In Need Of New Pots/Pans Set, Looking for Opinions Please...

mom2lotsokidsSeptember 29, 2005

I have a full set of the Ultrex 2 nonstick set. Well after 4 years the nonstick is coming off. This morning I got a nice big swallow if it. Knowing the stuff is dangerous and having a hubby and five children, I'm done with them. I did call the company and they gave me no problems over the phone, stating to send them back, and they'll send out a new set of the ones I send back. BUT it will take 8-14 weeks. With 7 in our family and this our only set of cookware, that won't be happening until I get another set.

So I'd like opinions on what you feel is the best. Longest lasting? Nonstick? Copper? Stainless steel w/o nonstick? What about heavy cast iron? Price is a factor right this moment BUT in the Spring I'll be getting a good set and then it won't be a factor. Gotta get through the holidays first.

What do you recommend? I do a lot of cooking. I do NOT use a dishwasher - I am the dishwasher. I won't even let the kids wash my pots and pans. I never use metal utensils in any pot or pan. I clean them always immediately after using - I don't eat and then clean. I clean then eat.

I great appreciate any suggestions you have or recommendations. I'm tired of having to buy a new set every couple of years. Though I need a temporary one now, come Spring, I want one set that will last me for many many years.


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Can you purchase 2 or 3 good ones now that will get you through the holidays, then add to your collection come Spring? I'm kinda new to posting over here, and I don't know how everyone else feels, but I like choosing different pots and pans for different needs based on their inherent qualities, rather than buying a "one size fits all" set. I have a good 10" Lodge cast iron pan, a couple of small Calphalon omelette pans, a number of copper (LOVE copper) pots, pans, casseroles, etc. including a great big paella pan, 3 big old Revereware stockpots, and as soon as they ship from Amazon, I'll have 2 Le Creuset--a 6 3/4 French (Dutch) oven and a 2 3/4 soup pot. Plus a few other assorted odds and ends. I figure that should keep me for a while. :) Anyway, point being that they all serve individual purposes and I don't think I could do all my cooking (happily, anyway) with pots and pans all from one set.

If you could buy one good saute pan (All-Clad?) and maybe a stockpot and a saucepan now, would that hold you? Then fill in later? You can often find good deals on open stock online. Just a thought...


    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 2:49PM
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I sure agree with you, Susan!!
Why would you buy a full set of non-stick? The only thing I need non stick is fry pans to use for eggs or a bit of sauteed onion or mushrooms.
Not all brands and all materials are best for every use....
I prefer to buy the pan that best fits the use....Meyer non stick for omelettes, Le Cruset for soups and stews and Le Cruset covered sauce pans for slow cooked sauces and rice, Cheap Stainless for boiling water for pasta and corn and for sterilizing preserves jars, and a big stainless pot with a clad bottom for big pots of soup.
If you never buy a "set" of cookware, you will find you can go 30 to 40 years and only replace those non stick omelette pans. The rest lasts forever!
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 11:07PM
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Mom I am in agreement with the other two posts. Their collection sounds like mine. From old cast iron fryers and dutch ovens to the Caphalon and Le Cruset. I have large stanless steel pots for stews and soups. I have never wanted a set of the non-stick cookware. I too keep a small non-stick saute pan for eggs.

Start out with a few good pices and just add as you can. Good quality will last you a lifetime.

I have found some good buys on e-bay. (I love to shop at home.)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 9:32AM
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I purchased a set of triple-ply clad cookware from Sam's...there was a previous thread on the merits of this cookware ;o) It's construction is the same as All-Clad's for about a quarter of the price. I am not usually a fan of sets because many times the pieces included aren't practical for everyone. For the price of this set, I will certainly make an exception to that rule. I did a side-by-side comparison with my Sam's set and a friend's All-Clad set and could find no discernible difference in the process or results.
In addition to the triple-ply set, I have 2 hard-anodized/non-stick skillets, which I use for eggs and fish, both by Calphalon.
I also have a 5 qt."chili pot" by Tramontina, which is hard-anodized/non-stick and an "everyday 10-inch pan" by Calphalon, which I use for small casseroles, paella, etc.
I have an enamel over cast iron round Dutch oven by MSE, purchased at K Mart for around $30.00 and is 5 qts. I also have a cast iron one, which is a 7 1/2 qt. oval by Nomar, purchased at TJ Maxx for around $45.00.
And then there's the tried and true cast iron skillet, which was my mom's and must be at least 70 years old.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sam's Club/Member's Mark cookware

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 10:19AM
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Check out the cookware section at TJ Maxx if you have them in your area. They often have different brands of pans that you can try out one pan of one brand at a time and see which type best suits your needs.

