Is cookware (not Cookware) in the Doldrums?

Am I imagining it, or has the art of cookware design and marketing gone to sleep recently? I see no new technologies being trumpeted, no stellar adaptations being touted, no better mousetraps. My sense is this applies to cookware, smallwares, cutlery, basically everything culinary.

Do Onions agree? If you disagree, I’d like to learn what advances have been made (other than some new Far East knife company plugging for a postiche esoteric steel at basement prices).

Mostly agree. The only progress I see comes from the Chinese–and it’s not just kitchen knives from Yangjiang–while others are sitting on their laurals–and raising prices–if they even have something to sell.

Ray

This may be due to the pandemic… engineers can’t easily work from home unless they have garage labs. Manufacturers face shipping delays on both materials and finished products, and workers quit, or catch Covid. Even if they DID produce and ship new designs, many brick and mortar stores closed. People didn’t shop as recreation, and MANY people without disposable income lost their jobs. Not having new kitchen toys is a quintessentially First World problem.

Hi Erica,

You’re certainly right about the supply chain problems–merchants couldn’t get product to sell. But failure to innovate in cookware goes back before Covid 19. The Kai Shun Fuji I just got for my birthday won a technology award in 2011–and Shun was winning regularly for the next six or seven years. But, it’s been so long since they’ve innovated, my Fuji almost appears like a new introduction.

Ray

Consider Ovente infrared: neither induction nor traditional hotpads:

I’ve got one–I’ll give you a report

Ray

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Infrared units like that are not new- I gave one to a friend of mine 15 years ago. She was very happy with it; her kitchen was torn out at the time. Better than the traditional dorm hotplate , and it works on all cookware.

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It was new to me, Meekah–and I just used mine for the first time to warm up some beans in a single serve Le Creuset pan with a footprint that won’t work on induction.

Got any suggestions?

Ray

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I just Goidwilled an induction capable pan (with strong magnet attraction on all surfaces) that didn’t work on any burner my induction rage -my suggestion- if you want to keep your pan, use your infrared burner.

Hi Meekah,

My entire batterie was purchased for my induction units–and they are work perfectly. It’s the pieces with a very small silhouette that require something else. I just replaced a different two burner electric unit with the infrared–and don’t expect to use it much.

Both Kaleo and I are still looking for something new . . . .

Ray

I have a couple of Tramontina aluminum non-stick pans that are induction compatible (some form of magnetic disk fused to the bottom) and they work great.

Really great!

It depends on what you mean by recently. In my view the following are recent:

Immersion circulators.

Instant pots.

Le Creuset’s new pot for bread.

Blenders that heat food.

Ceramic nonstick cookware.

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So do I - aluminum nonstick with an induction disk on the bottom. They work great. This piece was clad. Don’t know why it wouldn’t work, but that’s someone else’s problem now.

I have noticed of late that most innovative things I try just point me back to doing things using old designs and technologies. Even my FP is a throwback to the Cuisinart I had in the '80s. My flirting with the IP led me back to things like daubieres, ceramic marmites, and stockpots. I have tried newer knives but prefer the stuff that has its roots in the mid-20th century. Of course new techniques and recipes are an altogether different thing!

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Much of cookware marketing relies upon hoping new cooks never learn what happened with culinary tools before they had a job.

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“I have noticed of late that most innovative things I try just point me back to doing things using old designs and technologies.“

I’m cut from the same cloth.

Not a Luddite, and not afraid to adopt new technology. Just find myself frequently choosing the best version ever (highest quality, heaviest duty, most durable, most powerful) of a given item, which sometimes turns out to be a much earlier version now discontinued in favor of a cheaper mass produced version.

Part of my affinity for thrifting is the hunt for older, better versions of kitchenware for cheaper. It’s not economical if you factor in the cost of your time. But if you ignore the time cost by considering thrifting a diversion or stress relief, then it can be worthwhile.

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Looking forward to a report. I have two Duxtop induction units and one Volrath Mirage Cadet. My smallest Graniteware pans (enameled steel, 4") do not work on the Volrath but do on the Duxtops. I’ve also had problems with a 4" cast iron skillet.

Also have one butane table top burner and - talk about old technology - a 2 burner Coleman camp stove(!), for extended power outages but don’t want to use them indoors.

I was interested in the Tramontina but couldn’t find it at any retailer locally. I use the Oumbarlig from IKEA. Bigger than I prefer - 9" vs 8" - but works well and cheaper than the Tramontina prices I saw online. At least it was last time I bought one.

Only in recent years have I converted payroll to automatic deposit, just this year converted to espresso, and largely work from hardcopy so I doubt I will ever use induction.

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Hi RD,

You’ll start playing with induction when you’re ready to have some fun in your kitchen.

It can be very mysterious.

Ray

I’m behind the curve on most nice things just like I have been with payroll, coffee, and working from physical documents…I am certainly behind the curve on induction too. But if mystery translates to fun then I already cook in an amusement park. :crazy_face:

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Sunday market in Ubud, Indonesia
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