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thelub 06-22-2013 11:06 PM

How about a cookware thread?
So there have been knife threads and kitchen cutlery threads. How about a cookware thread?

I'm looking to ditch my (supposedly) cancer causing teflon coated pots and pans for something better. Right now I just have cheap stuff that are terribly crummy and are prone to heat spots. I'm leaning towards stainless, but there are so many options out there. I would prefer something professional grade as me and the wifey do a LOT of cooking of all kinds of styles.

Anybody have any recommended brands to look at as well as ones to stay away from? Any specific aspects that are better than others? I was looking at some ceramic coated cookware, but don't know if its any better than just plain SS. I was perusing and found some good looking stuff, but didn't know if it was a waste of money or not. I can justify $80 for a saucepan if it will last me for a good 10+ years and cook food evenly.

lofti 06-22-2013 11:55 PM

I have a variety of pots and pans (used to cook for a living) but I have to say that I use my cast iron all the time. The trick is to get good quality iron and if possible have someone use it for a few decades before you get it :-). The more use a pan gets the smoother the surface.

slavecorps 06-23-2013 01:43 AM

I love to cook too, but use a cheap stainless steel cookware set since it's all I can afford right now. I'd also like to hear some opinions on some better stuff.

Also sorry if this takes away from the OP, but I think it's related enough that it shouldn't; What's the proper way to season and care for cast iron cookware? I'd love to get myself a really nice skillet, but I don't want to ruin it or make it less than it could be.

Let's hear your cookware recommendations!

deeda 06-23-2013 02:05 AM

I have Lifetime stainless steel cookware (pots & pans) that I bought in 1977. Not cheap but they are great. I bought them because my mother bought hers back in the early 1960's and she is still using them today!

We recently replaced our teflon coated frying pan with a ceramic one, its a Bialetti Aeternum. It's very easy to clean, doesn't need any oils/fats to cook the food in and I've actually had problems keeping the food in the pan when I vigorously stir it because the food just doesn't stick to the pan at all. Only use wooden or plastic utensils though to avoid damaging the pan surface.

MSG 06-23-2013 05:25 PM

Before you order anything online especially with cookware & cutlery locate a....
Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, Kohl's near you. Even a TARGET will have a decent assortment of pans that you can play around with.

In the evening an hour or two before closing pay a visit to the stores & have WHOEVER is doing the majority of the cooking physically pick up the pans.
(You don't want an employee to distract while you're trying to form your OWN opinion.)
Typically they're less likely to bother you in the evening because they just want to go home.
  • Determine if the weight is appropriate. (2lbs-4lbs is my preference)
  • Does the cookware FEEL? Solid? Flimsy? Well manufactured?
  • How is the handle? What is it made out of? Is it welded or attached with RIVETS?
  • Do you like the lid? Does it fit PROPERLY?
  • Oven safe to what temperature?

Analon & Caphalon are the two brands I would recommend if you're looking to UPGRADE but they EACH produce so MANY different lines of cookware. (Advanced, Chef Clad, Nouvelle, Ultra Clad, You'll have to figure out which one suits your needs/looks.
  • Not a fan of the Cuisinart, KitchenAid, WMF, Circulon, Farberware WearEver, T-Fal, Paul Revere, etc.....
  • Most of the lower end brands that I've encountered have very THIN edges or ROLLED edges. Prefer a pan with a THICKER 1/4" edge like an All-Clad, but with a better designed handle.
  • All-Clads heat well & evenly, but again I cannot TOLERATE the handles. I find AC pans extremely uncomfortable to hold/pick up which makes them even more dangerous when the pan is FULL of food or hot oil.

  • Seasoning cast iron can be tedious & time consuming depending which method you choose. Also can be a great way to TEST out your ventilation/kitchen exhaust system.

**For Seasoning.... I use rendered chicken fat, instead of lard or bacon fat. You can use Crisco/shortening too.
  • For SOLID cast iron pans you can place them in the OVEN at 450-500 degrees for 45mins - 1 hour. (Make sure you have ventilation & fire extinguisher handy) season OUTSIDE if that's an option.
  • For woks with WOOD handles you have to season on a stove top. Use thin layers of chicken oil, smoking will begin around 375 degrees, allow it burn off, wipe down the pan & reapply oil. Repeat.
  • 6-10 times should be sufficient for an initial surface..
  • Rinse the pan & wipe clean (use a towel you're about about to dispose). Leave in the oven to cool. Once cooled down, put away in storage.