In the meantime, I would get one large cast iron skillet at a hardware store and one good 3.5 to 4.5 qt. Le Creuset French oven for a family of 7. Those two plus a large saucepan and a stock pot will get you cooking immediately. IMO I would not be getting a replacement of non-stick cookware that started peeling off after 4 years. What's the point in that?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 6:28PM
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I would get the Lodge 12" cast iron frypan. I'm sure you can find a cover for it, and that should take care of all your frying and sauteing needs for now. On the QVC site they have a 6 quart oval Staub enameled Dutch oven with matching trivet for about $60. Very well made from a company similar to Le Creuset. You can use that for now as a stockpot, and for soups and stews. For about $12, I would get the 3 quart Faberware Cuisine stainless saucepan. It actually has two loop handles instead of one long one. I have All-Clad, and love using this pot at my mom's house. She has two. A nice weight and very easy to clean. Doesn't burn anything either, and it's cute too. Has great reviews. A steal that price.

These pans will get you through, for less than $100, and will make a great addition to your other pans. I would be firm with them though and tell them you do NOT want the pans replaced, and would rather have a credit to buy something else if they won't refund your money.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 7:23PM
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I am not a big fan of pot sets but I must agree with the Sam's triclad pot set, I bought one last year for $111. I also have one non stick fry pan that I will be getting rid of an replacing it with a cast iron pan and I am in the process of purchasing some LeCrueset, I bought the 6 1/2 qt dutch oven now I want the 9 or 13 qt pot too.
Don't waste your money on a cheap pot set its just not worth it.
I also heard the Emeril line of pots is made by AllClad and worth the money.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 8:34PM
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The Don't-Buy-A-Set maxim is good
advice. But all of my old junk was too warped for my new electric smoothtop, so I bought a set, the stainless steel Costco set. That was two years ago, and I've yet to feel a need to replace any of the pieces (occasionally, I'll use my non-stick electric skillet). The Costco & Sam's sets can be good deals if you want to replace every pot & pan right away with something of decent quality.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 9:23PM
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If all you have to do is get through the holidays, go to Kmart and buy the heavy-bottomed stainless Martha Stewart Everyday ones. (In fact, for my *permanent* pan I got a 2-quart one--I like it just fine)

Or, at TJ Maxx, they have broken-up sets; sets that got returned for some reason. It's almost the best place for inexpensive open-stock stuff (though of course you can't predict the availability)

I don't actually love the "Don't Buy A Set" maxim.

For most people, a decent stainless set will be good enough for most cooking. And, to buy individual pans is tough, and expensive. I know--I went looking for a 2-quart pan, and ended up at Kmart bcs I just didn't want to pay $85 for a pan (nor did I want one as heavy as All-Clad).

So, DO buy a set that gives you most of what you need.

Even if you buy pieces you won't use, it'll still be cheaper than buying all of the pieces openstock.

Then, PLAN ON ADDING ON. Add on a cast-iron skillet, if you like one; get a nonstick skillet or a nonstick pan for rice, if you decide you like one.

And, I vote for stainless interior, and letting your kid wash the pans. One nice thing about the stainless--it sure doesn't matter how you use them. You can sit down to eat before you have to wash dishes. (actually, you SHOULD sit down to eat--you should let the cookware COOL before you wash it)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 5:30PM
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Why buy a complete set ?

Because the best deals at most of the stores are on the "Sets".

I can buy a set of 10 Calphalon "One" Non-stick for very, very close to what I would pay to buy just two of their pans separately. So why not get the whole set ?

