What's' the secret to using stainless pans to keep food from sticking, burning, and get them working best? Also how to clean the outside so they still shine.
It's the nature of stainless steel pans to stick. That's partly what makes them the first choice for certain preparations when you want caramelization or the Maillard reaction to brown the food and enrichen the flavors.
Of course, you can minimize the sticking by using more fat. Overall though, if you don't like the browning that is occurring when you cook in stainless steel, reach for a different tool -- a pan made from a different material.
Different tools lend themselves to different tasks. You don't use a screwdriver to pound nails.
I have pans made of stainless steel, enamelware, copper, carbon steel, aluminum with a non-stick coating, and cast iron. I look at what I'm going to make and decide what is the most appropriate tool for the job.
As for the upkeep, I periodically use Barkeepers Friend (based on oxalic acid). If you use a bleach-based powder cleaner like Comet, it will dull the finish.
One other point: quality cookware will burn less. One of the quality indicators is thick metal. A flimsy stainless steel pan will have a tendency to develop hot spots which lends to burning.
I'm not familiar with Paderno and you mention other pans without describing them.
In college I acquired some cheap Revereware pans that were thin and yes, they burned a lot. I don't have those pans anymore.
A good indicator of quality is a thick base. Thick metal helps diffuse the energy and there's less tendency to develop hot spots.
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