Once-upon-a-prehistoric time, cooking involved dragging a clubbed mammoth back to your Barrett cave and roasting it over a open fire. Located in the very heat of the cave, they evidently took the concept of “central” heating very seriously in those days. And socialising was not so much a case of inviting the neighbours round, but warding them off with spears and arrows. No point keeping up with the Joneses when the Joneses were Neanderthals.
We’ve come a long way since those rather uncouth days. To think… not one of those caves – even the finest in the valley – came with a granite worktop… although admittedly the cooking surfaces were certainly constructed of natural material.
Over the years our attitude to food, and the cooking of that food, has improved immeasurably. We’ve cooked with copper, we’ve cooked with aluminium… we now even cook with microwaves. However, along with the practicalities of the whole business of sustenance, we are also interested in aesthetics – in the look of our kitchens – and how much more pleasurable it can be to prepare food for the family. That is why your own kitchen re-design has incorporated a gorgeous granite countertop. But now you have that surface, what ovenware might work best alongside granite, in terms of both these twin concerns of looks and practicality? Open up your own cupboards and you’ll no doubt find a range of materials – glass, stainless steel, earthenware. Which will work for you, in your new kitchen?
Well here is our guide to the pros and cons of three common materials that you will find in kitchen shops, to help you choose the perfect ovenware that will, in turn, provide the perfect end note to your kitchen redesign:
Stainless steel pots and pans
Ubiquitous across homes and more commercially-oriented kitchens, stainless steel is an extremely durable material for pots and pans. It also looks very modern, and having whole sets, perhaps even hanging from hooks, can create a great look for your kitchen. Other benefits are also on the practical side – it’s easy to clean, won’t rust and you can use it on the hob or in the oven. It’s not always great for evenly cooking food, but is definitely one to think about.
Glass – stylish in the kitchen
Elegant… stylish… glass is a material that also joins the dots between the needs of practically on the one hand, and a great look on the other. In terms of practicalities – glass absorbs heat much better than metal so you can keep the heat lower and still cook the food throughout. As a natural material it also works better with the alkalines and acids you find in some ingredients. In terms of looks… well it looks great, but on the negative side, you’ll find some glass can’t go directly on the hob. And of course, being glass, it is susceptible to breakages.
Silicone – the latest ovenware material
Silicone is quite a new kid on the block, in terms of a material for ovenware. Again, like glass it can’t go on the hob, but only in the oven; however on the upside, it doesn’t release toxins, even when heated to very high temperatures, and it can also transfer from the oven to the fridge quicker than more conventional material. And this makes it a perfect choice for flexible ovenware, and cooking designed purely for the oven.
So, some food for thought, before you make your decision and proceed to the actual thought of food. Each material has pluses and minuses, but the best advice is to marry the considerations of form and function. And finally… whatever you choose, it must, of course, look perfect set against your granite work surface.