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Old 05-12-2005, 05:14 PM   #1
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Choosing cookware

I've been using non-stick cookware my whole life but have never been happy with it. Its time to replace the non-stick junk and get something better. I had the cheapest cookware for years. A year to two ago I paid about $40 for a large Calaphon frying pay with lid at Target. It turned out to be just as bad as all the other non-stick stuff I've ever owned.

Here are the requirements that I've thought of so far.

1. Smooth Bottom: I have a smooth, glass cooktown which requires that the bottom of a pan be pretty smooth to maximize contact. I have never really experimented much with this so i don't know HOW smooth it needs to be.

2. Thick base: I've seen a few items in local kitchenware stores with thick (1/2 inch) bottoms. My previous pans all tend to deform and become convex (or concave) because of high heat. The deformation of the pan bottom makes it very inefficient on my cooktop since it has a smooth, glass finish.

I'm open to any recommendations. Price is a factor but I'm willing to pay for something that will suit my needs and last a long time. I've looked at the all-clad web site but can't tell which of their product lines meets my requirements from the pictures.

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Old 05-12-2005, 05:22 PM   #2
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All Clad is great stuff and fits what you are looking for although it is some of the most expensive stuff you will find. another good choice is Le Creuset, but this is also very expensive. Both are heavy (thick bottom), will not warp, and can be used on your particular cook top. There are other brands that are not quite as expensive. What you want to look for is Clad cookware. that is have the thick bottoms you are looking for and will preform well.

Another option is cast iron. Nothing short of a very large bomb will warp a cast iron pan. They are VERY heavy (which is a good thing) and they can also be very inexpensive. they require a little bit of effort, but nothing that should scare off from using them. Lodge makes great cast iron pots and pans and they even have a pre seasoned line which is a good way to go. I have just touched on a few quick points. I am sure others will jump on and give you some great advice as well.

By the way, welcome to the site
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Old 05-12-2005, 05:56 PM   #3
 
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I like enameled cast iron like Le Creuset for dutch ovens, skillets and bakeware.

I like cast iron skillets.

And I like heavy duty but economical aluminum clad stainless steel Vollrath commercial saucepans, stockpots, and double boilers. You have to buy them at a restaurant supply store, but they are much cheaper than All-Clad and for the purpose of saucepans, stockpots, and double boilers, you don't need triple ply on the sides or the additional expense.

JMHO
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Old 05-13-2005, 03:44 AM   #4
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I am a fan of Tramantina Pro, make sure it's the pro version. It costs more than the standard but it is well worth it. I have All Clad and TP in my collection at work and I think they compare favorably. Nice thing is that the TP costs 1/2 or less than the AC.
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Old 05-13-2005, 08:27 AM   #5
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What piece of cookware do you use most often, or is most important to you? My recommendation is to buy that piece open stock, try it and see if you like it. Yes, I know pieces cost more open stock than in a set. However, when I look at sets I see pieces that I probably won't use much, if at all. Also, a set of good cookware is expensive, and what if you don't like it even though the rest of the world thinks it's fabulous? I still have a Calphalon non-stick set that I bought several years ago. Since, I have purchased individual pieces of All-Clad, LeCreuset, Anolon, UltrexII and Lodge.
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Old 05-13-2005, 09:31 AM   #6
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We picked up a SS set of cookware at Sam's Club..

http://discusscooking.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10531

So far so good, we've been really happy with it, especially for the price.

John
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Old 05-13-2005, 12:31 PM   #7
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The pan I use the most is a large pan probably classified as a sauteuse but not quite as deep as many of the ones I've seen around. We *have* considered purchasing a small fry pan with a lid and try it out with eggs and small batches of foods.

This brings up another difficulty though. We've had trouble finding small fry pans with lids from the higher-end SS makers. They mostly seem to only equip larger items with lids.

Do all the All-Clad lines fit my criteria or just some of them?

and feel free to list other manufacturers selling products that I should look at. We're really just getting our feet wet and A-C might be a bit TOO wet to start with. We'll see though.
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Old 05-13-2005, 12:35 PM   #8
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Well most of them (fry pans) will not have lids, but there is a simple solution. You can buy an inexpensive universal lid that you can use on any fry pan.

All Clad is great stuff and you won't go wrong with it
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Old 05-13-2005, 02:11 PM   #9
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Mr. Dove:

Since you have a glass cooktop, in addition to tri-ply clad cookware, you can consider stainless with a multi-layered disk on the pan bottoms. They will work well on your type of stove. I think they can be a problem on a gas stove.

If tri-ply is your choice (it is mine) there are a number of less expensive alternatives to All-Clad. Calphalon makes a more reasonably priced line of tri-ply as does Revere. Also, there is a line called Le Gourmet cookware that's a very good alternative. You can usually find them at outlet malls and (no doubt) online as well.

Outlet malls may also have a LeCrueset outlet where you can get cosmetic seconds for about half price. Le Crueset enameled cast iron is the best for a dutch oven.

It pays to shop around. There are bargains to be had.
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Old 05-14-2005, 08:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Dove
This brings up another difficulty though. We've had trouble finding small fry pans with lids from the higher-end SS makers. They mostly seem to only equip larger items with lids.
I had a universal lid and it just didn't seem to fit all that well. Maybe it was just the one that I bought. I just put aluminum foil over the pans that I don't have a lid for. Not perfect, but gets the job done.
If you do decide to buy individual pieces, here's the way that I've gone:
Non-stick: Egg/omelet pan, pancake griddle
SS and Cast Iron: Searing meats, finishing in oven, deglazing
Enameled Cast Iron: Dutch (actually French) oven
I'm still using my Calphalon non-stick sauce pans (still in good shape), but will investigate replacing with ss or enameled cast iron when they need replacing
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