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Old 07-31-2015, 11:57 AM   #1
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Deciding between French Skillet & Saute Pan, and what size Saucepans?

I recently got back into cooking again, and finally decided to get rid of the couple of old mangled pans I had and finally invest in some good quality pieces. I don't need advice on materials or brands, I'm just trying to decide what pieces would be the most useful - at these prices I don't want to waste $ getting something that's not going to see much use.

I think I can reduce this down to 2 general questions/decisions:

1) Saute pan, french skillet, or both? I picked up the 11" French skillet and love it. But then I just came across the 4qt sauté pan. I'm torn - their very similar in size so I wonder if I'm wasting $ and being redundant in having both, but then I think having both could be helpful sometimes when I have my meat cooking in one and I want to sauté some veggies. If I just have 1 I'd have to finish cooking one part of the meal before I could start on the other. Or am I just trying to talk myself into justifying having both? (I have to decide quick - I have to return the skillet by Sunday if I'm not going to keep it).

2) What size saucepans would be most useful? I'm getting a 1qt saucier. I'm thinking I should also add either a 3 or 4qt saucepan, but which? And would a 1.5qt saucepan be useful or could I just use the 1qt saucier for anything I needed in the 1.5qt saucepan?

Some background on what I cook. I pretty much just cook for myself, and only try to cook no more than 2-3 servings at a time - I'm not crazy about a lot of leftovers, and have limited freezer space for them. I mostly cook meat and veggies, and also sauces. I rarely cook rice/pasta/polenta, I don't make stock or soup.

I do make chili a couple times a month in the fall/winter, and do braises at least once or twice a month, such as coq au vin or short ribs. The only pieces I'm keeping are my 3.5 and 5qt dutch ovens (enameled cast iron), so I believe I should be covered here.

Thank you for any feedback you can give!

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Old 07-31-2015, 12:58 PM   #2
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the kids flew the coop. I wound up buying smaller sauce pans and a smaller fry pan.

you need a 10" fry/saute for big stuff - like whole fish / long filets - but it's overkill for smaller portions hence the downsize to 8"

the size is more important than the "name" - names imply certain geometries which may or may not be important and which are not a "universally applied standard geometry" and modifications/differences which you will quickly adapt to using.

the 3 qt size is handiest around here, for two.

I have a 6 qt dutch oven / casserole which works great for chili, stew, etc.
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:47 PM   #3
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Thanks! I have a small 10" everyday pan that I use for cooking a couple of eggs occasionally, but it seems too small for much else. I hate the handles on that pan, but I'll probably hang onto it for a while until I can replace it down the road with a good small skillet or fry pan. I haven't been cooking eggs that much lately, so I can afford to wait on that one.
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Old 07-31-2015, 02:10 PM   #4
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Even though it's only the two of us living here, I do entertain occasionally so I have a fair variety.

I have nonstick 8" (our egg cooker), 12" and 14" frying pans (all Bakers & Chefs brand or equivalent, restaurant supply grade), 10" clad SS frying pan (Kitchen Aid) and 12" SS chicken fryer (deep sides - Simply Calphalon).

I have a one pint SS sauce pan (also Simply Calphalon) that I use a lot, 2 quart and 4 quart nonstick sauce pans (the 4 qt is what I usually cook rice in).

The new gas range also came with a reversible CI griddle/grill pan that replaces the center grate on the stovetop. Then I have my 5 qt and 9 qt enameled CI dutch ovens.

It may be overkill, but usually have what I need for cooking just about anything I make.
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:20 PM   #5
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Sounds to me like you could easily get by on what you have now. The Dutch ovens can be for frying. I do that all the time with meat that will be stewed or braised in that enamelled cast iron Dutch oven.

I'm not sure what is meant by a sauté pan. I think that nowadays it means a straight sided frying pan? How much do you want it? I'm sure you will find uses for it if you get it.
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:52 AM   #6
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Cookware

I generally cook for one or two and collect cookware, so have a large collection to choose from. Here's what I use most:

Cast iron skillet. 10 inch square
Small saucepans. I prefer slope sided (evasee) All with lids.
Larger saucepan, large enough to boil pasta, corn, and the like. And/or a large pot with an insert. I use both.
A saute skillet. I usually reach for a 10 inch.

A carbon steel wok. 13 inch. It is my most used pan.

The CS wok IMO is the most underrated pot in the kitchen. Much more than a stir fry device. I took a month long 8000 mile camping road trip a couple years back and carried only the wok and a French press. Everything got cooked.
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Old 08-03-2015, 10:00 AM   #7
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Down the line I'm going to need to replace my ECI 3.5qt Dutch oven - after 2 uses it has some crazing and I figure it's days are numbered. I'll use it until it gives, but I'm thinking then going with either the 3 or 4qt saucepan to replace it. Any thoughts?. I thought maybe the long handle might be useful (both I'm looking at also have helper handles as well). It'll be stainless - I'm not going the cast iron or ECI route again after this.
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Old 08-03-2015, 10:56 AM   #8
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I would return it to the seller or manufacturer for a refund or replacement. I've used cast iron and enameled cast iron (Le Creuset) for many years and have never seen anything like that. It's likely that pan is defective.

I personally don't like putting saucepans in the oven, which is where I often use my ECI Dutch oven - I too often forget it was in there and burn my hand on the handle after taking it out. If you don't mind that, then a saucepan should work fine.
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
I would return it to the seller or manufacturer for a refund or replacement. I've used cast iron and enameled cast iron (Le Creuset) for many years and have never seen anything like that. It's likely that pan is defective.

I personally don't like putting saucepans in the oven, which is where I often use my ECI Dutch oven - I too often forget it was in there and burn my hand on the handle after taking it out. If you don't mind that, then a saucepan should work fine.
I completely agree with this post.
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Old 08-03-2015, 10:08 PM   #10
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I have no problem at all returning things if warranted, but I kind of feel partially responsible for the damage. I'm used to cooking in stainless, and I preheated it empty, and probably a little higher than I should have (top of medium high per stovetop manual), and then was in a hurry and added the meat without adding/heating the oil beforehand.

From some of what I've seen researching it, I think I would end up paying for the shipping charge (probably around $35), then end up with a coupon for 75% off the MSRP, which would put me out nearly the same amount of money I spent buying the pot in the first place, so I'd end up essentially buying it again anyway.

And I figure I've now proven to myself I need a cooking material that can withstand and survive an interaction with me!
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