AskDefine | Define utensil

Dictionary Definition

utensil n : an implement for practical use (especially in a household)

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

  • /juˈtɛnsəl/ (US)

Noun

utensil (utensils)
  1. an instrument or device for domestic use, in the kitchen.
  2. a small hand tool or material handling implement specialized for specific types of processing such as is used in the kitchen or a laboratory.

Translations

Extensive Definition

''"Saucepan" redirects here. In Australia "the Saucepan" is sometimes used as an unofficial name for part of the constellation of Pavo, when finding the south by the stars. "Caldero" redirects here. For the geological term, see Caldera. "Pans" redirects here. For the mythological half-animals, see Pan (mythology).''
Cookware and bakeware are types of food preparation containers commonly found in the kitchen. Cookware comprises cooking vessels, such as saucepans and frying pans, intended for use on a stove or range cooktop. Bakeware comprises cooking vessels intended for use inside an oven. Some utensils are both cookware and bakeware.

History

The history of cooking vessels before the development of pottery is minimal due to the limited archaeological evidence. It has been possible to extrapolate likely developments based on methods used by latter peoples. Among the first of the techniques believed to be used by stone age civilizations were improvements to basic roasting. In addition to exposing food to direct heat from either an open fire or hot embers it is possible to cover the food with clay or large leaves before roasting to preserve moisture in the cooked result. Examples of similar techniques are still in use in many modern cuisines.
Of greater difficulty was finding a method to boil water. For people without access to natural heated water sources, such as hot springs, heated stones could be placed in a water-filled vessel to raise its temperature (for example, a leaf-lined pit or the stomach from animals killed by hunters.). In many locations the shells of turtles or large mollusks provided a source for waterproof cooking vessels. Bamboo tubes sealed at the end with clay would have provided a usable container in Asia, while the inhabitants of the Tehuacan Valley began carving large stone bowls that were permanently set into a hearth as early as 7000 BC.
According to Frank Hamilton Cushing native American cooking baskets used by the Zuni (Zuñi) developed from mesh casings woven to stabilize gourd water vessels. He reported witnessing cooking basket use by Havasupai in 1881. Roasting baskets covered with clay would be filled with wood coals and the product to be roasted. When the thus hardened clay separated from the basket, it would become a usable clay roasting pan in itself. This indicates a steady progression from use of woven gourd casings to waterproof cooking baskets to pottery. Other than in many other cultures, native Americans used and still use the heat source inside the cookware. Cooking baskets are filled with hot stones and roasting pans with wood coals.
The development of pottery allowed for the creation of fireproof cooking vessels in a variety of shapes and sizes. Coating the earthenware with some type of plant gum, and later ceramic glazes, converted the porous container into a waterproof vessel. The earthenware cookware could then be suspended over a fire through use of a tripod or other apparatus, or even be placed directly into a low fire or coal bed as in the case of the pipkin. Ceramics (including stoneware and glass) conduct poorly, however, so ceramic pots must cook over relatively low heats and over long periods of time (most modern ceramic pots will crack if used on the stovetop, and are only intended for the oven). Even after metal pots have come into widespread use, earthenware pots are still preferred among the less well-off, globally, due to their low production cost.
The development of bronze and iron metalworking skills allowed for cookware made from metal to be manufactured, although adoption of the new cookware was slow due to the much higher cost. After the development of metal cookware there was little new development in cookware, with the standard Medieval kitchen utilizing a cauldron and a shallow earthenware pan for most cooking tasks with a spit employed for roasting.
By the 17th century, it was common for a western kitchen to contain a number of skillets, baking pans, a kettle, and several pots along with a variety of pot hooks, and trivets. In the American colonies, these items would commonly be produced by a local blacksmith from iron while brass or copper vessels were common in Europe and Asia. Improvements in metallurgy during the 19th and 20th centuries allowed for pots and pans from metals such as steel, stainless steel and aluminum to be economically produced.
Sheet aluminium is spun or stamped into form. Due to the softness of the metal it is commonly alloyed with magnesium, copper, or bronze to increase its strength. Sheet aluminum is commonly used for baking sheets, pie plate, and cake or muffin pans. Stockpots, steamers, pasta pots, and even skillets are also available from sheet aluminum.
Nonstick coatings tend to degrade over time, and require vigilant care and attention. In order to preserve the nonstick coating of a pan, it is important never to use metal implements in the pan while cooking, or harsh scouring pads or chemical abrasives when cleaning. There has been controversy surrounding the use of Teflon and Silverstone, as the decomposition products that they produce at high temperatures can be toxic. More recent tests show that this decomposition only occurs at temperatures beyond those attained during cooking.

Non-metallic cookware

Non-metallic cookware can be used in both conventional and microwave ovens. Non-metallic cookware typically can't be used on the stovetop, but some kinds of ceramic cookware, for example Corningware, are an exception.

Types of cookware and bakeware

The size and shape of a cooking vessel is typically determined by how it will be used. Cooking vessels are typically referred to as "pots" and "pans," but there is great variation in their actual shapes. Most cooking vessels are roughly cylindrical.

