When I cook stuff in my skillet, the stuff in the middle gets cooked too much and the stuff near the edge gets cooked not enough. I blame the edge depth of the skillet for acting as a heat sink.
I wonder if I were to make something out of denim that could be a sort of skillet scarf .... I could fill it with cotton balls. My understanding is that cotton doesn't burn well. I think heat mitts are made out of cotton. So if I made this thick, it would offer a fair amount of insulation around the edge.
Would there be much risk of fire?
what are you trying to cook? always use a larger skillet and burn area then your food. the sides of the skillet seem to act as radiators cooling the edges and transfering the heat from the outer regions of the skillet. so you want to keep the edges as far from whatever it is you are trying to brown as you can. that is part of the reason I usually cook in my gigantic cast iron skillet. everyone made fun of me when I got it. (it was on my wedding registry) they kept teasing that I must be planning on have 15 kids to need a skillet that big. Bu tI knew what I was doing...
cotton will burn..it just won't melt..that is why elec co workers are required to wear cotton, it doesn't conduct electricity...so it is safer than synthetics..however..it will definately burn.
my guess is that you are not using your cooking faciities properly
I do think of this as a beginning for a bunch of other ideas. For example: phase 2 would be to put a lid on the pan and then throw something over the top of that. I suspect that one could then cook foods using 5 times less heat. Or - you might be able to cook foods faster because the heat doesn't just bleed off the top.
Just being a mad scientist i guess.
It sounds like cotton burns easier than I thought it did.
Hmmmm .... I guess I would like to find something fabric-ish that doesn't contain stuff that would give me concern near food.
BTW: this is a griswold cast iron skillet #10 on a flat top electric stove.
Consider attempting to cook on a rocket stove mass heater - it isn't really designed for cooking. In fact, it can only barely boil water. But if you were to insulate the pan or the tea kettle, would it work then? But it must be safe for higher heat.
Back to the electric range .... Suppose your mission is to cook rice, but it is a hot summer day. What if you got it boiling, turned off the heat and covered the whole thing with two inches of wool. I suspect that the rice would keep cooking and you would cut the heat to the house by 90% or so.
Consider the rocket cook stoves - they heat more efficiently by bringing the eat up the side of the pot - as well as heating the bottom. I wonder how much faster (or more efficiently) a pot could boil water on a glass top electric stove if it had two inches ofwool around the pot.
My mind is reeling with the possibilities.
But .... the first step .... safety. Will the wool ignite? Even if I don't try it, but just do the math.
This thing has a name, which I can't remember and can't find on the Internet.
It also totally envelops the pot--bottom, sides, top and all--so you definitely take the pot off the heat to use it.
I think where you're going with your ideas would perhaps work best bottomless, so that you can intensify and better retain the heat on the top and sides (like putting a towel on top of a crockpot) while perhaps still getting limited (?) heat at the bottom from a rocket stove.
And that's just talking about the eggs.
I bet I could do corn bread in the same skillet using much less energy than if I used the oven. I would just need a recipe for it.
And then work in all of the fun of the rocket mass heater - it doesn't get very hot - but suddenly it is plenty hot enough to fry eggs?
I do currently have a flat top electric range.
And I currently have a big bucket of curiosity.
And I'm constantly rolling bizarre ideas around in my head. Like how if you collect the methane from your own poop, you can provide 70% of your home energy needs. But with an umbrella style home, you might not need any heat. And heat is probably more than half of your energy needs. And the hot water sure takes a long time to get to some sinks. And hot water can be a third of home energy use. But watch out for legionnaire's disease. And I don't like the idea of routing methane all over the house - I would rather convert methane to electricity somewhere, possibly outside the house. And what about that instant hot water stuff done with electricity. If you have that, then you only need one cold pipe. Of course you would need electricity at the sinks and showers ... probably a lot. Would a methane generator be enough? And for frying eggs, that's probably even more electricity. What path do I want to travel in this space? Maybe the thing to do is to have a setup that can generate 50 amps of electricity on demand for stuff like an electric stove, but just use less of it.
