Narrowing it down...
Thank you to those who responded to my previous post. I am just starting to get into cooking, and am piecing together a set of pots/pans slowly. I want a skillet/fry pan that will last forever, and one that I can grow into.
I am deciding between the Demeyere, and a copper pan lined with stainless steel. Brand TBD. Can anyone give me advice on one or the other. I decided on Demeyere based on what people were saying about it, and ran into other people who love copper. Any thoughts? Thank you in advance.
11"-12" will be the size, and I will be mostly cooking meats and veggies in and out of the oven.
As far as a fantastic copper saute pan, go with Falk. You'll save some serious cash and get great quality by going with Sitram (stainless steel with sandwiched copper). Take a look at their Catering line. You can find it on Amazon as well as many other well known sites. I'd give you a link, but Google will give you far more choices than I can...
I'm with ThreeGigs on this one. If it's one, GOOD pan go for copper - by all means... assuming you have the cash. A single saute pan with a lid can set you back $400 if you're going with Falk. You can always wash a single pan by hand with no problem. If you're buying a set, I'd smack ya in the face for buying all copper! ;-) I'm a dishwasher guy and all for stainless sets. It's all down to cost as with almost everything. Personally, I don't own any copper - yet! I use clad stainless. It's great for everyday use, I can toss it around without worry of it getting damaged, etc. I do plan on buying a Falk saute pan but it's simply out of my price range right now. It's a want, not a need. There's other stuff out there that is cheaper and comparable, IMO.
I'm for the copper. Copper is no more difficult to clean than any metal pan, *unless* you feel the need to have it pristine. My copperware is tarnished, but that doesn't detract from its cooking abilities. Not dishwasher safe though, so don't get copper if you don't want to wash it by hand (technically it's dishwasher safe, just not dishwasher SOAP safe).
You'll get better heat control with the copper, and a more even heat.
-Costly, probably 2-3 times as much as the Demeyere you're looking at.
-Harder to sear, as the copper doesn't hold enough heat and cools down quickly once food is in the pan. Then again, even with the Demeyere you'd probably want a cast iron skillet for searing or high temp cooking anyhow.
-Heavier, which may or may not be an issue.
Personally, I went with an All-Clad copper core 12" fry pan. It gives me better heat spreading (though not as good as all copper) yet still lets me work at higher heats. It's a compromise, but it works well for what I need it to do.
Seriously, before spending that kind of dough, read this article on eGullet about stovetop cookware materials and design:
also the Q&A forum that follows the article:
If you're mostly using the pan for searing on the stovetop and finishing in the oven, copper is a complete waste. None of copper's advantages come into play in this type of cooking and some of its weaknesses may bite you. The article discusses what qualities are important in each of several different applications, including the one you mention. In the Q&A there are some very specific recommendations about what's needed in a good, high performance frypan and some recommended brands and models.
According to the article, if you have an electric stovetop, for example, copper is a waste of money, as the stovetop is *much* less responsive than the pan. Second, few of the things one does in a frypan need such responsiveness. As other posters have mentioned, heat retention is more important in this application.
Copper is more sensibly deployed in pans you'll use for making sauces and other items where extremely responsive heat control is important (read: making hollandaise).
As far as keeping copper clean, the easiest option is to decide you like the dark-bronze patina of a well-loved copper pan.
I'm going to toss a caveat in on the electric stove. Copper is more efficient than aluminum, which is more efficient than stainless (induction cooktops excepted).
You'll use less energy with a copper pan, asuming it's solid copper, not a copper 'sandwiched' construction. Basically, with copper you'll heat up the air in the kitchen less, and the food more. No, you won't see a big difference on the electric bill, but at a mere $10 savings per year, copper might be cheaper (and greener!) in the long run.
And a side note on the lids for copper:
Don't bother with copper lids. I got generic glass lids for my copperware, and they fit well, let me see the food, and keep the heat in better (with less condensation on the lid to boot).