Cooking with copper

Stephen’s batterie de cuisine

VFC

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“I was hesitant about buying tin-lined cookware…”

VFC says: This guest post is written and photographed by reader Stephen W.

I started buying copper pots and pans for cooking in 1998 when I started buying online from a merchant in Normandy, France and then from Dehillerin. Almost all these pans were 2.5mm steel-lined copper from the Cuprinox line and were priced much less than from sellers here in the USA.

I was hesitant about buying tin-lined cookware due to tin’s relatively low melting point but I did get a 32cm tin lined stewpan as this size was not offered in the Cuprinox line. At this time I was also getting some Falk-Culinair pans when they were offered as try-me pieces or advertised in their scratch-and-dent sales as prices for these were significantly discounted.

My interest in vintage commercial-grade copperware was actually sparked much earlier when I saw the 1978 film “Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?“. This dark comedy had scenes showing large copper pots and pans being used in restaurants in England, France and Italy. Although I saw that movie long ago, I just recently started to collect vintage copper.

Most of my pans are displayed on shelving located in the kitchen.

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

Left to right, here are a 34cm Matfer saucepan, 30cm Jacquotot saucepan, and a 28cm Chomette Favor saucepan.

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

Here are three Jacquotot/Mauviel saucepans and behind them a 50cm Gaillard rondeau.

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

Here is a 46cm Gaillard rondeau.

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

Here is a 36cm Dehillerin daubière.

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

The stainless steel lined pieces from Mauviel, Bourgeat and Falk are shelved in a kitchen closet along with a Mauviel 32cm tin-lined stewpan and rondeau. The two roasting pans are from the solid copper steel-lined Cuprinox line which Mauviel no longer offers.

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

This brass Jacquotot plaque was once affixed to one of the iceboxes they offered in their catalog.

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

Stephen's batterie de cuisine

And overlooking all this is a vintage copper-colored Kit-Cat clock. 🙂


VFC says: Stephen, thank you so much for giving us a look at your marvelous collection! It’s so interesting to me to see a mature batterie de cuisine like yours because it shows me how you integrate copper with other types of cookware. I think copper is the most adaptable cooking material there is but I also recognize specific roles for which other materials provide the best performance. Your collection includes copper, stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron, anodized aluminum, and ceramic pieces, and it’s instructive to see how you have integrated them into a well-functioning whole under the benign gaze of Mr. Kit-Cat.

I also love how you’ve mixed in mementos — I see potholders and photographs, and is that a souvenir menu? And of course the Dehillerin apron! It is with some embarrassment that I admit that despite a few tourist visits to Paris over the years, I have not yet been to the Dehillerin store! 

I use that same type of industrial steel shelving as well and it’s great for heavy copper. I discovered that the US-based Container Store offers transparent plastic shelf liners pre-cut for this type of shelving (“Metro” and “InterMetro” in their nomenclature). The liners are smooth and semi-rigid, which makes it easier for me to slide heavy pieces on and off the shelf without scratching the base.

Thank you again for taking the time to photograph and describe your collection! As above, this has not just been a chance to enjoy your lovely copper but also a learning opportunity. I am certain other readers appreciate it as well!

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3 Comments

  1. Your collection is beautiful and very functional! I really like how your cookware is organized, accessible, and on display in your kitchen! You also have really amazing pieces that glow from sunlight that shines through your large kitchen window (I envy your natural light!). How lovely! What a great share!

  2. Thank you for the kind comments. Yes VFC, that is a menu from the Chefs de France restaurant in Disneyworld where I have eaten several times. The dinners were delicious with outstanding desserts!

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