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Old 03-08-2007, 06:41 AM   #1
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$1000 for a set of cookware - can this be justified?

OK - at age 58, I've decided to see if I can do more and burgers, frozen dinners, and fast food.

So, I'm browsing grown-up tools, and, even though I know the value of having quality tools, the idea of anyone shelling out $1K for 6-7 pots and pans (yes, I know they have real names, but I still haven't learned which is what) seem overkill.

The question to the group:

Exactly WHAT are you doing that requires this kind of gear, as opposed to stuff in the $300 - $500 range?

Thank you for your continued patience with my dumb questions.

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Old 03-08-2007, 07:55 AM   #2
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Back in January my wife and I bought a 10 piece set of Calphalon Infused Anodized from Bed Bath and Beyond. Granted we had a 20% off coupon, 100 gift certifcate and other incintive to buy these pans the total came out to be around 350 to 400 i think.

I knew these pans would be different than the $50 walmart special i received as a gift when moving out of my parents place but ****, these pans are amazing they truely make cooking enjoyable.

Now I have no clue what set you are considerng for 1k but to me that is a lot of money, my rough guess might be Al-Clad. I just know for 1k it better come with one **** of a warrenty.
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Old 03-08-2007, 07:56 AM   #3
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Why so much for some cooking equipment.

My pots cost about $50 (about £25) for 4 pots. They are non-stick all have lids, and have so far lasted 1 year.
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Old 03-08-2007, 08:11 AM   #4
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Ibought a set of waterless (?) cookware, think it is Astro, 39 years ago for $350, still looks new and I use them all the time. I feel no need to buy anthing else.
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Old 03-08-2007, 08:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redrabbit
Why so much for some cooking equipment.

My pots cost about $50 (about 25) for 4 pots. They are non-stick all have lids, and have so far lasted 1 year.
I used to think that way too, infact I am very frugal person and if it werent for the gift card, 20% discount and the $50 gift card that came with the purchase I wouldnt have bought the set.

But the truth is, if you buy cheap you generally always buy twice. I was a professional motorsport photographer and to this day I will not buy a cheap camera or lens, I have around 20k in camera equipment that has never failed on me. The same can apply for cooking.

If you're thinking the skill of the chef or the eye of the photographer is the most important thing, you're right I won't disbute that for a second. But sometimes your equipment does come in to play. For camera equipment it could be something that would allow you to take the shot while its pouring rain or something to hold your lens steady.

But in cooking its different, the way a pan cooks is a lot. I am not trying to sound like a 20 year veteran chef because i am not, but the first time I seared chicken on these new pans it was like I was new to cooking all over again. The way the meat browned and cooked was awesome. The feel of these pans is another thing as well. When you hold any one of these pans or skillets you can feel the quality, yes it has some weight to it but it doesn't feel like something that will fall apart in a couple years. And with proper care it should last a lifetime.

So to me it was a choice to buy something higher in price that should last me the rest of my life possibly (btw i am 24) or buy the special and hope I can get another 5 years out of it.

-jeremy
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Old 03-08-2007, 08:19 AM   #6
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You can get a car for $12,000 and you can get one for $120,000. They both will get you were you are going.

The more expensive pans are usually constructed better and with better materials which (depending on the function of the pot or pan and the material used) will eliminate hot spots so your food does not burn among other things.

If you are just looking to boil water than any pot can do that. If you are looking to get a nice even sear on a piece of meat and then go from stove top to oven and then back to stove top to make a sauce then a good quality pan will be important.
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Old 03-08-2007, 09:24 AM   #7
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There is a wealth of cookware info in the cookware forum. Take a few minutes to browse there and you'll be able to gather a lot of relevant information.
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Old 03-08-2007, 09:46 AM   #8
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I've cooked with my share of inexpensive-but-serviceable pots and pans, and also some top-of-the-line pans.

Inexpensive pans tend to have disk bottoms, which may or may not cover the whole heating surface. A tiny rim of burned/overdone food at the edges is a giveaway. You need lots of stirring with something that will get into those edges.

Also inexpensive pans are thinner and tend to warp. Meaning that the pan doesn't sit flat on the stove, and the food cooks unevenly.

My biggest complaint though--and it has happened to me--is that sometimes a handle will come loose. If it happens just as you are lifting a full, heavy pot of hot food, you are in deep trouble.

I'll spare you the details, but that's what finally made me give up cheap pots and pans forever. I'd rather have 2 or 3 top-of-the-line pans than a kitchen full of cheap pans.

And I wouldn't buy a set. I'd buy just the sizes and shapes I need. (And in my kitchen, there are about 3 pans that do most of the day-to-day work!)
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Old 03-08-2007, 11:11 AM   #9
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Why buy the whole set when you will only use certain pans on a regular basis.I think buying what you use the most is more logical.
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Old 03-08-2007, 11:26 AM   #10
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I'd spend $1k if they were magic pots and pans... otherwise never. Even the really expensive 3-layered stainless steel with copper cores wouldn't cost that much in a set.

