Clueless - Help Me Purchase All the Basics For Pots And Pans

Lucybear05March 24, 2013

I desperately need help. We have just built our dream home. We move in 2 weeks. We are going from a tiny awful kitchen, including cheap little fridgidaire 4 burner ceramic cooktop. We have always just used a set of pots that my parents gave us when we got married (which THEY got as a wedding gift in 1971!). As for pans, we have just randomly purchased a non-stick pan at the local housewares store or Walmart or whatever as needed. So that about sums up our current situation.

Our new house has a 6-burner dual fuel range/oven from wolf. It is gorgeous. I am terrified of it.

Neither hubby or I are gourmet cooks. But we DO cook regularly (ie. we don't eat out a lot). We have a 2.5 year old, and twins are due in August. So we value family time and value family meals. But we do simple cooking. Breakfast on a Saturday might be pancakes and scrambled eggs with fruit. Lunch might be a simple quiche and basic salad. Dinner might be homemade spaghetti sauce, pasta and salad. Our meals are mostly kid friendly - chili, pasta and chicken, chicken pot pie, etc.

OK, so that's the background. We have the budget to buy what is needed in terms of good pots and pans for this basic kind of family cooking. I have been trying to research, but am totally overwhelmed. HELP ME!

If you were me, tell me EXACTLY what you would buy. THANKS!

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If I were you I would buy some lifetime pots and pans.

Such as Le Creuset pots, like a 2 1/2 Qt Multi pot and a 3 3/4 Qt Multi pot, those come with a 8 and 10" frying pans that doubles as the lid.
Then a 8Qt Oval Le Creuset Dutch Oven or similar (we bought one from Costco, Kirkland brand for $79) instead of the $350+.

Then buy a 10" and 12" DeBuyer Mineral Steel fry pans.
These once seasoned will be just as nonstick as any nonstick and only get better with age.
Whereas there isn't a nonstick pan made that is worth a damn after about 5 years or so.

Then I would buy a 14"X23" Carbon Steel Griddle which is the same as the Debuyer pans, once seasoned are fully nonstick and stay that way for life and get better with age.

It is also good to have one large stainless pot like a 12Qt with maybe a steamer basket insert for making pasta, or boiling lobsters, etc.
Allclad 12Qt is good for that.

Here is the 2 1/2qt multipot.

Here is the 3 3/4qt multipot.

The DeBuyer pans.

Then you should be good to go.

ALL of these pots & pans & griddle will last a lifetime

Here is a link that might be useful: Chef King Griddle on Amazon

This post was edited by Nunyabiz1 on Mon, Mar 25, 13 at 15:38

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 3:25PM
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I wouldn't recommend buying a big SET... might end up not being 100% thrilled with make.

If you use non-stick, I have to recommend Calphalon... if ONLY for their GREAT return/replace policy. I returned 2 skillets (that just weren't as non-stick as they had been) and FAVORITE NS sauce pan (showing wear in bottom... ONLY wood or other non-stick safe tools used. Items were EASILY 15 years old, NO receipts required, and about 10 days after shipping off (only cost to me), came home to BRAND NEW replacements.

I'm a yard sale & thrift store junkie. Have a growing collection of "name" cast iron stuff (Griswold, Wagner, Lodge, etc.) that I've picked up for next to nothing. EX: big cast iron Dutch Oven for $5... most I've ever spent on CI. Even if cruddy, the "good" stuff can be cleaned up, reseasoned , and comes close to non-stick when USED on a regular basis. Snatched up a blue enamel (exterior), square, Le Creuset grill pan for $5 at Good Will... in PERFECT condition except for the teenies amount of schmutz on interior... easy enough to clean up.

A BIG stock/soup pot... for soup/chili or if you venture into canning.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 4:12PM
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Titanium Pots and Pans are the most practical and will last for a lifetime. I mean, from generation to generation. Been using it for 5 years and its really amazing.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:32PM
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All the "Titanium pans" I have seen are either actually small little pans made out of Titanium for back packing or pans made from Aluminum and just have Titanium non stick coating.
The non stick coating will most likely be toast before much longer, if they have already lasted 5 years then they are better than most but I absolutely guarantee they are never going to last a lifetime.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 9:54AM
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I found this article to be pretty spot on, while some of my brands vary, I realized I already had all seven, (except the 16qt. stockpot which seems a bit overkill for my needs), a 12 qt. should be fine for most.
great place to start...

Here is a link that might be useful: 7 essential pots/pans

This post was edited by ctycdm on Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 19:23

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:17PM
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If you have the budget, I'd say Le Creuset, all the way. Plus a few basic All Clad pots.

I have the same Wolf 36" DF range--you'll love it!!

I don't use nonstick. I find traditional pans create better sauces because of the ability to deglaze, etc. I also just don't want to mess with the Teflon and the associated potentially toxic fumes. This is probably a controversial topic, but I prefer to just stay away from the nonstick.

My single most frequently used cookware by far is the Le Creuset 3.5 quart braiser. For your size family, 5 qt. may be better, but I'd get one of each.

I think the 7 or 9 quart Le Creuset stockpot would be great for your spaghetti sauce and chili, and you'll probably be able to make enough in the 9 quart so you have some left to freeze.

I'd also get a few All Clad saucepans--in the 2-5 quart range-- for things like rice, oatmeal, reheating small portions, etc.

For spaghetti, you'll love a good pasta pentola. It's a atll stockpot with a built-in strainer. Mine is All Clad, and has an add'l strainer type thing at the top for steaming veggies.

