Cookware Set - Everyday Home Use - Professional Construction

soulcheezDecember 14, 2008

Hello Fourm Members! My wife and I are looking for a high quality cookware set, but for the everyday home use. Like mac & cheese, spaghetti from the jar, eggs and bacon. I'm not concerned about brand so much as material...

At first we were thinking stainless steel inside and out. But then I started reading about reaching a certain temperature before adding salt?? And "learning" how to cook without a non-stick surface. Hand-washing??? What would go on the bottom rack of the dishwasher?? =)

Looking for even heating, lifetime construction, but also ease of use. Think we should stick with non-stick? Oh yes, and I have also noticed sets with stainless steel exterior, non-stick interior, but for the fry-pan only. Suppose we loose track of time and let the a sauce get a bit too hot in a stainless steel interior pot? I'm sure that's problematic as well?

And last but not least, anybody think this is a good Christmas gift for the wife?? :/ Thanks for the help!

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I'll take a whack at it...

We have a lot of SS (inside and out) pots and fry pans with the heavy disc bottom. They work well. To clean them, I'll deglaze them with water while still hot, then let it sit on the range until we're done with dinner. They clean right up with a wipe of the hand. No need to put in dishwasher.

We also have SS fry pans with Teflon interior. We also have a cast cast iron fry pan. You really need at least 1 non-stick fry pan... be it Teflon or cast iron. You can cook eggs in a SS pan if you heat and oil it properly before the eggs go in, but it is more difficult than using non-stick.

In general, you don't need non-stick pots IMO. Fry pans, yes.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 3:34PM
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And don't spend a lot for non-stick fry pans, either. Get a set of three nice ones at Costco for $19.99 and replace them every couple of years.

And don't buy any sets. You don't need a set. Get individual pieces that you will really use.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 10:57AM
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I have some All Clad and some Cuisinart SS pans. Both go on the cooktop, in the oven and in the DW, either shelf.
I only keep one non stick for eggs or cheese.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 3:10PM
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So, I'll give it a try. For decent, not expensive cookware, you have 3 choices.
1) All aluminum- as thick as you can find. Problems? Aluminum can warp at higher heat, and two, it often comes with a 'non-stick' coating on the inside because it doesn't like tomatoes and other acid type foods when it's not coated.

2) Stainless, with a thick disc on the bottom. The disc is most often aluminum -just on the bottom, and may be covered with stainless (called encapsulated). It must have the thick bottom. This stuff provides a great cooking bottom because of the thick bottom, and stainless is easy to clean but... sometimes the stainless sides are a bit thin, so you can get a 'hot' ring, right above that thick bottom. And the manufacturer folds over the stainless edge at the top, so it's hard to tell how thick the stainless itself is. This style is often bought for large stock pots for soups etc.- if you leave these pans on the burner and let it burn, the bottom will separate from the pan, and it will start to make crackling noises- time to throw out.

3) Stainless 'tri-ply'- this is a stainless pan with a middle layer of aluminum in the middle between thin layers of stainless- through out the whole pan, sides and everything- and you can see the layers if you look at the top edge of the pan. These things are bombproof and cook well. They don't have quite as much material on the bottom, but the sides rarely burn the food, and cook more evenly for sauces. Usually more expensive.

Non-stick works for eggs, pancakes but does not like high heat, -scratches, peels, and even produces fumes at hight heat. Because it's dark, it's harder to see how the food is changing. It's typically bought as a fry pan for eggs..

Cast-iron is often used as a skillet (plain,-not porcelain) because they'll take great amounts of heat, and become relatively non-stick with use. Cast-iron (porcelain coated) is often used as a french oven for slow cooking esp. if acidic foods like tomatoes are used.

Here's a link to a sale of J.C. Penney's tri-ply cookware- but everyone makes it, but usually more expensive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Penny's Cook's

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 9:10PM
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