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mikie's Profile

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Odd ID situation: when is "Valid" considered not valid enough?

Again, in the good ole US of A the requirements for carrying a drivers license varies from state to state and naturally these requirements change with time. I lived in Kansas and at the time it was only required that you have a valid license, not that it be on your person any time you were behind the wheel. When I lived in Louisiana, your license was your bond, so you have to have a valid license on your person if you were driving, and if you didn't you were handcuffed and taken to jail because you were being arrested for going 40 in a 35 zone or rolled through a stop sign. Back then KS would send you a post card in the mail reminding you to send in your $5 for a renewal, LA did no such thing, and an expired license was the same as no license at all, even if it expired only yesterday.

about 9 hours ago
mikie in Not About Food

Odd ID situation: when is "Valid" considered not valid enough?

Seriously, and there was a very large human being in place to make sure it didn't happen. I was sitting at the bar and decided to move to a table. Only the waitress was allowed to move the drink, I could move to the table, just not with a drink in my hand. I lived in New Orleans at the time and people were walking up and down the streets with drinks in their hands, so I didn't give it a moments thought until I was staring into the chest of a very big human.

about 10 hours ago
mikie in Not About Food

New Thermapen Mk4

Yes I got the e-mail from Thermapen and I want to upgrade. I'm right handed, so I don't really need it, but I want it.

DuffyH I think they did this just for you!

about 16 hours ago
mikie in Cookware

Odd ID situation: when is "Valid" considered not valid enough?

I'm not aware that the state I live in has any such restriction placed on a drivers license. So I agree Duffy, would I be able to purchase a drink there or not. I've left restaurants before where the bartender called in sick and they weren't able to serve a drink that night.

With that said, there used to be a lot of odd rules on a state to state basis when it concerned the consumption of alcohol. I don't think there are as many as there used to be. NC used to only serve in a "Private Club", TX by county has a similar rule but you could get a universal club membership called the "Unicard", VA you couldn't stand with a drink, you had to be seated, learned that one the hard way. AL used to sell drinks by the mini bottle, the little things airlines used.

1 day ago
mikie in Not About Food

crazing like fine lines and markings on LC DO

Not in my opinion, they are superficial and can be removed with enough elbow grease, but probably not worth the effort. These are the same thing you get on some light colored dinnerware if you use 18/10 stainless flatware.

1 day ago
mikie in Cookware

Resisting warp, sticking, and avoiding klutzy fry pans w/induction

I believe I understand better now, it's less about price/sq. inch, than it is about just the sq. inches of cooking area.

When I was shopping for a sauté pan, I wanted a large surface area on which to cook. Being an engineer, I put together a spreadsheet to help with my decision making process. Because sauté pans are sold by volume not diameter, and the side wall height can vary widely, I had a column in my spreadsheet that was in fact sq. in. I also had a column for weight, as that's a factor, type of construction, country of origin, and price. I didn't choose entirely on any one column, but this allowed me to rule out items that were either outside my budget, were outrageously heavy, or that had a small footprint for the quart size of the pan. So I see where you're coming from now, or at least I think I do. Thanks for the additional explanation.

1 day ago
mikie in Cookware

crazing like fine lines and markings on LC DO

Maybe it's my eyes or maybe the photo, but I agree, what I see looks like skid marks from spooning out the contents or stirring with a metal utensil. My Staubs are black inside so these marks don't show, but I'm sure I get the same effect. I usually stir with a wooden spoon but use a SS large spoon for retrieving the contents.

1 day ago
mikie in Cookware

Resisting warp, sticking, and avoiding klutzy fry pans w/induction

After being in industry for over 40 years, I can assure you there is not necessarily a correlation between cost and price. And in many cases, the raw material cost is negligible compared to the fabrication cost. Then there is the economies of scale, so that products that they sell more of are often less than products with less cost, but lower sales volumes, thus higher manufacturing costs. In cookware you almost always pay more for a larger stock pot or larger frying pan of the same construction as the smaller one, but I have never made the calculation of cost per square inch or cost per ounce capacity of a stock pot.

Sep 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Resisting warp, sticking, and avoiding klutzy fry pans w/induction

Cost per square inch seems an odd measure to me as well, for cookware. My house is based on cost per square foot, but that's a more understandable concept for me. I understand cost per square inch of cooking area, but I don't understand how it relates to anything that cooks measure. If I need the square inches of a 6 qt. sauté pan, then for the same level of construction, I'm going to pay more, and because they perhaps don't sell as many of the 6 qt. pans, I may pay more per square inch than I would a 3 quart sauté pan. I'm not sure cost per square inch correlates well with the biggest bang for the buck.

Sep 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Whats a good alternative to al clad?

My first comment is that All Clad is not THE top brand in SS cookware, but it is good quality and made in the US.

