When you move out of one house and into another, things are bound to be misplaced. Or lost. Or simply forgotten. Recently I was at my mom’s looking for something else entirely in the basement cabinets when much to my dismay I found a stack of eight, count them EIGHT, heavy duty sheet pans. And there they are!! I shouted out loud even though no one was around.
Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I knew she had these sheet pans and I knew that we hadn’t seen them since the move a year and half ago. But the loss had not made it into consciousness yet. When I told Mom over the phone of the discovery, she too said, Well THERE they ARE! As though she had been looking for them for months on end.
These are technically half sheet pans with a 1-inch rim, and they are constructed with heavy aluminized steel. At Tante Marie’s there were tall stacks of them in each kitchen and they all got used, washed, and reused in constant rotation all day, every day. What I love about these sheet pans is that they are exceptionally solid; they don’t warp and bend and burn like the thinner, cheaper pans do. I’ve told all of my pans by now that if they can’t take the heat, they’re out.
Chicago Metallic makes an excellent pan, which is sold at Sur la Table along with their own high-quality Platinum Professional pans. Then there are the Goldtouch nonstick coated pans from Williams-Sonoma, which I love not just because I love Chuck Williams, but because they perform like nobody’s business. I have one each of the Goldtouch half sheet and quarter sheet pans and two cake pans, and they make for non-stick perfection when it comes browning evenly and to the right shade of golden. Even Cook’s Illustrated has rated them as a favorite.
The standard half sheet pan (a.k.a. jelly roll pan) and the quarter sheet pan are worthwhile investments. Every time I go for my thick, Goldtouch quarter sheet pan, I’m kind of thrilled that I have it for small jobs. The pans last for years, too. The large quantity of heavy pans my mother bought were for a baklawi bake-off she conducted for my brother’s wedding almost ten years ago, then she gave us each a pan to add to our collections. They are all scored with the markings of baklawa diamond cuts (what perfectly small pieces she cut!) and are none the worse for wear. It’s like a patina on the pans, a message that tells me these are pans that like to be put to good use, and for very important work indeed.