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Old 10-20-2008, 09:53 AM   #11
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IMO, there is no one best metal for cooking. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Tin lined copper is probably the best cookware, but it is heavy, expcnsive requires care and melts at 450 degrees. It is however, beautiful to look at. You cannot use metal utensils with it. Not good around non-cooks. Cast iron will take heat, is virtually indestructible, is easy to clean, and will take heat. The best for searing, but is not good with acids. Stainless is easy care, but does not heat evenly. There are a lot of hybrids around, some good, mediocre, or downright bad. In my kitchen, I use copper and cast iron. Bottom line, if you are going to make a large investment, try some of each, ask around, and purchase what works best for you. You are right, this question has been beaten to death. There are several threads under cookware and assessories worth reading.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Grillncook View Post
There is quite a bit of alarmism in the current scare about aluminum cookware. There is said to be a link between high aluminum blood levels in dementia of older people. The FDA has stated that they can find no link and that aluminum cookware is safe for general usage. Aluminum is an essential requirement of your dietary needs and is in sources other than pots and pans. The amount that leaches from your pots and pans is miniscule and until there is more conclusive research done, the jury is still out on this issue. Any pot and/or pan will leach a certain amount of material into your food, whether it is made of aluminum, copper, stainless steel, or cast iron. Most commercial applications (ie. eateries) use aluminum cookware because it's cheap and cooks well. If you eat out any at all, you will still have exposure to aluminum, even if you don't cook with it at home. Hard anodized aluminum is one of the hardest surfaces available, easily marked on but seldom scratched below the surface layer of anodization. Anodizing is a chemical process that changes the surface of aluminum and makes it quite tough.

Non-stick coatings aren't for life, they do wear and again transfer to your food in very small amounts. Most wear and tear comes from cleaning rather than cooking. While the non-stick technology has improved over the years, it's still not perfect. You usually can only expect a 3 to 5 year life on the coating, before wear starts to show and it's best to discard the pan and replace it when you do see wear. The coating will also lose it's non-stick abilities over time, whether it wears or not.
very informative reply thank you!
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:57 AM   #13
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If light weight is a major thing you are looking for then cast iron is out. As others have said, all the pans you mentioned all have positives and negatives. There is not one style that is the best over the rest. Of the ones you listed, and based on your weight requirement, I would go with SS if I had to pick just one. Weight is actually a good thing in cookware as it helps with even heat distribution. SS is generally lighter than cast iron, but heavier than non stick pans (although not always). There is very little that you can not do with SS cookware.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:01 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by rykertest View Post
...I a not a professional chef nor do I work in the food industry like I would guess most of you do. I just want something low maintenance, safe and easy to use. I also care about safety. With kids in the house, something lighter than cast iron is nice.

I do like the look of copper but it must be expensive. Thank you again for your reply.

Most of us on this site are not professionals in the food industry, just people who are interested in food and cooking. I use the tri-ply SS because it is durable and safe. It's also easy to clean.

Copper is expensive in comparison to SS and others.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:17 AM   #15
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You are quite welcome and I wish I could take credit for it but it's a compilation of information that I found in Alton Browns "Gear for Your Kitchen". I would highly recommend getting the book, it's full of some great information. In typical Brown style, he breaks everything down to bare nuts and bolts and explains the science behind the information. He has broken down cookware into types of metal explaining the metallurgy(heating efficiency, sources of each metal) and the good and bad points of all. Purchasing the book was one of the best $18.00 kitchen purchases I've ever made, there's a lot of info in there about just about everything tool wise in your kitchen.

I also am not a professional food person, but I love to eat good food. I've found that I can cook better food than quite a few places for far less money. It's all in the details of preparation and the passion of wanting the best ingredients assembled perfectly into tasty grub. Not traits that you can find in many places to eat, other than your own kitchen.
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