THE COOK’S TOUR
Viking Professional 5-ply stainless steel pots are a buy once, use for your lifetime kind of investment that use energy better than anything other than cast iron, which is harder to keep and use. Spend up front, save for years after.
Things to consider when buying the right pot for your kitchen:
- Response to changes in temperature
- Efficient energy usage cooks better and saves money
- Durability makes one purchase a lifetime purchase
- Nothing toxic ends up in your food
There are a lot of fads in the cookware game. Anodized aluminum. Copper. Enamel. There’s a problem with all of them:
They’re reactive, chemically.
Anodized pots’ surface, and the protective surface of other copper and even enamel pots wear down from the acids in the pans, and the constant scraping and banging of hard utensils in them.
Sure, some infomercial will boast that their “wonder pan” works with metal utensils by whacking them a bunch in a lab, but, day-in, day out, all cheap, thin pots and pans degrade.
When they do, some of the material, a bit toxic over time, transfers from the pot to your food.
Over your lifetime, you will go through two to five of them.
PENNYWISE, POT FOOLISH
Thicker pots cost more up front, but save you more in energy costs and in replacement costs. Stainless is painless, but thin’s a sin.
Thin cheap pots boast that they heat quickly, but they also lose heat quickly. Their base superheats, but the walls of the pot, cooled by the air, make the pot less efficient. It costs you extra money in your gas or electric bills.
A thin kettle may use 2000 watts of power to heat water, while a better constructed, thicker kettle may only consume 1000 or less, because the upper walls conduct and retain heat better heating the water faster and more efficiently.
The Math: Cheap kettle? $0.25 per use, on average, electric. 5-ply kettle? $0.12 cents. Every time. Used every day, it would cost you about $43.80 more a year to use, about $306.00 more over the cheap pot’s probable 7 year lifespan. Keep buying the same cheap pots over the years, and you’re spending around $1,400 or more in energy to heat those “cheap” pots.
You’re also buying two to four pots, at the rising prices of inflation.
Buy one great pot. Keep it.
THE DARK SIDE OF THE COOKWARE FORCE
Cast iron is the best, simplest pot, but they’re fussy to keep clean and dry, and too heavy for most people to haul out of a drawer or off of a shelf.
THREE BEARS THEORY
Stainless steel pots come in 3-Ply, 5-Ply, and 7-Ply. The 3-Ply is affordable but will get more beat-up over time. The 7-Ply is tough as nails but too expensive. The 5-Ply? Just right.
WHAT’S A “PLY?”
Layers. The exterior layer is magnetic stainless steel which works on both induction stovetops and conventional gas and electric. The next layer of aluminum alloy bonds to the middle layer of 3004 aluminum. The fourth layer bonds an aluminum alloy to the interior 18/10 high-grade stainless steel. Steel is so thick and strong that you’ll never wear it out to get to the aluminum, unless you’re the Incredible Hulk.
The five layers combine to transfer heat quickly and evenly across the bottom and up the sides, making the stockpot extremely responsive to changes in heat.
Stainless steel is nonreactive and nonporous. It’s an ideal cooking surface easy to clean and sanitize.
- Includes 6 quart stockpot with lid. You can also get it in an 8 quart for a bit more. How big do you cook regularly? I use the pasta pot without the insert to make up for the 8 quart.
- For use on all cooktops, including induction
- Oven, broiler and grill safe up to 600°F/315°C
- Interior capacity markings for easy measuring
- Viking ergonomically designed stay-cool handles
- Manufacturer limited lifetime warranty
- Viking doesn’t change the look of the line. You can add a pot or pan as you go, and it will fit in with the rest.
- Made in the USA
- Manufacturer claims they’re dishwasher safe, but the chemicals in the dishwashing detergent can penetrate spaces around the handles and degrade the welds over time. AVOID.
- Barkeeper’s Helper is a great way to clean the surface and keep it polished well. Rub with the grain of the steel.
- Handles can develop build up of oils and food residues. A bit of vinegar and a wood skewer every now and again clean those edges.
I’ve been using Viking Professional 5 ply for almost 15 years now. Like the old Timex watch ads say:
I burned through my share of cheaper pots, including more pricey Caphalons. I’ve put these Viking pots through hell and back, day in, and day out, and they’re still in great shape. Acquire them as you can. They’re worth every penny for superior construction and great cooking. My five diamond choice.