I wonder if anyone has had a similar experience with a stainless steel skillet. I googled around and the only descriptions of damage I found were from heat or salt. I managed to damage my pan in a completely unique way! I bought this pan in 2007 and it has stood up well to all my abuse. It is an inexpensive pan but has a decent aluminum sandwich bottom. It is covered with heat stains and I could care less about that, but lately I noticed all these little holes in the cooking surface! They are quite tiny, just a millimeter or two long, and they look as if someone poked a little hole in the pan using the tip of a sharp knife...like a hole in pie crust, but in miniature. (They look completely different from salt pitting corrosion.) A few of them even have the edge deformation that you see in a piecrust slash: a little curling of the edge. I peered and peered at them and thought and thought, and kept cooking, and finally noticed one day: I must have made these tiny slits in the surface of the pan by tapping the pan with the corner of my spatula when cooking! I have a habit of tapping the spatula to dislodge the food after turning/stirring food, especially onions, 'cause they always want to cling to the spatula.
Wow! I had no idea the spatula could cut into the surface of the pan that way!
This is my only stainless skillet, the others are cast iron, and none of the cast iron pans show this damage, though I cook onions in them just as often. Of course none of my stainless pots show this damage either, but I don't saute onions in the high-sided vessels.
Do you think I got a defective pan, or is stainless steel just kind of soft when heated? Should I bother to send it to Cuisinart (on my dime) for the Lifetime Warranty replacement, or will they just tell me it was user error? Needless to say I'm not going to tap my pan any more, but I am concerned that the cuts in the surface of the pan may lead to corrosion. OTOH, there's no evidence of corrosion so far, and the pan still works fine, so maybe I will just ignore it. I am curious, though, if anyone has any ideas about whether this is normal behavior for stainless steel. (Comments on whether this is normal behavior for a cook are perhaps unnecessary.)