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Old 02-04-2010, 07:55 PM   #11
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I don't think it's always true that you should never buy a set. Sometimes you find a set of the right cookware that has the right combination of pieces to suit your needs.

For example, Costco has a great set of tri-ply cookware that is
only available as a set. Even if you only use 80-90% of the pieces, you can fill in any gaps with the money you save and have some left over.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JamesS View Post
If you don't need all of the steak knives in the block you linked, Henckels has a great value on Four Star at the moment. It's a promotional deal with an eight or nine piece block of their Four Star knives. It's hard to beat it. The sets include an 8" Chef's knife, a 3" paring knife, a steel, a block and a few pieces of assorted junk. At $150, it's pretty reasonable. For another $50, they'll throw in a bread knife. Add a boning knife from open stock (which doubles as a filet knife) and you'll have everything you could ever want. A couple of decades ago, Four Star was Henckels top of the line. It's what we were issued in culinary school and I've used the very same set for more than two decades now. I won't say that they look like the day I was handed the roll, but they're every bit as sharp.

I have several pieces of the Cuisinart cookware...again dating to the eighties, with different handles (welded instead of riveted back then, but I've never had one fail). They've held up really well through the years and they cook very evenly. I did notice on ATK, they didn't come out looking very good though. They banged one hard and knocked the thick disc out of the bottom. So, if you happen to abuse your cookware you might look elsewhere. It looks to me like Cuisinart is still the value leader in quality cookware. That set would be a good start.

You'll eventually work up to a lot of variety in your cookware. A few things, I can't live without: a dutch oven (I like enamel over cast iron, but cast iron is great too), a few inexpensive non-stick pans (I get cheap Farberware at Wal Mart because they only last a couple of years anyhow), a cast iron grilling pan, a cast iron griddle, a good roasting pan with a V rack...I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

Where is this deal you are speaking of? My girlfriend has some ss and says that food sticks to them. She prefers the teflon pans..
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:44 PM   #13
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Trust me, you don't want or need a block set like that. It has too many knives you don't need and too much overlap. You can cover 95% of all the knife work in a kitchen with 3 knives: a Chef's Knife or Gyuto between 8 and 10 inches, a good paring knife and a serrated bread knife. Throw in a hand-held peeler and everything else is gravy. If you cook a lot or want to expand your horizons you can add in other knives that are pretty handy. For instance, a boning knife is very nice to have if you cut a lot of meat, and a slicing knife is very handy for roasts and cutting fish. But to start out you'd be better served by a few really good knives than a block full of mediocre ones.

Henckels are okay, if you avoid the Internationals. They're made in China and the Q/C is a bit iffy. Wusthoff & Messermeister also make good knives. In the budget category Forschner's Fibrox line is popular. I'm a Japanese knife kinda guy, and I don't have much use for Euro knives, except for some cheapo paring knives I keep in my work case. But J-knives, although superior in performance, are harder to maintain & sharpen. Probably not the best for nOObs.
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Old 02-05-2010, 05:22 AM   #14
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Another vote for avoiding the big sets.

My "must haves":
8-10" Chef's knife
6" Nakiri (Japanese vegetable knife)
3-4" paring knife
8"+ Bread knife.
I always have these out at work, and I really could do everything I need to do apart from skinning fish with these knives. Having specialist knives does make some jobs a lot easier, but you don't need them.

My "Nice to haves":
Yatagan style carving knife - doubles as a meat trimming knife and a carving knife.
Turning knife
Filleting knife
Boning knife
Salmon or Ham carver with granton blade.
Bakers knife - the only way to cut cakes.

Also the same knives from different manufacturers perform differently. For example whilst I firmly prefer French knives for most of my work, I use a Japanese Nakiri. Another example is that I use a Henckels 4 star boning knife primarily because of the easy to grip non-slip handle which was very important to me for a knife I'd be using in wet conditions.

I can't conceive of a situation where a single manufacturer was my preferred choice for every single knife I use.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I don't think it's always true that you should never buy a set. Sometimes you find a set of the right cookware that has the right combination of pieces to suit your needs.

For example, Costco has a great set of tri-ply cookware that is
only available as a set. Even if you only use 80-90% of the pieces, you can fill in any gaps with the money you save and have some left over.
This is true. That is why you must look at the pieces in the set and compare to the way you cook.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I don't think it's always true that you should never buy a set. Sometimes you find a set of the right cookware that has the right combination of pieces to suit your needs.

