October 15, 2007

Please Follow Directions

West Bend Aluminum Co. began marketing Flavo-Seal, a line of waterless cookware, in 1932. Recipes and Instructions for Waterless Cooking (1947, 22 pp.) was an instruction and recipe book for their Flavo-Seal de Luxe Aluminum Ware.

The booklet describes the virtues and potential uses of the various pieces of the de Luxe line and gives a few recipes suitable for each individual utensil. The utensils addressed are the One Quart Sauce Pan, Two Quart Sauce Pan, Three and Four Quart Sauce Pans, 10- Inch Covered Skillet, Griddle-Broiler-Server, Dutch Oven Roaster and the French Fryer Insert.

One of the major selling features of the de Luxe line was its heavy weight. It's mentioned a lot.

"The above illustrates clearly the difference between triple-thick aluminum and the ordinary aluminum cooking utensils. This heavy, armor-weight with thick walls and thick flat bottom distributes the heat evenly and quickly. It also prevents burning of food."
In the section for the 10 Inch Covered skillet is the special advice on how to prevent warping:

"Never apply excessive heat to the utensil -- follow directions as given above. After taking cooked food from the hot utensil, never put cold water directly into it until the utensil has cooled to room temperature. If it is necessary to place water in pan after cooking, use hot water only."
On page 22 instructions are found in regards to Care and Cleaning. For those who neglected to follow the advice given on page 13 in regards to warping the following helpful advice is given:

"Place flat wood block on bottom of utensil, either outside or inside depending on way the pan is warped (see sketch below). Then use hammer to restore original flat bottom."

This advice may provide the explanation of the often-seen rounded dings in the bottoms of old aluminum skillets. Some folks probably didn't use the wooden block as directed.

Edited to Add: What is Waterless Cooking?

Waterless cooking is a method of food preparation which cooks foods in their own natural juices and moisture, with little or no added water. This method cooks rapidly at lower temperatures and retains more of the original minerals, vitamins and nourishing elements. It causes the simple foods to be more appetizing and palatable--more of the natural flavor, color and firmness is retained. Food shrinkage is minimal. The lids of the cookware are designed so that they form a seal when the natural juices begin to evaporate and no liquid escapes.

The cookware can be used for boiling, stove-top roasting, pan-frying, oven roasting, for cooking frozen foods, in place of a double boiler and for poaching. In most cases, modern waterless cookware is made from stainless steel rather than aluminum.

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At 7:31 AM CDT, Blogger T.W. Barritt said...

I've heard the term "waterless cooking" and must admit I'm somewhat in the dark about it. I'm guessing from your post that it was a strange term developed for searing, frying and roasting meats?

At 8:20 AM CDT, Blogger Kathy said...

I guess I didn't explain what waterless cooking actually was--I have edited the post to describe it. Many people believe this method is a much healthier way of cooking and that it's also more energy efficient.

At 4:59 PM CDT, Blogger RochelleR said...

This reminded me of a Guardian Service Recipes booklet I have. I got it out and Googled it to find out about Guardian Service. I was dismayed to find out the booklet was worth atleast $10.00. I had found it interesting when I got it and read it, in the process the cover fell off. Oh well. There is a lot of Guardian Service still in use, I suppose the same is true with the West Bend. I guess "heavy" lasts.


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