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Old 05-14-2014, 01:18 PM   #1
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Calphalon? All-Clad? Or what?

For a long time I have intended to treat myself to top end gear when I retired and moved into what I consider my final home (moved in last June). I got the Wolf electric convection oven and gas cooktop, and they are simply amazing! (Should be considering the price. Well worth it. Particularly since I plan to live here the rest of my life.)

But I'm still cooking on the same mish-mash of pots and pans I've collected over the years. Good ones, bad ones, so-so ones, lots of different brands. I like a few of them a lot, others I want to give an express ride to the local Good Will store.

The last few years as I was planning the final move I got the idea that the biggest top end brands were Calphalon and All-Clad. Note that I generally do my cookware shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

I figured it would be simple. When I was ready I went over to BBB ready to pick one or the other. Much to my dismay I discovered that each brand has multiple product lines. It's not just choice A or choice B. And maybe I should be considering another choice C or something. (My mind isn't made up between these two brands. I just want good stuff that will last me my next 20 years.)

Then there's another problem: Buy a set or open stock? Get them in a set and you save money over buying individually. But I noticed most of the sets have a matching stock pot. Stock pot??? I have a couple stainless steel stock pots that have served me well for years. I can't see any reason to get a Calphalon or All-Clad or other premium stock pot. Why would they be any better than my trusty old stainless?

After walking around the cookware department dumbstruck, I decided to regroup and ask my DC friends for advice.

Calphalon? All-Clad? Cuisinart? Another brand? Which product lines? Mix and match?

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Old 05-14-2014, 01:34 PM   #2
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I'm an All-Clad fan. If SS clad cookware is what you want, you can't do better. I agree you don't need a set. Buy the individual pieces you need. You can add others as needed. Check out this site Cookware & More - Outlet for All-Clad Irregulars. It is a discount site for All-Clad with cosmetic imperfections. Great prices. If you want unblemished, stick with BBB. Sadly, your 20% discount coupons do not apply.

All that said, Calphalon and Cuisinart both make good cookware too. Chances are you will be happy with any of them. I have pieces of All-Clad, Cuisinart, Kirkland, Tramontina and LeGourmet Chef. All are clad SS and I have no complaints.
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Old 05-14-2014, 02:03 PM   #3
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if you've got gas, try a solid copper / ss lined pot or two.
(solid = min. 2.5 mm thick; not the hangonthewall junk)

expensive - but you'll luv' the way they cook.
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Old 05-14-2014, 02:52 PM   #4
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I like All-Clad, too. I bought a 3-quart saute pan with some birthday money one year and I loved it. I had been cooking with a set of Farberware I had received as a wedding present and was truly amazed at the difference in my cooking. Later, DH bought me a set of Calphalon, which I think is just as good, but costs much less.

I agree with Andy that buying pieces you need and will use is best. My Calphalon set came with a 10-quart Dutch oven! We had neither the space to store it nor the need to cook that much, since there are only two of us. We gave it to the fire department down the street

I have no experience with copper pans, so can't comment on that. Maintenance is a pain, though, isn't it?
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Old 05-14-2014, 02:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I'm an All-Clad fan. If SS clad cookware is what you want, you can't do better. I agree you don't need a set. Buy the individual pieces you need. You can add others as needed. Check out this site Cookware & More - Outlet for All-Clad Irregulars. It is a discount site for All-Clad with cosmetic imperfections. Great prices. If you want unblemished, stick with BBB. Sadly, your 20% discount coupons do not apply.

This.

Almost all my cookware is All Clad acquired through Cookware and More. And almost all of it had "blemishes" that you either couldn't see at all or so minor that it didn't matter. Some of my pieces are almost 20 years old and they look great and terrific to cook with.
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:13 PM   #6
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>>I have no experience with copper pans, so can't comment on that. Maintenance is a pain, though, isn't it?

if you're going to hang it on the wall / pot rack and use it to touch up your make up or impress your cousins that you can afford it,
yes.

I got/use mine because of how it cooks. I don't polish it everyday. I cook with it. now and then when the spirit moves me I use a (not to be mentioned lest I offend anyone with a perforated can top fetish) cleaner.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:48 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. I expect there will be more to come...

I cook on natural gas, on my Wolf gas cooktop which I worship! Only other choice would have been Viking although I understand GE has a top end offering that is competitive.

No room in my kitchen to hang pots and pans. If only I had an island but I was lucky to get the beautiful luxury house I ended up in ..... and I can see Russia from my back yard!

One thing I absolutely hate from my current 10"-12" class skillets is that the bow UP in the middle. What the heck??? If anything it would help if there were an imperceptible slant towards the center. I fry an egg and it wants to go all over the pan! That is easily corrected by application of a spatula as the egg firms up, but entirely unnecessary if the pan didn't have a hump in the middle. Whatever were they thinking?

Well one good thing, I'm going to buy from BB&B and they have as liberal a return policy as any store could ever have. I think I'll tackle a 10"-12" skillet first, maybe buy both Calphalon and All-Clad and run my personal A-B test between them, return the loser.

I have a lot of really old BB&B coupons. I'll have to sort trough them, maybe some don't have the fine print about All-Clad.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:51 AM   #8
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I like All-Clad copper core if you can afford it. The SS is good for a budget, if you can call All-Clad "budget". LOL
Buy the pieces you know you will use.
Calphalon is not in the same class of cookware, imo.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:25 PM   #9
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The main difference you'll find between the different type of All-Clad is how many layers of metal make up the pans. I work in a kitchen that has All-Clad 3-ply and 5-ply, as well as Demeyere 7-ply. I find that there is a noticeable difference between the 3 and 5 ply pans, and detectable but less so between the 5 and 7 ply.

For the money I like the All-Clad D-5 (5-ply) pans. The layers are Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Stainless Steel. They look great and perform beautifully. Very even heat distribution across the bottom and up the sides of the pans.

If price were really no object, I'd seriously consider the Demeyere 7-ply pans, but I like the fact that All-Clad pans are made in the USA.
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Old 05-21-2014, 02:26 PM   #10
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I like aluminum cookware. I have some SS. Like you, several brands and several types of metals.
I always reach for the Calphalon anodized each time. Maybe because I am more accustomed to them? But I would never consider cooking over easy eggs in an SS pan. I can easily fry an egg in the anodized pan.

All-Clad looks the best and is most likely the best pan. But SS is not as good a conductor of heat as the AL is.
Maybe this is why nothing sticks to the anodized AL pans? Or its the anodized coating. Either way, I prefer the Calphalon over the SS. Allison above seems to know about the construction of the All-Clad SS.

Any pan that sags in the middle can be straightened out with a mallet. There are several members who disagree, but I have flattened out many a fry pan using a rubber mallet.
One good smack in the center with the pan upside down will do the trick.
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