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Old 03-08-2007, 06:56 PM   #21
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my sentiments exactly bushy!

although i do understand that you have to pay for quality, some of these cookware manufacturers are just taking the xxxx out of us. excuse my french.i wouldn't spend a $1000 on a few pots unless it cooks itself or i was a millionaire wanting to try out the next new gadget.

if you can't cook worth a dime your $1000 pan isn't going to be of much help. all you need are specific pans for specific needs and these dont' cost heaven and earth.

i've got a

dirt cheap cast iron pan which will last me more than my lifetime

a decent saute pan under $100 which would also outlive me

a carbon steel wok also not expensive

a copper base pan for sauces

a decent stockpot and a few bibs and bobs

now what can the $1000 pots do that my pots can't do? in fact i'll probably put money down that the $1000 pots will be lacking in certain aspects.

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Old 03-08-2007, 10:18 PM   #22
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as a fan of cooking in copper which heats and cools quickly (twice the speed of aluminum for example, 3x that of iron) I obviously have expensive pans. (not copper based or 1 ply out of 7 but 2.5mm solid) It is an expensive metal. But that isn't the only reason for the cost. Labor is probably 1/2 the cost issue. If you make the pans in Pennsylvania, as AllClad does, or Minnesota as Nordicware does, the pan's cost includes the cost of paying union workers a living wage in this country. Americans complain of our jobs going overseas, yet we complain about the cost of goods and services. Well, if we don't support our own companies, we won't have any anymore. (I also prefer to have my money go "local". The copper I buy has either been made in Denver, or Brooklyn, or imported by small companies in Pennsylvania and Ohio.)

g23, you mention a carbon steel wok...I have a couple, hand hammered from China, not expensive at all, and fine cooking implements for that cuisine. The same woks from Japan would cost more than twice as much as the workers get paid more there. Just an example of what I'm talking about.

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Old 03-09-2007, 01:32 AM   #23
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As a wise English farmer, Thomas Tusser, said back in the mid 1500's - "A fool and his money are soon parted".

Originally Posted by bushy
Exactly WHAT are you doing that requires this kind of gear, as opposed to stuff in the $300 - $500 range?
Not a thing!

Yes, different cookware cooks differently ... but do you need a $1,000 set of pots and pans to produce a better meal than you can produce in a $200 set? Well, if it's good quality, then - "It's a poor workman that blames his tools .." (sorry, not sure who first said that).

Different cookware has different performance qualities ... and there is no one "perfect" material for everything. Even if I could afford a kitchen full of copper French pots-n-pans ... I would still need my cast iron, non-stick skillets, etc.

The thing I learned a long time ago was .... if you don't know why you need it ... you don't need it.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 03-09-2007, 01:59 AM   #24
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i'd say buy one piece of whatever line your interested in and see if you like it. i bought a calphalon one pan a year ago for $30 and really liked it, so i've been slowly building up a set since, got about 10 pieces now, maybe if i'm lucky i've spent $1000 on them, but probably less than that becuase it's all on sale.

i started out with cheap walmart pans that got totally scratched after a few months. nothing i cooked on them turned out well, and since i was always taught that cheaper versions should do just fine, i assumed that it was just me that couldn't cook. after reading lots of reviews and threads on this forum, i decided that maybe it was the cookware after all. got me some new pans, and amazing! i can cook pretty well.

i have since concluded that when making larger purchases (yes i consider cookware a larger purchase) it is better to spend more and buy it once, than to spend less and buy it two or three times, and that my family is really not all that smart with money and purchases.
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Old 03-09-2007, 02:48 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
The thing I learned a long time ago was .... if you don't know why you need it ... you don't need it.
I like this thought! Mind if I "borrow" it on occasion?

Yes, as the archetype stupid guy setting up a nest, I have bought some real winners in the cookware department - I must have gone through 3-4 "blue light special"-type of stuff. As of now I am slowly destroying a $100 set of Revere - at present rate, it will take me another 5 years to get to the point that I can differentiate between my shortcomings and its.
So it goes...
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Old 03-09-2007, 09:06 AM   #26
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I have a rather eclectic collection of cookware myself, stuff I've bought, stuff I've received as gifts, stuff I've inherited, and stuff I've found when I move into a new place. I have All-Clad, Calphalon, Lodge Cast Iron, some cheap, thin, LARGE stockpots, a commercial 8" nonstick skillet for eggs, heck I even have a huge 14" (?) tri-ply stainless-copper-stainless Revereware pan for use on a Guiridon (sp?) for table-side presentation at restaurants.

I use just about every pan I currently have, for one thing or another, with the exception of the Revereware. It's just to big, to thin, and not suited for what I do at home. Heck, my 12" cast iron skillet gets so much use, that I don't even store it with the rest of my pans; it just stays on the stovetop.

Right now, the only pan I want to get is a nice 7 qt enamelled cast iron dutch oven.

Even when I was single, I used my 22 qt and 16 qt stockpots to make stock. The 22 qt was used to cook it, then it was strained into the 16 qt, which I used to reduce and concentrate the stock before I chilled it and froze it.

