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Old 01-14-2007, 10:45 AM   #1
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Choosing Cookware

Hi, everyone!

I'm new here. As a single woman without kids, I have to admit to not spending much time in the kitchen. It just never seemed worth it to work so hard on a meal when I eat so little. And then to have to clean up...ugh.

Anyway - I made a decision recently about trying to cook a new recipe once a week to begin to learn more about cooking. And I think one of the first steps is to make sure I have the right "tools". I have an old set of pots and pans that even I can tell need to be tossed! So I'm turning to you for advice on what I should look for in the way of replacements.

While I don't want to spend a fortune, I'd like to have a decent set of pots and pans. Do I get stainless steel? If so...is there such thing as low grade and high grade stainless steel? How do I tell the difference? What grade is right for a new cook like me? Do I get tephlon coated pots and pans or not? The ones I have now are TFal and they were tephlon....they don't seem to be non-stick anymore. Is that possible? Even if the color is still there, can the non stick have worn off? What do I buy???? Help!

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Old 01-14-2007, 11:26 AM   #2
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Wow...a very tough question....

I have a 24 year old daughter who just received her Doctorate in Pharmacy...She moved into an apartment...She has several odds and ends pieces that were here grand-mothers and great grand-mothers..cast iron etc...In a world where one can spend hundreds of dollars on just one piece of cookware the choices are limitless...You may want to look at an inexpensive line and move up the ladder as your skills and desires dictate...Maybe a line called Revereware (with copper bottoms) ..I think you can by sets and is open stock in alot of places...We have some pieces of this stuff that is 40 years old...There are many other options and I am sure you will receive some good advice here!!
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Old 01-14-2007, 11:54 AM   #3
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I couldn't have said it any better than "UncleBob" did. I was thinking along the same lines about buying up when you get a better handle on this cooking thing. Having been cooking up storm (I love it) for 45 yrs. I can tell you that to buy a complete set of the same cookware can be a mistake. There are different pans that work for different dishes you're making. I love cast iron and most of my cookware is cast, but I have a couple of Farberware stainless steel pots and pans that work better than cast iron for certain things. The ONLY thing I cook on non-stick cookware are eggs. Nothing sticks to my stainless or cast iron but eggs will stick, trust me. Start out with a couple of decent quality stainless, maybe a cast iron or two and see what you prefer when you get to the stage of cooking that you feel confindent with. No one can tell you what to buy, it's something you have to decide for yourself. See what you like, see what works for YOU and go from there. Good Luck. The more you cook, the better you'll like it.
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Old 01-15-2007, 01:53 PM   #4
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Just a quick THANK YOU to all of you for replying and giving me your guidance. I appreciate it. I'm headed out now to do some shopping. I might come home with few new pieces of cookware; we'll see! Thanks again!!
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Old 01-15-2007, 02:50 PM   #5
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as you are heading out so soon, perhaps my advice will be useless. Perhaps it is anyway.

1) If you live near a Kitchen store...Kitchen Kapers, Gourmet CHef, Kitchen Connection, etc...give a visit and ask lots of questions, handle several pieces. If not go one line to Fantes and check out their cookware guide. Fante's Kitchen Wares Shop - Fantes.com

unless you are sure, don't buy a set but a useful piece here and there.

a good sized pot for soup and stew
a sauce pan
a fry pan
a saute pan

make sure they are thick heavy metal unless you physically can't lift them, then go for something a bit lighter, but...heavy walled pans cook more evenly, are more forgiving. THin pans burn.

you may want some teflon...a fry pan for eggs for example.

If you like shopping...look at places like Marshalls Home Goods for fine pans at 1/2 price, or many on line places. You can get many pieces of Calphalon at Amazon.com for very low prices.

There is no one hard and fast answer...you cook a certain way and your collection of pans etc need to fit you adn your needs so it is often a collection you build rather than a set you buy today.

enjoy the whole experience.
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Old 01-16-2007, 03:48 PM   #6
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You will probably get more usefull information if we knew what kind of cooktop you're using.

Older Farberware and Revereware may have been good but thier current offerings are mediocre at best.

Your T-Fal will become less nonstick as it's used especially if you've used metal utensils when using them. Not all nonstick is the same. Other nonstick cooking surfaces ware at different rates.

If you've never used stainless steel before get one piece, such as a 10" skillet to try before investing very much money in SS cookware. Some will say SS is nonstick and then tell you that you will be able to make a better pan sauce because of the brown bits that stick to the SS cooking surface that just will not stick to teflon.

If you're used to nonstick cookware move up to better nonstick and add a few SS pieces for cooking recipes better suited to SS cookware.

Cuisinart Chef's Classic SS and Chef's Classic nonstick are a good value and definite step up from lower end T-Fal.

You could start with a set of Chef's Classic nonstick and then add a few pieces of SS cookware.

If you've never used cast iron I wouldn't go out and buy a bunch of that either.

Amazon.com: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 12-Inch Everyday Pan with Medium Dome Cover: Kitchen & Housewares

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

Amazon.com: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 12-Inch Open Skillet with Helper Handle: Kitchen & Housewares

Amazon.com: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 10-Inch Open Skillet: Kitchen & Housewares
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Old 01-16-2007, 08:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drama Queen
Nothing sticks to my stainless or cast iron but eggs will stick, trust me.
Really? Eggs do very well in my cast iron pans, no sticking even when I have a brain fart and forget to put any butter in the pan. I use stainless for tomato sauces and other things that have very acidic ingredients. However, my cast iron pans are so well seasoned that I can do up a quick pan sauce with a bit of wine after sizzling a steak and there will be no off taste. Have successfully added mustard to a sauce in my cast iron as well.
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Old 01-16-2007, 10:21 PM   #8
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I have successfully fried eggs (over easy) in a SS skillet with no problem. I did it just to prove to myself I could. I regularly use non-stick for eggs because its a little easier.
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franca
Really? Eggs do very well in my cast iron pans, no sticking even when I have a brain fart and forget to put any butter in the pan.
I have not had any problem with eggs sticking in my cast iron pans. Although, I have to qualify that by saying the pan I use for eggs is probably about 100-years-old and really, really well seasoned. My cast iron pans perform as if they were Teflon-lined. Hooray!
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Old 01-17-2007, 01:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie E
I have not had any problem with eggs sticking in my cast iron pans. Although, I have to qualify that by saying the pan I use for eggs is probably about 100-years-old and really, really well seasoned. My cast iron pans perform as if they were Teflon-lined. Hooray!
Exactly - that's why I love them so! In another thread I posted about planning a rib steak cook-off tonight with a pair of vintage number 8 skillets I bought off eBay. Both were excellent - each cooked a perfect steak and cleaned up in a jiffy under hot water with a few swipes of a nylon brush. Back on the burner to heat up and burn off any residual moisture, wipe with oil ... fantastic! I picked a couple of good ones. Now I have to part with one of them. Destination: Colorado, Mission: to convince my friend of the wonders of cast iron for cooking steaks (among other things).
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