My first question is do you care about country of origin? If not, then there are a number of brands made in China that will cook just as well as AC at a much lower price point. If you don't want China but it doesn't have to be US there are a number of cookware options from Europe, including Cuisinart French Collection that are probably just below AC in weight, also the Mauviel M'cook collection, both made in France and priced just below AC.

My second question is do you have to have SS clad cookware or are you comfortable cooking in aluminum, either bare or anodized? This opens the door to many options at a fraction of the cost but will still perform well.

I'm sure you will get many opinions on what your options are.

Sep 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Resisting warp, sticking, and avoiding klutzy fry pans w/induction

Hi Ray,

I have the Demeyere saucier, it's a great pot, you should have picked that one up.

I'm with you brother on the ability to wait on a purchase and being opportunistic. I bought our first Staub at retail, it was just one of those times that worked out we couldn't wait. The remaining 4 that we have were all bought at greatly reduced prices. Something like an additional 40% off merchandise that was already 50% off. In fact the prices were so reduced that we bought each of our children a Staub for Christmas that year. I bought knives the same way, and then filled in what we needed with sale merchandise or from e-bay when they came up. I bought all our Viking cookware on sale/closeout, it's all 7 ply made in Belgium, by guess who, Demeyere. Even the saucier was purchased at an outlet store for a fraction of the MSRP. Sometimes you have to pay retail, but most of the time, if you wait, you can get a lot more for your dollars.

Sep 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Dinnerware Brands

Hi gooster, Knife marks are a function of the flatware composition as much as the dinnerware. If you're using stainless, as most of us do, the lower the nickel content the less likely to get the knife marks. Initially Mrs. mikie thought I had bought cheap flatware because it was marking up the plates. She asked a clerk at the Pfaltzgraff store about the marks on the plates and found out just the opposite. Stainless that's 18/0 will not mark the plates, but 18/10 sure will, that's assuming of course that they are subject to marking. To give this explanation a real life test, one of our daughters had the same brand plates and some college apartment flatware (18/0 for obvious reasons) and never had a marking issue. After she wed, she started using better flatware, on the same plates. They marked up within weeks of the change over.

Sep 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

cutting board made of Corian

If you want to keep your knives sharp for as long as possible between sharpenings then you want a cutting board that is going to move when contacted by the knife edge. IMO the best cutting boards are end grain wood. This is a board with the wood fibers pointing up and down. The fibers tend to move out of the way and then move back when the blade is removed. Similar to how the bristles of a dart board move when a metal dart is thrown at it and then go back together when it's removed. These boards are easy on the knife edge and yet show very little damage from all the cutting that takes place on them. They can last a very long time if properly cared for, this means keeping them oiled with mineral oil or a mineral oil beeswax combination, not storing them wet and never putting them in the dishwasher. The mineral oil will penetrate the fibers and because the mineral oil is there, not much else can go there, so a well maintained board will shed a fair amount of water and juices from prepping foods. Maple is the most common wood for this type of board, but cherry, and walnut are frequently available and make very attractive boards. Bamboo is not wood and shouldn't be confused with a wood cutting board. Bamboo boards are tough on knife edges. Common inexpensive cutting boards are made from polyethylene plastic and these are ok for the knife edge. The downside is that they show the cut marks from the knife contact. Again, it's better to cut the board than to round the edge of your knife.

There are articles on the safety of wood cutting boards that have been published by reputable sources on their ability to kill bacteria. I still wouldn't cut a chicken on it and then chop my salad. However, as long as you wash it well and have kept it oiled, you should be safe from bacteria. Personally, when I cut a chicken breast in half to make a cutlet, I put one of those thin plastic cutting sheets on my board, just an extra margin of safety. I'll pound it on that as well.

Sep 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

cutting board made of Corian

Actually, you don't have to wonder, you should know for sure. Basic physics, two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. When the knife contacts the cutting board, either the board has to move or the knife has to move. If the board is scratch free, then it hasn't moved. That means the knife edge has moved and on a microscopic level looks like this now ⌡ instead of │ and that's not a good thing if you're a knife.

Years ago someone gave my wife a glass cutting board, we never had a sharp knife. New knives and new cutting boards, and all is good with the world.

Sep 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Dinnerware Brands

Apilco! We like white dinnerware, food just looks good on white and you can mix it with anything if need be. The former white dinnerware we had was from Pfaltzgraff and the knife and fork marks drove me nuts. Other dinnerware we've had chipped easily and then looked like crap. We ate on 2 Apilco plates and paper plates for almost a year as we tested out the Apilco for chip resistance and non-marring attributes. We've now had a complete set and many serving pieces of Apilco and other French porcelain brands for several years. It's attractive, it's robust, and importantly, the pieces continue to be available if you should drop one (I slid one off the BBQ one night onto the concrete patio). I can't tell you how pleased and impressed I've been with the Apilco dinnerware. With all the pieces we have, there's not a single chip and this is our everyday dinnerware. When the kids and grand kids are home, the serving for 12 gets a complete workout.