IF you didn't know....
  • Those 8lb-12lb cast iron skillets are only about $10-$20 new or $2-$5 used.

    Most get tossed or left in the basement/garage & forgotten when they get rusty. Those scrap guys that collect metal in trucks must see a TON of them.
  • Seriously though.... the only way you can RUIN a cast iron pan is to get MOTOR oil on it. I wouldn't bother cleaning it after it's been contaminated with that.

Thoughts on the HIGHER end stainless Multiclad cookware.....
  • All-Clad (Never liked the handles)
  • Viking (gorgeous, bit heavy - 7 layers - need a high end commercial range, looks out of place in a residential)
  • Scanpan CSX (very solidly built, quite heavy, like the handles, contemporary design)
  • Le Creuset (solidly built, quite heavy, overpriced - don't like the handles, NEW to the SS cookware)
  • Demeyere (ultimate pan, but EXTREMELY heavy, not practical to use everyday unless you're strong like an raging bull)

The thing is there's SO many new brands of cookware out there, why stick with the traditional brands?

Choose whatever works for you.

Happy cooking.

NWA-Planted 06-23-2013 05:34 PM

I have been very happy so far with my quisinart multiclad set

I do love having cast iron pans around to!!

That's my wife not me... Just fyi lol.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

thelub 06-23-2013 05:56 PM

WOW MSG thanks for the great info! Lots to mull over. I love cast iron. Don't have any ATM but I will be getting some. I prefer the old used ones that are well seasoned (great garage finds). From what I understand, a properly seasoned cast iron pot/pan will naturally be non-stick.

mistergreen 06-23-2013 06:16 PM

Anything that feels solid and heavy is good. I love my cast iron but haven't touched it in a while. I bought it in Brooklyn, NY and had to walk 1.5 miles for it. It was quite a work out.

It's something you'd need to touch and feel before buying. Target does have some cheap good options.

Here are ideas for skillets

thelub 06-24-2013 04:10 AM

I've watched a lot of Alton Brown and he has had very good clear suggestions on cook ware, but I thought I'd get some real world suggestions.

AnotherHobby 06-24-2013 01:03 PM

I love All Clad cookware. Once I started using it, I could never go back to cheap cookware. When I go to my in-laws cabin I even bring a few of my staple pieces with. It's not cheap, but it's also a lifetime investment. It will out live you.

flutterbug 07-20-2013 04:12 AM

I agree on All-Clad I have a set of Stainless and I love it. My mother accidentally left a pot of macaroni to boil all the water off and form a solid burnt on mass. I was able to soak it a bunch of times and and got it off, I still use the pot today. It just has a weird spotty look on the bottom. These pots and pans are tough!

AnotherHobby 07-20-2013 02:06 PM


Originally Posted by flutterbug (Post 3869761)
I agree on All-Clad I have a set of Stainless and I love it. My mother accidentally left a pot of macaroni to boil all the water off and form a solid burnt on mass. I was able to soak it a bunch of times and and got it off, I still use the pot today. It just has a weird spotty look on the bottom. These pots and pans are tough!

A little elbow grease and some barkeepers friend might make the spots go away.

mayanjungledog 07-20-2013 05:11 PM

I just recently purchased a Calphalon tri-ply set from Macy's. I compared it side by side with a comparable All-Clad set but the All-Clad was way heavier and a few hundred dollars more. For the value and weight for everyday use, the Calphalon set was the best fit for our kitchen. I have a decade old set of anodized Calphalon pans that were made in the US. Not sure if any of their stuff is made in the US anymore.

Sent from my Nexus S 4G using Tapatalk 2

Bandit1200 07-21-2013 05:02 AM

I was looking at the All-Clad as well as I'm still on my "made in America" bandwagon. Any others with experience with US made cookware? I'm going to buy a set of something come next spring, possibly sooner if my current junk makes me any madder.

thelub 07-21-2013 05:59 AM

All-clad would be my dream set. I'll probably buy some piece at a time, but I've been looking for stuff I can buy a few at once that will instantly replace my current cheapo set. I did get a set off an overstock sales site and they are alright, but won't last long. I went with a ceramic coated SS. The pans are light and the ceramic coat isn't great, but they'll work to replace a couple of the teflon pieces.

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