Ya, they do run a special once in a while with a "Try Me" offer, but still expensive for one pc.

Check out prices one sets on ebay.... you can catch a real bargain once in a while.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 9:11AM
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I had collected a nice set of Revere copper-bottom cookware over the years (living near a Revere outlet helped) but when I remarried and joined households with my husband my set was the loser. He prefers non-stick coating so all my good metal utensils were also sidelined.

I miss my Revere set. But I have to admit his set isn't bad. It's a middle-of-the-road Wearever set, augmented by a few nice skillets from other manufacturers.

Now I feel after 5 years that I'm ready for a new set. My #1 criteria is the weight of the largest skillet. If I can't pick it up when it's empty, how will I lift it when it's full of fried chicken or meat sauce?

I find every set, from Emeril to Calphalon, is too heavy. My arthritis and carpel tunnel make it very tough to lift heavy pans. Why don't the manufacturers (and these celebrity cooks who "design" them) actually test out the weight of a pan? Most women would have a hard time.

Someone on another thread mentioned an All-Clad set at Williams-Sonoma that is fairly lightweight, because it is cast aluminum. But it's VERY expensive. I can't afford $150-$200 for one pan.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 9:14PM
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I can't stand non-stick for most stuff. It can't be used on high heat. You have to use those plastic utensils, which I can't stand. Give me a good, thin metal spatula over one of those any day. It's just too delicate, non-stick. I think I have one non-stick pan, and it serves it's purpose (mainly for my husband, when he makes an omelet), but I have other pans that get used many, many times over before that one does.

I love Stainless steel, as long as it has some heat-conduting metal in the bottom (and up the sides, if you want to pay for it-ie. All Clad), which so far all I have seen of it does. I have a few sizes of stock pots, ranging from 6 quart to 32 quart.

I have a set of All-Clad that came with my cook-top. I like it, and for the most part, they chose handy sizes. Most of my pans are a hodge-podge.

Cast Iron, I have a wok and a skillet I use a lot.

Lots of Stainless. Some of them are close in size to the All-Clad. I bought them at TJ Maxx and the like, very reasonably priced I thought, because I didn't really want my DH using the All Clad. He has a tendency to forget he is cooking (!) and once actually melted the aluminum bottom of a pan to the stove.

My favorite small skillet is just a little steel one. Things don't stick to it hardly at all, and it is just the right size for a single grilled cheese, or a scrambled egg or two. It gets used almost daily.

As far as cleaning...If you get stainless steel, some are "stickier" than others. For those, I just put some water in it while it is warm (or put it on low, with water in it) while I eat, and when I come back, the food is soft, and easy to clean off.

You should sit and eat with your family. :) When you are done, you can get them to help you clean!

I also want to add...Anyone thinking of all-clad with the long handles (frying pan) should hold a pan with some weight in it before they buy. I find the handles to be uncomfortable, as do some other people. We must hold it differently from the people who like the handles.

My grandmother always cleaned while we ate, then she would sit down at the end of the meal and try to get everyone to eat more, in spite of the fact that we had been eating while she cleaned and were full! Hopefully you don't do that.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 10:17AM
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I have had the same weight issue and purchased the Farberware Milinnium soft grip. Had the pots and pans for a year now and am very pleased.

You can purchase them at

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 10:41AM
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That's funny - I saw those Farberware Millenium on amazon and put them on my "Wish List" - but when I saw them in the store they were not much lighter in weight. Also I didn't like the sizes offered. But I will definitely consider them when the time comes. The soft grip handles are a nice feature.

Thanks, your recommendation helps!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 9:13PM
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i like our all clad pots and pans. they wash up nice & bright with a stainless steel polish.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 10:01PM
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Someone please advise on your experience with Caphalon Tri-Ply stainless. I want to get a good set this time.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 11:57PM
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I have Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless and I love it. I haven't had any problems with food sticking and it is easy to clean. You do not need to use the highest heat. I didn't realize how bad my Revere was until I got the Calphalon.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 10:52PM
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