Last week, I forgot about the shrimp. I set it to steaming and went back to the computer. When I smelled that unmistakable acrid smoke, I said “Oops.” Pretty big oops. I torched a pound of jumbo shrimp, which was bad. More important, I destroyed my favorite pot.
It was a 5-quart pasta/steamer/stock pot. It was stainless steel, about 20-years old. Early Cuisinart. They don’t make that specific pot anymore. I bought something that looked similar, but it turns out that 12 quarts is a lot bigger than I imagined. It’s so big that when it is one-third full of water, I can’t lift it out of the sink, much less hoist it to the stove. You could cook two out of three of our dogs in that pot. At the same time.
Our half pound of pasta got lost in its depths.
The rest of my cookware is cast iron. I love cast iron. It never sticks and it’s low-maintenance. No peeling Teflon in your chili, either.
But. It weighs a ton. Each piece is heavier than the last. I need Garry to move it. When my wrists are in working order, I can move one (empty) pot using two hands. If there’s anything in the pot, I can’t move it at all.
Tonight, I made chicken and mushrooms in white sauce over vermicelli. I filled the big new pot with water — barely a third of the way and had to call Garry to carry it to the stove. Then he had come back to move the frying pan. Garry did the dishes and came out of kitchen exhausted.
“I’m in good shape,” he pointed out. He is. Excellent shape. He exercises every day. It’s a Marine thing. “I don’t mind doing dishes. But that’s ridiculous. Between that gigantic pot and the 20-pound frying pan … I’m beat.”
“I guess I need to rethink my cookware options,” I said.
“You think?” he said.
It turns out I can get a very nice set of Cuisinart stainless 18/10 for $150. But I’d need to seriously rethink the way I cook.
You can’t cook with stainless the way you cook in cast iron. And what will I do with the stuff I own? No way I can get new cookware without getting rid of the other stuff because it’s completely filling up all the cabinets. And shelves.
On the other hand, we aren’t getting younger and those pots aren’t getting lighter. Oh bother.