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Old 10-30-2011, 12:34 PM   #1
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I'm new at this... looking for input on some good cookware

So after coming to the realization that I'm spending way too much on going out to eat, I've decided that I need to start cooking more.

My deliemma: I'm trying to research a good cookware set but getting more and more confused, so any imput is greatly appreciated.

I'm a very novice cook so I don't need anything crazy, but I do want a nice quality set. Please post your suggestions for me :)

THANK YOU

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Old 10-30-2011, 02:19 PM   #2
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Welcome to DC Brandon. This topic comes up from time to time. The answer invariably is "it depends". What do you like to cook? What is your budget? Does it have to be a matched set? How many people to you cook for?

One argument against buying a "set" of cookware in the box is that it almost always includes items you don't need or won't use.

Another argument is to spend your money on a few quality pieces and build your set over time. Perhaps start with 1 frying pan (de buyer), a sauce pan (all-clad) and a dutch oven (le creuset).

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Old 10-30-2011, 04:11 PM   #3
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I think I would add to that list 1 number 8 cast iron skillet. Not less than 40 years old.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:15 AM   #4
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Okay. Now you're talking. I can't hardly bring myself to eat out anymore. I can't help thinking how much better and cheaper I can do it. (I'll go out for deli sandwiches, because I don't keep all those meats around, and for some ethnic foods, again because I don't keep everything at home.)

And it's normal to be confused. Ceramic, cast iron, stainless steel, hard anodized, Teflon, copper... First, don't think you have to spend a lot. Remember that all cookware is "non-stick" when used properly. Why not stay simple and learn to do it right? I happen to like stainless steel with copper or aluminum internal heavy discs in the bottom. They heat more evenly. (You can spend a bunch of money to get an internal copper layer up the sides, too, but how often does that matter?)

You can spend a bunch on an impressively branded ceramic and cast iron Dutch oven. But the $20 no-name one I picked up new at the supermarket is their equal in every way I can find. That's an excellent thing to have, a Dutch oven. You can work on the stove top and move it to the oven. And the cast iron keeps the heat up as you add ingredients. A Dutch oven and a small fry pan suitable for omelets will handle more than 90% of general cooking.

I worked for many years with an old set of Revere copper-bottom stainless steel. Other than not being able to put it in the oven (knobs and handles wouldn't take it), it was fine. And very cheap, since it makes regular appearances at Goodwill and yard sales. For that matter, I've picked up very nice heavy bottom stainless pieces and European and Chilean copper pieces at flea markets. The point is, don't spend a ton of money if you will later feel obliged to stay with it, even if it turns out to be not what you like. If you can cook well on basic stainless or tin-lined copper, you can cook well on anything. No one cooks well just on account of their cookware.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forty_caliber View Post
Welcome to DC Brandon. This topic comes up from time to time. The answer invariably is "it depends". What do you like to cook? What is your budget? Does it have to be a matched set? How many people to you cook for?

One argument against buying a "set" of cookware in the box is that it almost always includes items you don't need or won't use.

Another argument is to spend your money on a few quality pieces and build your set over time. Perhaps start with 1 frying pan (de buyer), a sauce pan (all-clad) and a dutch oven (le creuset).

.40
I'm really just looking for a basic quality set that I can cook just about anything with. Budget wise, nothing too crazy, but I don't want something that is not going to last.

I would prefer a set because I do plan on hanging the pans in the kitchen so I would (and my girlfriend) would prefer that they all matched.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GLC View Post
Okay. Now you're talking. I can't hardly bring myself to eat out anymore. I can't help thinking how much better and cheaper I can do it. (I'll go out for deli sandwiches, because I don't keep all those meats around, and for some ethnic foods, again because I don't keep everything at home.)

And it's normal to be confused. Ceramic, cast iron, stainless steel, hard anodized, Teflon, copper... First, don't think you have to spend a lot. Remember that all cookware is "non-stick" when used properly. Why not stay simple and learn to do it right? I happen to like stainless steel with copper or aluminum internal heavy discs in the bottom. They heat more evenly. (You can spend a bunch of money to get an internal copper layer up the sides, too, but how often does that matter?)

You can spend a bunch on an impressively branded ceramic and cast iron Dutch oven. But the $20 no-name one I picked up new at the supermarket is their equal in every way I can find. That's an excellent thing to have, a Dutch oven. You can work on the stove top and move it to the oven. And the cast iron keeps the heat up as you add ingredients. A Dutch oven and a small fry pan suitable for omelets will handle more than 90% of general cooking.

I worked for many years with an old set of Revere copper-bottom stainless steel. Other than not being able to put it in the oven (knobs and handles wouldn't take it), it was fine. And very cheap, since it makes regular appearances at Goodwill and yard sales. For that matter, I've picked up very nice heavy bottom stainless pieces and European and Chilean copper pieces at flea markets. The point is, don't spend a ton of money if you will later feel obliged to stay with it, even if it turns out to be not what you like. If you can cook well on basic stainless or tin-lined copper, you can cook well on anything. No one cooks well just on account of their cookware.
Thanks for all the great info. I'm still trying to sort through all the different brands and types but this defintely really helps!
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandonb View Post
I'm really just looking for a basic quality set that I can cook just about anything with. Budget wise, nothing too crazy, but I don't want something that is not going to last.

I would prefer a set because I do plan on hanging the pans in the kitchen so I would (and my girlfriend) would prefer that they all matched.
If you go with stainless steel even "unmatched" pieces will look good displayed in your kitchen, since it is easy to find pans with the same finish, the handles might be styled slightly different but they will look pretty much the same.

I really prefer un-coated stainless steel with nice heavy bottoms, or even better "clad" sets. This type of cookware has a slight learning curve to keep food from sticking, but will last a very very long time.

Non-stick is easy for the beginner, but even the most expensive stuff will eventually have the non-stick surface wear out, making it disposable.

Wal-Mart carries their Better Homes and Gardens (made by tramontina I think) a nice line of clad stainless steel, similar construction to the pricey brands like Allclad, but much less expensive. You could build a set from that and throw in an inexpensive non-stick skillet for those times where you need one. That is kind of how my set is made up, mostly stainless with a little non-stick.
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:56 AM   #8
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Cookware and more sells cosmetic second AllClad at a very deep discount.

Generally you'll be hard-pressed to see the defect.

It's excellent cookware that will last a lifetime.

I agree with the others that sets almost always include things you won't use.

At CookWare and More you can select the pieces you want and will use. They'll match and the SS is good looking.

They also have sales on their already discounted stuff.
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:59 PM   #9
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If you want to be able to fondle before buying, I, too, suggest that the WalMart BH&G set or the Tramontina branded set Tramontina 18/10 Stainless Steel TriPly-Clad Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set - Walmart.com would do you well, now and far into the future. I use Tramontina and know them to be well-made. Whatever you get, pick up a can of Barkeepers Friend. It's non-abrasive and ideal for polishing stainless steel. I'm kind of a bug about keeping my stainless slick and not scratched and keep it out of the dishwasher and use no metal tools with it. Even if you're not such a bug, the BKF will polish out the odd discolorations that appear and will remove tough areas of burned on stuff that you can get while oven braising in this cookware.
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:30 PM   #10
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I would add to the list of reasonable quality sets at a reasonable price the sets at Costco. I do not use SS, but have fondled the sets, and they seem reasonably priced and above average quality. I think they run around $150 the set. I would assume those at Sams would be similar. If I were to purchase a set, I would look for a small one. You can always add later.
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