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Looking at slowly adding some better cookware

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    Looking at slowly adding some better cookware

    My kitchen much like the knives I had is full of cheap t-fal style pans. I am guessing much like the knives, there are some particular pans you should have. I m assuminga good stock pot with strainer, a saucepan, and a sauté pan. What do you look for when equipping your kitchen with cookware

    Your choices are dependent on what you cook. If you have never needed a stock pot, don't buy one - unless there are things you would like to try that require a stock pot.

    We have limited storage, and my wife wants pots and pans that are non-stick, so that is what most of our cookware is. I do have two All Clad SS pans, (sauce and saute), that she won't use, and I have two CI dutch ovens for frying and baking. We also have a number of non-stick pans of various sizes including a stock pot.


      For non-CI, All Clad is the expensive gold standard ... but Calphalon is a virtually identical very, very close "second" at a more affordable price point. I've got some of each and really don't see any difference at all.



        Now that I know how to care for cast iron, courtesy of my AR peeps, i use it almost exclusively.


          Like bbq cookers and all the accessories the first thing you need to ask is what can I afford. Although I've only purchased a few pieces from them due to their retail pricing, go to a Williams Sonoma store either in person or online to get a sense of what's out there. We've kind of collected pieces over the years based on need. If you're serious about cooking it's good to have better pots and pans. Even heat distribution, ability to clean and maintain, etc. are all factors to consider.

          We started with a moderately price set of Calphalon pots and pans. The pans wore out but I still use the pots to this day (20+ years). I've invested in 2 All Clad SS pans and recently bought an All Clad pasta pot with strainer (it was on sale). I have a couple of inexpensive cast iron pans and one Finex. To be honest the cheap ones do about the same for me.

          For my stove to oven braises we own and and highly recommend Le Creuset enameled cast iron pots. I would not cook without them. Stews, soups, braising...fantastic results.

          Again it's what you're cooking and how much you want to spend. Like everything else they are tools that help turn out good results. I've found spending a little extra makes a big difference for me.


          • Richard Chrz
            Richard Chrz commented
            Editing a comment
            From what I have read so far on various sites, the heat distribution and ability to change directions in a temp of a pan are pretty big priorities, also handle for oven purposes. I am pretty close to going much deeper down the cooking rabbit hole, and hope to spend a lot of time this winter in my kitchen improving my skill sets. But yes, price matters to me, but, I also can be patient enough to buy a pan and wait 2-6 months before I buy another one, if I m holding off for purposes of quality.

          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            That's a solid program....take your time, buy, try, buy some more !!!

          Very good solid advise Troutman I have quite a few All Clad pieces (for a few years my Daughter worked at Williams Sonoma) All Clad has factory 2nd sales a couple of times a year and I have gotten some great deals there. I need to look into the Le Creuset, I have a Lodge enameled cast iron that I like.


            First that they are easy to clean. To me that means SS or cast iron or a solid non-stick. What am I looking for. Solid handle attachment, that means rivets or welded, able to go into a hot oven minimum 400 preferably 500. A pan that doesn't take a Greco-Roman wrestler to lift and handle. A non-stick for eggs and other things, there are plenty out there now not using PFTO & PFTE's available. There are 2 of us and in a course of a week we will use on average 3 skillets, 8-10-12 inch, 2-3 sauce pans 1-2-3 quarts. We have one large stock pot, a 21 quart with out strainer, we use a Japanese bird's nest strainer, but we got the pot before the insert come out. You want to look for heavy multi layer bottoms also. One place to look is Webrestatrantstore.com for multiple selection.


            • Loren
              Loren commented
              Editing a comment
              I second webrestaurantstore.com - I bought some really nice highball and port glass sets from them; great prices and fast shipping.

            • TNPIGBBQ
              TNPIGBBQ commented
              Editing a comment
              Did you mean web-staurant-store.com? Cause web-restaurant-store.com didn't pull up a website for me. (the dashes here are just to show the three words I didn't actually add them)


            We bought this set on a recommendation when we introduced an induction range top to our kitchen. We still have CI but now use it exclusively outdoors.


            It serves our purposes very nicely (only two of us at home now). I'm extremely impressed by the quality. The set sometimes goes on sale for 40% off as well and Home Depot will deliver at no charge.


              Consider waiting for factory second sales from whichever company makes the pans you want to buy.

              Personally I don't have anything high end. I have a pretty full set of cast iron with Lodge being the best name. They all seem to work the same to me. I also have several SS pans of varying sizes as well as stainless pots. I have an enamal-coated cast iron pot. My only non-stick pan is a stockpot I got at a second-hand store. I like it because it'll never flake off like a frying pan eventually does which is why I'm generally against non-stick cookware.

              One day I might get some high-end stainless but not today.


                For non-stick, I've had very good luck with my two year old set of Anolon pots and pans. I went with their Authority line. The 5 quart chef's pan is to die for. You can start a pasta sauce in it, and it's big enough you can strain a pound of mostly cooked pasta and dump it in to finish it in the sauce. They are sometimes on sale for quite a bit off at Macy's, although their website is great too. This set is dishwasher safe and they're holding up well. Also, I'm doomed for now to have an electric cook top. These pans are staying very flat on the bottom, so I get perfect contact with the heating element and even heat distribution.


                • Dan Deter
                  Dan Deter commented
                  Editing a comment
                  We used to swear by Anolon, but after our old set wore out the non-stick (which my wife wants), we got a new set and have had buyers remorse ever since

                  Although I will say that that Authority line looks closer to what we had originally than what we got the second time, so that may be the difference. When we have to replace this I will probably be able to talk my wife into the Calphalon, or maybe even All-Clad.

                All good advice here on quality pots, pans and skillets. The only thing I would add is buy an inexpensive 8” non-stick sauté pan. I did not say cheap, but inexpensive. The reason is that they do get a bit of use and it is virtually impossible to keep them from getting scratched. Someone will indelibly use a metal spoon, fork or knife to cook their food. Since it’s inexpensive, you won’t get upset and finally will just toss it out when it has served its purpose.


                  We also have some all clad and a couple large ss stockpots we collected over the years.


                  I have 3 types. A set (well 2 actually) of all clad, black iron, and high end nonstick (calphalon). This isn't including bean/stock pots. Never found something one of the three can't handle. Buy once cry once.


                    We finally upgraded after using hand me downs for 20 years. I couldn’t stomach the price of All-Clad, so we bought Cooks Standard as a set for about the price of one All-Clad skillet. We’ve been very happy with them, but don’t really use the skillets a lot. We use the sauce pans several times a week. We still use or GreenPan ceramic non stick skillets as about the only things we cook in them are eggs and browning ground beef. You should definitely check the Cooks Standard out on Amazon. Induction compatibility was important to us as we plan on replacing our range with induction when it’s time.


                      Richard Chrz Just received an email today about a All Clad Factory sale. Here's the website:



                      • Richard Chrz
                        Richard Chrz commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Damn, I am on there now.... so for 189 dollars I checked out with a stainless 3 qt saute pan with lid and a stainless 3 qt sauce pan with lid. that is less then one pan cost for two... i know they are seconds. but, hoping the problems are minor or invisible. Could not pass on that. I will hopefully see this again next year and get a few more. Thank you for posting. I was not ready really in my mind, but. sometimes the time is now.
                        Last edited by Richard Chrz; September 17, 2019, 05:26 PM.

                      • ofelles
                        ofelles commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I have purchased several pieces and I do not notice anything untoward about them.
                        I know, it seams they always have these sales when I'm not ready. Hope you like them, I do.


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