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You are watching: Out of the pot and into the frying pan

Co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode every two weeks.


From rainbow-hued enameled stew pots come lightweight nonstick frying pans, the metal and also ceramic vessels we usage to warm our food room such an everyday facet of the kitchen that they"re straightforward to take because that granted. However make no mistake: the creation of the pot was, after fire, one of the most important innovations in cooking. You"ll want to hug her favorite skillet ~ coming along with us ~ above this journey, which arrays from several of the faster clay pots ever discovered in what"s now the Sahara Desert, come the brother round-bellied cast-iron number the kickstarted the commercial Revolution, to a legal an obstacle in Ohio that raised the inquiry of Teflon"s health and environmental impact. Plus, can science assist us find the perfect pot or pan? hear in to discover out.

In our critical episode, we covered among the most essential innovations in person history: cooking food end fire. But, although food preparation may have actually made united state human, that is the invention of pots that made us into cooks. As bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork and frequent guest, explained: "Pots resulted in cuisine itself. Come me, it"s the great beginning the cookery." 10s of thousands of years ago, the development of pots carried with the life-changing benefits: an extensive cooking can slowly malfunction plants favor yams and cassava the would have actually otherwise been inedible; the process releases much more starches native foods and therefore much more calories; lengthy boiling kills harmful microbes and thus makes food safer; softened food favor grains might be fed to babies, enabling children to it is in weaned earlier and also leading come yet much more children and early populace growth; and finally, the capability to produce dishes the were cooking slowly and also indirectly, mingling plenty of different ingredients, do the business of eating a lot much more delicious.

The power hammer at Blu Skillet (left); Patrick Maher shaping the bowl of the pan by hand (right). Photos by Cynthia Graber.

But just how did we acquire from those earliest instances of clay cooking containers come the incredible variety of shapes, sizes, and also materials discovered in kitchen cabinets around the people today—and what stories can those pots and also pans tell end the years? In this episode, access time Blu Skillet in Seattle, Wash., to watch a carbon steel pan gift forged and also smithed by hand. Julie Dunne, a.k.a.
thepotlady, a biomolecular excavator at the university of Bristol, defines her exploration of the earliest known pots provided to chef vegetables. Metallurgist Richard Williams introduces united state to Abraham Darby, whose breakthrough in cast iron pot-making modern technology funded the R&D that brought about the commercial Revolution. Brown university epidemiologist David Savitz joins united state to talk about the concern of whether or not the chemicals affiliated in Teflon pans reason health issues. Finally, food scientific research guru Harold McGee, writer of On Food and also Cooking, helps us answer a seemingly impossible question: What renders the perfect pan? hear in now!

Patrick Maher shaping the handle for a Blu Skillet pan. Photograph by Cynthia Graber.

Episode Notes

Blu Skillet

Finished Blu Skillet pans. Picture by Cynthia Graber. Thanks to Patrick Maher and Caryn Badgett, who welcomed Cynthia right into Blu Skillet"s studio in Seattle"s Ballard community to clock a pan being made. Because that locals, Blu Skillet hosts studio sales twice a year; otherwise, if you"re in the sector for among their hand-made pans, you"ll have actually to try your luck in your monthly lottery. They"ve been selling out routinely ever due to the fact that this piece in Cook"s Illustrated ~ above carbon steel that featured your work.

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Bee Wilson"s Consider the Fork

Bee Wilson is a food writer and also author of Consider the Fork: A history of just how we Cook and also Eat, amongst other books. She"s a regular, having actually starred in our very an initial episode, "The gold Spoon," and "First Foods: learning to Eat." you can discover engineer chuck Lemme"s reflect on the appropriate pot in the 1988 Proceedings the the Oxford Symposium ~ above Food & Cookery.