Regardless of what you buy, give it a test run before you replace your current dinnerware with hundreds of dollars of something you find isn't what you thought.

Sep 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

What to look for choosing a propane grill?

Hi Duffy,

GrillGrates, they are indeed fantastic. I've had them on my new grill since I bought it, so it's the 4th summer for them and I like them better all the time. An added benefit you didn't mention, there is less sticking with the grill grates.

Sep 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

What to look for choosing a propane grill?

If you can't get more than double the years of service out of a premium or mid premium grill like the Weber, then you aren't treating it very well. I started out with inexpensive grills and they just don't last, the metal it thin, the burners are extremely thin and of lesser quality materials. I've replaced burners on inexpensive grills after just a year of grilling, but even then the grates, the body, and the stand all crap out within 3-5 years. My Weber Genesis that I bought in the early 90's finally bought the farm in 2012 because I could no longer get replacement parts for the stand which rusted. The rest of the grill was still functional. Granted I had replaced grates (cast iron rusted through) and the "flavorizer bars, and the wood for the shelf on the sides and a few other minor items, but the basic grill was solid. Four times the life for about two times the dollars.

The math works out like this:
Day 1 Cheapo Grill #1 $150 Weber #1 $300
Yr. 5 Cheapo Grill #2 $200 Weber #1 $ 0
Yr. 10 Cheapo Grill #3 $250 Weber #1 $100 parts
Yr. 15 Cheapo Grill #4 $300 Weber #1 $ 0

Total for 20 yrs. $900 $400

My new grill is now 4 grilling seasons old (I grill year around actually but this is the 4th summer) and looks like new, it's not a Weber, I'm not married to Weber, but it is a premium all SS grill that sits outside with a cover 365 days a year.

All this and I haven't mentioned the quality of the cooking difference between a cheapo grill and a quality grill, and yes there is a difference.

Sep 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Al-Clad Cookware

Absolutely, Kaleo.
My son has AC and one AC non-stick, no one babies their cookware more than he does. My DIL won't use his cookware or knives, she does wash them however and polishes the copper bottoms on the old Revereware after each use. His AC non-stick is probably a bit over 5 years old, but he's complained about it not being as non-stick for several years now. He blames his wife and the nanny, but I told him, as soon as the surface tension drops in the PTFE, the non-stick party is over. My Scanpan was holding up well until Mrs. mikie started using it, now it's shot, probably not getting another one. It's still usable, just isn't non-stick anymore.

Aug 31, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Resisting warp, sticking, and avoiding klutzy fry pans w/induction

I don't cook for a crowd either, but we do have friends over from time to time for dinner so it's nice to be able to cook for 4. The other day I was preparing chicken saltimbocca and opted for a 9.5 frying pan instead of the added area of my 3 qt. sauté. As it ended up, the 9.5 frying pan was just barely large enough for two of the pounded chicken breasts. I would have loved to have had that Proline 11" pan. I doubt even the 12.6" pan would have accommodated all 4 pounded breasts.

Aug 31, 2015
mikie in Cookware

What to look for choosing a propane grill?

Propane grills are to a great extent, you get what you pay for. You can compensate for some of the expense by reducing the size if that's a viable option for you. So a 27" grill will be less expensive than a 36" grill for example.

The way I see it, you either anti up the big bucks and it will last a long time because it's made with better materials and heavier construction, or you cheap out and replace it about every 5 years or so. I've gone both routs ober the years. Ultamately, I think it's more cost effective to shell out the money upfront. A cheapo is going to run anywhere from $150 to $300 depending on size, a reasonably good Weber for example, will last about 3-4 times longer and cost a little over twice as much. Spend a little more and get a little more time.

It's the end of the season, look for closeouts and clearance sales. I bought my last grill as a closeout for 1/3 the origional price.

Aug 30, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Staub rim damage?

In general I thunk the enamel on the Staubs is quite durable. I was in WS right after we bought ours and the clerk was showing me some of the new colors, she banged them pretty hard. I asked if this was the chip test and she laughed. It convinced me they were tough.

I'm not familiar with the enamel process, but glazed ceramics always have points where the spacers touch the wares, thus I'm not surprised to find defects on the rim.

Aug 29, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Want a dishwasher that not only washes,but dries the dishes thoroughly

"They claim that a new washer (with plastic tub) has to be seasoned.....and by using it, it becomes seasoned and the drying procedure improves."

