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Old 12-01-2007, 11:29 PM   #11
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I like the SS because I like how it looks and I liked the price compared to the other lines. All of them are SS on the inside (unless you get the non stick of course).

For non stick I have Calphalon which I highly recommend. It is not super expensive, but very high quality. Even when scratched it still works extremely well and the scratch (at least on mine) does not expand or have anything stick to it. I would not bother with All Clad non stick. Their non stick like is great, don't get me wrong, but very expensive and you can do just as well for a heck of a lot less money with Calphalon.

As for the rest, well what exactly are we talking? You are smart in getting your cookware piece by piece. That is usually the best way to do it as different tools for different jobs. For a Dutch oven, Le Cruset is a great brand. They are very expensive (a decent Dutch oven retailing full price for $250-$350, but you can often find sales and much better prices if you look). Don't rule out regular cast iron for a frying pan too. Lodge is a great brand for that and those can be had for $10-$20.

What other pieces might you be looking for?

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Old 12-01-2007, 11:33 PM   #12
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give us a day or two, okey-d. you're bound to get a bunch of answers.

now, where's yt when we need him?

how many joules/g-K of energy does it take to cause an extra milimeter of stainless steel to be able to transmit it's energy to the contents? how long will it take to dissipate said energy?

lol, in real terms you probably wouldn't notice the difference, as gb said. our brains are adept at learning incalculably minor variables to be able to get a maximum result. or in other words, we get better at using using our equipment through practice.

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Old 12-01-2007, 11:35 PM   #13
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Cool stuff, ill probably get the SS then. Heard anything about the quality of Mauviel as compared to All-Clad? Oh and does All Clad still have a cop r chef line? i cant seem to find it in Canada.
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:41 PM   #14
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Mauviel is great stuff from what I hear (I have never used it myself). I think once you are in the range of Mauviel or AC you really can't tell the difference in quality. The products perform so well that the differences are imperceivable to the normal user. I could be wrong about that, but I really don't think so.

AC has a copper core line. Not sure if that is the same as the cop r chef line or not.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:19 PM   #15
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I agree with the SS. Brushed is nice if you don't want to spend the time on the upkeep of keeping the polish nice, but I've had my collection for about 5 years now and they still look new. Don't go for sets, buy what you need and work your way from that. Also look for All-clad's new French skillet. It works as a fry pan and saute pan in one. With a family I would suggest the 13 inch one. Most places sell it for $99 which is a steal for their items. You can also go to metrokitchen.com and order a lid for it. It should be your first item since it would be the most used. Also check out Macy's line of All-clad since they sell their off sized (2 1/2, 3 1/2) saucepans at a reduced price (don't know why).
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:39 PM   #16
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I have to jump in on the Le Creuset band wagon. Buck and I have several pieces, Dutch ovens mostly, and can't say enough good about this line of cookware.

They are enamel-coated cast-iron cookware that is awesome for stewing and braising. Because the pieces are made of cast-iron, they are wonderful for holding heat. The enamel coating makes them great for an almost nonstick quality. The lids also seal nearly completely, which is wonderful for keeping the moisture in the pot as the food cooks.

As a matter of fact, I made some of the best short ribs tonight in our smaller Le Creuset Dutch oven.

For good prices on this stuff, except for eBay, we find that caplanduval.com is the best place.
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:09 PM   #17
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Just remember when buying very expensive cookware that it won't do the work for you. You mentioned that heat control was important for you in finding the right saute' pan. Whether SS, Aluminum, copper core, whatever, the heat control comes from you. The best a pan can do is regulate heat. Some people are under the illusion that "high quality" cookware will simply take care of the heat for you, which is definitely not the case.

When looking for a good pan I would say the most important feature will be the thickness of the metal. A heavier pan won't be prone to warping, it won't get dented, and it will hold its heat for a long time, which means a steadier temperature.