Don't overspend on cookware, because at the end of the day, its not the $200 saute' pan that will make a great meal, it's the cook.
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Old 03-08-2007, 11:35 AM   #11
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Different metals and surfaces have different cooking qualities. Copper heats and cools fast, it is also an expensive metal. heavy aluminum steel clad or anodized transferes heat well. The process to make the aluminum non reactive is not cheap. Cast iron is slow to heat and holds heat well. It is very porus and rusts; enameling the interior at least makes a fine cooking surface. Any of these can be cheaply made, but the really good pots are made by artisans and metal crafters with years of experience, using top grade metals and finishes. It is not cheap. If you want American made or European made, you will also pay for expensive labor. But these pots will last a lifetime and beyond, perform as advertized, and have multi uses...stove top to oven to broiler etc.

But if you want a pot to boil water, toss in the diswasher, wipe clean with a towel, and cook skillet dinners, eggs and bacon, whatever...the 1K set may be overkill.

You can get a reasonable set of pots that will perform ok at most retailers of kitchenware for under $500. But really top quality ware allows you to control the cooking process completely.

Personally , I love to cook, do so professionally once in awhile, have chef training, and am a pot and pan junkie. I have French enameled cast iron, Belgian commercial grade copper, and collect Griswold cast iron (Erie PA). I know I've spent several $K on pots and pans over the years.
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Old 03-08-2007, 11:48 AM   #12
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A set of Mauviel Copper Cookware, for example, can easily run over $1000.

I have one small saucepan that was a gift and I would die to have a set. It's incredible stuff.

But I'd also like to have a Porsche.

Do I need either? No. IMO it's important to buy good quality cookware because it really does perform better and makes it easier for you to be a good cook. But an excellent quality collection of cookware that'll last a very long time can be had for less than $500.
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Old 03-08-2007, 01:35 PM   #13
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Thank you jennyema, for making my point clearer.

Sorry that I can't remember who made that set, but I should have been clearer about why I thought it over the top:

I know the difference that quality tools make - my wood and metal working tools didn't come cheaply, and many years ago I bought grown-up cutlery - wusthof - and really appreciate it (the Thermador rangetop is also appreciated).

My head-scratching is the $1000 price tag - all-clad, and almost every other line I saw run MUCH less - I suspected a very nice, even heating, built to last 3 generations, etc., could be had for 300-400 for an equivalent set (and yes, I do prefer buying open-stock - as a single, I really can't imagine using a 3 qt sauce pan, let alone a 6 qt. stock pot).

By contrast, King Arthur (which, I surmise, does not sell junk), lists a
"Gourmet standard Cookware - 9 Piece Set"
for $330 (Gifts, newly married). They do not identify manufacturer, but I'm guessing this set could handle 99% of nearly everybody's needs.

So - once we get the triple-ply, nice conductivity, even heating, and great build quality, what more could anyone improve enough to justify that kind of price differential?

Thanks again.
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Old 03-08-2007, 03:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushy
$1000 for a set of cookware - can this be justified?
To whom must you justify it? I, too am 58 years old and single, and I answer to no one. I buy what I want, when I want. All that I ask myself is "is the price reasonable for what I am about to receive?"

I personally own the Le Gourmet Chef equivalent of All-Clad tri-ply. It is the same construction, and contrary to what some have said, the same weight, piece for piece, as the All-Clad. (Yes, I actually got a kitchen scale and weighed them at the outlet mall, then went to Bed, Bath, and All That Other Junk and weighed the All-Clad pieces. I was tired of people alluding to the inferior quality of my cookware!)

Now I started out with their 7 piece starter set as a birthday gift from my former S.O. back in 2002. The set consisted of a 1 quart saucepan with lid, a three quart saucepan with lid, a 6 quart stock pot with lid, and a 10-inch fry pan. (BTW, the lid for the dutch oven works great on the frying pan if you like your eggs basted! ) Now, again, contrary to what some people in here and other forums profess, there is nothing in that starter set that anyone can possibly say "I'd never use that," and it was substantially cheaper than buying each piece individually. They also come with a lifetime warranty, and I did have arivet come loose in the handle of the 10-inch frying pan, and they replaced it with new frying pan, no questions asked.

Since then, I have added the 4 quart stock pot, the 5 quart saute pan, the 10-inch teflon coated fry pan, the 12-inch fry pan, two 8-inch fry pans (one with teflon, one without) and a 6 quart stainless steel scola pasta. The only thing I feel I am missing is the 12 quart multi-cooker, which I will get with the next gift certificate or gift check I get.
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Old 03-08-2007, 04:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caine
To whom must you justify it? I, too am 58 years old and single, and I answer to no one. I buy what I want, when I want. ...
I am not addressing the matter of person choice/preference - it's your money, by all means use it as you see fit. I have a bunch of stuff that has to be considered toys (as in: The difference between men and boys is the size and price of their toys, or "he who dies with the most toys wins".

