Cookware opinions/suggestions please

fishymomApril 1, 2014

My daughter is in her first college apartment this year. She moved in with an existing group of girls, so the kitchen was already equipped. She is keeping the apartment next year and bringing in a group of girls from the dorms. They are dividing up what needs to be purchased and my daughter is responsible for the cookware. She currently cooks almost every day and is looking forward to cooking more next year, since all the girls are athletes, swimmers and rowers, and have similar eating habits. As far as her cooking skills, she is a beginner, but enjoys cooking quite a bit. She mostly sautes fresh vegetables and sears meats, finishing in the oven. I bought her a 7 cup Cuisinart Food Processor (great deal on closeout) that we will give her for her birthday this summer, so that will save her some time..

We want to get her some decent cookware to add to the 1 quart Tramontina TriPly Clad SS saucepan and 12" Tramontina TriPly Clad SS pan that I will give her from my collection. And we have already bought her an 8" ceramic non-stick pan because the Teflon pans they had in the apartment were flaking. I am considering getting her a couple of pieces to fill in around those, the Calphalon Contemporary 2 quart Chef's Pan and the 10" Everyday Pan. Does anyone have experience with the Calphalon Contemporary line? These pieces will be about $40 each when they are on sale, are there any other lines that would be comparable in quality and price that I should look at also? Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Calphalon Contemporary 2 quart Chef's Pan

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Fishymom, I don't have experience with Calphalon. But, on a whim, I bought a Thermalloy (Browne-Halco) stainless steel sauce pan from a restaurant supply store. It has a nice, long handle, a tight-fitting lid, and is very "sturdy" in feel. It was only $40 so I decided to give it a try to compare with my All Clad.

The entire Thermalloy line is very affordable, and if you have a restaurant supply store nearby, you may want to consider it. My only concern is that they are made in China, which I learned after my purchase. For this reason, I will stick with All Clad in the future. However, if this is not a concern, because it certainly makes the pricepoint more affordable, I would recommend Thermalloy.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:03AM
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I love my Calphalon pans. I don't have any from the contemporary line, but that looks like a very useable sized pan.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:08AM
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I love Calphalon SS too. I have the Tri-ply that I keep an eye out for at Marshall's. The 2 qt. is $40 there. I have yet to see a 3 or 4 qt. there, which I think is the most useful size.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Why not more Tramontina - I got the Tramontina tri-ply when I switched to induction and I really like it, at least the pots (for pans, I mostly use non-stick). Speaking of non-stick pans, a friend who is a super cook told me the other night that she absolutely loves this Henckels pan.

Here is a link that might be useful: Henckels nonstick pan

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Honestly, I don't think I'd get the 2qt sauce pan AND the Everyday pan. Do they have a stock pot? A kitchen should really have a sauce pan (I think 1qt. seems a little small), 2 frying pans, and a stock pot at least 6qt. in size to get a good start. She has 3 of those, but I think a larger sauce pan and a decent sized stock pot would be the most useful to add.

I don't have experience with that line of pans, but most college age kids seem to do just fine with Revere Ware or something from Ikea, so I think it will definitely be adequate for now, as well as last her a long time post college. (our stock pots are still the Revere ware DH had in college. They're fine for boiling water for pasta or making stock, so I never felt the need to replace them.)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 12:32PM
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We have Calphalon cookware that we got for a wedding gift 12 years ago. It's been great and held up wonderfully. It's not the Contemporary line, though. It's anodized aluminum. We will probably have it for life. We have bought a few Calphalon non-stick skillets over the years when they had them as special purchases at Macy's. The Teflon coating has not held up well. We don't use nonstick, much, though. Maybe that's normal?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 12:34PM
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I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Calphalon tri-ply ss cookware. I bought a whole set at BBB when it was on sale and then 20% off that with a coupon. It was a great price that way for high quality cookware that should last me a lifetime.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 12:49PM
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I also have the Calphalon Tri-Ply and LOVE IT. The pieces are nice and hefty, the handles are comfortable, and I like that the lids are glass. I donâÂÂt have experience with the Contemporary line but if the quality is comparable IâÂÂm sure it would be a good choice.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 1:01PM
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Thanks for the replies and suggestions!

Peony, we do try to avoid things made in China also.

Sjhockeyfan, I have looked for open stock Tramontina, it all seems to be made in China now. My stuff is old, all made in Brasil. Those Henckels pans look nice, I may get one for me!

Controlfreakecs, I thought that the Everyday Pan would be good for one pan meals that will be finished in the oven or kept warm for others who might not be there when dinner is ready. Plus, it has short handles, the Tramontina 12" pan can go in the oven, but is quite large with the long handle. We do have a 6 quart stock pot that she can take for pasta and soups. I don't think she will be making stocks, her time is quite limited between school and her very busy athletic schedule.

Edb2n, I gave up on Teflon coated stuff years ago. Next time you are in the market, take a look at the ceramic coated ones like sjhockeyfan posted, they are great!

This post was edited by fishymom on Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 13:03

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 1:02PM
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Yes, I was figuring on the stock pot for pasta, not actually making stock. It's been a long time, but I DO still remember what it was like to cook in my own college apartment! LOL!

I actually have a pan very similar to the everyday pan. It is the All-Clad 12" braiser. I primarily use it for stews like curries and to cook greens that need a lot of space when I first put them in the pan. It is nice to put something in the oven that doesn't have a long handle. I was just thinking it is not a priority for the way most young people cook.

If they like to do one pot meals and often need to eat at different times due to their schedules, perhaps a crock-pot would be a nice addition to their kitchen? I know that when my kids have multiple activities in the same night and we will all have to eat fairly quickly at different times, that is my cooking vessel of choice.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Some of Calphalon's lines are imported, so you'll want to verify where your intended pieced are manufactured if this is important.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 2:40PM
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You might want to consider providing her with a cast iron, enamel clad Dutch oven. There have been quite a few to choose from and they have come down in price over the last year or so. Your daughter could both braise and cook in
one, without having to turn the oven on in hot weather.

The covers are so heavy that heat is retained quite well, and things can be cooked on medium or lower heat on stovetop more quickly than in other cookpots. The main thing to avoid is abrupt temperature changes, which can crack the enamel coating.They can also be used in the oven, as long as the handles and cover knob are metal, so can double as casserole dishes.

I also prefer the copper clad, stainless steel Revere Ware; lasts forever and no worry about nonstick finishes wearing out or toxicity. In a shared cooking situation, others might not be as careful to use the appropriate utensils with the nonstick surfaces.

The crockpot idea imentioned above could be quite convenient, if she wants to start a dish and then dash off to class. A Dutch oven can also be turned quite low on a stovetop, but depending on the stove that might not be as safe.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 3:09PM
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Do they have a DW?
Most calphalon can't go in DW.
If the have a DW, something like All Clad or fax(aka cheaper imitation)
Stay away from standard Teflon. I am sure I have eaten a lot of Teflon over the years.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 6:21PM
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Thanks, a Dutch oven is a good suggestion! I will mention a crockpot to her, but I don't think she would use it much. We have one here, but rarely use it. Also, she has practice from 6am-9am and often has a class at 9:30am, so not much time in the morning! They don't have a dishwasher, so that won't be an issue.

While we are at it, I am taking this opportunity to replace some of my kitchen gadgets and giving my old ones to her. Any suggestions for a zester? I have a small microplane one that I dislike.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:06AM
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