By Ardith Stephanson
The global pandemic of 2020 had an impact on everyone.
Many of those effects are truly negative, but some impacts may actually be positive.
If you’ve been in quarantine or lockdown, that’s meant lots of meals at home, and perhaps a new joy for home cooking. Maybe it’s meant you have more time to spend preparing and cooking delicious meals, and more time together as a family, sharing those meals.
And even if you’re soon able to get out and about more, visiting your favourite restaurants and cafes, maybe you want to hold on to those home cooking lessons. After all, dining out isn’t something you’re likely to do each evening, so you need to balance your newfound “freedom” with some good old home cooking every now and then.
Whether you’re an experienced cook with a reinvigorated passion or a rookie chef who learned a lot, and learned to love to cook, you need the right cookware to be successful.
But how do you choose the right cookware? You start by considering the most important components in quality cookware, and what cookware will last through all your cooking adventures. There are some criteria that should be met before you deem cookware as one suitable for any cooking endeavour.
Let’s take a look at that criteria as we explore the only cookware every home cook needs post-quarantine.
Whether you just started cooking during quarantine or you’ve been cooking for years, there are likely some cooking styles that you prefer over others. Maybe you like Italian cuisine with lots of pasta; or perhaps you prefer comfort food like stews and soups.
But just because you cook a certain style most of the time, does that mean you’ll never try anything new? Of course not. Perhaps your colleague shared a great recipe for Asian cuisine, or it’s summer and you prefer steak over stew, or maybe you want to try your hand at baking bread on the weekend. And there are those cooks who like to try different cooking styles on a regular basis.
There’s also a chance that you usually cook for two people, but the end of quarantine means you want to cook for a big group, and have all your friends and family over.
You might think you have to spend a lot of money on multiple cookware items, and then fill your kitchen cupboards with a different kind of cookware to accomplish all of the above. And what if you rarely use one of those items? It’s a waste of money and space.
In reality, you don’t have to buy many different kinds of cookware to accomplish 80% of your cooking goals.
Not exactly the same as versatility, cookware that’s flexible is also important. By this we mean the ability to use your cookware all over, even traveling with it.
Just imagine the excitement of being able to go camping again post-quarantine. But you’d like to take that new chilli recipe with you to cook on the campfire. Or maybe you have some breakfast ideas including a one-pan bacon and eggs skillet cooked over a morning fire.
That’s when it would be ideal to have cookware that can be used on an open fire, or in a BBQ. It should also be able to go from stovetop to oven, and be suitable for gas, electric or induction stoves.
Even if you have a variety of cookware, wouldn’t it be perfect if you could take just one item camping, one that could handle every meal you want to prepare? And then you can take it back home and use it on the grill, and indoors in the oven. Not every cookware is durable enough to handle this kind of cooking flexibility.
It goes without saying that you want a quality product when you buy a new piece of cookware, and that doesn't have to mean the highest price tag. But what exactly is meant by “high quality”?
Here are the key components of a high quality cookware item:
- The ability to retain heat: If you want to cook stews and soups in the winter or baked beans and chilli on your summer camping trip, you need cookware that distributes heat evenly throughout the dish, and then retains that heat, even once you take it out of the oven or off the fire.
- Non-stick properties: While most cookware these days is non-stick, it isn’t always the ideal coating that creates it. Teflon is an example, since it contains man-made chemicals and there is the risk those may be released into food or the air while you cook. Some non-stick coatings wear off with use, either making them no longer non-stick, or worse, releasing the chemicals as the coating wears off. A natural non-stick coating is best.
- Durability: Quality cookware should last, eliminating the need to buy a new one every few months. The right type of cookware, made with the right material, and maintained properly, could last you a lifetime.
- Easy to Clean and Maintain: You want to spend your time cooking, not cleaning. While all cookware has to be cleaned, if you can find one that’s easy to clean and maintain, you’ll use it more, and it will last longer.
And The Verdict Is...
Now that you understand the most important criteria for choosing a quality cookware item, you’re probably wondering: what’s the verdict? What can accomplish all of this at a reasonable price? What cookware can meet 80% of your cooking needs, while not taking up 80% of your kitchen space?
What is the only cookware every home cook needs post quarantine?
The answer is a pre-seasoned 5.2 litre cast iron double Dutch oven from Fresh Australian Kitchen. The Dutch oven and its lid, which doubles as a frying pan, will be able to handle everything you want to cook, and in any locale.
It fits the key criteria:
✅ Versatility: can be used for so many different dishes and cooking styles - use it to sear, fry, bake, grill, broil, braise and sauté. Use the pot with a lid or use the lid as a skillet.
✅ Flexibility: can be used indoors and outdoors, including in ovens and on stove tops, with gas, electric and induction, and on barbecues and campfires.
✅ High Quality: retains heat, is non-stick, durable enough to last a lifetime, and is easy to clean and maintain.
As well, Fresh Australian Kitchen ensures the Dutch oven and its lid are both pre-seasoned and ready to cook straight from the box. It’s one of several cast iron items sold by Fresh Australian Kitchen, including different sized skillets and griddles.
But the Dutch oven set is one of the most popular cookware pieces, since it’s actually two items in one. You’ll get the 5.2L Dutch oven and a lid that’s also a 25-inch skillet, making it easily the best one piece of cookware that every home cook needs, during and after quarantine.
Click here to get your Dutch Oven today
Ardith Stephanson has spent over 30 years as a journalist, writer and communications professional, and now focuses exclusively on her freelance writing business. You can follow her personal blog theardizan.com