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Need Pots and Pans Advice Please!

Hi ~

I am requesting new pots and pans as part of a wedding registry - I already have a few nice pieces, so I don't plan to request a full set. Does anyone recommend one type over another? I plan on getting All Clad, and unfortunately, getting all in the copper clad will be too expensive. (However, I was thinking of getting one or two pieces in the copper clad - are there any pieces folks just can't live without?) Thanks for your advice!!!

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  1. All-Clad is good stuff, but waaay overpriced. I guess that doesn't matter so much if it's for a wedding registry.

    The pieces we can't live without don't matter, what matters are which pieces *you* can't live without. Think hard about what pans you actually use daily, what you use maybe once a week, and what you use once in a blue moon, and plan your registry accordingly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead

      I disagree on the overpriced bit for most All-Clad items (its expensive, but I think given the market, its fairly priced for what it is because it will last a lifetime and more).

      I do think that the copper is unnecessary. I just don't see the performance difference over the other All-Clad options, so except as noted by renov8r on the question of appearance, go with Stainless or another of the less expensive than copper lines. I'm thrilled with my stainless All-Clad; it performs well on all types of cooktops, cleans up easily and is basically indestructible.

      As to pieces one can't live without, Buckethead is exactly right: its about what you use. I'll say that I actually got rid of the 6qt pot that came as a part of the initial set of stainless I was given because I just never used it. It was either too wide and shallow for making stock or too wide and deep for other uses. I also almost never use my 10 inch saute pan. I always reach for the 7inch or the 12inch...so if I were buying open stock (which is absolutely the way to go) I'd skip the 10 inch personally. your mileage may vary.

      I think a 3qt saucier is the one pot I'd say everyone could make use of more than just about anything else. It can be used like a small wok, to heat up vegetables or make soup or just about any sauce, rissotto, small amount of pasta...etc etc etc.

    2. also look to see if they can be used in dishwasher... fyi, neither my pots nor my china can be put in the dishwasher which can make it a pain with a large dinner party

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mel

        Actually china can go in the dishwasher and has been recommended by some of the top mfgs. Use the short cycle, turn off the drying function and let it come to room temperature before handling. I also put sterling in the dw with the china but not the knives and no stainless in with the silver. If you live in an area with hard water it can etch crystal. I do put the good stuff in, it is not like it gets used daily and use Cascade with Shine Shield. A lot more damage can be done with hot sudsy water, wet hands and a hard sink surface.

      2. I think that everyone has different favorites depending on how they cook, but my absolute favorite of the All Clad pieces I have is the Braiser. I do a lot of cooking that goes from the stove to the oven, so I use it a ton.

        I have the MC2, which must be handwashed, but the handwashing doesn't really bother me. I love it, but it has a more industrial look than the shiny stainless.

        Another essential piece (IMO) is an enameled dutch oven. Le Creuset is the brand you see the most, but there are other companies who make nice ones as well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Megiac

          I got a le creuset for a wedding gift (which my hubby boo hooed at), but I have used it over 2 dozen times in the last year and is worth it's weight in gold.... I believe it is essential to have a good dutch oven, and I have been very happy with it

          1. re: Mel

            I second the Le Cruset. I got one as a wedding gift as well and have used it a tremendous amount. I received the 7 qt. and kind of wish I had registered for the 5 1/2 qt because for two people the size of the roast or whatever I'm cooking is usually a little dwarfed by the capacity of the 7 qt. (However I'm not complaining because it's still my favorite pot!)

        2. To me, the most important pans are the sautee pans. To be honest, the All-Clad LTD work almost as well as the copper, but the difference in dishwasher safety is huge. I might go Copper on sautee pans and basic stainless on everything else. I like dishwashers.

          If you don't mind washing by hand, Calphalon One pans are also excellent and the Calphalon stainless pans are easily workable (and dishwasher safe).

          1. The only reason to get the AllClad pans from their CopRChef line is for looks, this is different than their CopperCore line, which does have the benefit of copper for more responsive but is their most costly line. The appearance is almost identical to the Stainless Steel line, which is shiny SS inside and out.

