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Old 02-04-2010, 10:35 AM   #1
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Beginner looking for a good knife set and cookware

I am a beginner to knives cookware and never thought about spending the money for a good set of knives. This year that is all past me as my hobbies have changed from wrenching on cars to saltwater tanks. Those 2 are very expensive hobbies and I got rid of my 11 sec car to venture into sometihng knew to keep me out of trouble .

so I have a set of JC Penny Cook's block set of knives and just ordered an Edge Pro to learn to sharpen. the professionals here charge $5 a knife. I don't minf paying the money but would rather do it mysef and have the sharpener to use at my own leisure to do my dad's knives .

I was looking into these from reading briefly on this forum. I went to Bedbath and beyond and was looking at the Henkels, Wusthof, ad the Shun's they carry.

Amazon.com: Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless-Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set: Kitchen & Dining

Amazon.com: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro S Stainless-Steel 21-Piece Knife Set with Block: Kitchen & Dining

Please let me know what you think.

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Old 02-04-2010, 10:42 AM   #2
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I have the Pro S knives and they are a very good product. I can't imagine you need a 21-piece set even if 9 pieces are the block and steak knives. That's a ton of money! I'd recommend buying 3-4 knives to start and adding to them when you decide what you actually need.

The Cookware set is also a good one. If you are a Costco member, they have a similar set for about $200.00 that will also serve you well.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:43 AM   #3
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The advice (and it is good advice) that you will get from most people here is to stay away from knife and cookware sets. It is usually much more economical to buy individual pieces so you can get exactly what you want and you are not paying for items you will not use. And with knives at least, the better ones generally do not come in sets. That is not to say you can not get knife blocks that are very good knives, but I am just speaking in generalities.

With cookware, you will want different pieces to do different jobs, and by that I mean is that a set will have one kind of cookware (stainless steel, cast iron, Teflon, etc.), but depending on what you cook one size will not fit all. You may want a Teflon pan for eggs, but a cast iron pan for steaks. It is better to buy one piece at a time as you decide what you will need and that way you can customize your cookware accordingly.

With knives, the blocks usually come with a ton of knives you will never use. Instead of spending $100 on a block that had 5 knives, 3 or 4 of which you will never use, you can use that $100 to get one knife that you will use that will be of higher quality.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:45 AM   #4
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Most people agree that sets (cookware or knives) are not recommended over collecting different types, sizes from different brands. Sets often come with pieces you will rarely use and that just take up space in your cabinet or on your countertop. If you were to purchase a stainless 12 piece set, then found that you prefer a different finish, or a different brand of stainless you would have wasted a lot of money. Same goes for knives. Better to build up your collection a piece or two at a time with pieces you know you will use. That's what I'm trying to do now.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:04 AM   #5
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I just looke at that cookware set a little closer, and here is my amateur take on it. The small saucepans are fine and would get much use. For the 8 and 10" skillet I would prefer a non-stick one and a cast iron one. The 3.5 qt saute pan is a bit small. I have a 4.5 and like it a lot. It is perfect for boiling chicken carcass, and many other things. The 8 qt stockpot is great. I have one (mine was $40 at Walmart) and I use it all the time. Do you have any cookware now?
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:31 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice on the knives and cookware. I will look into this stuff slowly then before jumping the gun.

I already went through this with blenders and food processors over the past years. Heck I even bought into the Ninja hype. Low and behold I was at Costco and seen a Vita mix 5200 demo and I impressed. At the time I was like man 400 for a blender that is nuts. After I researched it for a week I was sold. This thing will chop bones..lol It is an amazing blender. I t has me making green smoothies around the clock. This is the Best blender I have used and worth every penny...
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:55 PM   #8
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For the bulk of the population, $400 for a blender is nuts....but it wasn't made for the bulk of the population. For those of us who respect a good kitchen tool, it's a sound value.
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vagriller View Post
I just looke at that cookware set a little closer, and here is my amateur take on it. The small saucepans are fine and would get much use. For the 8 and 10" skillet I would prefer a non-stick one and a cast iron one. The 3.5 qt saute pan is a bit small. I have a 4.5 and like it a lot. It is perfect for boiling chicken carcass, and many other things. The 8 qt stockpot is great. I have one (mine was $40 at Walmart) and I use it all the time. Do you have any cookware now?
I guess all of that depends on how you cook, and for how many. I have 1.5 & 2.5 qt sauce pans, but had to buy a 0.5 qt because I needed something smaller.
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:42 PM   #10
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I guess all of that depends on how you cook, and for how many. I have 1.5 & 2.5 qt sauce pans, but had to buy a 0.5 qt because I needed something smaller.
All the more reason not to buy a set! You can leave off one of both of the SS skillets and get the smaller sauce pan.
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:55 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, 10:15 PM   #12
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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, 10:44 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, 04:22 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, 06:13 AM   #15
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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.
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, 07:54 AM   #16
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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.
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, 09:08 AM   #17
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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, 09:18 AM   #18
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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, 01:26 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, 07:46 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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