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Old 05-16-2009, 10:19 PM   #1
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College Dorm Skillet + Other Cookware

Hi There,

This coming fall semester I will be a sophmore and have decided to try out cooking instead of using my college's dining plan. I have access to a shared kitchen with a standard stovetop and oven.

I am looking for advice on the perfect everday skillet. I cook eggs in the morning, but also like to have some sauteed vegetables and chicken, fish, etc... I tend to eat very healthy. For these items I am in need of a skillet that can cook it all while being low maintenace. I have been leaning towards the new green pans since they can be used in the oven as well as the stove. Even better is that I don't have to worry about overheating the pan somehow and posing myself to the risks of teflon. Particularly the Cuisinart GreenGourmet Skillet is appealing to me, though I do question the depth of the slopping sides which makes the actual bottom surface relatively small. I also was looking into Scanpan and Swiss Diamond. Sometimes though I start to lean to just getting a cheap Teflon skillet. Basically I need your educated advice on what is best for me.

Also I am very welcome to generally advice for healthy college cooking. Just to help out here is a short list I have created of the cookware that I currently own and what I need/want. I also have included a list of what I will consider to be my staple items of cooking.

Own:
Cutting board
Sharpening Steel
Chef's Knife


Need:
Measuring Cups
Measuring Spoons
Salad Spinner
Everyday Skillet
Cast Iron Skillet
Enameled Dutch Oven


Want:
Pairing Knife
Electric Kitchen Scale


Staple Foods:
Lettuce, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Onions
Apples and Pears
Quinoa, Rice, Beans, Lentils
Chicken, Ground Turkey Breast, Fish, Lean Steak, Tunafish
Cottage Cheese, Goat Cheese, Feta Cheese
Eggs, Egg Beaters
Nuts
Olive Oil


Thanks Much,
Michael

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Old 05-16-2009, 11:09 PM   #2
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How about an electric skillet? They come in all kinds of sizes.Very inexpensive,and will cook just about anything.

You can't go wrong with a crockpot.You can add anything to it.Turn it on and go.It does the work for you.Those to are relatively inexpensive,and come in several sizes.

Table top grill..George Foreman type?..Never hurt any hungry Hobo that just wants a hot sammich.

Not sure if anyone else will be using your stuff,but just in case they do,I'd buy the cheapest set I could find.You might care for your things,they might not.

P.S To add to your need list..Spatulas,wooden spoons.

Good luck :)

Munky
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:14 PM   #3
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I would go for a decent 12" non-stick frying pan. Personally, I like Calphalon. I would not recommend getting a cheapo if you can afford it, but it would not be the end of the world if you did get a cheapo one. I like the non-cheapo ones because they are heavier so the heat is much more even and you get less hot spots and burning. As for the dangers of teflon, as long as you do not heat the pan empty for a long time there is no risk.

Cast iron would be another great and inexpensive way to go, but there is a little bit more maintenance to that than a non-stick pan. Not much, but a little.
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:17 AM   #4
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Some great replies.

Chef Munky,
The equipment you mentioned is not allowed to be used inside my dorm. I could of course use it inside the kitchen, but then it sort of defeats the purpose since in that case why not just use the stovetop?

The crockpot is a decent idea, but it's not really my style of food.

GB,
I considered that route. My only limitation here is price. I don't have that much money to spend and was hoping on going to at most 100 dollars for the main equipment pieces. I am more looking toward what would be considered the best value buy. For example the chef's knife I recently purchased was a nice 30 dollar shipped Victorinox Forcschner, which I thought was an awesome buy. If similiar valued equipment could be found for my other pieces that would be ideal. Regarding teflon: I do want to be able to use the pan in the oven in some cases so I'm not sure how well that would work out. I also would rather not have to consider the issue at all then have it nagging at me in the back of my mind. I have also considered swiss diamond and scanpan pan's as well to the greenpans. They are not completely free of the chemicals, but supposidly are able to withstand high temperatures. Do you have any expierence with these?

Cast iron is awesome and if I have it in my list of equipment. I just wouldn't be using it on a completely regular basis just because of the time thing. But on the weekends when I'm not rushing around between homework and classes I will definitly be putting it to good use, but not enough to warrant a replacement of a non-stick.

Thanks,
Michael
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:58 AM   #5
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I have no experience with Swiss Diamond or Scanpan so I really can't speak to those. For the Calphalon non-stick though, you can certainly find pieces within your budget. I think it would not be unreasonable to find a $30 Calphalon 12" non-stick pan. It will not be their top of the line pan, but there is nothing wrong with that. Another good thing about Calphalon is they have a decent warranty depending on the line you buy. If you are the type of person who takes good care of their things then this could be a good investment for you. I actually just sent one of my pans back to them for replacing. It is 6 years old and the coating is wearing off (which is normal with any Teflon pan). They should be sending me a replacement for free. Of course, if you are in college and there is a chance that others will be using and abusing your pan then you could find the warranty voided by abuse rather quickly.

If you can't find a Calphalon pan within your price range then I would recommend any non-stick you can find that find that fits your price range. The most important feature, as far as I am concerned, is weight. Find the heaviest pan you can. That will give you the best performance.

The reason I am pushing non-stick so hard for you is because you will be cooking eggs and you are looking for something that is low maintenance. Non-stick is perfect for eggs and will give you the easiest cleanup. It is extremely low maintenance. The only thing you have to remember is don't use metal utensils in it. Other than that just wipe it out when you are done and you are good to go. You also mentioned eating healthy and non-stick will help you cook with much less fat than other types of pans.

Cast iron is something everyone should have in their collection. You can get a pan for $10 or less and once they have been used a while they are as non-stick as the best Teflon pans around. Like you, I do not use mine every day, but when I do use it I am very happy to have it.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:09 PM   #6
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the brands are not so important as the size and quality. You want thick metal all the way up, metal handles, silver stone on one skillet..... look for a restaurant store or something like Marshalls and see what you cna get for your $$. Places like Bed Bath and Beyond also have good prices and selection.
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions! My only concern with going the classic non-stick route is that if I am making something that requires high heat or transfers to the oven I want to be able to use my standard pan for those dishes as well.
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:12 PM   #8
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I used my non-stick on high heat all the time (even though they say you can't). Most can go in the over (to a certain temp) too. I think my Calphalon says it can be in an oven up to 450.
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:28 PM   #9
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Hmm this sounds pretty good then. A good quality nonstick might be the direction I end up going. On this other forum I posted a thread with the same topic and the community is pushing for a carbon steel pan. What do you guys thinks of this?
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:31 PM   #10
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Carbon steel requires the same sort of upkeep that cast iron requires. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but since you were looking for something low maintenance then I would steer you away from carbon steel. It is not high maintenance, but it is more maintenance than other options.
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