What Your Pans Are Trying To Tell You

What Your Pans Are Trying To Tell You

Chris Phillips
Apr 25, 2007

Picking the right size pan for the job makes all the difference. Too big and sauces will cook down too fast or burn. Too small and dinner bubbles over on to the bottom of the oven.

Recipes often specify the size of the pot or pan, in quarts or inches. Too often we busy cooks will muble "Close enough," grab a pot, and keep going. We can't always be bothered to shop chopping and stirring to measure pan. (And we don't always own just the right size pan for the job.)

We're feeling pretty silly about now. We first found this "12 inches" mark on the bottom of a Martha Stewart Everyday skillet a few weeks back, while measuring it with a ruler to make sure it wasn't too big for the pork chop recipe. Now we're noticing numbers and marks on other pots and pans.

There's a number on the bottom of most Le Creuset Dutch ovens ...

This number refers to the diameter of the pan in centimeters, as we learned from this Chowhound post.

Better yet, the inside of newer LeCreuset lids says how many US quarts the pot will hold. How did we make it all the way through Braising Week without talking about this? Maybe everyone else already knew?

Our Kitchen Aid frying pans have their sizes marked on the bottoms too, but the All-Clad's don't seem to. When pots don't have their size written on them, we're now reaching for this bench scraper, which also is marked in inches as a ruler, and taking the time to measure.

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