To me this is a no-brainer. BOTH. My 'big' set of pots and pans has always been some kind of stainless steel -- when I was young, it was copper bottomed revere ware. I still love the stuff, but it doensn't mesh well with glass-top electric stoves. When I had to ditch my old life for a new one, I bought a stainless steel modern set. I believe it is a French brand, cannot remember. BUT I will never be without a couple of nonstick skillets. Mom always bought these as cheaply as possible, and considered them disposable. I go a little more on the budgetary scale, but not enough that I have to worry about what utensils I use on them. To me, you don't need a nonstick finish on things like your stock pot, anything you're boiling or steaming in. You want to have a regular finish on your deep pan (never know what to call it -- the thing that looks like a frying pan but has deeper sides and a lid) -- nonstick will keep your meats from sticking and forming the basis of a good sauce. On the other hand, when you fry eggs, make omlettes, pancakes, fry potatoes, etc, you want to NOT leave behind that brown coating. So I vote for BOTH in every kitchen. The big set, regular, then two nonstick frying pans, but not expensive. If you scrape the finish on them, no aligator tears.