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Good CHEAP Pot?

I'm teaching a young friend the basics of cooking (a real pleasure, by the way). Unfortunately, he has basically no money. I've equipped him with a commercial-grade non-stick frying/saute pan, but he really needs something for braising/cooking beans, etc. Any ideas? Obviously, something multi-functional would be best.

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  1. How cheap is "cheap"? I've found some of the stuff off the TV shopping channels aint too bad. Try something by Wolfgang Puck.


    1. Lodge cast iron dutch oven. Cheap, good quality, and indestructible.

      1. I'm not sure if there's a Ross around, but I've been able to pick up some Analon and similar types of cookware for quite cheap. I believe I got two small sauce pans for about $12 each.

        1. If you have any Asian markets where you live with a Chinese bias, they'll probably sell all manner of inexpensive pots. Aluminum ones, even clay pots that can be used on the stovetop for slow braises. Here in So Cal, $10 will yield a variety of shapes and sizes to choose from.

          1. Also check Amazon, especially in their Today's Deals & Clearance sections and during their Friday sales. Also be on the lookout for coupons (generally they have $25 off $125 total). Free shipping over $25 and no tax.

            Ikea and Target for cheap tools, plates, etc. They both sell kitchens-in-a-box.

            As mentioned many a time, check Goodwill and Salvation Army stores near him, garage sales and the like. Also, just put out the word among friends and family. Most people (if they are anything like me) usually have kitchen stuff lying around that they would love to get rid of -- extra pans, appliances they never use, old dinnerware and flatware. He could probably outfit an entire kitchen from peoples' giveaways. (If you post in your home city board, I'm sure CHers would come bearing their extra pots.)

            1. You never know what you are going to find at TJ Maxx. I was over there on Wed. or Thurs. along with all the returning students and there were 2 Le Creuset 5 qt. pots. They were marked $100 each. That might break the budget but for a lifetime investment that is a deal. They have lots to choose from at all prices. I always have to check.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Candy

                Wow! I'll make sure to take a look whenever I'm on that side of town.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  I try to go once a week. You just never know what will be there. I have gotten Saba, white truffle oil, imported salts etc. When I said lots, I did not mean lots of LC, but just all sorts of pots and pans at great prices. I've picked up All Clad LTD on clearance which was a real deal. I'll be checking the shelves tomorrow. Have to go out to Petsmart to buy dog food so TJM will be on the tour.

              2. I concur that Ross and TJ Maxx are great. I also like Tuesday Morning, I got my KA mixer there. I've noticed a lot of top brands there at amazing prices. I have bought restaurant quality cookware at flea markets as well. One flea market I went to had a guy who sold only cast iron pots and pans. He was quite popular amongst the locals because he was there every weekend.

                4 Replies
                1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                  I agree on Tues. AM too. But for Pikawicca and me the nearest is over 40 miles away. I'm always up for a road trip though. Tues. AM has some wonderful deals on all sorts of stuff too. Again, you just never know what they are going to have. I got a Krups coffee maker with timer so I can set it the night before for $19.99. They often have good deals on Cuisinarts and top of the ling pots and pans too. My favorite napkins, cocktail and dinner were such a deal in fine linen (yeah I have to iron them but they are gorgeous) that I have about 3 dozen of each. I wish we had a Tues AM here in Bloomington.

                  1. re: Candy

                    How unfortunate, we have two or three in my area and it is a bit of overkill. Wish they would spread the wealth in your direction. Do you have big lots aka macfrugals?

                    1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                      No, Bloomington, In is a major university town and all of the buyer's retail and grocery see us as a town full of undergrads wearing junior sized clothing, boy do they have their demmographics wrong. There are some thrift shops but TJM is our best bet. Pikawicca and jillp will back me up on that. It has gotten better in teh years I have lived here but most of my $$$ unless it is for basic to better food, booze and wine go out of town. I make it a point not to shop in the stores in Indy which are also here and stock inferior mdse. in the Bloomington stores.

                      1. re: Candy

                        Absolutely! This is a town with many well-traveled people who have pretty good disposable incomes, much of which is spent out-of-town, I suspect. You can't even buy Italian fontina in any of our grocery stores: igourmet, here's my money.

                2. Don't forget Marshalls. I got a Calphalon saute pan with lid for $35, retail is $150

                  1. I'll also add that I like my Farberware for big stock pots and sauce pans. Often pretty cheap on Amazon. As on eposter already pointed out Lodge is cheap you just have to keep it up and put up with the weight

                    1. what a great title for a thread...got my attention.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tdg

                        LOL! Me, too.

                        Don't forget gargage sales, Goodwill, etc. As I've said before, one of my favorite pots is one I bought at a garage sale for $2.

                      2. You can try Craigslist.com, Ross, or Overstock.com. Overstock is my all time favorite bargain spot.

                        When our son went to college we went to auctions and bought his pots and pans, dishes etc.

                        1. You might also consider joining freecycle.org for your area. You never know what people will be offering, or if anyone will respond to requests, but free is even cheaper than cheap!

                          1. For cooking Beans, go with cast iron. Should be cheap, you can even find great cast iron cookware at garage sales, though is usually snatched up quickly by those who know.

                            Get the biggest one you can find. The uglier and crustier the better. They clean up well and it means it is probably seasoned nicely.

                            Cast iron should last you a lifetime and is practically indestructible, unless you drop really hot cast iron cookware into water, which can break it.

                            1. If he doesn't have a coffee maker yet, pick-up a Kenmore one at Sears for $29.00. It makes better coffee than most conventional brewers at twice the price. Higher water temperature is key. From my experience, most conventional brewer coffee pots do not heat the water to the correct temperature...usually too low. The Kenmore one works great!

                              1. It's funny but with that subject line I was about to report you....