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Old 04-28-2008, 12:58 PM   #11
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Location: Kansas
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I like enameled cast iron for most cooking, and I like commercial Vollrath stainless steel stockpots clad with aluminum for other things.

The Le Creuset or Copco pots are fantastic for all around stove top cooking and oven cooking.

The Vollrath pots are great when doing stocks and quanity cooking or hot water bath canning. I even use the Vollrath pots on the smoker/grill when I need to. They are relatively inexpensive, durable, and because of the thick aluminum on the bottom, they are rather responsive to heat.

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Old 04-28-2008, 01:17 PM   #12
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Location: SE Pennsylvania
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if you are serious about cooking, buy the good stuff, even a little at a time.

what is good? heavy full thickness pots and pans. tri ply, enameled cast iron, professional stainless with disc bottoms.

yes there are some bargains out there but you do get what you pay for.

made in china is not a quality product ... but it will be a cost savings for a while yet.

If you look at this site under cookware you will get pages of discussion and no agreement.

1) how do you cook
2) what do you cook
3) how do you clean
all of these are important in deciding what to buy.

Look for items at Costco (recently had Le Creuset and US made Tramontina (both great products) and Ikea ... many great products at reasonable prices.

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Old 04-28-2008, 01:46 PM   #13
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Philly PA
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Oxford I recently found myself in a similar situation

went from having a super-stocked kitchen of high-end cookware to havining one Whustof knife and a baking dish!

I could not afford to replace like kind and my $ is going into my house renovation so I did mostly thrift store/craigslist/flea markets some ebay for cast iron and knives because i cant find them easily

anyway I dont have as fancy a kitchen as I did but it is pretty much as functional and all actually mine and a whole lot more funky and fun.....

no matter how you go about it I would reccoment enjoying the process of getting new kitchen stuff dont rush it buy things as you need or as you discover them.

here is what I conside must haves.

- good quality ss skillet at least 10" it is worth spending some money here it will do you great service
- medium size (3-5qt) enamel cast iron dutch oven (ie le creuset) I always use this pot it is great for braising, roasting, reheating cooking anything low and slow etc I dont even have a place to put it away it lives on my stove
- at least 1 really good kife
- good size stock pot

I will say I was recently at mid/high end houseware chane and was amazed by the low quality of so much of what they carried... even brands whose stuff I have used seemd cheaper and thinner and porly made with the exception of calphahlon they all seemed pretty cheap and crummy.

If you are going to buy online I would make sure to go to the store and pick and touch the pots you are thinking of.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:52 PM   #14
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Oklahoma
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Wow, Oxford. I haven't let myself think about going through those days for some years now. You do not mention whether or not there are children involved...I had three and so every other weekend and one weekday night each week I cooked for four.

Kitchenelf and I think alike in that good quality sets are a great idea for folks in this position. Instant gratification is pretty darned good. I lucked in to a calphalon (spelling?) set early on that worked really well. It certainly was not one of the most expensive but it really worked well. I still use several pieces from that first set...sauce pans mostly.

Cast iron skillets and dutch ovens from Lodge are a bargain and I don't think you will ever wear one out. The Le Creuset enamled dutch ovens are certainly heaven on earth but it was not until just last year that I could afford one! In the last 12 months I've picked up three and they are certainly top notch.

I got some great buys on ebay when buying good knives. Wusthof and Henckels are the brands I went with but there are a lot a other good choices out there. An 8 or 10 inch chef's knife, a good boning knife and a good paring knife will do pretty much everything you need to do. I found a great deal on a Wustof cleaver two years ago (ebay) and have used it maybe once or twice. Kitchen shears are a far better investment.

Good luck. Life really does get a lot better.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:45 AM   #15
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 3,270
Welcome to DC!! Not going to make any suggestions as to what to buy BUT I will say, unless the cookware you have is unsafe to use (for whatever reason), I wouldn't be so quick to chuck it out. They can be handy to have around for when you are cooking at someone else's place, or for when you want/need to lend one out, or even for when you are going on holiday where you need to cook. They can also be handy for when you do something that isn't food related. There are also recipes that make the pan hard to clean without scrubbing so having an old pan that can take the harsher cleaning treatment is valuable to me. If anything happens to those pans, and they get lost or wrecked, no hardship - unlike if it was your new beaut shiny pan! Just my thoughts.
Too many restaurants, not enough time...
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:06 PM   #16
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Start with a smaller 8 or 10 pc set and add as needed.

TJMaxx usually has bargains on thier shop worn cookware but you need to lnow what a new item costs because some of thier stuff is the same price as can be found new elsewhere.

If you have a Bed Bath and Beyond get on thier mailing list and every month you will get a coupon for 20% off and a sale flyer that also has a $5.00 off coupon.

Sam's club usually has some sets for good prices also.

Amazon.com: Anolon Advanced 8-Piece Cookware Set: Kitchen & Dining

Amazon.com: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 10-Piece Cookware Set: Kitchen & Dining

Amazon.com: Anolon Titanium Nonstick Dishwasher Safe 13-Inch, 5-1/2-Quart Covered Braiser: Kitchen & Dining

Amazon.com: Anolon Advanced 3-1/2-Quart Covered Straining Saucepan: Kitchen & Dining
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:40 PM   #17
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Posts: 323
Let me plugin my .02 worth for my favorite shopping haunts, if you have time and dont want to get all of your kitchen items at ounce, cruise through TJ MAxx, Marshalls, Ross and they have another sister store that I can't recall right now. If you are a little patient and are willing to go through the stores maybe bi-weekly you can find a complete set of most brand name cookwares including calphalon, anolon, cusinnart, kitchen aid and some that are more high end that. You will also find butcher block cutting boards, knives and other small hand tools. I would not buy any of their cast iron. I only buy lodge, which can find in outlet stores, or you can go to the lodge outlet in georgia. Also in the outlet malls, the kitchen supply stores are great, especially around the major holidays for electrics and for pyrex.
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:54 PM   #18
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Georgia
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Get the good stuff. I love my stainless steel all clad. Just remember when shopping offline that with the economy being what it is, prices are not set in stone. A lot of retailers don't want you to know that the big bosses have told the store managers that they can negotiate prices to get a sale. So learn the art of "bartering"!
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:48 AM   #19
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2
Thanks folks...

Ya'll are all wonderful!

I plan on buying a set of All Clad Stainless. My son (18) expresses a strong interest in becoming a chef and he will be living with me the next two years and cooking together could be some good F+S bonding.

I bought a set of Henckel knives and love them. I've been like Edward Scissor Hands the past few days cutting up everything in sight -- and not my fingers so far.

As far as what will I cook... well I dunno but bring it on LOL... I am recording a ton of Food Channel cooking shows so let the fun begin.

As you can tell I jump into things with a passion.

Thanks for all you help.


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