The beautiful addition of the copper pot. More than a function of culinary skill, the copper pot provides a striking addition to the interiors of any kitchen…
Of the common metals, copper is said to provide the best thermal conductivity. The results of this thermal ingredient is even heating. A chef’s delight, indeed. Although copper is reactive with acidic foods, copper pots also are available with tin linings. Thick copper layers with thin layers of tin provide a barrier without the loss of beauty. Unlined copper, however, is still desirable in the preparation of meringues and foams. Perfection for a variety of cooking, for certain. It is no wonder that chef’s (and of course, the home gourmet) covet these beautiful objects in copper. Although considerably more expensive than other metals, the “non-aggressive” heating feature surpasses its expense to those of the culinary world. Copper pots and pans of adequate thickness are said to provide a more gentle handling of food. Not only does food cook faster, but the copper is said to respect the aromas and flavor of the foods more than with other metals, such as stainless steel. Uniform cooking in polished style, indeed.
History states that copper was the first metal to be mined and handcrafted. Since approximately 2000 B.C. copper crafting was widely practiced in Europe. A metal that was available in large quantities, Archaelogical excavations confirmed that the Iranians and Sumerians practiced the crafting, known as “Metallurgy”, with copper from the beginning of the Neolithic era. Trading routes that began after the Bronze age furthered the influence of “Metallurgy”. This skill eventually reached the Mediterranean coasts and the West, including Troy. In fact, Troy is said to have been pivotal in the history of the craft of “Metallurgy” as craftsmen, merchants and traders brought the influence of its appeal to Crete and the Mediterranean islands, such as Sicily and Sardina, and along the European coasts to Spain. Quite a far reaching influence in time these copper objects of lustrous gleam and function had!
The first copper works were crafted through a method termed “Embossing” (cutting, curving and hammering with a stone ‘stroker’ on a stone anvil and hammering the metal). Copper continued through history to be used mainly as household objects. Interestingly, the techniques used have remained almost unchanged over the centuries. The styles and shapes have improved with the evolution of style the copper vessels have endured. Lifestyle and function of use has a way of changing things in time. Indeed, the properties that were appreciated in ancient times are still valid today. Of interest, it is no wonder that Thomas Jefferson adored the gleaming copper saucepans and fish kettles paired with the skills of French Cookery. His affinity for the culinary benefits of these metallic objects of function is apparent in that in 1790 he shipped back from France over sixty pieces of copper for use in his kitchen in Monticello, Virginia. Let’s not forget the visual images of professional chef, Julia Child, behind her shiny pots of copper. Her wall of hanging copper pots and pans state the validity of this coveted culinary pot. Certainly, copper pots and pans have not lost their appeal throughout history. Copper is, indeed, a substance that has not lost its value in time….
Of key with copper is to follow two golden rules: copper pots are only to be utilized with wooden spoons to avoid damaging the copper (“Tinning”) and secondly, the use of low flame, due to the high heat power of copper. Who knew? Certainly easy rules to follow considering the value to be gained in the world of culinary endeavors…
Consider the elegance of shiny copper to grace your kitchen. Certainly these are pieces of sheen that are attractive enough to grace with panache any kitchen or tabletop in style. An investment, one piece at a time, perhaps. But an investment that will surely outlast the weight of its cost. Quality surpasses monetary expense over time. The beauty of form and function, indeed.