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Old 08-24-2017, 01:49 PM   #1
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Nine Essential Pots and Pans - Agree or Not

I happen to have all these covered. Some get used more than others.

What do you think?

9 Essential Pots and Pans | Serious Eats
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Old 08-24-2017, 01:56 PM   #2
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We have them all and, as you said, some get used more than others, especially since I most often cook for two.

I still have the stock pot I had when all the children (8) were around. It's big enough to house a small family. I also have a smaller more-reasonable one that is my go-to pot for larger quantities of soups and such.

Have lots of cast iron skillets. One solely for cornbread. Other pieces are grill pans, novelty muffin/corn stick pans the grandchildren get a kick out of. A few years ago on one of our trips we went to the Lodge outlet and I had to restrain myself. Like Toys R Us for a foodie. Some of the cast iron is over 100-years-old and, not surprisingly, it's well-seasoned.

When it comes to casseroles, primarily rectangular ones, I have multiple sizes. Again, it depends on how many I'm serving and if I choose to use the toaster oven.
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Old 08-24-2017, 04:16 PM   #3
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Yup.... Even after downsizing I have these... (every room was easy to get rid of stuff except my kitchen)

Most used for stove/oven now;

3 sizes CI fry pans
2 sizes teflon pans
3 and 5qt pots

The rest are 'there if I need them.. Baking is a different list.....

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Old 08-24-2017, 04:31 PM   #4
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I agree with the list and they are the most used in my kitchen.
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Old 08-24-2017, 05:05 PM   #5
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I have all of those and then some, but the handiest pan I ever owned was an 'everything' pan with a glass lid. It was truly an everything pan and you could pretty much cook anything in it, whether on top of the stove or in the oven.
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Old 08-24-2017, 05:36 PM   #6
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I have each of those, minus the wok, but I seem to start a kitchen from scratch every few years. That collection looks ok for a kitchen serving 4 or so and for, at least, a semi-experienced cook. I'm guessing this thread would appeal most to folks just getting started. For one or two people you don't need that many large frying pans. And every kitchen needs a small pot, like 1 1/2 quarts.

I find the handiest skillet for one is an 8" cast iron. That and a 10" ss is virtually all I ever need. My 12" pans are never used. A 6" cast iron that fits in the toaster oven isn't necessary but is sure nice to have.

My big stockpot/spaghetti cooker never gets used. Neither does the cast iron dutch oven. A 3 1/2 quart pot is big enough for soups, stews and even stock most of the time and the 5 or 6 qt enameled dutch oven will do the trick on the rare occasion that 3 1/2 quart isn't enough.

A 12-Inch Straight-Sided Sauté Pan is nice but a good one is pretty expensive and a cheap one is worse than nothing. A single person or a young couple on a budget would be better off frying chicken in the enameled iron pot and investing in something else.

Anyway, these are just a few thoughts for the young and inexperienced that stumble onto this. The active members on this forum don't need my advice and I'm not going to argue over any of it.
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Old 08-24-2017, 07:37 PM   #7
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I have all of those and then some, but the handiest pan I ever owned was an 'everything' pan with a glass lid. It was truly an everything pan and you could pretty much cook anything in it, whether on top of the stove or in the oven.
I have one similar and it gets a lot of use in my kitchen!
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Old 08-24-2017, 07:39 PM   #8
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That's a great list and I have them all, and a few more.

If someone was just starting out, that's a good list. I'd also suggest getting duplicates of a few most used pans like a large saucepan and dutch oven, those will be very useful when making holiday dinners.
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Old 08-24-2017, 07:53 PM   #9
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One day I plan to get the wok and a non-stick pan, but the Dutch oven is just too expensive. Other than that, I'd like to have a 1 qt, 2 qt and 3 qt covered sauce pans (personally they can all be sauciers so I don't have to clean out the edges), a 4 qt covered saute pan, and a couple fry pans in two sizes. I don't need a stock pot or a cast iron pan. I think the cast iron is just too heave a pan for me - I doubt I'd use it all that much. I'd also like one tiny pot to just melt butter or chocolate in. I used a little camping pot for that for a long time, but finally had to get rid of it.

The casserole dish I had might have been nice to cook in, but it was hell to clean. Mine was white and every time I cooked a chicken in it, the brown grease spots were impossible to get out. I don't mind a casserole dish for casseroles, but for cooking meats I'd rather have a small broiler. With a cover.
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Old 08-24-2017, 10:12 PM   #10
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I have all of those except the 12-Inch Straight-Sided Sauté Pan. I used to have one, but never used it. I use the wok very little, but it is nice to have.

So, I pretty much agree with the list. I could get by with just those items -- maybe even a few less.

I also agree that old CI is smoother than new stuff. My antique Griswold CI is as smooth a stainless pan. It makes a big difference to me.

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Old 08-24-2017, 11:34 PM   #11
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A 12 " pan is nice, but a 14 to 15" curved sided pan is what I use more. You can fit 4 good sized chops or cutlets without overcrowding. You can only do 2 at a time in 12" properly, 3 if the things you're cooking are somewhat smaller.

I wish there were more quality choices available in larger sizes. The difference in performance is easy to see, even for a neophyte like me.

One of these days I'll get around to sanding and reseasoning my 2 cast iron pans. 1 is over a hundred years old, passed down to me from my grandmother. I'm not sure, but I think it is from Norway.
The other is a CI grill pan I bought back in the 80s.
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Old 08-25-2017, 12:16 AM   #12
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As the years have gone by so fast lately, except for Pirate, the family is scattered. Gone is the old ceramic bean pot for Saturday night beans, the Chase and Sandborn coffee can for brown bread to go with the beans, The way too heavy CI saute pan, the large, really large stock pot for Sunday gravy or chicken and dumplings in the winter. And if asked for then instead of the chicken, it would be beef stew with barley.

