If your significant other spends hours per week watching ‘The Next Food Network Star” and other inspiring food channel shows and then acts out their inspiration of cooking grandeur, like mine, then this is the article for you. For you are deemed “The Executive Pot Scrubber”, the behind the scene support for your aspiring chef. It may not be glamorous, but someone’s got to do it.
To show your support and appreciation for the culinary delights you are being served, you probably take on the roles of food prep, souse chef, maître d’ and bus boy too. But there is no more daunting task than cleaning up after your self-proclaimed “Master Chef”. Beyond wiping the splatter off counters, walls and the stovetop, you are probably faced with greasy, stuck-on food on your best pots and pans.
Here are a few good tips to get your cookware and bakeware sparkling clean for the next time your Foodie decides to flex their spatula arm:
Cookware – cooking vessels like saucepans, frying pans and soup pots intended for use on the stovetop or range.
Non-stick – This is the easiest to clean of all cookware. Simply fill the sink with hot, soapy water and wash with a soft sponge. Most non-stick cookware is also dishwasher safe, whoot, whoot!!
Aluminum – Heat stains are a big problem with anodized aluminum cookware. But do not fret! Remove scorch stains by bringing a mixture of 1 qt. water and 2 tbsp of cream of tarter to a boil, turn the heat off and let it set for 15 minutes. Over the sink, use a nylon sponge to scrub off the discoloration both inside and out.
Stainless Steel – Although you can put your stainless steel in the dishwasher, it is not recommended because it will dull the finish, causing it to appear splotchy. It is recommended to wash in hot soapy water, then rinse in cool water to avoid spots. To brighten up a dull pot, use a vinegar-moistened cloth to polish it out.
Copper – Copper cookware is beautiful, but a pain in the arse to clean! You must wash in hot soapy water and avoid tarnish by thoroughly drying the pan after each wash. If tarnish does develop, you can mix a paste of lemon and table salt to buff out the discoloration.
Cast Iron – If you own cast iron, then you should already know that you must always take care to make sure it is well ‘seasoned’ or it will rust. A scrub with coarse salt and vegetable oil can take off any stuck-on food, make sure you do a good rinse, dry and re-season by wiping down the inside with vegetable oil.
Bakeware – Comprised of cooking vessels like cake or muffin pans, baking sheets and casserole dishes intended for use inside the oven.
Metal – My best tip for metal bakeware is to use tin foil or parchment paper – clean-up is a breeze, just toss it! If you insist on making things hard for yourself, then you can place these babies in the dishwasher, but make sure you do a full wipe-down to remove any moisture and prevent rust stains before you put it away.
Glass – Good news, all glass and glass-ceramic bakeware is dishwasher safe! My recommendation is to run it through the dishwasher first, then if you still have stuck on ick, let it soak in the sink overnight with hot, soapy water. In the morning, scrub it down with a nylon sponge, rinse and let air dry.
Silicone – Although the beauty of owning silicone bakeware is the non-stick properties, some of you may have sprayed your silicone for an extra measure. Bad idea! Cooking spray will bake-on leaving a yellow, sticky film. To clean: apply a baking soda/water paste in a heavy layer and let dry. Then wash in warm soapy water and repeat, as necessary.
Griddle – Sunday morning pancakes are what dreams are made of…cleaning up your electric non-stick griddle can be a nightmare. After the griddle has cooled, use paper towels to remove as much food stuffs as possible. Then use a nonabrasive sponge to clean the surface and any side spills. Completely dry the griddle before putting it away.
My best advice for those who live with someone with ‘Next Food Network Star’ dreams is to embrace and encourage it, enjoy your gourmet meal and then step into your role as Executive Pot Scrubber. Bon Appétit!