You may think that the whole world has access to the same, good cookware but I am about to open your eyes. There are a few cooking products that Americans excel at producing; Kitchen Aid mixers and outdoor grills come to mind. But for sheer cooking excellence, turn to the Swiss and German-manufactured products. Here is a short list of items that you might like to try and why they are superior.
Pots and pans
In the US, top of the line seems to be Farberware, Calphalon and Revere, which are all decent products. The problem is, at some point in our history, it became a mark of quality to have rivets on the inside surface of the pan. This is simply not necessary. It’s hard to clean and is a great place for micro-organisms to hide. German and Swiss pans don’t have these rivets. Additionally, their pans are beautiful. Most of them will work with flat cook tops, too, meaning their bottom surface is very flat.
- WMF - a German manufacturer making pans with the patented Cromargon 18/10 stainless steel. The surface is smooth and can be scrubbed, not pampered. Pans cost between $70 and $150 apiece.
- Swiss Diamond - claims to have a patented non-stick surface much tougher than Teflon. They have no rivets and cost between $70 and $150 each.
German pressure cookers are more highly developed than their American counterparts. They have two or more pressures, or temperatures that you can cook food at, which is good for tender vegetables. If the pressure goes higher, they have an automatic steam release, to lower the temperature to your choosing. They also have a safety latch, so that you cannot open them before the pressure is down, and their valves are easier to clean. Manufacturers that can be found for sale in the US are:
All toasters do the same thing and it’s hard to know what you are getting before plugging them in. What toasters sold in Europe have that we don’t is a little thing called a croissant or “Brötchen” rack. This rack sits on top of the toaster and you can re-warm your breakfast rolls without putting them in an oven. Ingenious! The only one I found so far in the US was the DeLongi #DTT900.
KnivesAfter buying all manner of cheap knives I have to say that Zwilling J.A. Henckels from Solingen, Germany is just the best at keeping an edge, and how they are weighted. Don’t buy the cheapest, go medium to top of the line. The good news is, you really only need two knives for a whole kitchen.
For automatic drip coffee makers I don’t feel the Germans are out in front. That is because they are outsourcing the small machines and without German workmanship, you might as well buy anything. My Krups coffee maker and grinder are both disappointing. One couldn’t decide whether to work or overflow, the other spews coffee grounds all over the counter top. Plus, the programming is not intuitive. Nicely lighted, blue displays, though.
Automatic Espresso machines are another story. Spend enough money and buy a machine made in Switzerland or Germany, which iclude models from Bosch, Miele, Jura A.G., or Solis. If you love strong coffee, this may be your ultimate investment. Some of them will even come built into your kitchen cabinet.