New to 'really cooking' need pot/pan advice

homersgardenOctober 18, 2007

I posted this a long while back and have lost my info. I am beginning to cook a lot more (and starting to enjoy it as a hobbie) and am in need of new pots and pans. Seriously, my nasty JC Penny ones aren't cutting it. What are the pans you can not live without? What kind do I need? Sizes? Brands? I have started looking at All-Clad from Williams and Sonoma, but am not sure if I really need to spend that much. I have heard to go to a restaurant supply store and that would be just as good. True? You guys seem like you are experts so I thought I would ask!

Thanks in advance.

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1) A quick search would've easily brought up your original post.

2) Read this and this. It's worth it.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 9:35PM
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Don't immidiately tie yourself to a set of cookware. Start with the basics. A 2 or 3qt covered saucepan (A tri-Ply Clad saucepan makes a huge difference when preparing sauces. Choose Calphalon, Cusinart Multi Ply, or All Clad. Impact bonded base from Emerilware or Farberware will work fine if cost is an issue). An 8qt covered stockpot (Stainless Steel impact bonded base, again Emerilware, KitchenAid, or Farberware. Don't spend a mint on a Tri-Ply clad stockpot..... it's not needed). The key here is you want Stainless Steel for any saucepans or stockpots you add to your kitchen. Stainless Steel will not interact with acidic foods. It's the cleanest surface available and a requirement for sauces and stocks.

A 5.5qt enamel cast iron dutch oven (Le Creuset if cost isn't an option. If it is, shop around. There are plenty of good alternatives in enamel cast iron today. Mario Batali, etc.

A 10"/3qt covered saute pan. Tri-Ply clad if it's in the budget, or a very heavy impact bonded base stainless saute. The key here is a piece that will absorb and hold some heat. KitchenAid Distinctions Saute at $49.99 is a great choice. It's a double cap base (aluminum and copper) extra thick, holds a huge amount of heat, and is a steal at $50.00.

Fry pans. Pick the material your most comfortable with. Stainless, Aluminum, or Anodized Aluminum. Just make sure it's nonstick. Don't spend a fortune but buy the heaviest gauge material you can find within your budget. If it's Aluminum, make sure it's 4 or 6 gauge material. If it's impact bonded, Emerilware has one of the best bases on the market today. You need a piece of cookware that's going to absorb and store some heat. If the material is too thin, the pan temp. drops as soon as you intoduce the food..... a very bad thing.

After that, it's specialty items which you can add to your collection. A reversible cast iron two burner grill from Lodge (Lodge Logic pre-seasoned) is always a nice item to have around. Maybe a hard anodized shallow grill pan from Calphalon.

Buy the basics first. Don't immidiately buy a set. Enjoy.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 4:32PM
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And while you're buying a bunch of toys, consider a pressure cooker. Do a search of this forum, there are several threads discussing them. I've seen them used on Iron Chef (Kuhn Rikon was the brand) and on Good Eats (Fagor, I think, was the brand).

They are great for comfort food quickly.

And do read the egullet discussion of stovetop cookware. Very enlightening.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 5:39PM
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Joe Blowe: I read Samuel Lloyd Kinsey's article -- thank you-- and his dialogue with questioners. Links he set up are broken, so I don't know what omelette pan he was pointing to. Any ideas? I need to find something that does not have a non-stick coating that will work with scrambled eggs & omelettes. I've seen everything from enamel coated aluminium, steel, and enamel coated cast iron, as omelette pans.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 5:24PM
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If you're looking at All Clad, you might want to also look at Demeyere. Their Altantis line is probably the best SS cookware you can get, and the cost is similar to All Clad.

I've posted a lot about Demeyere, so I won't clog up this thread with a long with yet another discourse--you can do a search on "Demeyere" and bring up a lot.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 1:29AM
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My Calphalon Tri-Ply stainless steel pots and pans with tempered glass lids are just perfect. I just love these pots and pans. I have nearly all of them, plus two matching griddle/grills and also a roasting pan. They are about 1/4 the price of All-Clad, without the uncomfortable handle and solid metal lid. So well worth the money, nice, thick, even metal construction. I love being able to see what I'm cooking through the lid. It's like having a window instead of a wall. If you can, buy the 13 piece set at BBB for $399 , use a 20% off coupon ($320), then you'll get a $50 BBB gift card with your purchase. And don't forget the 12" Everyday pan. It is my favorite pan of all time. Wonderfully made and beautiful to look at, goes from cooktop to table top looking fabulous.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 6:09PM
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"I've posted a lot about Demeyere, so I won't clog up this thread with a long with yet another discourse"

solarpowered, I always enjoy your discourses on Demeyere, long or not. If I could justify the expenditure for new cookware, it would be my first choice!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 10:46AM
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I have been looking at Calphalon at BBB. They have two sets--one called "contemporary" and the other "special value". Which do you have? Main differences seemed to be in the style of the handles and lids.

I prefer the looks of the Contemporary set, but when I saw them on display in another department store, several lids had small dings and dents in the the wide metal edge around the glass tops.

Was this just a bad set or is this reason for concern?

I would, of course, check pans and lids before taking then from the store, but am I going to have to worry about the lids getting dinged and dented in everyday use?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 8:58PM
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Here's a link to the BBB website/Calphalon page. I have the Tri-Ply series.

the "Special Value" cookware often times means that the price is reduced so you will buy or "road test" the pot or pan. The tri-ply set has thinner bands of metal around the glass lids, mine are in perfect condition with no dings. I would imagine that the in-store display set has been looked at by many, many customers who were careless with the cookware. I'm so pleased with my Calphalon.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 3:31PM
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Here is a link that might be useful: Here's the link

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 3:32PM
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