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Cookware

  • j
  • Jake Klisivitch Sep 26, 1998 04:10 PM
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I'm in the market for some new pots and pans,
especially an oven-proof skillet. Any suggestions?

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  1. For the vast majority of uses, when you consider
    price, it's hard to argue with cast-iron cookware. You
    can pick up a set of three different-sized Wagner cast-
    iron skillets at Lechter's right now for $17.99.

    My prefernece among the widely available consumer
    cookware brands is All-Clad. The company makes several
    lines of cookware, all of which are good, at various
    prices. The basic anodized aluminum with stainless
    interior--the least expensive--should do the trick.
    All-Clad makes non-stick skillets, but, for non-stick,
    I prefer Calphalon "Professional" Non-Stick.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Steven Shaw
      d
      Dan Sonenberg

      As far as where to buy cookware, I strongly endorse the
      housewares section upstairs at Zabars. They have a
      very good selection of pots and pans (and everything
      else) and their prices are really excellent--much
      better than Macys' The Cellar, for instance. Not sure
      how prices compare to Lechter's, but I'd be surprised
      if Lechter's selection was as big. Also Zabars carries
      a large selection of very inexpensive cast-iron
      cookware in every size imaginable. I picked up a great
      10 inch skillet for about $12.95, and the thing is
      seriously heavy enough to clock any NYC robber on the
      head with. Oh...it also cooks well--especially Tuna
      steaks!

      -Dan s.

      1. re: Dan Sonenberg

        All the above are excellent recommendations -re the stainless steel preference, I have had bad experience with high-end stainless pots with a thick aluminum core only on the bottom. The pan gets extra hot - and the contents tend to stick and burn - right where the core ends and the pan side begins- just the place where it is hard to stir adequately. Two other suggestions - the thick-walled, all-aluminum calderos sold at many supermarkets, and hispanic and chinese food and 5-and-dime stores are great, cheap, relatively light multipurpose pots, with solid covers, and good for stews, curries, fried dishes, braises, etc. Second, Century 21 and other discounters, like Odd Lot (Job?) and Costco are worth checking out for mid-range non-sticks and sometimes fancier items.

        1. re: jenkalb

          I vote for cast-iron...the best
          hasn't been made for about 40
          years, but you can find Griswold
          pans (classic cast iron skillets and
          Dutch ovens the most common, but
          really cool cast iron waffle
          makers, too) at second hand stores
          and the NYC equivalent of garage
          sales...turn the pan over and look
          for a cross within a circle and
          name Griswold inside that...dealers
          know the value and may charge
          accordingly ($15-40/pan), but
          sometimes you get lucky.

      2. re: Steven Shaw

        I treasure my two Cusinart pans more than any others
        that we have--stainless with a copper lining wedged
        between the steels layers. Easy to clean (I put them
        in the DW!) and conduct heat great, they are a
        pleasure.

      3. Jake,

        My strategy is to go to Zabar's and buy pieces separately. If you buy a set, you do save money IF, and it's a big if, you really want or need all the different elements in the set. But do you really need a 2-quart AND a 3-quart saucepan?

        I have to admit that I love All-Clad LTD (the nonstick is durable, too). Zabar's routinely runs terrific sales on La Creuset saucepans and casseroles. They weigh a ton and last forever. And the big Z also does carry Wagner cast-iron skillets.

        I note that despite the hyping of All-Clad and Caphalon, many chefs seem to prefer stainless steel.

        Dave

        1. In the last year I have investigated and cooked on
          several pans. I have recently found the following pans
          absolutely necessary : Wagner Cast Iron skillet,
          All-Clad 10" Fry pan, 6 Qt All Clad sautee pan -
          replaces the need for a 3 Qt and Stock pot (I had
          limited space and $$). I have a scanpan 9 "frypan - I
          have found that the iron skillet does better omelets -
          if I had known this I would have saved $30!

          I have shopped around - Zabar's is a good choice
          in NYC - Broadway panhandler Prince and Spring ?, In
          NJ or by phone 800-272-2170 or (908) 782-1735 is a
          store in flemington, NJ where all-clad, scanpan,
          wustof trident knives among others for about 1/2 the
          price. They have a webpage, but I could not find it.
          Call them and they will tell you or they will send you
          a pamphlet with info.

          Good luck

          bob

          1. Read everyone's advice below and look through the
            Chef's Catalog (call 800-338-3232 if you want a copy)
            to see photos of what they're talking about.
            Then if you can't get to a cookware outlet, order
            through the catalog. Happy browsing and cooking.

            cz

            2 Replies
            1. re: christina z.
              d
              Dave Feldman

              Christina,

              I've bought some things from Cook's and found their service and products to be fine. But generally their prices are much higher than Zabar's.

              1. re: christina z.

                I agree with Christina Z. completely. Also Cutlery Direct Catalog. If you live in NYC area, you'll generally find Zabar's prices the most competative. And Bridge Kitchen Supplies have even the most obscure items (@ a premium price). I favor cast iron, enameled cast iron, All-Clad stainless steel for sauces and all things acidic, and Scanpan for non-reactive sauteeing and non-stick cooking. If you have to start somewhere go cast iron and enameled cast iron(the cheap ones) first. Oh, and a big cheap enamel speckled tin pot for pasta.

                Pete

              2. j
                Joan Munkacsi

                The poster who warned against buying a set was right.
                Since different pan materials excel at achieving
                different results, sets generally make no sense at
                all: the heavy cast iron, say, that makes a skillet
                great for sauteing would make a rust-prone pasta/stock
                pot too heavy to lift. My advice is to think about
                what you need the pan to do. Do some reading on
                properties of various materials, and invest slowly if
                you're not sure what you really want. A $100 All-Clad
                skillet can be a bargain if it fits your needs, an
                expensive mistake if not. Better to start out with
                something like T-Fal (not expensive and often
                discounted, serviceable if not particularly durable)
                and then move up as you figure out where you want to
                move. Then buy the best; I'm still happily using some
                pots, pans, and knives more than thirty years old.