My question, again, is: can any set be considered twice as valuable (utility, utility, utility!) as the All-Clad et. al.?
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Old 03-08-2007, 04:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caine
To whom must you justify it? I, too am 58 years old and single, and I answer to no one. I buy what I want, when I want. All that I ask myself is "is the price reasonable for what I am about to receive?"

I personally own the Le Gourmet Chef equivalent of All-Clad tri-ply. It is the same construction, and contrary to what some have said, the same weight, piece for piece, as the All-Clad. (Yes, I actually got a kitchen scale and weighed them at the outlet mall, then went to Bed, Bath, and All That Other Junk and weighed the All-Clad pieces. I was tired of people alluding to the inferior quality of my cookware!)

Now I started out with their 7 piece starter set as a birthday gift from my former S.O. back in 2002. The set consisted of a 1 quart saucepan with lid, a three quart saucepan with lid, a 6 quart stock pot with lid, and a 10-inch fry pan. (BTW, the lid for the dutch oven works great on the frying pan if you like your eggs basted! ) Now, again, contrary to what some people in here and other forums profess, there is nothing in that starter set that anyone can possibly say "I'd never use that," and it was substantially cheaper than buying each piece individually. They also come with a lifetime warranty, and I did have arivet come loose in the handle of the 10-inch frying pan, and they replaced it with new frying pan, no questions asked.

Since then, I have added the 4 quart stock pot, the 5 quart saute pan, the 10-inch teflon coated fry pan, the 12-inch fry pan, two 8-inch fry pans (one with teflon, one without) and a 6 quart stainless steel scola pasta. The only thing I feel I am missing is the 12 quart multi-cooker, which I will get with the next gift certificate or gift check I get.

I also have several pieces of Le Gourmet Chef and they perform well. They do everything you expect from a tri-ply SS cookware.
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Old 03-08-2007, 04:16 PM   #17
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yes, if you want your pots made of 2.5mm red copper with a .02mm stainless lining, it is going to cost more than AllClad...copper of that quality and thickness costs more than aluminum. How much better does the pot cook than the AllClad? Same question as how much better is a Wolf than a Thermidor? or how much better is a Mercedes than a BMW? Eye of the Beholder? I know AllClad is really good, and I've used it quite successfully. I think my Falk and Mauviel is just a scrinch better for many tasks. NBD
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Old 03-08-2007, 05:23 PM   #18
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I'd just like to say not to sell yourself short by not purchasing a set. I had a set given me 20 years ago that I'm slowly replacing piece by piece and I used everything in that original set. I have no reason to replace the items that aren't worn out yet and I may not go with what I've been buying recently, but it was nice to have everything in that set and I'm assuming at less cost to the purchaser. Even the humongous stock pot comes in handy when I want to cook some live lobsters


Robo, Erie's my hometown. Griswold pans run in the family
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Old 03-08-2007, 05:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
A set of Mauviel Copper Cookware, for example, can easily run over $1000.
I thought that was the heaviest cookware I ever handled.
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Old 03-08-2007, 05:53 PM   #20
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I was thinking along the line of jpmcgrew.

We put our cookware set together over many years, a piece or two at a time. And it is still a quite eclectic collection.

Some of the best stuff we picked up at an economy restaurant outlet.

And recently picked up a Calphalon item on sale.

But some folks like sets, to each his own.

But to bushy, sounds like you are fairly new to cooking. Were I to decide to take up golf, something I would never do having played a few rounds to be polite, I would not go out and buy a $500 driver (I have no idea if prices on those go that high) because it might wind up in the same closet I keep a lot of other items I never use.

I would probably purchase an inexpensive, probably used set, and see if I liked the sport. OK, I know I would not get the pleasure from the included driver that I might from one that sported a tungsten-carbide-aluminum head gizmo and a shaft made from Moon rocks, but I am sure that driver will give me an idea of how the game is played. And without having to leave an expensive set of clubs that my heirs can dig out of that closet and describe on Ebay as hardly used.

Were I in your situation, as you have described it, I would probably buy a small collection of decent pots and pans and give it a go. You can always add later on.

And if you like the sport of cooking (it is one to me since the outcome is in doubt until the last garnish has been lobbed onto the dish and the sated gallery has a chance to applaud) than go for the higher priced cooking utensils. Then you will have an idea of what you might want.

Just my take on things.

And if anyone thinks cooking is not a sport, put together a Thanksgiving dinner for twenty. It will burn more calories and use more muscles than chasing a little white ball around a course in a golf cart any day.

Oh yeah, and in cooking there are no Mulligans.

LOL, and take care.

Edited for grammar, I hate when I have to do that.
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