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Old 10-29-2011, 01:09 PM   #1
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ISO advice for gift for inexperienced cook - HA or SS

Hi All, This is my first post. I'm looking for some advice on a topic I don't usually deal with. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

I would like to buy a set of pots and pans (Kirkland from Costco) for someone who was recently married. She has been cooking for a long time, but has a hodgepodge of old stuff she doesn't really like; and she is not the chef type that knows specifically how to use articular types of pans (e.g. SS, HA, cast iron). I do know she would like a non-stick pan, but I'm sure she would also like a whole new set.

So, my question is, do you think she would be better served by a good stainless steel or hard anodized aluminum set. I know HA can be non-stick, but will it be in general if not used in a very certain way?

These are the two sets I'm considering

Costco - Kirkland Signature HA

Costco - Kirkland Signature SS

thank you in advance,
Mark

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Old 10-29-2011, 01:17 PM   #2
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Welcome to DC! I don't know much about HA, but I love my SS. It can also be used on an induction burner.

What a nice gift!
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:17 PM   #3
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What to Buy...

Welcome to DC.

I am not a fan of buying cookware from Costco, but I do shop there on occasion. Bottom line is I were buying cookware for an inexperienced cook I would buy something in a non-stick form. I don't use non-stick, but if somebody is just learning how to cook than being able have a non-stick pan would be great for their clean-up.
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:23 PM   #4
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Am also thinking while it may be nice to have a nonstick pan or two, for a whole set, you might be better off with SS. And you said your friend has cooking experience.
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:26 PM   #5
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I prefer SS to HA. HA is a surface treatment that can wear off or scratch off. It's usually not DW safe.

SS is more durable, easier to clean and DW safe. The set you linked to is a 'layered disk on the bottom' type. It works great on an electric stove. On a gas stove, smaller pots can have flames heat the pan beyond the disk and cause burned food.

Best bet is a tri-ply set of SS where the entire body of the pot/pan is a three layer material.

I have had a Costco tri-ply SS set for a dozen years and it performs as well as my All-Clad Tri-ply SS pans.
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:42 PM   #6
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experience

well, as far as experience goes, she is ~40 and has been cooking for her family for ~13 years. I do the same and I wouldn't call myself experienced as a cook, but I know how to put together a meal.

And, WOW! you are fast with the responses. Thank you so much!
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:43 PM   #7
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Welcome to DC.

I am not a fan of buying cookware from Costco, but I do shop there on occasion. Bottom line is I were buying cookware for an inexperienced cook I would buy something in a non-stick form. I don't use non-stick, but if somebody is just learning how to cook than being able have a non-stick pan would be great for their clean-up.
Is there something in particular about Costco cookware to watch out for?
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:47 PM   #8
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With our once a year forays to Costco, we've never been disappointed. And as Andy said, his Costco cookware has been very satisfactory.
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:59 PM   #9
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Welcome to DC! What a nice idea for a gift for your friend. I like SS for certain things, my LeCrueset for others, and CI for yet others. My DH loves SS. I don't think you can go wrong with SS. I only use non-stick when I pan fry walleye. Having said that, if you want to buy a set, I think Andy's suggestion would be a good bet. Buy the best quality you can afford--I regret having bought an inexpensive SS stockpot--I ended up sending it to the Goodwill.

I've had my LeCruest for over 30 years. Probably the best $200 (yes, that was what it cost then--I know that the replacement cost is over $1500!) my mother ever spent to buy me something. She also bought my brother the same--we both still use them every day, but we each also have SS, CI, and one non-stick fry pan. Your friend may decide to keep some of her old pans because she likes them for something specific, but I'm pretty sure she'll appreciate your thoughtfulness and the SS pans.
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Old 10-29-2011, 08:06 PM   #10
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AllClad LTD...hard anodized aluminum on the outside, stainless steel on the inside. Pretty enough for a gift, practically indestructible and heats evenly. Can even get it with teflon inside.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:08 PM   #11
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AllClad LTD...hard anodized aluminum on the outside, stainless steel on the inside. Pretty enough for a gift, practically indestructible and heats evenly. Can even get it with teflon inside.
But you cant put it in the dishwasher, which is a nonstarter with me.

Costco has a great reputation with the cookware you are thinking about.

I'd avoid nonstick; it really has no place in a kitchen other than a piece or two.

