Steel pans to make your heart race

Can raw steel be sexy? You’ve got to wonder. The answer came to me, oddly, as I was wondering about something else entirely, but you’ll be relieved to know that the answer is “You betcha!” Or more correctly: “Mais Oui! Naturellement!” And nothing quite so naturellement as De Buyer’s Mineral 99% pure iron (pur fer) pans.

This stuff has all the brooding sinewy masculine sexiness of a tightly coiled French chef who eats girders for breakfast. Think Marco Pierre White* in his heyday, before all that butter (beurre) settled on his waistline (équateur) and the salt (sel) in his stockcubes (Knorr) hardened his arteries, thus raising his blood pressure and making him cross most of the time. Or has he always been like that?

Anyway, the point is that Mineral pans may look like one bit of metal riveted to another bit of metal (which indeed they are), but they are so much more than that. In a saturated cookware marketplace where clever technology falls over itself in desperate competition to make one frypan stand out from the next, the very simplicity of this product has an entrancingly sophisticated glamour.

Although I do take issue with things that call themselves ‘99% pure’. It’s like ‘99% fat free’. That means there’s still a whole 1% – a statistically measurable amount – that’s not pure, or is fat. What is the 1% not iron in Mineral? Sweat from the brow of the muscle-bound, sultry-eyed, tousle-haired Gallic blacksmith who made it? But I’m splitting hairs while wandering off into a harmless rêverie

The real charm of the Mineral pans is that they are uncoated and untreated, so they aren’t smothered with any of the nasty nonstick chemicals that burn through the ozone layer and/or erode your stomach lining every time you accidentally chargrill your Sunday fry-up. You can get them really really hot without causing any damage either to them or to the broader environment. Of course, you might inadvertently take the skin off your hands if you haven’t got a decent oven glove, but at least the pan’s still OK.

Searing, sealing, browning and giving you an acute sense of professional cheffiness are what Mineral pans do superbly well. And – here’s the icing on the gâteau – the more you use them, the less you wash them up, the more cheffy you and the pan become, naturellement.

* NB De Buyer pans are made in France. Marco Pierre White is not. He’s from Yorkshire.

Posted: 02-Sep-11



What a fab article - I look forward to more.

By Valerie on 15-Oct-11

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