Top 10: pots and pans (of all kinds)

September 21, 2023 — by Beverly Xu
Graphic by Amy Luo
The pancakes that my mini bear-pan aspires to mold and the Instant pot that never lets my food get cold—which one is better? I think that’s an Instant answer…
Cast your lots and clutch your pots — it’s time to rank these pans and fill these slots.

10. Stockpot

A giant pot that’s only good for stewing giant things — like oversized batches of pasta, pumpkins and real foot-long carrots that haven’t been sheared down with a “baby” tacked on in front to fool an entire generation of children into envisioning fields full of perfectly cylindrical infantile carrots. Somehow, it manages to take up an entire two shelves all on its own.

9. Nonstick frying pan

It guest features five times in every Tasty video, but in reality, it’s really only nonstick for a week. Once it loses its sheen — it’s just a frying pan that taxes me 50% of each egg I fry. 

8. A bear-shaped mini pancake-pan

In theory it’s the beary best; but in reality, it’s im-paw-ssible to use: the pan is so sticky that the bear shape gets lost in the pancake, and maybe it’s just my sub-paw cooking skills, but the pancakes always turn out more black than brown. 

7. A cast iron pan

The pros are that it keeps in heat, you don’t need to wash it and you can bake food in it. The cons are that it’s heavy, it burns anything it touches and the handle is always flaming hot. But at least, if a burglar climbs through your window, you’ve got a terrifying weapon.

6. A pan-orama

Each time I see a scenic 360-degree view and want to capture it, I pull out my phone, swipe over to the panorama mode, and record the sight using my camera. And without fail, the result is underwhelming — it is useful only if you want to take a bunch of connected photos all at once and does nothing to combat my crappy camera quality. 

5.  Saucepan

A well-rounded pan for sautéing, boiling and steaming. Although its small size leads it to frequently boil over, it heats up quickly, leaves space for other pots and pans on the stovetop, and is a versatile pot for beginner cooks (said from the perspective of one). Nevertheless, it’s kind of basic: not saucy enough to live up to its name.

4.  Instant Pot

This is the brand of pressure cookers that takes the pressure of timing away. You can prepare oatmeal to finish cooking the next morning, soft boil eggs in two minutes or simmer a pot of beans to absolute mush in record time. Unfortunately, my Instant Pot setup includes a fire alarm directly overhead, so when my impatience drives me to open the steam valve prematurely, alarm bells literally go ringing.

3. A wok

With its sharply angled sides and iron material, the range of temperatures is so large in one pan that you can produce innumerable combinations of flavors. This simple, rounded-tipped, conical pan can work wonders on literally anything. Even though my cooking skills are definitely still a wok in progress, this pan makes up for many of my culinary shortcomings.

2. Pot-stickers

Crispy and crunchy on the bottom, soft on the top and savory and juicy on the inside, pot-stickers are the best use for a non-stick pan. But if you think that Costco pot-stickers are the epitome of pan-fried dumplings, don’t even talk to me. Those thick-skinned MSG packets are an insult to the fine art of pot-stickers.

1. Peter Pan

He can fly, he can wrestle alligators and he can show you the world — oops, wrong Disney trope. But he is the embodiment of careless childhood fantasies, something that Saratoga High students can only vicariously live out through fairy tales.

Tags: food, pott
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