Slowly but surely, I’ve been making my house into more of a home—which is a quainter way of saying, my mattress (finally) has a bed frame, the floating mid-century modern bookshelves are up, and my humble landlord-special kitchen is getting outfitted with cookware that’s actually going to last. No shade to all the free, fake Le Creuset pans I’ve stooped over the years from the streets of Brooklyn, but I’m 31 years old now and I would like to build a relationship with a skillet from first fry to last. When I saw Caraway’s nonstick fry pan, I thought, Now that’s the kind of pan my ancestors will fight over when I die.
Now, I’m pretty staunchly cast-iron. Cooking with my Lodge pans makes me feel like a cottagecore lord, and might even be improving my iron levels. But cast-iron is also kiiinda high-maintenance, and a lazy bones like myself doesn’t always want to a hardcore cardio scrub workout with steel wool (over, and over) until my re-seasoned Lodge trio sings. I’ve got bars to hop to/Renn Faires to see/a couch to stress-nap on.
My breaking point came the other day when I tried to fry an egg on a janky pan, and realized it was time to revisit the world of nonstick cookware. Truthfully, in some ways, it has always made me raise an eyebrow (what’s the nonstick secret??). I know this is hypocritical coming from someone with two bottles of Rush floating around her bag, but I just don’t want to be cooking my food on surfaces coated in weird chemicals. It’s sad and gross. But I also have learned that most of the nasty chemicals once found in nonstick pans have been banned in recent years, and nonstick is no longer a word meaning “Siri, Google ‘DuPont Teflon lawsuit.’” The best nonstick pans of today are, in fact, non-scary—although nice ones can be pricey. And if spending $95 on a forever-pan is going to get rid of that fear, then I’m down.
That’s where Caraway comes in. I’d seen the brand “around town” (aka the internet), and knew that it made a variety of pretty and practical cookware and bakeware that is built to perform, last, and look good doing it. Not only does the brand make impressive claims about its nontoxic ceramic-coated cookware, but they’re backed by its cult following; the signature fry pan has a 4.8-star average rating from over 34,200 reviews on the site, with reviewers praising everything from the sexy design to the easy clean-up.
With nothing but scrubbing to lose, and all the perfectly pan-fried tofu to gain, I decided to put one to the test to see if it could make me, an iron woman, into a slick nonstick convert.
What was rad
Damn, this fry pan ships fast. It also has a nice, expensive-feeling weight to it; not in a cumbersome way, but in a way that makes me feel like it was really crafted with care. It even came with its own cork trivet and dust bag—which is more than I can say for most of my shoes and jewelry, and an extensive pamphlet with specs on pan care and storage.
Caraway’s products are all safe for gas, electric, and induction stoves, and all free of PTFE (such as Teflon®), PFAs, lead, cadmium, nickel and other toxic metals that don’t sound like anything I want to lick. (Except, why does liquid mercury look so tasty? Not that it’s in Caraway’s stuff at all). The nonstick coating is made from a nontoxic mineral coating that releases up to 60% less CO2 in production than other nonstick products.
I decided to test my fry pan by making shakshuka, which is something I’ve really missed cooking from my strict Iron Throne. As an acid- and tomato-heavy dish, it’s really not ideal for cooking in a wonkily seasoned cast-iron pan, because it can strip the seasoning and leave your food with a metallic taste. Since Caraway’s fry pan is nonstick and deep enough to kind of poach an egg, I was hoping it would be perfect—and I was right.
I used no oil for this. NONE. It felt almost counterintuitive, but in order to push my pan to the extreme, I held off on the EVOO and waited for the worst. Lo and behold, the glory of watching my bell peppers, garlic, and eggs cook evenly was almost a religious experience. The next day, I recreated my shakshuka with my meager sauce leftovers, and got a little worried. Would my egg still semi-poach itself? Would it slide off, or stick with less sauce? Again, I used zero olive oil, and I was impressed by how easily the food slid onto my plate like a lubed-up, Olympic luge champion.
The second big test came during clean-up time. At the risk of sounding dramatic, this fry pan made me realize that I’ve been suffering in silence for years with hard-to-clean pans. It just doesn’t have to be that way—it really can be as easy as a few wipes with a barely soaped-up sponge. It’s 2022, mate—houses are being built in the Metaverse, and our cars might be powered by crabs soon. Is it really so much to ask that our skillets don’t stick? Caraway doesn’t think so.
What was tricky
Can you date a Caraway pan? No, you cannot (publicly). Bummer.
Alright, fine—I’m a convert to the nonstick cult of Caraway. I used to be very piously cast-iron, and while I appreciate my Lodge bbs, this particular fry pan from Caraway felt like a sigh of relief. It’s lightweight, easy to hold (and clean), and the non-stick coating is free of all the sus materials (PTFE, PFAs, lead, cadmium, nickel) that made me wary of other non-stick products in the first place. Above all, it truly acts like a slip ‘n slide for even your stickiest, most burn-prone meals.
I’m not a serious cook, but I cook enough that I want my fry pans to be long lasting, and versatile enough to sauté, fry, sear, and even boil everything from eggs to sauces. I also don’t have much storage space in my Brooklyn apartment, so Caraway’s multi-purpose, nonstick fry pan is a Marie Kondo-level miracle. With an ocean of aesthetic, Instagram-trendy cookware brands, Caraway is the pearl in the oyster.
The Nonstick Fry Pan is available for purchase at Caraway.
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