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Oct 5, 2006 09:00 PM

Everyday pots and pans

My son and daughter-in-law are just starting out stocking a new apartment in Berkeley. They have asked me for advice on pots and pans. My most recent set is from Costco, and I like them, but they don't stock my set anymore. The set they seem to stock has more pieces than they will ever need. They need something practical and economical. Any suggestions? Since my DIL is a chemical engineer, I doubt she will consider non-stick :)

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  1. The Member's Mark cookware at Sam's Club is quite good and very reasonable priced. They have both a tri-ply stainless set (think Al-Clad knock off) and an anodized aluminum set (think calphalon). I've been using the tri-ply set for several years and have been very happy with it -- nice heavy weight, very even heat distribution, riveted handles (I once bought a set of Farberware with handles that were spot-welded, and the handle on the heavy skillet came off in less than 2 years). The current tri-ply set is a bit padded with thngs like measuring cups, measuring spoons, serving spoons, which jacks up the price to about $175 -- when I bought my set some years ago without the superfluous utensils, it was closer to $125. Even so, it's still a fraction of the cost of Al-Clad, and if your kids are starting from scratch, the extra utensils might be useful. The anodized aluminum set isn't quite as padded out and, if I remember correctly, runs about $150. This might give your chemical engineer DIL the non-stick without the problem of off-gasing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JepJonson

      I have that stainless steel Member's Mark set(with the utensils). Good stuff.

    2. If you're looking for a set of pans, Bridge Kitchenware in NYC continues their sale on Sitram Profisserie. Outstanding pans at an unbelievable price.

      8 Replies
      1. re: JoanN

        I love Bridge, but you can get this deal a bit cheaper at Smart Bargains.

        This is a great set.

        1. re: Pupster

          Wow! That's a good deal more than *a bit* cheaper! Wish I had an excuse to buy it.

          1. re: Pupster

            I love my Sitram pots - but I have the ones with the copper core. The ones I've had for 15 years look just like the one I bought earlier this year.

            1. re: Pupster

              how concerned should one be that the handles on that set are welded and not riveted?

              i'm not terribly experienced with cookware, but it seems that riveted handles are the gold standard, and that welded handles can sometimes come off ... ?

              1. re: coookie

                I think whether riveted handles are important depends on how you cook -- if you like to turn food in the pan by flipping it, you might want to go for the rivets, particularly if you're using large, heavy pans. If you prefer to use a spatula or a spoon to move the food around, the welded handles should be sturdy enough as long as you buy good quality stuff. The welded handle came off my Farberware skillet after a bit over a year of flipping, but the Revere ware set I got in college never gave me any problems, and I'd probably still be using it if my wife hadn't imposed strict limits on the numbers of pots, pans and utensils I'm allowed to have. Check the warranty on whatever you buy, so that if you do have problems you can get them addressed.

                1. re: coookie

                  In terms of strength and durability, there is NO DIFFERENCE. Riveted handles may look like the gold standard but it isn't. In fact, some of the top brands like France's Sitram or Belgium's Demeyere have welded handles. These are professional (true professional, not gussied up All-Clad quality) level cookware, NSF certified, good to over 1000 degrees F. Many cooks, myself included, prefer welded for hygenic reasons: no rivet head for sauce and gunk to get under. There have been a couple threads by people who want to know how to get gunk out from under that seam.

                  If you don't know about the Sitram brand, it is the top professional brand in France. While Profiserie is from the consumer rather than professional line, it's a top quality set, NSF certified as the rest. I personally prefer the copper core Catering line that MMRuth has, but it's substantially more expensive. Why is this set so cheap? I don't know, I suspect they are discontinuing this line. You should know that these pans are not the prettiest out there, so if you want something 'pretty' get something else; instead these pans are more for functionality and performance for people who really cook.

                  PS. JepJonson's problem was a cheap pan, not welded handles per se.


                  1. re: Pupster

                    great, that allays my fears. thanks!

              2. re: JoanN

                Have you tried the new Cybernox line? It's a replacement for the teflon coated pans. The reviews are great for the Sitram Cybernox line. I love my 10.25" Cybernox fry pan.

              3. About five years ago I read in Consumer Reports that Wolfgang Puck had a line available on HSN. I was instantly scepticle but for the fact of the Consumer Reports strong review. I bought a set of 21 pieces for about 169.00 now priced at 200.00. I am a former Resto guy and love to cook. These pans are everybit as good as Cuisinart at a fraction fo the price. Check them out they are terrific

                1. Sitram Cybernox is a new Stainless non-stick line that is virtually indestructible. A great alternative to teflon coated cookware. Sitram Cookware is fantastic.