Going hand in hand in success and popularity with microwave ovens is glass bakeware. During the last decade, these versatile cooking utensils have shown tremendous growth. Since metal pots and pans reflect microwave energy and could ruin the microwave unit, glass is ideal for this type of cooking.
Now, going beyond the ordinary benefits of glass in microwave, as well as conventional and convection baking, is the new non-stick Pyrex Clear Advantage bakeware from Corning Glass Works, N.Y.
True enough, when we tested these new dishes, our baked goods popped right out as if they were baked in a greased casserole. Cleanup, of course, was a zip, with no soaking needed. Called Invisi-Clean, the clear, non-stick coating functions like other non-stick coatings but is inherently smooth and non-porous and formulated differently to adhere to glass.
Is the product necessary?
'Marketing at Work'
According to Alan Donnelly, supervisor of consumer information for Corning, the product was conceived out of consumer need. He said, "It's basically marketing at work. We have found that when buying cookware, consumers ask these two things: First, 'Does the cookware have non-stick quality?' and secondly, 'Does it go in the microwave?' "
This bakeware can go from freezer to preheated oven to table. Sudden cooling (such as adding cold liquid to a hot dish), however, can cause breakage. Although a wonderful tool for microwave cooking, the dish also should never be used with the browning element or under a broiler.
There are other limitations with the non-stick glass bakeware. The product should not be washed in the dishwasher since the coating may become cloudy, and the non-stick quality could be affected after repeated dishwasher use. Instead, use warm, sudsy water to clean the dishes (never use any abrasive cleansers or scouring pads).
The coating should be protected from scratches. Avoid using metal utensils or sharp knives, and when nesting pieces for storage, place a paper towel between them. The manufacturer promises to replace any Pyrex Clear Advantage bakeware item that breaks from oven heat within two years from date of purchase. Scratching of the non-stick coating is not covered under this warranty, however.
The Pyrex Clear Advantage non-stick bakeware is available in two-quart, three-quart and four-quart oblong dishes, an eight-inch square dish, nine-inch pie plate, 1 1/2-quart loaf dish and two-quart covered casserole. The suggested retail price ranges from about $4.49 for the nine-inch pie plate to less than $13 for the four-quart oblong baking dish.
Other than conventional and microwave baking, a third role for glass bakeware has been revolutionized in Corning's Visions cookware line. Made of see-through Pyroceram-brand material, the amber-colored cookware line can actually be used on top of the stove.
According to Tarrie McBride, quality assurance supervisor for Crown Corning Glass Works in Los Angeles: "Visions is enjoying unbelievable success; people are getting back to (seeing) what's cooking inside." He said that the low-expansion glass is so strong and tempered that it is guaranteed by Crown Corning for 10 years against heat breakage.
Joining the existing line of covered saucepans, Dutch oven and skillet are the new 2 1/2-quart Visions Chicken Fryer ($20), the 1 1/2-pint graduated, lipped saucepan ($10) and an 11-piece cookware set ($80).
The covered chicken fryer has just the right width and depth to fry a good batch of chicken pieces. It also can be used for roasting, sauteing vegetables or braising other foods. Like other Visions pieces, the one-piece handle remains cool during range-top use.
Instant Sauce Making
Bless the little Visions saucepan for instant sauce making and reheating of small leftovers, particularly in compact microwave ovens. Its calibrated, lipped design makes it ideal for tidy mixing and pouring.
The largest combination of Visions cookware items, the 11-piece set consists of two covered saucepans, two covered skillets, a double boiler and a five-quart covered Dutch oven.
Aside from avoiding boil-overs, another great advantage to the glass cookware is the easy cleanup. The Visions line is dishwasher proof.
For best results with both types of Corning products, always follow manufacturer's instructions in care and usage.
The Pyrex Clear Advantage non-stick bakeware and the Visions cookware are both available in most department stores carrying any Corning line.