduct heat very well and are usually induction compatable. But here's where bang for the buck gets really tricky, does a $250 Demeyere Proline cook better than an All-Clad or an even much less expensive Cuisinart French Collection, or and even less expensive made in China pan of similar construction? With this type of cookware, thicker is almost always better.

Then there are disk bottom cookware, and these too run the price gamet from over $350 for a Demeyere sauté to $59 for a Calphlon. This technilogy is also used in many sauce pans as well. The emphisis is on even heat on the bottom of the pan.

Clear lids, is another issue. Most of the higher end cookware does not utilize a glass lid. The obvious advantage is that you can see in without lifting the lid. Since you don't see these on "high end" cookware such as Mauviel, Demeyere, All-Clad, etc. I think one can determine the disadvantages outwheigh the advantage.

If I had to pick a best bang for the buck right now I would say the Cuisinart French Classic collection: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-FCT-1... This is a really great deal right now. I've seen and held the pots and pans and the quality looks to be there. They aren't the thickest available but thicker than most low cost cookware. And they are made in France.

Aug 18, 2014
mikie in Cookware
3

Edge-Pro Apex pointers

Thanks PSRaT, it was the paring knife I took the belly out of, not the 10" Wusthof Classic, thank god.
I do have a 10x loop, so I'll keep that in mind. I can't wait to get my hands on it. I think I'll start with that paring knife ;)

Aug 14, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Registering for dinnerware that will last

Hi DuffyH,
You are so right, we have Apilco plates bowls, etc. and Pillivuyt serving platters, and a couple of Revol pieces such as a small cocote and they all are the same color. I wanted bowls for Julia's French onion soup and just couldn't justify the cost of the very nice porcelain ones, so opted for a whiter white than "normal" stoneware, they are close but don't match. All the procelain pieces look like they came from the same company as far as color is concerned. I also get a little up tight when the stoneware goes under the broiler to brown the cheese on top.

Aug 14, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Is Thremapen the only option?

I bought one for a friend and it looks to work almost as well as the 3-4 times more expensive thermapen. Don't get me wrong, I really like my thermapen, but the thermapop has to be the next best thing for checking food temperatures. They will be in Christmas stockings this year for my son and 3 son-in-laws.

Aug 14, 2014
mikie in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling
1

Okay... I gotta ask, if anyones attempted this.

In the industry we use MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) to alert users of potential hazzards. Here is just a small quote from an MSDS for a product that contains PTFE:
"Special Fire Fighting Procedures: PTFE thermal decomposition products begin at 200° C and up
to 325° C are mainly monomer and waxy sublimate. Above 325° C gases such as hydrogen
fluoride and perfluoroisobutylene, which can be fatal at low concentrations, are evolved."
For those not familiar with °C this is about 615 °F, this is where you need to start to be concerned, very concerned. Under normal cooking conditions you would be well below, about 100°C (175°F) below the danger zone. Amatures and DIYers really need to get all the facts before they go off and do something stuppid that could potentially risk their life and the lives of others.

If we don't see another post, we know what happened.

Aug 14, 2014
mikie in Cookware
1

best baking dishes?

Porcelain is definately the way to go here. The LC made in Tiwan isn't the same quality as the LC ECI made in France. Even the French made EH, which is very nice, will chip much more easily than porcelain such as Pillivuyt, Apilco, or Revol (all made in France). I was very disappointed when our small EH baking dish chiped, but the porcelain pieces just seem to keep humming along. The EH pie plates are hard to beat for making a good pie curst though.

Aug 14, 2014
mikie in Cookware
1

Okay... I gotta ask, if anyones attempted this.

Since this was posted 11 hours ago, this is probably too late. STOP! Do not put PTFE coated cookware in the oven and run the cleaning cycle. There are at least two reasons why, 1) this is what would generate the very off-gasses you are concerned about in the first place; 2) the pan itself was never meant to be used in those conditions and you could actually damage the pan by loosening rivets or stressing components.

PTFE has great heat and chemical resistance, that's why it's used as a coating. You may be able to damage the surface, but it's not going to degrade to the point that it just brushes off. I've worked in the plastics industry for over 40 years and PTFE is the most chemicly inert plastic you can find, meaning it's not going to desolve with any chemical that you would want in your home.

This is just not a good idea!

Aug 14, 2014
mikie in Cookware
1

Knife sets

A few years ago I was able to find 7 piece sets of Zwilling Henckels Four Star knives on close out for less than $200. This included a knife block, steel, an 8" Chefs knife, a paring knife, a short serrated bread knife, a birds beak paring knife and one more piece I can't recall. We bought a set for each of our adult daughters. They kept a few of their old knives and have added to the set as there was extra room in the block. If you can find a good sale on a set it is deffinately worth it. Just the Chefs knife would have been about $100.

