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please recommend a cookware set

Posted by dpoulsen (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 8, 07 at 1:29

Please recommend a good overall cookware set for a glass cooktop. I've looked at All Clad, Calphalon & Le Creuset -the problem is that they all have several types & I'm just plain confused. From reading previous posts, I know I want at least 1 non-stick skillet. Thank you.


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

All of those brands are good, but you really first need to ask what type of cooking you want to do. The link below will give you some exhaustive and detailed insight into cookware; it's worth reading the whole thing. For instance, if you often need to make fancy temperature-sensitive sauces it's worth investing in Falk Culinair copper pans; if you never intend to do such tasks it would be a huge waste of money.

If you want to put your pans in the dishwasher, you are pretty much limited to stainless pans; I understand Le Creuset and Calphalon don't recommend dishwashers.

I'm a little prejudiced against sets in that invariably there are a few items in a set I never use. (I received a Cuisinart set as a gift; I have rarely used the skillets from that set, much preferring cast iron, or nonstick for eggy sticky stuff. The saucepans and saute pan are useful, though.) You'd probably do better by getting a few different items, from whatever manufacturer, each to do a specific task.

Having said that, here's what I would do if I were equipping a kitchen from scratch.

For nonstick pans, I got a set of Tramontina skillets from Sam's Club for about $30. When/if the coating comes off, I'll toss them. (For high end nonstick pans, check out Scanpan.)

I'd get at least one heavy Dutch oven, Le Creuset or Staub or equivalent, for long slow-cooked braises. Size/shape determined by the size of the crowd you usually cook for.

I'd get a pressure cooker or two. Kuhn Rikon is excellent; I understand Fagor is very good as well. For details, search this forum or check out missvickie.com. (Fagor has a nice set with a 8qt and 4 qt pressure cookers that share a lid, for around $120.)

A stockpot/pasta pot: Tramontina makes a nice 10-qt one with a pasta insert and steamer insert for about $50 list; got mine at Sam's also for around $40. Well worth it.

Good old black cast iron is excellent for some tasks; I inherited a decades-old chicken fryer that I use all the time.

Do check out the link; it's very informative. Get what you want, learn its characteristics and peculiarities, and go to town. Good luck and bon appetit!

Here is a link that might be useful: understanding stovetop cookware


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

I agree with Arley....don't buy a set, get the best pot for the job you need done....and never mind that your non stick skillet doesn't match your Dutch oven or the stock pot. Leave that to the brides to buy the sets....buy individual pans.
Linda C


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

Just recently went through the same exercise. New kitchen ended up with a glass top electric range, and convection oven. (Wanted gas, but unavailable, and propane to difficult to install in our style house.) Our 20 year old warped and pitted cookware needed to be replaced. After much research, questions, etc., decided on a 10 pc. set of Cuisinart Chef's classic stainless with an aluminum clad core in a disk style bottom, and 2 Cuisinart SS (same disk bottom, alum. clad core) non-stick skillets (8" & 10")

Reasons:

Stainless is less likely to scratch a smooth top range and is DW OK. (Will hand wash the non-stick)

Glass top electrics require a flat bottom. We looked at many different brands including All Clad, Viking, etc. After checking the bottoms of different pieces of each brand with a metal straight edge, we found many that were not perfectly flat, and the high end stuff was no better then the middle of the road brands.

IMHO, having a core up the sides, which often means a thinner core on the bottom, is not as much of a requirement on an electric stove, where most of the heat is generated from the bottom, vs. a gas stove where flames can lick the sides of a pot or pan.

Price. While just about all of the middle of the road stainless is made in China, (including All Clad's Emeril) The quality of Chinese stainless is much improved. Not perfect by any means, but better. Enough so that if display is not your concern, Chinese stainless should last a long time. With that in mind, the 10 piece Cuisinart set was on sale at Macy's for $150, before a $20 rebate and also included the bonus of a SS Cuisinart tea kettle. Plus another % off by opening a Macy's credit card. I then purchased the 2 non-sticks from Amazon for a little over $50. Bottom line, just about everything needed for most cooking on a glass top electric for well under $200.00 At this price, I can replace the set every 3 years for the next dozen years, and I still wouldn't have spent as much as I would have for a similar set from a high end manufacturer.

So far they are working out great.

PS. This set and most of the lower priced sets are NOT induction capable, if that enters into your thinking.


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

PPS: Forgot to mention that some bottoms, i.e. aluminum and particularly copper, can leave marks or residue on some smooth top ranges. Check your cooktop manufacturer's notes on types of cookware to avoid.


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

You can get an entire set of excellent cookware at Sams Club or Costco for the price of one pan. The quality of Sams/Costco cookware was confirmed by a Consumer Report test. If it turns out you need specialty pans later, you can look for them individually. Just something to think about.


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

I've looked extensively at stainless steel cookware, and ended up getting Demeyere Atlantis cookware. It is considerably nicer than All Clad, for the following reasons:

* For flat-bottom pans, they have a 2 mm copper disk in the bottom, which is considerably more responsive than aluminum. Round-bottom pans use aluminum, but thicker than All Clad's.

* The surface of the pans is treated with a treatment that they call "Slivinox", which increases the concentration of the stainless steel alloying elements, which makes the surface harder and and more chemically-resistant. Because of this, stuff sticks to it less than with normal stainless, and it also maintains its appearance much better. (Mine still looks brand new, except for some scratches put there by a person who shall remain nameless.)

* Because of the Silvinox finish, they actually recommend that you wash Atlantis cookware in the dishwasher, because the harsher cleaners in the DW do a better job of cleaning, and the Silvinox finish is designed to stand up to that.

