People have been throwing dinner parties for thousands of years from Roman banquets to Nordic feasts and these gatherings remain extremely popular. For the guests they are an opportunity to socialise, drink and be treated to a meal. For the host they are a great way to get friends and family round, to entertain them and to stun them with delicious dishes. Dinner parties vary in terms of formality from dos where gents are decked out in black ties and tuxedos and women in glamorous gowns, to simple informal gatherings at a friend's house where everyone takes a dish to contribute to the meal. Today with the transmission of programmes such as Come Dine With Me there is a big trend for throwing these soirees, but to do so properly you will need the right pots and pans – they may not seem that important but they really are.
The first pots and pans originated with the development of pottery some time prior to 20,000 BC. It is possible that other devices existed before this time but there is no archaeological evidence. The early pottery vessels were not able to hold water though, until that is, our ingenious ancestors realised that by glazing them with plant gum, and later ceramic coatings, it would make them watertight. From this point it was possible to use these earthenware pots to boil water. In the Iron and Bronze Ages metalworking developed to the point that people started using metal for cooking vessels. By the 17th century most western kitchens featured metal skillets, pots, pans and a kettle made from iron, brass or copper. Advances in the 20th century led to the use of steel, stainless steel and aluminium in pots and pans.
Today the range of pots and pans available is huge. There are numerous, shapes, sizes, colours and materials used including the following:
Aluminium – this material is popular for pot and pan sets and individual vessels as it has excellent, even heat distribution. Many often feature a Teflon non-stick lining so that your gourmet repast doesn't burn at the bottom.
Stainless steel – this is an iron alloy which is highly resistant to corrosion. Stainless steel pots and pans also don't react to alkaline or acidic foods.
Titanium – most pots and pans that claim to be made from titanium are actually aluminium, but strengthened by firing particles of titanium at high speeds at them to create a strong base, which then has a non-stick coating applied.
If you are preparing to throw a dinner party but you need to buy pots and pans beforehand, consider the virtues of the materials above, and invest in good quality equipment - whether the quality of the pots and pans is reflected in your cooking is up to you!
To browse a range of the finest pots and pans on the market have a look at the Procook website. Procook is the nation's largest specialist cookware retailer so has everything you could need to prepare for a delightful dinner party. To view the selection available visit www.procook.co.uk