Otherwise I think you are better off spending most of your budget on a very good Chefs knife and filling in as your budget allows. You can probably get a very good quality German or Japanese Chef or Santuku for around $150. I recently picked up an 8" Wusthof Ikon Blackwood chefs knife at an outlet store for about $150 for a gift. Deals are out there, you just have to look for them.

Aug 14, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Edge-Pro Apex pointers

My grandpa's old knives are Dexters odly enough. They have been sharpened so many times, I don't know what they looked like when new, but look like filet knives now. They were probably boning knives, I would guess. I didn't screw them up with the waterstone when I tried to sharpen them, but I took all the belly out of that paring knife. Tried a different technique, too many vids I guess. I don't want to screw up the 10" Wushof Clasic chef's knife.

Aug 13, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Edge-Pro Apex pointers

Yea, sounds like good advice. I've got some old carbon steel knives that my grandfather used in the butcher shop, I know they can take a good edge, so maybe I'll start with one of those.

Aug 13, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Registering for dinnerware that will last

Great choice, see my post above!

Aug 13, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Registering for dinnerware that will last

We've had Apilco now for several years, and although it's not as thin as china, it's not like stoneware either. The porcelin is tough as nails, elegant white, does not scratch or leave gray marks from the flatware (like our other stuff did) and although it's somewhat pricy, it's durability makes up for it. If I had it to do over again, it would be porcelin again. Apilco is one of three quality French brands that I would consider. Pillivuyt and Revol are the other two. We spent a lot of time picking this dinnerware, we even bought 4 plates to make sure they didn't leave marks from the flatware, and used them for about 4-6 months everyday to test them out.

Aug 13, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Edge-Pro Apex pointers

I managed to totally screw up the shape of my Wusthof Classic paring knife on a waterstone and decided I wouldn't take any more chances with the larger more expensive knives. My Edge-Pro arrived today and I should be able to unwrap it tomarrow, it's my B'day present from Mrs. mikie. I'm sure there is a learning curve, hopefully a flatter curve than the waterstone. I'm usually fairly adapt at using tools, but the sharpening stone has never been my friend. Most of the time I'm sharpening chisels or plane irons and can use a guide, but knives are a differnt story. Any helpful hints and advice on things to look out for and ways to shorten the learning curve is welcome.

Thanks to all for the forthcoming comments.

Aug 13, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Butcher Block Oil/Care

Based on the picture in the link, it appears to have been treated. If you want to use it Christmas day, I would still oil it the first of December. After that, how frequently it needs oil will depend on how much it's used and what you cut and how you clean it. It's fine to wash it with soap and water, rinse and dry. But it will need to be oiled often.

That's a large chunk of wood, so it's going to be heavy. I'm a big fan of end grain boards, good choice.

Regardless of the reviews, keep in mind with a wood board, wood sometimes has a mind of its own, anyones board can crack.

Aug 13, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Butcher Block Oil/Care

Most boards will have some treatment when shipped, I'd open it when you get it and see if it has already been oiled. If it has you have no worries. If it hasn't, well you could oil it to be on the safe side, but as long as it's stored in a cool dry place with normal humidity levels, in other words don't store it in the basement or a hot attic, it should be just fine without any additional treatment before you get ready to use it. If you want to use it Christmas day, then oil it when you get it and again at the first of December, this will provide the protection it needs to jump right into use. Use a USP mineral oil that you can get in the drug section of the supermarket. You can also buy or make a mineral oil/bees wax blend which provides additional protection. Oil it every time the wood looks dry and it will last a very long time.

Aug 13, 2014
mikie in Cookware

WEBER: Stainless or Iron grates?

I've had them for at least a couple of years now (3rd summer) and they are everything they are advertised to be. They are used by competition grillers, but regardless, they do an excellent job of cooking food quickly and leaving in plenty of moisture and not charing from flair ups.

In the spring through fall months I grill probably 3-4 times a week and grill in the winter if there isn't snow on the ground. Through all of this they have held up very well.

Aug 13, 2014
mikie in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

WEBER: Stainless or Iron grates?