Cast iron cooks so well, there's no comparison IMHO.

Here is a link that might be useful: Le Creuset Braiser

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 1:03PM
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Just following up with a pasta pentola link. This one doesn't have the steamer basket on top, but it's easily available.

Here is a link that might be useful: All Clad Pasta Pentola

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 1:05PM
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These are what I use on a regular basis
*I will second the le creuset. I use my 5 Qt dutch oven every week if not two or 3 times a week. I am lucky to live near a LeCreuset outlet - so I got mine at a discount. I use this for soup, chili, roasting a chicken, pasta sauce, pot roast - seared on the stove..finished in the oven(thank you Giada! try her stracatto recipe). it is also great if you ever make homemade french fries.

*I have an all clad (gosh 12 inch or maybe bigger) skillet with straight sides and a lid. This I use for fajita's or browning lots of chicken at the same time cause it is very wide. This pan I found at a TJ MAXX discounted due to a scratch in the lid.
*My other skillet is an all clad non stick 10 inch pan with a lid. AMAZING non stick. I can even get cheese off the pan. I'll use that for burgers, eggs, pancakes(one at time),
Besides those I have some left over pans from a set of Wolfgang puck=) haha. We got that set at Sam's Club. I use those small saucepans just for random things like boiling water for vegetables or to make iced tea concentrate. But for a while there, that was all I used, and it worked out fine. I certainly have lots lots more cookware but those are the things I find i use the most.

Oh, and I have that LeCreuset grill pan - *love it*.
Really, it depends on your budget.
Dont' feel like you need to get it all at once. When you are talking about high quality cookware you could easily spend $200-$400 on one item, whereas you could easily get a reasonably good "set" for $200, while you search for bargains. Lucky you - at least you have a great stove! We build a house, then sold the house, and we had gotten the 48" with an indoor grill and griddle.... what a beauty! great fun.
oh and of course you must have a stock pot. i think mine is wolfgang...but America's test kitchen just rated stock pots the other day. you may want to google them.

Happy cooking

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 1:26AM
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I have used low and mid range and then Dh bought Mauviel for my Christmas present. Talk about scared! Those pots just demanded, it seemed, that I cook like a chef. We got to know one another and I respect the pan. And, I love them! They perform consistently well and look terrific when all shined up. The handles can be a bit wonky. All Clad has a bit better balance in my hand which is a size 5-6 glove size.
I also have some All Clad that I would not dispense with and use a lot.
I have a Le Creuset 9" frying pan, and a dutch oven - love, love the range top to oven to oven to stove top to table dance the Le Creuset allows. Staub, Le Creuset will have to experiment.
What ever you with lids whenever you can. Boiling pots come with lids usually but fry pans don't...but you need lids eventually.
-remember to purchase a roaster - that has a grill so whatever you are cooking sits off the pan so it can cook all round, and you can remove the grill if you want the chicken to sit on the pan.
A little sauce pot or some such size as that for late night hot coco instead of hauling out a 1 o2 Quart. All Clad .5 butter warmer works.
-get a bamboo steamer - you can buy prewrapped "skins" and make your own dumplings.
- get a big/petite frying pan both cast iron and other like all clad, Mauviel,
get a mesh cover to cover anything you may be frying like sauges,
get all glass storage - stay away from BPA plastic. You can get all glass storage containers that can go in the microwave and the oven - but make sure it can go on the both top or bottom of the Dishwasher - I bought some and they can only go on the top and its a pain,
-chose a brand like Roselie, William and Sonoma and buy you basic whisk, spatula, etc. but feel the heft and turn of the tools in YOUR hand and see what feels good to you.
don't get an asparagas cooker - you can use your frying pan with a bit of water and salt and braise them and then drain off the water, add some olive oil and saute them with a splash of balsamic ving. salt pepper to taste and you are good to go.
a French skillet, a saucier and a stock pot with or without it's own strainer.
Get a little Fondue set - its a great way to get your kids to try different foods. They love to dip and will dip and try just about anything plus it is just a fun family dinner to have on a Sunday night. YOu can melt some mild cheese, steam a few veggies, bread, bits of left over meat or roast chicken.
and I would purchase the lovely and useful up to the elbow AGA oven mitts for those times you have a lasgna - you can get a lasgna tray with a lid from All Clad.
If you have a Home Goods, TJ Max, etc. where you live, pop in and sometimes they have All Clad on sale.
You will only find Mauviel at Sur La Tab - specialty stores or online.
Try a few pieces and see what you like - most cooks have their favorites found over time and mix and match.
You got this!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 12:34AM
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All good advice. For basics keep it simple and classic. The best thing my mother said to neighbors and relatives for my wedding gift, white, stainless steel, nothing electric, no flower designs. (24 yrs ago) I still have and use all of it. Small sets are nice, just 2-3 pieces. Often a good buy. My first Creuset came as two and one pot has a lid that doubles as a small pan. I use it for toasting nuts and making garlic chips.
Our 'go-to' pan for so many things is the calphalon. We call it our 'everyday'. (2 qrt skillet).
Collect slowly and get the best quality you can afford. I have very few specialty cooking pots and pans. Make a wish list and look for sales. (no way did i pay that for my calphalon) Yard sales. All my cast iron is from yardsales. And just got a dozen more glass bistro glasses that take the lids at an estate sale. I only use glass for storage and leftovers. (hard to avoid plastic lids) Estate sales often sell off the entire my KA mixer for 20 bucks last summer.

Here is a link that might be useful: calphalon everyday

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:08AM
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