            I believe that MC is the least expensive, which has the buffed exterior. The LTD has the dark anodized exterior.

            For responsiveness the best pieces to have in Copper Core would be one large skillet or saute pan and one medium-large sauce pan. These sizes are good for sugar cookery and other extremely temperature sensitive uses.

            1. All Clad is great, expensive but worth it. I agree with the rest on the copper, looks great but not absolutely necessary. My three most critical pieces are the 3 qt saucier (all clad), the 7 qt enamled cast iron dutch oven (le cruset), and a 13" nonstick pan from Look. They make nonstick without teflon so it's less risky for cooking and for the environment. It's expensive but durable for nonstick, and every kitchen needs one nonstick pan.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bwave

                I believe that LOOK cookware does use PTFE, but in a water borne phase. I suspect that other manufacturers have also moved away from solvent carried coating technology too:

                1. re: renov8r

                  I stand corrected, they do use PTFE. Either way, it's a great pan and I expect it to last a while.

              2. We have had a set of Cuisinart Stanless with a copper core- have had it for 17 years now, and it still performs just like it did when it was new. These have had pretty heavy use, and haven't been pampered. I would certainly buy it again...

                1. a small copper saucepan is alway good to have on hand for making candy and such. Otherwise, for whatever you think you will use the most on a daily basis, All Clad is great and will stand the test of time.

                  1. well I just ordered the Roy Yamaguchi set from HSN It looked good and looked as though it preformed well. Lets hope so.. Has anybody out there tried that line?

                    1. I would highly recommend the 6 qt saute pan. You can make quick stews (when you don't want to drag out the heavy Dutch oven for a long process), braises, paella and other rice dishes, chops, etc. You can brown in it and transfer to the oven.You can pan fry it in too. Hard to beat. It's a cross between a fry pan and a Dutch oven.

                      1. Thanks to everyone that responded! I appreciate the advice :)

                        1. As I replace my overpriced non-stick pots and pans. I would go for the All-Clad in a heart beat. I recieved a huge pasta pot and strainer as a present from my youngest son. I love that pot and the fact that it comes to a boil quicker than other cookware.
                          If you have to, buy it by piece, sometimes I find that I will get my favorite pieces that way.
                          The copper bottoms for specific functions is smart, you probably don't need that on every single pot anyway. I might even venture to say you could have these pots your lifetime.

                          I still have pots from my existing "non-stick set" that I 've never touched. And the non-stick stuff, whatever its called analon, calphylon, is coming off on some of them even using plastic and wooden tools.

                          1. As for the copper it is going to need to be polished with each use. It will start to tarnish as soon as heat is applied. I know from experience and don't use my copper items as frequently.

                            1. I have a full set of Copper Core, and am a total All-Clad convert. I use to consider it just way overpriced Yuppie-ware for upper middle class kitchens with too much money to blow...

                              NOT anymore! This stuff is amazing. I lived and cooked with anodized aluminum for over 25 years (Calphalon, Magnalite Pro), and really appreciate the difference in performance with the All-Clad--not to mention it cleans up much easier. I also never have had such nonstick results (preheat pan, cold oil, then food) from a non nonstick pan before--my 10" omlette/fry pan makes effortless omelets that just slide out, and my favorite paper thin sole filets (Sand Dabs) turn over with effortless ease. The 10" omlette/fry pan is in fact my favorite piece and gets used the most (helps too that a 10" glass Calphalon lid of mine from days past fits it perfectly).

                              My friend who has the All-Clad stainless line, thinks my Copper Core pieces do heat and respond to changes in temperature faster than her aluminum cored Stainless line, but I don't have the personal experience to back this up.

                              I have noticed that the copper band on the bottom of these pots tends to tarnish just as fast as a whole copper exterior pot or pan will--and if you want them to look pristine, weekly, or biweekly polishing at minimum, is required ( I use Barkeepers Friend which works great).