Monday, October 21, 2013

Cooking: Different Materials of Cooking Utensils (Plastic vs Wooden vs Metallic)

For me, each type has good use. Currently, my preference is with the metallic cooking utensils because I am starting to get used to cooking with stainless steel. Overall, I use each kind differently (although I do not personally own wooden utensils).

I first started with plastic. Plastic is great because they are much cheaper. For me, cheap is a great place to start. Also, they work for the most part with either stainless steel or non-stick pans. They are thin enough for cooking any generic dishes. Especially cooking for 1-2 people, plastic has served me well for several years. Plastic is very easy to clean.

The drawback to plastic is once you start cooking high volume dishes in a single pot or cooking heavier foods, plastic bends too easily. The worst is when I'm cooking a lot of fried rice. The spatula would bend, then flip up a lot of food when I am not careful and in a hurry to cook. Another drawback is that plastic can melt if you are not careful where you place the utensils. I have not had this problem, but I have seen some warped utensils in other kitchens.

Wooden utensils are great in that they can be used with pans of any material. They are also stronger than plastic so can be used for any type of cooking. Wood does not melt so runs a lower risk of damage, although they can burn. They do not heat up so typically safe to the touch.

The drawback to wood is that they are not very thin. This makes it harder to flip foods or get smaller scraps of food. Wood takes a little more care when cleaning and could mold if left in liquids.

Metallic utensils are great in that they are thin and strong. Metallic is very easy to clean.

The drawback to metallic is that they cannot be used with non-stick or at least should be avoided. They can easily scratch non-stick pans. Once non-stick pans are damaged, I've been told that it is not recommended to reuse those pans. Depending on the utensil and its design, you should be careful touching metallic utensils especially if they are left in hot pans for any extended period of time.

There are other materials out there that I have not tried. They appear to be better but I can barely be called a cook or chef so I make do with what I have. The types of utensils I use are the generic ones that you can find anywhere. There appears to be new designs where you can get "wood" that are also flat at the edge.