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Cookware Doctor

Cookware Doctor

By Sara Dahmen
Cookware Doctor brings you expert answers to your cookware questions. Host Sara Dahmen, author of "Copper Iron and Clay: A Smith's Journey" and the only female coppersmith building copper cookware in America, talks about what you're cooking on and why it works, supplying you with enough foodie trivia for your next dinner party and more riveting (pun intended!) information you never knew you wanted. Submit your burning (ha!) questions at
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Currently playing episode

Episode 4: What's Your Handle Made Of?

Cookware Doctor

Episode 25: Copper as a Contact Killer
What does it mean that copper is a "contact killer" or that the metal is anti bacterial / anti viral? Host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen discusses the molecular properties, interaction with oxygen, and copper's special systems that destroy bacteria and viruses within a matter of hours - all backed up by scientific studies you can read yourself! To submit your own questions on cookware, visit
June 01, 2022
Episode 24: Patching Tin Linings on Copper Pots
Ever wonder if you can patch a hole in your tin lining by "spot tinning"? What are the possibilities, pros, and cons to do so? Host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen goes over the basics on how you might be just like those housewives back in the day, who bought little packets of "tin" to fix their own tin linings on the fly. To submit your own questions on cookware, visit
May 17, 2022
Episode 23: The 3 Kinds of Cookware Iron
Cookware typically uses grey iron, ductile iron, and cast steel (in the old days there was wrought iron from blacksmiths, but that time is pretty much gone for mass production of cookware). Host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen discusses the three main kinds of iron, how their graphite structures work, why you use them in different types of cookware or parts of cookware, and what to look for to fill out your batterie and why. To submit your own questions on cookware, visit
May 07, 2022
Episode 22: What is a Tinsmith Convergence?
If you wish to meet other tinsmiths or coppersmiths, get hands-on experience, crash courses in building cookware, and the history of cookware making, consider learning what a convergence is, how to attend, and what to expect. To submit your own questions on cookware, visit
April 30, 2022
Episode 21: Apprenticeships: What they mean today
Host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen talks about how she found her apprenticeship, the misconceptions of today’s society about what an apprenticeship should look like, and how these hands-on experiences can shape and save dying arts and trades today. To submit your own questions on cookware, visit
April 26, 2022
Episode 20: Seasoning Stainless Cookware - How it Works
While everyone is aware cast iron cookware should be well-seasoned, the information about how to season and properly use stainless cookware is less known, even though many of us have stainless cookware. Host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen addresses the how and why you will season your stainless and how to care for it afterward. To submit your own questions on cookware, visit
April 18, 2022
Episode 19: Polishing and Cleaning Copper Cookware
There are several different methods to cleaning and polishing copper cookware exteriors. From the natural method, to chemical, to mechanical, host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen walks you through all the possibilities. Whether your cookware is new or super oxidized, the answers for shining up those beauties is all here! To submit your own questions on cookware, visit
April 12, 2022
Episode 18: Bake in Copper: Cookies, Pizza and More
Ever wonder if copper works as a baking surface? Is it better or worse or different from other types of baking sheets out there? Join host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen as she discusses the pros, cons, tips, and tricks to using tin lined copper as a baking tool in your kitchen. To submit your own questions on cookware, visit
April 02, 2022
Episode 17: Cooking in Copper with Tomatoes and Acids
If you wonder if copper cookware (especially tin-lined) can hold up to acidic foods, tomatoes, or, heck, even be good for baking lasagna, here's a discussion on how and why you'd be using copper cookware, safety, and care in the face of these meals. Join host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen for some foodie tips, cooking hacks, and FYI's when it comes to copper. To submit your own questions, visit
March 11, 2022
Episode 16: Discussing Copper Cookware Handle Types
Host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen discusses the different types of handles found on copper cookware, what it can signify in terms of age and dating cookware, and the pros and cons of the multiple metals used. Don't forget to head over to to submit your own burning cookware questions!
March 05, 2022
Episode 15: The Four Kinds of Cookware Seams
Vintage cookware was hand-built for centuries (OK, it's still done!) and there are four seams that make up the trade - butt, lap, crimp and cramp. Coppersmith Sara Dahmen discusses the strengths and merits and creation of each type, how it pertains to smith work and the history of your cookware. You'll know a bunch of inner trade secrets after listening to this one! Don't forget to head over to to submit your own burning cookware questions!
February 18, 2022
Episode 14: Copper Cookware's Riveting Rivets and Why They Matter
They're a small thing, and a tiny part of cookware building, but rivets really matter! The science of what rivets to use, why they work the way they do, and what it takes to replace and restore them is all stuffed into this episode with coppersmith Sara Dahmen.  For other episodes, or to ask your own questions for the cookware doctor, visit and submit them!
February 11, 2022
Episode 13: Copper Cookware Tin Lining Troubles, Tips and Use
Hello after a hiatus (I'm blaming the pandemic!)! This first episode of 2022 covers copper cookware tin linings. They come off fragile and precious, but they're not.  Coppersmith and host Sara Dahmen chats about how "magic tin" is not a thing, how melting a tin lining during cooking happens and why, and more.  For other episodes, or to ask your own questions for the cookware doctor, visit and submit them!
February 05, 2022
Episode 12: All About Saucepans with Vertical or Horizontal Handles
This episode we answer more listener questions and discuss why some vintage copper sauce pans have handles that are vertical and some are horizontal. What was the purpose of this discrepancy, and how can that help you identify, use, and discover vintage copper cookware? Also, what about lids? Why are so many missing? What kind were used? Plus, coppersmith and host Sara Dahmen discusses a bit about working in the shop and building small lids for tea kettles and how everything is basically a constant big question: how do we fix cookware?! For more or to ask your own questions for the cookware doctor, visit and submit them!
