Pots and pans make the most essential part of your cookware. There are lots of various types available for each particular cooking method or a few different methods.
Skillet/frying pan has a flat bottom with short sides that are flared or sloped, which makes it easier to toss and turn food with a spatula. The pan is usually made of a responsive to heat material such as lined copper, stainless steel with a copper or aluminum core, anodized aluminum or cast iron. Non-stick surface is also popular in such pans. They are available in different sizes and generally come with a cover.
Roasting pan is usually of a rectangular shape with low sides allowing the heat from the oven to expose the entire surface of the meat. Roasting pan is generally used with a rack to prevent the meat from sitting in its own juices and stewing instead of browning. The pans are available made of different materials including stainless steel, aluminum with non-stick surface, clay and granite.
Saucepan is a round pot with high straight sides and a flat bottom, can be used for several purposes, such as cooking soup, stewing vegetables, making sauces. There are a few styles to suit special purposes. A saucepan known as a Windsor has sides that flare out and another known as a saucier has sides that are rounded. There are also different sizes and materials of saucepans. Most of them have a snug fitting cover.
Stir-fry pan is a round, deep pan that may have straight sides with a slightly rounded base or more commonly a round base that slopes out and upward. Sizes and handle length can vary to match the cooking process. Heat is evenly distributed across the base while the sloping sides make it easier to stir and turn the ingredients.
Wok is a bowl shaped version of stir-fry pan, best for quick cooking food over high heat. It is available with rounded or flat bottom. Some varieties of woks have one long handle, some have two short handles and others have a long handle on one side and a short one on the opposite side. The materials used are carbon steel, cast iron, and metals with non-stick coating.
Stockpot is a deep, tall, straight-sided pot with two big, loop handles. It is used for simmering large amount of liquid, such as stock, soup and stews, but also works well for thick soups, chili and for boiling pasta. Sometimes comes along with pasta insert – made of stainless steel perforated insert that fits inside a stockpot and acts as a colander for draining pasta.
Grill pan is a heavy metal pan that consists of ridges spaced evenly across the bottom, that closely simulate the grilling process when cooking various meats and foods. Can be with shallow sides or with deeper sides similar to a frying pan. Many grill pans are made of cast iron and are available in different shapes and sizes.
Double boiler consists of two pans – one inside of the other. The bottom pan contains hot water and the top pan holds the ingredients that are being cooked. Generally used for making delicate sauces that have a tendency to separate if cooked on direct heat. Double boilers can be made of stainless steel, enameled steel, glass and aluminum.
Fondue pot is a type of cookware that consists of a pot with a heat source such as a portable cooking fuel or an electrical heating element placed directly below the pot that is used for a food preparation process known as fondues (“fondue” is a French term meaning “to melt”). The heat source melts or fully warms the contents (usually cheese, chocolate, wine or other ingredients) so that food can be dipped into the pot and either cooked or coated with its contents and eaten as an appetizer or part of a meal.