At the end of the touring season, it is our usual practice to pull everything out of the caravan lockers and clean and sort them. The lining on our frying pan was wearing through and some of our old knives were really showing their age. And our cutting boards had acquired some deep cuts, which can harbour disease-causing bacteria.
We were testing the Fiskars axe and sharpener at the time, and were impressed by the quality of these items. While on the Fiskars website, we noticed a frying pan designed especially for gas, as well as various knives, cutting boards and sharpeners, all of which looked interesting for use in the van. The cook’s knife comes with a blade protector, ideal to protect it from damage when the van is under way.
Fiskars is a very old and reputable Finnish company.
The instructions with the frying pan described, in good English, the best way to season the pan using either boiling water or oil. We followed the water method and lightly oiled the surface. The brochure politely suggests that the surface will last longer if the pan is hand-washed (not put in a dishwasher) and this is no problem in the van.
We heated the old and new pans beside each other on the two large gas rings: the Fiskars pan reached cooking temperature (which we judged by the smell of the oil in the pan) after a few seconds, much quicker than the other one. Because of the rapid conduction of heat from the gas flame, it was possible to cook more food at once than in the conventional pan, without the temperature dropping and the food stewing instead of frying.
Out of curiosity, we took the pan home and heated it on the ceramic cooktop along with the well-known brand pan we use at home. The Fiskars pan reached cooking temperature in half the time, although it’s not designed for electric hot plates. The stainless steel handles remained cool enough to handle.
The test we set for the Fiskars paring knife was one that none of our previous knives has passed: to peel and slice a picker’s bucket of fibrous green mangoes for chutney without re-sharpening. At the end of the bucket, it was still slicing very well and needed only a few strokes on the knife side of the Fiskars dual axe/knife sharpener to bring it back to scalpel sharpness. That word is used advisedly, as an accidental brush of the blade on a knuckle took a clean slice of skin. While we have always used a steel to sharpen knives, this sharpener is very user-friendly and efficient. All of the knives feel comfortable and well balanced in the hand and hold their edge. The soft-touch handle with the finger-stop makes the knife comfortable to grip and safer to use.
The cutting boards were tested by slicing a double batch of biscottis with the Fiskars serrated bread knife. Some scratching was evident but none of the deep cuts that make cutting boards so difficult to clean properly. The set of three 270x435mm synthetic cutting boards is ideal for the van, as they take up almost no room and allow different boards for different purposes.
We feel that we will enjoy using these quality products in our van for years to come.
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #558. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!