Question: What should I be aware of when shopping for copper pots and pans? What about tin lining versus stainless steel lining?

Before copper pot manufacturers in France had the technology to line pots with nickel or stainless steel, they used tin. Tin was simple and cheap to do in France. In fact, itinerant artisans still travel from one restaurant to another, relining pans on the spot. Some experts claim the transfer of heat through copper to stainless steel is not as direct as with tin, therefore making the pan less sensitive to variations of temperature. This is a minor point when considering how difficult it is for Americans to get pans relined.

Stainless steel is tougher, it rarely wears out, while tin is softer and wears out relatively quickly.

But the most important thing is to purchase copper pans that are 3 millimeters thick for best heat conduction, and that have iron handles (brass handles become dangerously hot). Don't settle for less.


Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.