March 24, 2021
Episode 11: Is My Copper Pot Fixable & What's a Tinker's Dam?
This episode host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen tackles the question she gets on a daily basis: is my copper pot fixable? The answer, as always, is a little bit complicated, but in the end, it's an either/or decision that is easily figured out by anyone who owns, finds, or salvages copper cookware. To finish up with some super fun smithing trivia, Sara gives the background and story about the phrase "it's not worth a tinker's dam". And as always, if you have any of your own burning cooking, cookware, or smithing questions, pop over to and submit them!
March 08, 2021
Episode 10: How to Use Copper Moulds
Answering some questions again about copper moulds! From soufflé to canele, and all the decorative ones in between, host and coppersmith Sara Dahmen discusses the ins and outs of the moulds typically used for baking and sweets, as well as discusses the most traditional way to use them. This chat dovetails nicely into a brief segue into bees and beekeeping! Don't forget to submit your own burning (ha!) questions about cookware at !
February 21, 2021
Episode 9: What's a Bail? Plus Revereware and Lots of History!
Covering some questions sent in: what's the thing that swings from hinges on a pot? And what's the deal with Revereware - is it still made? Can it be dated? How is it linked to Paul Revere? Our host, coppersmith Sara Dahmen, answers all the burning (ha!) questions, plus delivers lots of fascinating and long-lost knowledge about how smiths of all kinds (whitesmiths to tinsmiths and more!) used to work together in centuries past until colonial times. Just think of the amazing trivia you'll have for your next dinner party! Visit to send in your own questions about copper and cooking, and get them answered by the cookware doc, too.
February 08, 2021
Episode 8: Is Vintage Copper is Food Safe or Restorable and How to DIY
If you inherit or purchase copper cookware and are uncertain if it’s usable, food-safe, needing retinning, repairs or restoration, this is the episode for you. Sara, coppersmith and host, discusses questions from a listener about dirty cookware interiors, and whether you can use copper cleaner or when to make a decision about professional help in restoration. Sara also offers some at-home remedies regarding the cleaning of your cookware at home with some tricks and tips using everyday common kitchen products. To submit your burning (ha!) questions about cookware, visit and you'll get featured on the show! * I'm two weeks behind on posting this; the world has been a little upended lately, eh? Happy 2021!
January 18, 2021
Episode 7: Tinning Copper Cookware and Unusual Shapes
Diving into more questions from listeners, Episode 7 discusses what "flux" is in regards to copper cookware - the different types available to smiths now, and what is considered all-natural and vintage as well as modern flux (hint: it's great trivia that includes pine trees!). I also discuss one of the more unusual shapes I've come across in cookware restoration lately, which inspires many fantasies about what has been cooked in a piece made in the 1700s! Don't forget to stop by to submit your own cookware questions and get them answered here on Cookware Doctor!
December 21, 2020
Episode 6: Enameled Cast Iron & Cooking with Tomatoes
Is cast iron safe for cooking tomatoes? What about enameled ironware? Why do people often say you should only cook certain things in cast iron, enameled iron, and tin-lined copper? Want to know the "real" rules? Guess what - they are less strict and less complicated than you may realize! This episode is filled with answers to questions submitted by you - the listeners! - and you can submit your questions, too! Visit to send them over.
December 06, 2020
Episode 5: Tips to Determine the Age of your Copper Pot
Have a burning question on whether your copper pot is vintage, new, or super old? Host Sara gives you an overview of some pretty obvious ways--and some lesser known tricks--to determine the average age of your copper cookware. From handles to seamwork, there's some great ways to figure out how old your piece is just by looking at it! Don't forget to submit your own cookware questions (and you'll be notified when it airs!) at
November 22, 2020
Episode 4: What's Your Handle Made Of?
I can't believe I named this episode as a prepositional phrase! But it's the most concise question: what's your cookware handle made of? Cast iron or wrought iron? Stainless and aluminum and copper handles are pretty easy to identify, but if you have a piece of old cookware, how can you identify if it's blacksmith made or cast in a foundry? Listen on for all the tricks and tips to learning the details of your handles! And don't forget, you can submit your own cookware questions by visiting and clicking on Podcast - I'll let you know when I answer your burning (pun intended) questions about your cooking tools, pots, and pans.
November 09, 2020
Episode 3: The 3 Types of Cookware Rivets
This episode is all about...rivets! That's right - the tiny pieces that make it all come together are far more intricate and important for a variety of reasons - and are also one of the reasons cookware can fail or handles get loose or cookware bodies get deformed. If you want to know how rivets make your cookware work, or why your handle is wobbly, listen in to this *riveting* episode!
October 26, 2020
Episode 2: Identifying Iron Cookware Plus Smoke Rings!
Welcome to episode 2 of Cookware Doctor! Diving into iron cookware this week! We identify the ways iron - wrought and cast - is used in cookware, both vintage and modern pieces. Plus some discussion on the differences in the kinds of iron processes, spending some time on bails and where hand-crafted ironware is used and why blacksmiths don't work in cast iron. And a bit of trivia: "forge" is a word used three different ways in metalsmithing! And even more - what is a smoke ring on a cast iron skillet and how was it used in the 1800s? Submit your cookware conundrums and questions for future episodes here:
October 06, 2020
Episode 1: Windsor Copper & Fry Pan Fixes
Welcome to episode 1 of Cookware Doctor!  On our first podcast, I'm discussing why the Windsor copper pot design is one of my favorites. We also dive into why you should NOT grill grilled cheese sandwiches in a tin-lined copper skillet, how it ruins and why. Bottom line: the words "sear" "fry" and "grill" should never be used in the same sentence as tin-lined copper unless it's also with "I ruined it when I...". Join in the discussion about cooking and cookware mishaps and fixes!
September 18, 2020