For example, Costco has a great set of tri-ply cookware that is
only available as a set. Even if you only use 80-90% of the pieces, you can fill in any gaps with the money you save and have some left over.
Absolutely true. There is no hard and fast rule about these things. Only guidelines that will work for some and won't for others. I would say that with knives, there is a much better change of wasting money on a set than with cookware. In many cases a set of cookware would not be the best choice, but that does not mean every time. Depending on how you cook, what you cook, and what pieces you want, a set could possibly work for you.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by luisc202 View Post
Where is this deal you are speaking of? My girlfriend has some ss and says that food sticks to them. She prefers the teflon pans..
If you're talking about the 8 and 9 piece promotional blocks virtually all of the Henckels dealers have them. Amazon, Metro and the like. Metro also has Four Star open stock. I normally wouldn't recommend blocks, but these deals are strong enough that the few knives you will use every day in them are more expensive than the sets. For instance, the 8" chef's knife streets for about $90, the 3" paring knife streets for $25, and the steel for $35...there's the price of the whole set. In addition it comes with several other pieces you may use occasionally. The nine piece set adds a bread knife for $50 more. What the sets don't come with, that would be a welcome addition: a fillet/boning knife, the 10" flexible slicer (nothing I've found allows for a thinner sliced flank steak!), and perhaps the 6" utility knife. That covers how I use my, knives. Everyone is different though, and has different needs.

I've never really had a problem with food sticking in my stainless clad pans. When people have trouble with sticking, nine times out of ten it's because they don't have whatever fat they're using hot enough when they add the food, or they're trying to cook without it. Teflon has it's place too...but you're never going to get a decent fond in a teflon pan.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:18 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by luisc202 View Post
My girlfriend has some ss and says that food sticks to them. She prefers the teflon pans..
There are a few reasons why food is sticking and once she learns how to use her SS food will no longer stick. There are three main reasons food will stick to SS.

1. It is supposed to stick. OK this may not sound right initially, but hear me out. Lets say you are cooking a steak in SS. What happens right off the bat is that the steak sticks to the pan. A major mistake that a lot of people who don't know any better make is that they put their food in the pan and then start moving it around right away. When cooking something like a steak, this is the worst thing you can do. The steak WILL stick at first, but the key is to let it stick and do not move it. After a little time (a minute or two) the steak will release its grip on the pan and will move freely. If you try to move it before that point then you will leave half the steak on the pan. Foods initially stick, but then release with a beautiful crust if you follow this rule as well as the two below.

2. The second reason food sticks is because the heat is not high enough. If you put that steak in SS and the heat is not up as high as it needs to be (and for that you will need to figure out where it is by trial and error) then it will stick.

3. If not enough fat is used then the food will stick. Lots of people try to save the calories by skimping on the fat, be it oil or butter or lard or anything else you may use. The problem is that the fat is needed so the food won't stick. If fat intake is a big concern then Teflon is a great alternative. For times when you want a nice crust or browning or want to make a pan sauce then SS is the way to go. For other applications you can save on the fat and use non-stick cookware.
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:26 AM   #19
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Pan Hot. With SS you gotta wait til the pan is hot to add your protein.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:46 AM   #20
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There are a few reasons why food is sticking and once she learns how to use her SS food will no longer stick. There are three main reasons food will stick to SS.

1. It is supposed to stick. OK this may not sound right initially, but hear me out. Lets say you are cooking a steak in SS. What happens right off the bat is that the steak sticks to the pan. A major mistake that a lot of people who don't know any better make is that they put their food in the pan and then start moving it around right away. When cooking something like a steak, this is the worst thing you can do. The steak WILL stick at first, but the key is to let it stick and do not move it. After a little time (a minute or two) the steak will release its grip on the pan and will move freely. If you try to move it before that point then you will leave half the steak on the pan. Foods initially stick, but then release with a beautiful crust if you follow this rule as well as the two below.

2. The second reason food sticks is because the heat is not high enough. If you put that steak in SS and the heat is not up as high as it needs to be (and for that you will need to figure out where it is by trial and error) then it will stick.

3. If not enough fat is used then the food will stick. Lots of people try to save the calories by skimping on the fat, be it oil or butter or lard or anything else you may use. The problem is that the fat is needed so the food won't stick. If fat intake is a big concern then Teflon is a great alternative. For times when you want a nice crust or browning or want to make a pan sauce then SS is the way to go. For other applications you can save on the fat and use non-stick cookware.
So sort of like the same rules as when you throw meat on the grill, huh? Except for the enough fat part. This thread has been very educational for me!
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