From the East Bay Express:
“Don’t get me wrong,” she warns. “The wok will always be used in Chinese restaurants. But there has been a huge movement in the United States [toward] nonstick-coated cookware, which I find really appalling because the more you cook in a wok, the more it naturally becomes nonstick. Yet most people are intimidated by the wok because they don’t understand the principles of seasoning” — a process that is traditionally called “opening” the wok — “and then keeping a pan for years. I also find it really sad to see that that old-world wok cooking tradition is not being passed on.”
I’ve seen this firsthand, and in fact, it’s been a flash point between my wife and me, a couple of times. I bought a good, sturdy carbon-steel(?) wok about five years ago, and I did everything the right way… I seasoned it when I got it, I clean it, but I don’t scrub it hard (as to not remove the seasoning), I oil it, and I never let it sit wet. I mean, it’s not too different from how you handle a cast iron skillet.
Regardless, she complains about the wok all the time. “It’s too heavy”, “It’s so gross looking”, “Ohmigod, you have to really scrub that thing when you’re done with it”, etc. When I printed a copy of this article for her today, she talked about how food sticks to my wok. Well, it wouldn’t, and didn’t used to, if it weren’t for the fact that any “seasoning” I’d accumulated in the bottom of the wok has since been scrubbed away.
She’s convinced that we need to trash “that dirty, ugly thing” and get a lightweight, teflon coated thing. And the thought of that just makes me shudder.
Is my wok heavy? Sure it is. Does it look disgusting? Well, it’s pretty ugly, to tell the truth… but it my mind, those things are qualities, not, detractions. I have a few nice, stainless steel pans, and I am really enjoying the collection of Henckels knives, and certainly, these things get cleaned well, as they are meant to be. Likewise, I like to treat the wok appropriately, too.
Anyway, just an interesting article, I thought.