I only cook for Pirate and myself. But I still bake for my daughter and her family during holiday time. Also for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. And for anyone else who will give me enough advance notice. I do miss cooking for the whole gang. Whichever gang it was at the time.

Even gone are all the large bowls, platters, etc.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:58 AM   #13
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Well, if nothing else, this thread shows that cooks who actually cook, don't care a flip about "matchy matchy" sets of cookware. That's a good thing, and what you posted is a good guide for anyone Andy.

I must say, that my most recent purchase was one I wish I had made years ago with an All Clad 12" straight sided saute' pan with lid, as was mentioned in the list. https://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-Stai...e-equipment-20 It's one honey of a pan, and I got it for a fraction of the cost on a seconds sale.
There is no way I would pay the price listed there.
I know I'm in a minority here, but I'm not a fan of cast iron anymore for several reasons and that's best for me, but I don't expect to sway the CI believers.
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Old 08-25-2017, 04:00 AM   #14
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Well, if nothing else, this thread shows that cooks who actually cook, don't care a flip about "matchy matchy" sets of cookware. That's a good thing, and what you posted is a good guide for anyone Andy.

I must say, that my most recent purchase was one I wish I had made years ago with an All Clad 12" straight sided saute' pan with lid, as was mentioned in the list. https://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-Stai...e-equipment-20 It's one honey of a pan, and I got it for a fraction of the cost on a seconds sale.
There is no way I would pay the price listed there.
I know I'm in a minority here, but I'm not a fan of cast iron anymore for several reasons and that's best for me, but I don't expect to sway the CI believers.
I think as most of us age, we find lifting a CI 10 inch frying pan filled with food just becomes too heavy to lift. So we find ourselves resorting to other pans of the same size made of different materials and with a helper handle, that are lighter and easier to handle. It is one of the prices we pay for aging. Unfortunately.
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Old 08-25-2017, 08:14 AM   #15
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I have most of these. I don't have a Saute Pan or Wok. I used to have both, but they were rarely used. I make stir fry in a skillet and it works fine.
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Old 08-26-2017, 09:36 AM   #16
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I don't have a wok, nor a CI frying pan, nor a 10" nonstick, nor a straight sided sauté pan like they show.

I do have an 8", 12" and 14" nonstick, and 10" and 12" stainless clad fry pans, and a 12" high sided chicken fryer.
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Old 08-26-2017, 09:56 AM   #17
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I have all but the saucier and the wok. I have saucepans in five different sizes and they work great for me. I make my stir-fries in a 3.5-quart All-Clad sauté pan; they taste good because of the ingredients. Wok hei doesn't interest me - I found a discussion on another forum about it and apparently the concept doesn't exist in China - and I don't want to dedicate that much space to one, so that's that

I have several casserole dishes, three sizes of Le Creuset Dutch ovens, three sizes of cast iron pans plus a grill pan and a panini pan, and more. I feel pretty well equipped for the cooking I do.
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Old 08-26-2017, 10:03 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
Well, if nothing else, this thread shows that cooks who actually cook, don't care a flip about "matchy matchy" sets of cookware. That's a good thing, and what you posted is a good guide for anyone Andy.

I must say, that my most recent purchase was one I wish I had made years ago with an All Clad 12" straight sided saute' pan with lid, as was mentioned in the list. https://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-Stai...e-equipment-20 It's one honey of a pan, and I got it for a fraction of the cost on a seconds sale.
There is no way I would pay the price listed there.
I have the 3.5-quart size and that is, hands-down, my favorite pan. Sautéing meats, making spaghetti sauce, steaming mussels, making jam - it's perfect. I love it 😍
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Old 08-26-2017, 12:27 PM   #19
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I have the 3.5-quart size and that is, hands-down, my favorite pan. Sautéing meats, making spaghetti sauce, steaming mussels, making jam - it's perfect. I love it 😍
I just looked at the bottom of my pan, and it's the 3 quart also. I love the straight tall sides, leaving more surface area than a skillet. Yep, it's my everything pan.
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Old 02-09-2018, 05:43 PM   #20
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Am I wrong, or is there no saucepan on that list? And am I wrong, or is there no clad stainless skillet, either? I use my saucepans and clad stainless skillets daily! You need a couple of sizes!

I suppose the CI skillet is a daily user for some folks, but I save it for only the heat-retentive tasks such as frying chicken. Clad stainless is a much more versatile daily skillet.

Yes to Dutch oven, but not necessarily an enameled CI one.

Yes to nonstick pan for eggs.

Yes to large saute pan--preferably a deep one. My deep saute pan is probably my most versatile and most-used pan.

Yes to large stockpot, but only if you make stock.

Yes to baking sheets and cooling racks.

I have a wok, but I don't see it as an essential item. I have a saucier pan that I also don't see as an essential item.

Here is my list of "essential" items, meaning that with them, you can do pretty much everything you have to do in the kitchen:

-Large clad stainless skillet OR large saute pan (10-12") (If you have room for only one, the saute pan is more versatile)
-1 small or medium skillet (8-9")
-1 nonstick skillet, 10"
-1 large and 1 small saucepan
-1 Dutch oven
-1 piece of bakeware usable for both cakes and roasting meat
- A few baking sheets in various sizes.

Add to this as needed: if you like to bake, get more bakeware. If you make a lot of sauces, invest in a good saucier pan. If you roast a lot of meat, buy a roasting pan. If you have a specific use for a cast iron pan (e.g., cornbread, fried chicken), get a CI skillet.

I don't think a wok is essential for any kitchen (at least in the US). Difficult to use properly without the proper heat source, too, which means a skillet is going to give you about the same performance.
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