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Old 08-13-2009, 04:20 PM   #11
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Greenwich Village (Manhattan)
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Originally Posted by ahs0324 View Post
Hello :)

I am in the procress of buying a new cookware set for my junior year in college. I am trying to choose between the rachel ray 10 pc set either in stainless steel, hard-anodized, or porcelain enamel. I have no idea what to choose from. I have heard the color on the porcelain enamel pot fades off when you hand wash it, that the stainless steel is not pure non stick, and that you can't cook with oil or cooking spray with the hard anodized. If anyone can give me their advice for a girl that just wants to cook and not waste my money on something that's an investement for a college student. I just need something that will last, won't fade, won't chip, etc

Pans with aluminum disks in the bottom (almost all famous chef sets) are not supple enough on heat changes. There are more than a few techniques that require a reduction in heat and need the pan to be able to blow off the heat very quickly. 2.0mm or so clad (All Clad) and tinned copper do this the best. In other words, a pan can be too thick and too heavy.

That said, a disc pan (and plain cast iron) is good for all out sauteeing since they hold their heat better when you drop cool proteins into the pan - especially good when you have to work in batches.

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Old 08-21-2009, 11:42 AM   #12
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 22
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I have one Rachel Ray anodized nonstick sandwich pan and it works fine for sandwiches, bacon and eggs. I received it as a gift.
What I've read online is that the anodized line is made by Anolon, and they have their own version of some of her oval pans. You can compare them over on cooking dot com. (I don't have enough posts to place links).

Emeril has a few varieties that are designed by All Clad, as far as the stainless:
The Emerilware line has the disc bottoms.
The Emeril Pro Clad line is the full Tri Ply which is better, in my opinion.
I have a small non stick in proclad as I wanted something non stick less expensive but still fully tri ply and found it on sale.
I also have 2 of the technique non stick full tri ply pans.
They were on clearance on qvc so a great inexpensive way to mix those sizes in and they work very well.

Check out your local TJ Maxx and Marshall stores.
You'll find some Anolon, Calphalon and Cuisinart pieces (as well as Rachel Ray sometimes). Lately locally, they have had quite a bit of All Clad Stainless, copper and of course the LTD anodized. (if you like anodized, All Clad LTD is being replaced with a newer version in their lineup so you'll see the original LTD on sale a lot. It's just not dishwasher recommended.)

You could put together a variety of styles for less than the cost of a full set. I have saved just under 60% doing this and have put together a really nice set of All Clad SS, KitchenAid 5 ply and a few of the others mixed in for good measure. (I'm odd and kept a spreadsheet of my wanted/found items as upgrading my cookware and knives has been my big b-day present to me this year)

If you do decide you want a set though, there are frequently sales and coupons you could use for the tri ply lines.

Personally, I'd say go for a mix of Tri Ply stainless and mix in a piece or two of the anodized and non stick as you can afford them.
I've also grabbed a 5qt enamel cast iron pot by Chantal for $40.
It does a great job. Maybe someday I'll find a piece of Staub or LeCrueset in my hunts but if not.. this one is working great.

PS.. sets I've had in the past:
1. enamel coated - wasn't great, but did the job at the time. These were my first sets.
2. Glass - anyone remember the glass stovetop cookware? Fine for boiling water and that's about it. (I've not seen this in a long time)
3. stainless with encapsulated bottom - I have had electric cooktops, so this did fine for the over 10 ys I used it. Not perfect, but not bad. I am liking the full ply much better though.

Hope you've gotten some good info from everyone's thoughts and have a fantastic weekend!

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Old 08-21-2009, 06:17 PM   #13
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Arkansas
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Yes, I remember using glass cookware. Besides uneven heating, if it got stained by certain high temperature foods, it made cleaning very difficult.

But whatever happened to glazed ceramic cookware? In my expereience, it never stained and had fairly even heating. I had a white ceramic sauce pan that lasted many years until I gave it to one of my children when they left home.
"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:59 PM   #14
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Richmond, Va
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I would neither buy a 10 piece (really only 5 or 6 pieces), nor a signature set. The stuff at Costco looks pretty good, and is much cheaper. Just using an example. I don't trade at Sams, Walmart, etc. Other discount houses carry similar lines. Look for weight, comfort in YOUR hands, and overall quality. You will pay more for similar quality with a signatured brand or at a cookware store than you pay at a discount store.

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