Is this the most used pan in my kitchen? Almost. It's a little big for everyday use when I'm usually cooking for one or two, but I reach for it often and whenever I do, it brings a smile to my face. Read on for the story of my bargain basement Marco Pierre White copper skillet.
I'm not a fan of most food celebrities, especially the ego-driven drama queens who like to throw things and yell at people. And Marco Pierre White, a British chef perhaps most well known in the UK, wrote the book on how to be Super Ego Chef. Sure, he's passionate and that has its appeal, but when he starts getting all intense and smoldering, well, it's just too silly for me.
So when I spied this lovely stainless steel-lined copper skillet at a T.J.Maxx store a few years ago, I didn't buy it for the celebrity brand, which wasn't obviously displayed anyway. I bought it because it seemed like a damn good skillet. And at $39.99 the price was way too good to pass up, even though it meant I would have to lug it home in a suitcase.
• It heats evenly and quickly.
• The copper finish is brushed, which I prefer to shiny. I'm not the type of cook who keeps her copper polished and I really enjoy the wabi-sabi patina that has built up on the copper over the years.
• It's well-balanced and it's relatively easy to lift. Yes, its heavy but that's one of the reasons I bought it in the first place. The day will likely come, if I live long enough, that I won't be able to lift it with ease. Until then, I consider it a part of my workout.
• I really like the black handle, both for aesthetic as well as practical reasons. It's made of cast stainless steel and stays relatively cool to the touch.
• As I said, it's a little large for small-batch cooking but still, I am surprised at how often I use it.
• Marco Pierre White's signature is carved into the handle but you can barely see it, so it's not an issue.
The folks at T.J.Maxx listed it as retailing for $80 but when I went online to do some research, I found out that it actually sells for £80, which is closer to $125. Still, they discounted it at half-price from $80, so I paid only $39.99 plus tax. That smile that comes to my face whenever I use my favorite pan may also have something to do with getting such a good deal!
• Find it: MPW's Copper Skillet, £80 at Amazon.co.uk
Related: Help! Did I Ruin My Copper Pots?
(Image: Dana Velden)