* I find the handles to be much nicer than All Clad's.

* The handles are welded on instead of riveted, so there are no rivets inside the pan for food to get caught on.

Here is a link that might be useful: Demeyere Atlantis at 125 West


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

I've been replacing my cookware because I just got a glass cooktop. From what I read - Cuisinart Chef Classic was what I wanted. I was all set to buy a set from Amazon and I found a piece on clearance at Marshall's. I don't even remember which one it was or how much it cost but I was off and running! I started finding pieces at TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning. But anyway I am very happy with them.

I also have a 6qt LeCrueset pot that I use everyday for everything, a 10" Griswold griddle pan, and a couple of cheapo nonstick skillets.


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

I love, love, love my Anolon Commercial Tri-Ply cookware. It is hard to the the Anolon Commercial line but I found it at Overstock.com.

But I don't like the Tri-Ply frying pans of any of the brands.

Michelle


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

It never ceases to amaze me that people cringe at the cost of an All Clad set. The average family spends $600 per month on food, or $7,200 each year..... but refuses to drop $600 on professional cookware. Personally, I can't see why anyone would buy anything other than a set of All Clad stainless or Calphalon One hard anodized set and then add specialty pieces and a couple nonstick skillets. It's a lifetime investment people. There are lines of cookware on the market today at $200 and under that are just plain bad cookware. They may work for a while, but if you decide you want to get serious about cooking, you can't becasue the cookware won't let you.

Impact bonded stainless cookware is limited as to what it can do. 4mm of aluminum will only hold so much heat. Same goes for 6 gauge anodized aluminum.

I've been an executive in the cookware industry for over a decade, and it's never ceased to amaze me that a family will spend $2k on a wide screen TV, but has an issue spending over $300 for something needed to prepare the food they will eat. There's something wrong with that picture.

Sorry to go on and on, but there's so much information that's made it so confusing to buy good cookware anymore. And it shouldn't be. Keep a couple things in mind:

Buy U.S. made cookware like All Clad or Calphalon Hard Anodized. Trust me, there is a difference vs. what is coming out of Asia regarding cookware.

Once you decide on a set, add a Lodge Cast iron piece or two and a 10 or 12" nonstick skillet. Maybe a Le Creuset dutch oven down the road.

Don't be afraid of the initial cost. Like I said, you'll spend more on groceries in two months compared to the up front cost on your cookware. And if you decide this cooking stuff is fun and you want to get more creative a few years down the road, your cookware won't hold you back.


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

Im sorry folks, but I beg to differ!

1.) The original poster was looking for cookware that was best suited for a smooth top range, not for some high end pseudo "commercial" style range. Many of the enameled, cast iron, and copper bottom stuff will leave residue, marks, and scratches on a glass top range.

2.) While Asian stainless is often not of the same caliber as U.S. made, (and not all of the high end stuff is U.S. made) it works, and will last a long time. Some of their cast iron is actually better!

3.) As I said in my previous post, when looking for cookware for a smooth top range, two things are most important: Size, it must fit the burner, and Flat Bottom. I cant count the number of pieces of All Clad and other "quality" cookware we looked at that did not have flat bottoms. Why spend this kind of money for a set that wont make that sauce any better on a smooth top range than some of the lesser priced sets?

4.) Cookware does not make the chef! A poor carpenter can always find fault with his tools. A good chef can make a wonderful entre with a tin pot over a campfire. All cookware heats differently, cleans, displays and endures differently, but its the cook that does the cooking! The idea that only the best will do reminds me of the photographer who thinks that its the camera that makes the image.

Sorry for the rant, but I feel it's more important to learn how to use the tools you have and can afford, rather than acquire some name brand stuff in the hope that this will make you a better cook. Wiser to spend your money on top shelf ingredients rather than cookware.


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

I'm starting to feel like a flak for Demeyere (perhaps I should send them a bill?). But... their Altantis line (I haven't checked their other lines) is specifically designed with a balanced layer structure on the bottom of the pans that starts out very slightly concave when the pan is cool, and it flattens out as the pan heats up, to make them work well on flat-top burners. Also, this design is designed to keep the pan from warping over the course of time.

In my previous home we had a flat-top stove. My Demeyere Atlantis pans worked very well on that stove.

I've linked to Atlantis at 125 West, who has a nice write up on Atlantis. (I note that the photo on their main Atlantis page is wrong--it's some other cookware. The photo on the page I've linked to is correct.) Also, yourcookware.com seems to have some pretty good sale prices.

Here is a link that might be useful: Demeyere Atlantis at 125 West


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

Solarpowered: I've read the stuff on the atlantis line and it does look well-thought out and nicely made. It seems they do the fully clad on the pans that really need it, i.e., fry pans and sauciers, while they do disc bottoms on the straight sided pans. I don't think I've seen that in other lines, or maybe I haven't noticed. Have you seen these anywhere at a discount?


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

AM Sunshine,

The best prices I've been able to find are currently at yourcookware.com. They appear to run a special on something each week that's 25% off of list. The rest of their stuff is 10% off of list, which is what I'm seeing pretty much across the board. I see that the text on their site suggests that they might be willing to dicker for a "set" of Demeyere cookware, but I haven't called to ask them about that. (I'm buying one item at a time as I can afford it, so getting a bid on a "set" isn't particularly interesting to me.) I note that they have covered saute pans on sale this week.

Both yourcookware.com and 125west.com have free shipping. That helps a bit.

Sur La Table has Demeyere in some of their stores, if you want someplace to go see it. Their prices are pretty high, though.


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RE: please recommend a cookware set

Thx!


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