I don't plan on purchasing any other high-quality pan any time soon. I can't really afford to, since we have 5 kids. I try to concentrate on good pots that can cook a large quantity of food, since I basically have to run a small restaurant at home to feed these kids. I don't want to think about what our grocery consumption will be like in 5 years.

I'm not knocking the high-end stuff. It's nice, but I see it as a little un-necessary. Any good chef knows how their equipment works, and their pots and pans work on and in that equipment. Every restaurant I've worked in has the same basic pans. Frying pans are heavy stainless. Saucepans are thin aluminum. Stockpots are thick aluminum. Roasting pans are thin aluminum. If we're lucky, there's a few pieces of cast iron. And yet, we turn out top-dollar foods using these pieces. The major difference for commercial products is just their size. The saucepans and stockpots are HUGE. Skillets come in a range of sizes. The place I'm working at now has some 6", lots of 8", several 12", and about the same amount of 14" skillets.
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:57 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by bushy
My question, again, is: can any set be considered twice as valuable (utility, utility, utility!) as the All-Clad et. al.?
And my question, again, is "are you getting ample value for your money?" If you believe you are, then go for it. It's your money, you worked for it, use it for what is going to make you happy. You can't take it with you, there is no way to send it ahead, and whomever you leave it to is sure to spend it on something REALLY stupid!

Personally, I have no use for pots and pans that cost twice as much as All-Clad, considering I bought most of my Le Gourmet Chef knock-offs on sale for about 1/3 the price of All-Clad. They were made in China, but so what? So was Kwai Chang Caine!
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Old 03-09-2007, 01:46 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by bushy
...My question, again, is: can any set be considered twice as valuable (utility, utility, utility!) as the All-Clad et. al.?

In my opinion, NO, NO, NO! All-Clad is top quality stuff and will do all that is necessary. At my level of expertise, I can't imagine the added benefit to spending double the cost of All-Clad.

To go against the conventional wisdom, I see nothing wrong with buying a set as opposed to individual pieces. It all depends on what's in the set you buy. If the pieces are all utilitarian and are pieces you will use in the course of cooking, take advantage of the set discount and buy it.

Let's be honest, we all have some pieces we use a lot less than others. That's the nature of the beast. The same will be true if you buy a set or individual pieces.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 03-09-2007, 02:12 PM   #29
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Let's take AllClad for our example. Fine quality top line and performance cookware, made to last a lifetime and beyond, made in USA, etc.etc.

They have 5 lines ... MC2 brushed aluminum (cheapest) used on Iron Chef America, btw, SS most poular in America cause it is dishwasher safe and induction ready (anyone here have a full induction cooktop?) considered pricey stuff, and then three other llines: LTD dark anodized exterior, copper exterior, and coppercore, the most $$$. Truly they all cook about the same, as they are all basically aluminum core pans. So if you have AllClad at home, which ine did you get? Was it availability or look of the outside finish or that you could use the dishwasher (and do you and is there any discoloration?)

What I'm getting at is: of the top line items there is great variety, as there is at any level. And we make choices by what we like and what we prioritize. I don't drive a fancy car. I don't take vacations in Hawaii, or skiing. I don't smoke. So I put my cash in my range and kitchenware. Could I cook as well on a $400 electric coil range with store brand tri ply? You bet, I did for years. But now I got my "toys". Is there a differnece? yes there is. I can melt chocolate on the simmer without a doubleboiler...the range is that effective and the pans that responsive to heat. Do I need to be able to do that? NO! Will my mousse be any better? no. Will I enjoy making it more? yes. We've answered this twice already in this thread.
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:15 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by bushy
OK - at age 58, I've decided to see if I can do more and burgers, frozen dinners, and fast food.

So, I'm browsing grown-up tools, and, even though I know the value of having quality tools, the idea of anyone shelling out $1K for 6-7 pots and pans (yes, I know they have real names, but I still haven't learned which is what) seem overkill.

The question to the group:

Exactly WHAT are you doing that requires this kind of gear, as opposed to stuff in the $300 - $500 range?

Thank you for your continued patience with my dumb questions.

In my book, I think that anyone who is about to fork over that amount of money for a cookware set should never have to buy another set for the rest of their lives.

I was at the New England Home Show last year and saw some of these astronomically expensive sets - going for as much as $1,300.00 to about $1,800.00! And then, they'll try to entice you into getting extra pieces to go with it. They'll often throw in a small pot and frying pan in order to try to sweeten up the pot!

Then they try to sell you that extra 10-qt. stock pot or even get you to buy a saute pan or something like that. By the time they baited and bilked you, probably another $1,000.00 or so is tacked onto the already high price of about $1,300.00 or so!

As far as I'm concerned, you can almost get just as good quality in the department stores and then add on additional pieces at your leisure, if desired, and make the set "grow" like I did. You just have to shop around and know what you want so that when you are ready, you'll kind of have first-hand info when you want to buy one.

The Emerilware SS set that I bought, which with proper care, I plan and except to have it around for a long long time to come. So I shouldn't need another set for quite some time to come.

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