That is the biggest pile of crap I have heard in the 40+ years I've been in the plastics business. Their next sentence is the second biggest pile of crap. There is nothing, nothing that is going to happen to the plastic liner in a new dishwasher, other than perhaps leach some plasticizers out of it, and that's not going to dramatically improve or change in any way the thermal responsiveness of the plastic in question. And that's the only way you are going to change the drying characteristics of the dishwasher. What on earth could possibly be on your soiled dishes that could "season" the plastic liner in a dishwasher? Nothing! The plastic is chosen because it doesn't absorb from the food, that could cause odors and stains. It's also chosen to resistant to the chemicals in the dishwashing soaps that are used, otherwise it would degrade and crack or chalk. This is total BS.

They must want you to keep it until it's too late to return it, why else would they make up this stuff.

Aug 27, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

Meat Pounders Vertical vs Horizontal

It's funny what sticks with you from when you were a kid. My dad always insisted that a tool only be used for its intended purpose, this was particularly true with screw drivers, they are not pry bars, he was very persuasive when I was a kid, if you know what I mean. Although I can and have improvised, for the most part I try to find the proper tool to make the job at hand easier and safer. I'm not sure how safe pounding out vitello on a granite counter top with a wine bottle is, but probably not very.

Anyway thanks to all for your thoughts and comments.

Aug 27, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Is this Copper Mauviel 9.4 qt. Stewpot too heavy?

I would have to double check for certainty, but I believe my 9 qt. Staub cocotte is in the 17 lb range. I looked this up not very long ago for another post.

Sometimes you have to go to a seller's web-site to get this information, you shouldn't, but sometimes you do. I did this analysis when I was looking for a large sauté pan and the information wasn't easy to find or very consistent from one source to another.

Aug 27, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Meat Pounders Vertical vs Horizontal

It's vertical, I think the control will be better.

http://www.chefdepot.com/graphics32/m...

It's not solid SS as I had hoped, but it was about $20 less than the made in Italy one I found that was solid SS and Mrs. mikie thought a $50 "hammer" (included shipping cost) was too much. This one was $20 before shipping.

Aug 27, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Want a dishwasher that not only washes,but dries the dishes thoroughly

They've come a long way in making dishwashers quiet. If our KA didn't have a light on the front, I wouldn't know it was on. I have a thrifty son-in-law, but when they updated their kitchen, he insisted on a dishwasher that was as quiet as ours. This, even though the one they had was still operable. With the "open concept" being so popular, it's tough to have a noisy dishwasher 20 feet from your 60" flat screen ;)

Aug 27, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Meat Pounders Vertical vs Horizontal

Thanks Kaleo, but I prefer a batticarne. I managed to find one at a much more reasonable price, yet still made in Italy. I'll gladly pay the extra $5 to support the Italian economy.

Aug 27, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Staub or Le Creuset enameled cast iron with dairy type foods

All of our ECI is Staub, it's just what was available at the time and we've added to it with pieces that were on sale. To the point, Mrs. mikie made mac and cheese for the grands the other day and it cleaned up just fine, no complaints from her anyway. I know it cleaned well because she cleaned it not me, I get all the heavy duty cleaning chores.

Aug 26, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

Meat Pounders Vertical vs Horizontal

Hi Kaleo,

Yes indeed, WOW was how I felt about it as well. However these are less expensive than the equivalent pieces from Wusthof. There are certainly less expensive versions out there from different suppliers, but these were good examples of the two styles and I'm always looking for something NMiC.

I too thought the pestle-style would have better accuracy, but I was worried that it would wear you out if you were doing dinner for 6 or 8 guests. The mallet-shaped pounder would likely take fewer blows and less effort, but that's not much different from what we currently have. I believe ATK chose a horizontal handle model as their choice, but most if not all the photos they have showing preparation of pounded meat, they are using a vertical handled model.

We don't have a French rolling pin, although I suppose I could make one in a couple of hours at the lathe. That would be $170 cheaper than the SS pounder. I could make a flat faced wooden mallet for that matter, same cost as the French rolling pin, but I guess I question the weight of such an object. And I guess I'm a bit concerned about contamination, not that you hit the meat directly, but a tear in the plastic/paper could be an issue. I liked the Paderno models because they are one piece and should be easy to sanitize.

Aug 25, 2015
mikie in Cookware

cast iron skillets

It's clear you prefer cast iron. I have nothing against cast iron, but I can tell you that the heat differential across a #9 Griswold is so great, no matter how long you preheat it, that a strip of bacon that stretches across the diameter of the pan will not come close to cooking evenly. It's all but raw on the ends and burnt in the middle. This is on a gas hob, with a two ring burner and about medium heat or just under. My opinion is that's why the chef in the example up thread was constantly moving the steak around, just trying to get all areas of the meat exposed to the heat.

Grandma did just fine with it, obviously she had some tricks I'm not aware of, or it was all she had.

Aug 25, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1