Help me decide on cookware.

gtcmap1December 22, 2004

I am considering a lower prices set or SS cookware. Maybe a whole set or maybe just some pieces.

I am looking at the follwing lines:

Cuisinart (Chef's classic or everyday Stainless)

Members Mark (from sams club. this is tri-ply)

Wolfgang Puck (set from sams club)

Belgique Classique (store brand from macy's/richs department stores, this is not a clad set)

The prices are very similar. The cuisinart from Amazon is cheaper to buy by the piece than the set so that is a plus.

Members mark is clad which is a plus (I quess).

Does the cladding really make that much of a diffence for everyday cooking?

Any recommendations on these products.

I have also considered hard anodized pieces as well.

Please help, I am confused.


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This group makes recommendations on these brands all the time. The best thing you can do is to take advantage of the recent discussions on these brands. Click on the blue Search link near the top of this Web page, and, in the search box which will be toward the top of the screen, type in the brand you would like to read about (Cuisinart, Puck, Member's Mark, etc.). By reading the pluses and minuses of each brand, you'll be able to decide which brand is best for you. Then you may have some specific questions to ask.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 11:20AM
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gtcmap,Unlike some here, I do not believe in the cookie cutter approach to cookware, and prefer to use a variety of the major styles for my own cooking. That said, what will work best for you depends on what you cook on and the styles of food you prepare. For example, if you use the typical underpowered range anodized would help overcome that weakness for browning. OTOH, if you have plenty of power any of the better stainless will work for you. The sandwich style stainless works well for conducting heat evenly, but I fail to see any advantage(or the big bucks) for a staight sided saute pan where the bulk of the surface sits on the burner. Gas vs. electric ranges reward different features in cookware as electric demands a totally flat bottom, where gas forgives a little warping. In short, a few "Try me" pieces in sizes and styles you use might answer the question of what works best for you. Good luck and happy hunting...Jackie

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 11:29AM
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Good suggestions from Jackie37. If you'd like some help tho, tell us what type of stove you have and what type of cooking you do. Then the specific cookware will be easier to recommend.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 11:37AM
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Have you handled all of these pans? Comfort is a very important factor. Pick up several pieces, esp the larger ones, which is more comfortable in your hand. You mentioned Cuisinart everyday SS, this is the one with copper sandwich? I have some of it and do love it for fast things, searing, veggies etc but I can't simmer as well. Copper definately heats hotter than alum. (The Cuisinart has the most comfortable handle and lids) I also have some all clad SS and it defiantely handles simmer better. I use it for all my slower cooking. I am very pleased with both for different reasons.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 12:08PM
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I was shopping for new SS cookware a few months ago and ended up buying by the piece just because I wanted larger pieces then the sets offer AND we decided we prefered the look and feel of Cuisinart Multiclad.

I know this would normally be pricier then you are looking at, but I noticed that Costco online is offering a 13 piece of Multiclad that would have been perfect for me at the time AND at a great piece.

Here is a link that might be useful: Costco's Cuisinart Multiclad

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 12:25PM
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Am I correct that the cuisinart everyday is pure stainless (no alum disk or core)? If so I'd stay away. I looked at the Chef's Classic for a friend and thought it looked pretty good, especially for the price. You might think about Chef's Classic saute's, sauce pans, and stock pots (disk bottoms work best for these) and consider some tri-ply type fry pans (you generally want the sides heated in a fry pan).

Just some thoughts.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 8:36PM
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Chef's Classic has copper disks. Everyday has aluminium disks . And Multiclad is aluminum clad up the sides, no disks.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 8:59PM
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All of these brands are pretty equivalent in terms of quality -- None of them are fully clad (i.e. clad up the sides). All of them (the Macy's house brand included) have heavy aluminum cladding on the bottom).

As others have pointed out, the most important factor should be how the cookware feels to you as ALL of these will provide substantially the same good performance.

The Macy's house brand is quite well priced for the number of pieces if you like its funky retro look -- I don't mind it.

If you have no cookware, sets really are a good place to start. If you already have cookware (even if you're unhappy with it), it probably makes more sense to buy pieces in the size, shape and composition that you really need.

I have spent the past year or so researching cookware and buying those pieces which really suit me -- a mix of All Clad, Caphalon and yes -- Macy's Belgique -- they have a 14 inch nonstick skillet that is the BOMB for my stir fries.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 9:29PM
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Cuisinart cookware has a site and this is a copy of some of the information. MultiClad Aluminum core evenly distributes heat across bottom and up sides
Everyday Stainless Copper sandwich bottom quickly and evenly distributes heat across bottom
Non-Stick Stainless Copper sandwich bottom quickly and evenly distributes heat across bottom
Non-Stick Hard Anodized Aluminum core evenly distributes heat across bottom and up sides
Copper The aluminum core maximizes the cooking surface by extending up the sides for even cooking and heat retention.
Chef's Classic Stainless Aluminum encapsulated base provides superior heat conductivity and even heat distribution

    Bookmark   December 24, 2004 at 10:13AM
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I would only advise against anything anodized or non-stick. One of the great pleasures of cooking is being able to throw that stainless steel pan into the dishwasher.

Be sure to compare warranties.

I am a big fan of All-Clad myself and feel the extra investment for pieces that will last a lifetime was worth it, plus they are a joy to cook with. That said, I have a few pieces of Cuisinart stainless and they are very good, though lighter gauge so they tend to cook a little too hot. Still, they are very good, handles stay cool (as opposed to Calphalon) and keep their nice looks. I was very displeased with my Calphalon pieces and ended up discarding them. I had anodized Calphalon, which couldn't go in the dishwasher, and things did not brown as well and you couldn't end up with that nice fond, the browney-scrapy stuff at the bottom of the pan that is so essential for good sauces.

