Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Pan Handle - Get a Grip

One of the most overlooked aspects of cookware design is the handle.  Most cookware gearheads focus on the material and construction quality of the pan.  While these are certainly important, too much focus on these aspects leads one to buy matching multi-ply unobtainium luxury pans in a set from the local dept. store. There is no doubt that these pans are decent pans and in capable hands will get the job done, but All-Clad and the others often blow the most crucial detail, the handle.  The handle is the user interface of the pan, and a crappy user interface leads to a crappy user experience and outcome.  To the average person, the handle on the sauce pan above looks all wrong, but in point of fact, it is the best I have ever used.  The extreme angle of this pan's handle is probably it's most noticeable and important feature and you will appreciate it on a crowded stove.  Why? well, the angle keeps the business end of the handle cool and out of the way of adjacent pans.  The angle also makes "flipping" sautees easier and allows you to tip the pan to monitor the cooking without putting your face over a hot stove or burning your knuckles.  The slight U shaped cross section of the handle makes for a comfortable and stable grip.  At 6' 4" 200lb's, I am a pretty big guy, but even I at times have trouble lifting at tilting a heavy and full commercial pan with one hand and a spatula with the other.  This is where this design really shines, it's shape and angle allow you to grip the lowest part of the handle from the top (with a pot holder!), resting the length of the handle under your forearm cantilevering the weight of the heavy pan.  That is a trick that just isn't possible with most other designs.  Additionally, most foodies equate riveted handles with quality and durability, and most of the cookware heavy hitters use rivets to attach their handles.  In reality a welded handle is every bit as strong as it's riveted counterpart and has one advantage, it's more sanitary.   The microscopic crevices of the rivets provide a home for bacteria whereas the smooth internal surfaces of a pan with a welded handle is much easier to sanitize.  The only disadvantage of this style of handle is that it is more difficult to store.  I'm not sure this style of handle is French in origin, but I do notice it most on traditional French pans.  In case you are wondering, the pan above is a Sitram "Catering" line stainless commercial flared sauce pan made in France.


Post a Comment