When I had my Weber, I had cast iron grates. The origional were bare cast iron that you had to season like a CI pan. Rusted rather quickly. The next set was enameled cast iron, they lasted longer, but still rusted more quickly than I would have thought. My current grill has SS grates, but I have started using GrillGrates which I find to be a considerable improvement over either SS or CI.
These are anodized aluminum plates with ribs on them, leave great sear marks, provide radient heat for cooking and reduce flare ups.
See at http://www.grillgrate.com You can set these right on top of the SS grates and start grilling, they are also recomended by Meathead at http://amazingribs.com

Aug 11, 2014
mikie in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Cutting board: need some help

It's been fairly well covered, but I feel compelled to add my $0.02. Wood boards can be face grain, edge grain and end grain, in assending order of "quality" and likely price. Face grain boards are most prone to warp and suffer most from the knife constantly working across the grain. Edge grain boards are a significant step up and the disadvantage is the knife cutting across the grain of the wood, now it may take forever to actually notice how much wood has slowly dissapeared, but it happens. End grain boards are the best, easiest on the knife edge, this is because the fibers of the grain are sticking up like the bristles of a dart board and the knife parts them much like a dart parts the bristles. This is a bit of an over exageration but it explains the principle.

As for wood, walnut/cherry/maple are all good choices or use all three. You want to use a closed grain wood so "stuff" doesn't run down into the grain. Most woods are safe but as Boardsmith said, if it provides sap or nuts you can eat, it's almost always safe. To answer DuffyH's question, some woods although probably not actually toxic, although there are woods that are toxic, will cause an alergic reaction, sometimes just from contact. There are exotics that can be used, but I typically use them around the edges.

Size, more or less what you can handle. Keep in mind wood is relatively heavy and you may not want to deal with a 25 lb cutting board, so be thoughtful on dimensions including thickness. Unless you're chopping, you don't need a 4 inch thick board.

What you need is a board the size you can handle, either edge or end depending on what you want to spend and then thake really good care of it.

Aug 09, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Help me build a great cookware set!

With gas the heating process also stops instantly at the burner level. Turn off the gas and you have eliminated the heat source. All that is left is the cast iron grates that support your pots and pans, they don't have enough surface area to really transfer much heat. So now it's whatever heat is in the pan, and CI hold heat much longer because of the thermal mass and poor conductivity.

Aug 08, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Double-Tiered Cutlery Drawer

As long as the drawer has enough depth to handle two layers and still provide ample storage, any custom cabinet maker can make drawer inserts and install the ball bearing slides in any size drawer. It can also be done without the ball bearing slides and the upper section can be lifted out as well as slid partway back out of the way. The full extension ball bearing slides allow the divider insert to slide completely out of the way and beyond the actual back of the drawer. They're actually installed backwards to allow this movement. To retrofit such a set up the back of your OE drawer may need to be cut down to allow room for the insert to slide out of the way. Again, a custom cabinet maker can easily do this.

Aug 07, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Jamie Oliver wood handled steak knives - feedback

Unfortunately, Chicalo cuttlery isn't what it was 25 years ago. We had our CC kitchen kinves since the early 1980's and finally abandoned them for Wusthof, but they were still functional, just getting a little upgrade to the kitchen gear.

Aug 07, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Jamie Oliver wood handled steak knives - feedback

Bada Bing, thank you for chiming in. That's the knife I remembered but wasn't 100% sure I had it right, so I didn't want to cause confusion.

We ended up at a Wusthof outlet store and their classic steak knives were considerably reduced and decided to splurge on a set of 4. We may pick up another set of 4 the next time we are near the outlet, but I'm not serving steaks to more than 8 people, not at $25 a lb.

Aug 07, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Cuisinart Tri-Ply French Cookware

I was looking to this line for the saucier that I wanted, but it was unavailable. The pieces that are available look to be of very good quality and perhaps not as thick as my Demeyere or Viking, but certianly much thicker than the "average" Cuisinart or Calphalon offering from China.

Aug 07, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Jamie Oliver wood handled steak knives - feedback

Like the others, I don't have the Jamie Oliver knives. I went for decades without a steak knife, yet still ate steak. As Chem mentioned, a good serrated table knife is quite functional. A sharp edge knife makes a neater cut than a serrated edge, so that is typically the first preference. However, a good straight edge knife is more difficult to keep sharp and is considerably more expensive than a typical serrated knife.

With all that said, as an individual, you will probably not eat enough steak to significantly dull a serrated edge, where as you will likely dull a straight sharp edge. From personal experience, a sharp straight edge knife makes cutting a steak a pleasure and not a chore, and the meat is sliced clean, not ripped or sawn like with a serrated edge.

Cooks Illustrated has a reccomended steak knife, I believe with a wooden handle. I just can't recall who's knife it was. It wasn't cheap, but not outragous either. I'll see if I can find it.

Aug 07, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Why all the hate still for Dupont Teflon?

Salt tablets, the days before Gatoraid.

Aug 04, 2014
mikie in Cookware

difference in grilling grates

You're kidding right?

Aug 03, 2014
mikie in Cookware

New All-Clad Handles... About Time.

Duffy, you have to buy a ticket to win ;) haha

Aug 01, 2014
mikie in Cookware