Cookware

  • Braising pans and roasting pans (also known as braisers and roasters) are large, wide and shallow, to provide space to cook a roast (chicken, beef, or pork). They typically have two loop or tab handles, and may have a cover. Roasters are usually made of heavy gauge metal so that they may be used safely on a cooktop following roasting in an oven. Unlike most other cooking vessels, roasters are usually oblong or oval. There is no sharp boundary between braisers and roasters - the same pan, with or without a cover, can be used for both functions. In Europe a clay roaster (called :sv:Lergryta/:de:Römertopf/:sl:Rimski lonec) is still popular because it allows roasting without adding grease or liquids. This helps preserve flavor and nutrients. Having to soak the pot in water for 15 min. before use is a notable drawback.
  • Casserole pans (for making casseroles) resemble roasters and dutch ovens, and many recipes can be used interchangeably between them. Depending on their material, casseroles can be used in the oven or on the stovetop. Casseroles are commonly made of glazed ceramics or pyrex.
  • Dutch ovens are heavy, relatively deep pots with a heavy lid, designed to re-create oven conditions on the stovetop (or campfire). They can be used for stews, braised meats, soups, and a large variety of other dishes that benefit from low heat, slow cooking. Dutch ovens are typically made from cast iron, and are measured by volume.
  • Frying pans, frypans, or skillets provide a large flat heating surface and shallow sides, and are best for pan frying. Frypans with a gentle, rolling slope are sometimes called omelette pans. Grill pans are frypans that are ribbed, to let fat drain away from the food being cooked. Frypans and grill pans are generally measured by diameter (20–30 cm).
  • Griddles are flat plates of metal used for frying, grilling, and making pan breads (such as pancakes, injera, tortillas, chapatis, and crepes). Traditional iron griddles are circular, with a semicircular hoop fixed to opposite edges of the plate and rising above it to form a central handle. Rectangular griddles that cover two stove burners are now also common, as are griddles that have a ribbed area that can be used like a grill pan. Some have multiple square metal grooves enabling the contents to have a defined pattern, similar to a waffle maker. Like frypans, round griddles are generally measured by diameter (20–30 cm).
  • In Scotland, griddles are referred to as girdles. In some Spanish speaking countries, a similar pan is referred to as a comal. Crepe pans are similar to griddles, but are usually smaller, and made of a thinner metal.
  • Both griddles and frypans can be found in electric versions. These may be permanently attached to a heat source, similar to a hot plate.
  • Saucepans (or just "pots") are vessels with vertical sides about the same height as their diameter, used for simmering or boiling. Saucepans generally have one long handle. Larger pots of the same shape generally have two handles close to the sides of the pot (so they can be lifted with both hands), and are called sauce-pots or soup pots (3–12 liters). Saucepans and saucepots are measured by volume (usually 1–8 L). While saucepots often resemble Dutch ovens in shape, they do not have the same heat capacity characteristics.
  • Ironically, the saucepan is not the ideal vessel to use for making sauces. It is more efficient to use saucepans with sloping sides, called Windsor pans, or saucepans with rounded sides, called sauciers. These provide quicker evaporation than straight sided pans, and make it easier to stir a sauce while reducing.
  • Sauté pans, used for sauteing, have a large surface area, like a frypan, but with vertical sides to prevent food from escaping during cooking.
  • Stockpots are large pots with sides at least as tall as their diameter. This allows stock to simmer for extended periods of time without reducing too much. Stockpots are typically measured in volume (6-36 L). Stock pots come in a large variety of sizes to meet any need from cooking for a family to preparing food for a banquet. A specific type of stockpot exists for lobsters, and an all-metal stockpot usually called a caldero is used in hispanic cultures to make rice.
  • Woks are wide, roughly bowl-shaped vessels with one or two handles at or near the rim. This shape allows a small pool of cooking oil in the center of the wok to be heated to a high heat using relatively little fuel, while the outer areas of the wok are used to keep food warm after it has been fried in the oil. In the Western world, woks are typically used only for stir-frying, but they can actually be used for anything from steaming to deep frying.

Bakeware

Bakeware is designed for use in the oven (for baking), and encompasses a variety of different styles of baking pans as cake pans, pie pans, and loaf pans.
  • Cake pans include square pans, round pans, and speciality pans such as angel food cake pans and springform pans often used for baking cheesecake.
  • Pie pans are flat-bottomed flare-sided pans specifically designed for baking pies.

List of cookware and bakeware

Footnotes

References

  • The Cooks' Catalogue
  • Food in History
  • The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook and Guide to Kitchenware
utensil in Belarusian: Гаршчок
utensil in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Гаршчок
utensil in German: Kochgeschirr
utensil in Spanish: Pote
utensil in French: Poêle (cuisine)
utensil in Hebrew: סיר בישול
utensil in Dutch: Pan (voorwerp)
utensil in Japanese: 鍋

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1