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replacing my saucepans/skillets

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I have finally decided that I am done with my nonstick pots and pans, and would like to replace them with something high-quality that I will have forever. My initial thought was to replace them with Le Creuset or something similair, since I imagine the enameled interior would be more forgiving in terms of sticking than other materials (I'm not sure if I really have the patience to deal with unglazed cast iron). But I read several people in another thread say they hated their LC skillets. Is there a reason for this? Now I'm not really sure what I should get!

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  1. I find that the le creusets I use most are the saucepans and braising pots. I have a couple of frying pans too, but generally I use copper or an all clad saute pan on the stovetop. I'd recommend getting a good size le creuset braiser or stew pot for going from stovetop into the oven and a sitram or paderno saute pan. you shouldn't be put off by seasoning a regular cast iron, by the way. It's not that hard, cast iron is relatively cheap, and once you've properly seasoned it, nothing will stick to it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chuckl

      I second this plan of using porcelain-clad cast iron for braising and all-clad type pots and pans for sauting, boiling, and roasting. Once upon a time, I only used cast iron (glazed & unglazed), but the weight became too much for my wrists for daily breakfasts and stir frys.

      Warning: I learned the hard way that the porcelain can crack, lift and peel off (left a pot roast in the oven for 10 hours on one Super Bowl Sunday; it went dry, and I had to junk an oval 10-qt. porcelain-clad pot that way). Also, my husband gouged the porcelain off the bottom of a 5-qt. dutch oven while using a stainless steel cooking spoon.

      1. re: Stephanie Wong

        I threaten my husband if he does not use wooden utensils on the ac or the lc. I have ac utensils and about the only thing they are good for is my old magnalite. Or whatever they are called. Wooden utensils should be used on nonstick, ss and cast iron probably also. At least I think so. He loves to grab a regular table serving ss spoon and start scrapping in the pots. I tell him no, pleassssse. The only thing that you just can't get around are the oxo tongs or what ever they are. Grabbers will have to do tonight. I have kept some magnalite. Like the all clad stainless. Have one piece of lc and 1 piece of staub. Figure out what you cook the most and go from there. Changing pans is a costly deal. What I have changed to will be forever. Bed Bath and Beyond is great if they still take the 20 percent off coupons for all clad. Also, there is a seconds place for all clad if you just want a couple of pieces. Cooks & More I think. If you are interested, I will search for the name for you.

    2. Le Creuset makes great Dutch Ovens. The skillets, IMO, are useless. They are heavy and the heat is hard to control. The enamel isn't non-stick.

      I have some All-Clad and Paderno that work great...but my best bang for the buck pans are from (gasp!) Ikea. Martha Stewart Everyday also has some good pans.

      1. I'm eliminating nonstick for health concerns and because they're getting old.

        I got a couple le creuset casseroles and dutch ovens. I got 2 calphalon tri-ply (stainless steel) sauce pans and then cast iron frying pans. The cast iron has a learning curve but I'm hoping I'll really love them once I get them seasoned properly and learn how bbest to cook with them.

        1. Marian Burros, dealing with the same question, did some testing and wrote the following article:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/07/din...

          Myself, I use a non-stick pan for yolk-intact eggs. For most other fried stuff, I use carbon steel pans and have no problem with food sticking. They're made in France but are not terribly expensive.

          1. I switched to a Lodge cast iron skillet a few years ago from a stainless steel with a non-Teflon nonstick coating, and have never looked back. Once the cast iron is used and seasoned, it is virtually non-stick. If something does stick, scrub away without fear. I even use soap (blasphemy, but I hate the taste of residual food in my eggs). I also have two LeCreuset matte black interior fry pans, and they work very well too. They seem even to clean up better than the cast iron. My main complaint is the weight of the LC and the cast iron. There is little you can do to juggle food around in them without risking a back injury, so get used to using your spatula instead. I now rarely use anything else for frying with the exception of my saute pans, and when making a frittata or omelette, a Circulon non-stick that is light enough to lift and turn out.