Pros: Cleans easily; dishwasher-safe; lighter than more traditional materials; safe for ovens, microwaves, stovetops, freezer, fridge, etc.
Cons: None, although I’d suggest buying a larger size (larger sizes are available)
Rating: 5 out of 5
First published 12/8/2005
Review item courtesy of Emile Henry and Jardina Communications
The Emile Henry Flame Top stew pot is a bit unusual. It’s made of a ceramic material that’s lighter than most such dishes, yet is still thick and heavy enough to retain heat as good-quality cookware should. What makes it truly different, however, is its versatility. You can use it in the oven–okay, not so unusual. You can also use it on the stovetop–any kind of stovetop–not bad. But you can even use it in the microwave, and that’s where things start to get surprising.
The Flame Top’s material is, in a nutshell, extremely tolerant of temperature fluctuations. Oven? No problem. Gas, halogen, or electric stove? Sure. Microwave, refrigerator, freezer–yes, freezer–you betcha! One thing that has confused me a little is that the promotional material states that the pot can be heated dry without damage, while the “manual” has the usual warning about never heating a dry pot. I’m guessing this disparity is due to the fact that the Flame Top will handle dry-heating with greater aplomb than most pots due to that temperature tolerance, but that like any pot it has its limits and is capable of being damaged–thus, although it’s likely to hold up better than other pots if you accidentally heat it dry for a while, you should probably try to avoid doing so just as you would with any other cookware.
One of the primary things about this cookware that pleases me is its microwavability. It’s tough to find good-quality microwavable cookware. Of course we do most of our cooking on the stove and in the oven so it isn’t a problem often, but now and then the lack of decent microwavable cookware does drive me mildly insane. This pot fills a great little niche there.
I would probably recommend buying a slightly larger size than the 1.9 qt pot I reviewed; you can’t fit a huge amount inside this thing. However, it does fit well in a small microwave oven and certainly works for many purposes.
The smooth surface of this pot comes clean easily in the dishwasher, and so far it has stood up to use quite well. The fact that it’s lighter than more traditional good-quality cookware is good for my hands, although I should stress that it’s lightER, not light.
If you’re looking for good-quality cookware that can be used anywhere at all in your kitchen, this is the ultimate solution. If you just don’t need that kind of versatility, then the Flame Top does still have some advantages over other cookware (not all cookware is dishwasher safe; some is heavier), but the differences aren’t quite as striking.