So, I'd rec the SS. Nice gift!
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:21 PM   #12
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when you say "I'd avoid nonstick; it really has no place in a kitchen other than a piece or two." are you including HA or do you just mean teflon?
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:26 PM   #13
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I gave up my HA for SS and am still happy years later.

Check this set out for under 200 bucks and made by Allcad.


http://www.amazon.com/Emeril-Stainle.../dp/B00284B9DS
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:18 AM   #14
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the ss set is very nice, i've been tempted to buy it for myself a few times. but i thought each piece was a little on the small side. if you can, add an extra ss piece from costco if they still sell it. it's the tramontina deep saute, i think around 5 qts.
for $30, it's the best pan i have ever bought for the money, and it's the one i use the most.

i've made everything from meatballs in tomato sauce, to fried chicken, clams in wine sauce, smothered pork chops, and chicken piccata in it.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:09 AM   #15
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Lots of folks like special non-stick coatings, but here's my take. Remember that stainless steel IS non-stick - when you use it properly. Which, happily, is the same as cooking properly. When you use the right technique at the right temperature, everything releases at the right time. Special coatings require special care. Now, I do take care of my SS. I don't scrape the bottoms and sides with metal tools. I want the bottom reasonably free of scratches and use wood, plastic and silicone. Scratches can stick. I don't put it in the dishwasher. That tends to create deposits, but it is, of course, totally dishwasher safe. I polish it with Barkeeper's Friend, anyway, for a mirror finish. SS has no heat restrictions. I can run it as hot as I want for as long as I want, and it can go in the oven at 400 for two hours without a problem. I know, many TV chefs use non-stick, but (1) they're paid to use it or at least get it free, and (2) they have no problem replacing it frequently and can bash away at it without worry. A lot of this comes down to attitude. I cook seriously, and like any other craftsman, I am meticulous with my tools. It's not dogma. I do have one NS pan, a little fry pan that's the perfect size and shame for omelets. But I think it was something like $6 new. It doesn't have to be super expensive SS. My main set is Tramontina that I got off eBay new but cheap because it was missing the big pot, and I already had a big copper pot. I guess I should say that I learned to cook on a set of the old Revere stainless.
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Old 11-01-2011, 02:53 PM   #16
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thank you

Thank you all for your advice. It sounds like the stainless is the way to go. Cheers, Mark
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:19 PM   #17
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Lets just say, I bought my sister an inexpensive set of stainless from Bed Bath and Beyond, it has the nice heavy bottoms. She left her husband and took nothing but her car and clothes, so she needed everything. That set still looks like new and has become her favorite pieces of cookware once she learned how to use stainless (she always had non-stick before). She has added other stuff, but holds on to the stuff I bought her 12 years ago.
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Old 11-02-2011, 03:33 PM   #18
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Non-stick cookware should be treated as disposable. I rarely get more than a year or two out of them at most with average use before the nonstick aspect stops working. There isn't a single non-stick pan of any type on the market that will be long-term durable. Get them a gift that will last a long time, SS. It's also easy to damage nonstick with metal utensils, so being that she's not the chef-y type she may not know this, or not want to go out and buy all new utensils that are nonstick safe if she hasn't any already.
Get the Stainless. That's my opinion on it.
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:42 PM   #19
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bought an SS set

Hi All,

I just thought I would say a parting thanks and let you know what I decided. I bought the Tramontina 8 piece triPly set from Walmart. I think she will love it, and I can get her more for the holidays ... this piece is the next I would want:

Tramontina 12" 18/10 Tri-ply-clad Stainless Steel Jumbo Cooker

or maybe the nonstick Tramontina skillet from Costco ... 10" or 12.

Thank you all,
Mark
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:46 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by curiousburke View Post
Hi All,

I just thought I would say a parting thanks and let you know what I decided. I bought the Tramontina 8 piece triPly set from Walmart. I think she will love it, and I can get her more for the holidays ... this piece is the next I would want:

Tramontina 12" 18/10 Tri-ply-clad Stainless Steel Jumbo Cooker

or maybe the nonstick Tramontina skillet from Costco ... 10" or 12.

Thank you all,
Mark

That's a really nice set at a great price. I have an 8" Tramontina tri-ply skillet and it works great.

The "Jumbo Cooker" alternatively called a Fry pan or Sauté Pan, is an excellent choice for the next piece. I use mine all the time.
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