I have only one All-Clad piece, a huge heavy all SS pan. It works like a good, heavy duty pan should. In my experience All-clad is certainly one of your better options.
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:49 PM   #18
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There really is no "best" type of cookware, IMO. I have stainless steel pots and stock pots. I have a teflon-coated electric griddle specifically for cooking large batches of pancakes or french toast to a crowd. I have an aluminum pressure cooker that works tremendously. My go-to pans, again and again, are my Griswald - 9-inch, cast-iron fring pan, my Wagner, and Lodge 10 inch, and eight inch cast-iron frying pans, and my SS 8-inch frying pan with curved sides. Each is used for a specific set of tasks.

For everyday frying, I almost always use my cast-iron. The surface, after being properly seasoned, is as stick free as the best stick-free cookware. It is extremely durable, and non-reactive with food (again due to the seasoning), will handle any temperature I throw at it, and if I do manage to mess up the cooking surface, compromising its non-stick properties, I just re-season it.

Another thing to know is that you will need tips that don't come with your cookwear to get good performance from it. For instance, should you purchase any kind of pan with a non-stick coating, never cook any food above 400 degrees as the non-stick can start to degrade and outgas noxious and dagerous fumes. Actually, I think the cooking temp can get a bit higher, but I'm not sure.

Weith Stainless steel frying pans, don't add any oil or fat to the pan until after it is pre-heated. If you add food to a cold SST frying pan, it will stick like crazy. With my little SS frying pan, I can add a half-tsp. of oil or butter to the pan, wipe it around and remove all but a thin film with a paper towel, and eggs will slide accross the surface. But if you cook at too high a temp, or use it improperly, SS will stic to food. It is also suseptable to warping if heated to a high temp without food in the pan to absorb the heat.

I know people that swear by enamle-coated cast-iron, such as Le Cruset. But frankly, I've never had much luck with them. I always seem to have the things I cook in them stick badly. Also, the enamle is subject to thermal shock and can craze or even break if sudden and severe temperature changes are experienced by the pan. Chi;;ing can also occur if the enamle is hit hard enough by steel, such as a steel spatula, or other ceramic-coated pans (think stacked pans).

To make things even more complicated, there are companies that offer a host of non-stick, super coatings that are supposed to be able to stand moderately high heat, and are abrasion resistant and can be used with metal utensiles. I haven't used them and so am unqualified to comment on them.

I do know that both Cast-iron, and SS work wonderfully well. Each has its strengths, and its weaknesses. I love my cast-iron dutch oven for roasting pork. It comes out so moist and tender, due to the ability of the cast iron to negate hot spots in the oven and transfer the heat gently and evenly to the whole roast. It's also great for any kind of bean dish, chili, soups, etc.

So there's my take on things, for what it's worth. There are many who would argue that one kind of pan is superior to another. I just say that each has its own set of strengths and weakneses. And for my money, the much, much cheaper cast-iron is more versatile than any of the others, and so gets a place in my kitchen more than any of the others.

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Old 12-02-2007, 11:13 PM   #19
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If you are willing to spend some money on All-Clad or Mauviel, look into this gear:
a) Falk Culinaire (2 mm brushed cooper + 0.2 SS).
Falk produces Mauviel's material, their dull cooper finish is a lot easier to maintain.
b) Baumalu (2 mm cooper + 0.4 tin), great gear for almost any task.
With these two, you don't need to use a setting higher than medium in your stove.
c) For cast iron gear, Ikea Senior line or Target's Chefmate enameled.
Le Creuset is the benchmark. However, this stuff performs great at a fraction of cost.
Also, Tools of the Trade line from Macy's (Belgique) is pretty good stuff for their price.
Let me know if you have further questions.
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:45 PM   #20
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One thing I reccommend to look for in at least one large pan is the ability to go from stovetop to oven. I don't have this capability at the moment, and I miss it every time I see Alton Brown or some other Food Network personality toss something in the oven in a pan.

Currently though, my cookware collection is pertty much a selection from Wal-Mart. I want to trade up... but I have other bills to pay first.

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