Still, the main advantage to SS is that it is so easy to clean, and a good quality piece should last forever.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2004 at 10:27AM
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Each to their own -- The best cookware really comes down to a matter of taste and of course budget.

Think about what you cook and what your needs are and then check out the stuff in person.

I cook stuff with very little oil so I love high quality Calphalon nonstick which is guaranteed for life. All Clad nonstick is also guaranteed for life. I have a large SS saute pan for those few dishes which I don't use non-stick cookware.

You absolutely need one nonstick skillet for eggs and fish -- Even the cooking experts such as CI and Alton agree on this.

As to anodized vs. SS, it's a matter of personal preference. I don't put my cookware in the dishwasher as it takes up too much space. I also prefer the looks of the grey matte finish as I hate the water spots on SS -- again personal preference. My Calphalon Commerican and Calphalon One handles aren't hot on the stovetop but neither are any of the other brands I own -- All Clad and Belgique.

However, one benefit to anodized is that it gives you the benefit of full cladding as essentially cladding provides the conductivity of aluminum with the finish of SS. Regular aluminum is reactive where as anodized aluminum is not.

As my previous post stated, all of your choices are excellent -- any of them will give you many years of excellent food.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2004 at 11:32AM
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I have some Cuisinart stainless as well as some Belgique. They both work fine, with the advantage of being able to throw them in the dishwasher. Calphalon is superb but ya gotta hand wash it.

I recently bought three different sized nonstick skillets from Sam's for the whopping total of $28 for all three. Heavy aluminum bottoms and apparently heavy nonstick coating. They work great for eggs, omelets.

But when I have to do serious browning or braising or frying I reach for my 60 year old cast iron chicken fryer. Nothing else performs like cast iron.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 8:07PM
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I'm with blazedog on this one. I own an assortment as well, including All Clad, Tramontina tri-ply, Calphalon Commercial Non Stick, Calphalon One, Scanpan, Le Creuset, and of course, some ancient Wagner Ware cast iron pans.

I hand wash all of it, for the same space-saving reason. And while tha All Clad is "DW safe", there is still that extra step of polishing out the blue/brown heat stains that come at medium and above heat, and/or prolonged cooking times. Kinda makes that advantage a wash. (pun intended)

For performance, I think the Calphalon has the edge. Solid aluminum simply does a better job of distributing heat than stainless with an aluminum core. There is little difference in the actual cooking "techniques" with either stainless and hard anodized, other than one is shiny and the other is a dark matte finish. Both produce a nice fond, deglaze nicely, and cleanup easily. I like the feel of Calphalon's handles better, but I don't notice a problem with either Calphalon or All Clad handles, heat-wise.

I might add that I almost never use my stainless stock pot anymore. I much prefer putting my soups and stews into Le Creuset, there's just something about enameled cast iron that neither stainless or aluminum can even come close to. Downside is that it's heavy, but... And for boiling pasta, face it, any $20 steel pot will do the job. A $200+ noodle-boiler just feels wrong, somehow. >ggThat's how things are in *my* kitchen. I give the advantage to Calphalon One (hard anodized), but again, it's a personal preference.

This discussion has crept into the higher-end stuff, while the original question was about more mid-range cookware. But there were some good points made. What's important here is that you choose cookware that suits *your* needs and preferences. Weight, balance, "feel", surface, and even lids (yes lids, I won't have glass lids, but others don't want steel. You have to decide if that's important). A lot of us here like a variety of pieces, each suited to more specific needs or tasks in our dishes, others prefer to have a matched set. Again, personal preference.

All of your candidates are good choices. What looks/feels best to you?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2005 at 10:43AM
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Any thoughts, experiences with Wearever brand? Thanks

    Bookmark   January 18, 2005 at 10:47AM
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Recently after doing a lot of research to replace my disliked Calphalon anodized - and looking at All Clad SS, Cuisinart Multi Clad, Sitram, Calphalon SS, and Kitchenaid Five-Ply 18/10 SS Clad Cookware,

I like the Kitchenaid hands down. It's great. IMHO

Price, performance, handle comfort, even heating, nice edge lip. The value for the 9pc set at about USD 399.00 is hard to beat. I've seen it for 369.00 on Ama*on.


Here is a link that might be useful: Link to KA SS

    Bookmark   January 18, 2005 at 10:44PM
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Has anyone bought, used and/or heard anything that might give me some "real" information on Wearever Cookwear? Thanks so much for any feedback.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 8:17AM
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Wearever has a wide range of weights and coatings. I've used the less expensive stuff, and they are fine for us.

I've used all kinds of stuff, from commercial to dorm-housing specials. After you know what you will be cooking and how much, you will know what pieces you need - stockpot, sauce, fry pan, etc. Then it's all look-and-feel - whatever feels good to your hand.

Blazedog did a really good writeup above. We now have to get almost all new cookware partly because we finally wore out the stuff and partly because we are switching from coil electric to a smoothtop. Like Blaze suggests, we'll hopefully get pieces as needed from a variety of sources.

DW wants a red set for looks. I want this-and-that for function. We'll probably get the set and augment it with this-and-that. :-)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 12:29PM
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I think you need some extra information about this.
So you can made a thinking.

Hope its help you a lot

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 1:08PM
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