Monday, April 11, 2011

These should never see a landfill. Never!

Note steam sealing lip on decades-old Lifetime cookware.
My wife just inherited some stainless steel cookware: Lifetime brand.

I took one look at this stuff and told her, "This cookware is better than your Paderno." My wife disagreed. Her stainless steel cookware is marketed as "Paderno: Pots for eternity." She pointed out that this stuff only promises to last a lifetime.

Whatever, the point is that both companies made promises they could keep; Stainless steel pots can last indefinitely. The only thing that can immediately shorten the life of a stainless steel pot is extreme heat. Twist the heat control to max on your range and you run the risk of overheating your pot. If our stove's maximum element setting was half of what it is now, I'd be happy; And our pots would be happy.

With all the talk of green, let's hear it for well-make stainless steel pots. Buy 'em once and use 'em thousands of times. Take care of 'em and hand 'em down from generation to generation. And if the next generation doesn't want 'em, sell 'em. I figure the full set that my wife inherited would fetch at least a hundred dollars if she decided to sell. (She gave them to a friend.)

Lifetime cookware was originally made by West Bend out of Wisconsin. The West Bend company was known for quality and so it is not surprise that the Lifetime brand originated with them. Today the cookware is still being made in the United States but now it is Regal making the famous West Bend, Wisconsin, line.

So what makes the Lifetime so good. The weight, the multi-ply construction, the quality of stainless steel and the design --- the heavy lids sit in a groove to trap steam. Their handles are their weakness. Paderno handles are stainless steel and spot welded to the pots and lids. On the plus side for Lifetime, the handles are still readily available for even these decades old pots. Still, I like the durability of the Paderno solution.

So what is the best cookware? Neither. Try Teknika by Silga out of Italy. This stuff is carried by David Mellor Design. (I got an email from a chap in British Columbia who also carries the Silga line. Here is a link to his Tuscan Kitchen in Victoria, BC.) This is beautiful cookware built for professional cooks. Heavy, high quality, stainless steel construction, multi-ply bottoms, fashionable stainless steel handles spot-welded to never loosen, and steam-sealing lid rims. Perfect.

My wife and I own one and it the best. One of her favorite chicken dishes, is started over a stove top element and moved to the oven to finish. When done, the pot always cleans up very easily. Although I do finish with a dab of stainless steel cleaner. I like the added shine.

The thing is, with just a little care, there is no reason for any of these products to ever end up in a landfill. (Our Paderno is now approaching three decades of constant use.)

We have a Teknika frying pan; It is a fave with expert cooks using our kitchen.


  1. That Teknika stuff looks very much like The Bay's top-of-the line Governor's Table cookware that Penny and I bought right after we got married. In daily use for 30-odd years, it's still as good as the day we bought it. In the pots-and-pans biz, quality pays for itself.

    1. I have a set of Governor's Table cookware. I wish they still made it as, my Daughter now an adult, needs something durable, easy to clean, environmentally friendly AND fairly light, with the multi-ply base. Governor's Table are all this and more. I don't want to give mine up! I have been trying to find something similar. I don't even know where to start!
      My Mum had Revere ware with a copper bottom and Bakelite handles, she got them as a wedding gift when she was 23. She is now 80 and still has them!

  2. We still have Governor's table as well, except for the 3 L pot. It developed a huge blister on the bottom when the plies separated. It was replaced with Paderno, which is a good buy when on sale, and that's at least twice a year.

  3. The above are just a sampling of the comments I've received. It's nice to know that some stuff doesn't end up in a landfill. Why can't more stuff be made to last?

  4. We bought a Silga casserole and a saute pan from David Mellor's shop at Hathersage, Derbyshire, about 10 years ago. They still look and perform like new. Superb construction, perfect diffusion of heat and easy to clean. I'm a keen cook and they are the best utensils in the kitchen. Expensive, but worth it.

    Bob, Near Leeds

  5. Have loved my governors table set for nearly 25 years. Disappointed that when the handle rivets gave out, The Bay wouldn't honour the "25" year warranty.

  6. So Governor's Select isn't made anymore? I have a double boiler & the "nob" came off the lid so I would love to find a new lid. Should have been screwed on!!

  7. For those interested, we sell the Teknika line by Silga (their top line) in Victoria, BC at The Tuscan Kitchen and on thetuscankitchen.com. It really is the best cookware available. (Forgive me if I"m out of line promoting my store, but I think we're the only people in North American to consistently sell it.)

  8. Hi i have a Govenor's Table fry pan that is a copper stainless steel tri-ply bottom and mine did get too hot.... turned the inside surface where one frys food to blue.... is the fry pan still useable?

  9. Overheat a stainless steel pot and the once cold-silver shine will turn blue. It may come off with an application of Bar Keepers Friend (https://www.barkeepersfriend.com/) or another strong stainless steel cleaner but it may be stained blue forever. Not to worry. The permanently stained pot is still safe to use. I have a pasta pot that both the external pot and the inside strainer have been overheated. I have used them in this condition for years. No problem.