But first ... will the wool help me to use less? Does it work?
I think the super fast cooking on demand energy usage machine you are talking about has already been invented. A microwave! just uplug it when you aren't using it. I know that is probably not what you are after though. but seriously. it cooks fast. doesn't waste energy heating the house (at least not nearly to the extent that a stove or oven does) you can put cotton in it (within reason). it gets a bad rap and I think it is frustrating that modern things are not utilized more when they do make sense and are a safe ingenious solution. just because it isn't super low tech doesnt' mean it is bad. of course I don't get too worked up about the hype trying to label microwave cooked food as dangerous.
paul wheaton wrote:
Why are you supposed to not can on them?
although I have no personal experience with them on canning forums I have read reports of people trying it anyway. no idea if it turned out. I have been told that canners are too heavy for the top and will crack them. and people have difficulty getting the canners up to temp. as well as that it might void your warranty.
A quick google turned up a supposed need for a completly flat bottomed pan on flat top cookstoves. so I just checked my canners. the wb canner doesn't have a flat bottom period. it has rings. the pressure canner has a flat surface where a burner would go. don't know if that counts or not.
I've always cooked on a gas stove. I like to see the flame. Electric stoves are more of a challenge for me in general.
This normally wouldn't be a problem, except modern homes are being built like ziplock bags these days.
The idea is that there ends up being three things. The first layer is a wool collar. It doesn't touch the heat, but is near it. The second is of the consistency of a cotton hot pad. The third is a bulky cotton cap.
This would be for my use. On an electric stove.
Would wool ignite on an electric burner?
not much different. in fact the sodium chloride gives off toxic fumes if heated to decomposition!!
I'm a fibre enthusiast myself, but I couldn't think of a solution that would be ideal and involve a natural fibre
paul wheaton wrote:
When I cook stuff in my skillet, the stuff in the middle gets cooked too much and the stuff near the edge gets cooked not enough.
paul wheaton wrote:
My impression is that a diffuser would do the opposite of what I'm trying to do.
If this is still an accurate account of your problem, than that is exactly what a heat diffuser is designed to correct. So how is it the opposite??
paul wheaton wrote:
My life is re-inventing crappy wheels.
Sometimes people can make crappy wheels even crappier.
One is get even cooking.
Another is to cook with less energy/heat.
Another is to cook and not have my kitchen get so hot.
Another is to explore cooking on a rocket mass heater - as opposed to a rocket stove.
Another is to possibly cook faster because the heat is not just on the bottom.
Another is that I think if I can figure this out and get it working well, there will be a whole bunch of other cool things on the other side.
Do worry about ceramic wool ingestion/inhalation. Long-term irritation wherever a fiber lodges can add up to a very bad thing. Non-flammable fibers, may I add, are also used as wicks, so they won't reduce the risk of a grease fire compared to cotton.
A cozy for slow-cooking is a great idea; consider using cork for the bottom, or pedestals of cork with batting in between.
For a design like yours, I would recommend building something out of reasonably-sturdy metal and maybe filling it with ashes or charred rice husks, perhaps perlite or vermiculite if you're sure it's asbestos-free. Stainless isn't very conductive for a metal, by the way; they actually add disks of mild steel and/or aluminum to the bottoms of stainless pans to help spread the heat.
I've seen old two-piece bundt pans at thrift stores, that may be a starting point. For the inner piece, you can maybe even form the metal directly against you pan.
Best of luck.
And - that is really interesting info about stainless steel.
I found this page: http://www.engineersedge.com/properties_of_metals.htm
The conductivity of copper is 231 and the conductivity of stainless steel is 8. Wow! Excellent!
Suddenly the idea of playing with stainless steel sounds like the way to go. Excellent!