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it's time for the crappy pots to go

hi all,

after the plastic handle on one of my pots caught fire, i've decided that this dollar-store-quality set i bought when i was a teenager (and still shamefully use) are getting tossed today!

i'm looking for a place in philly (center city or close by - thinking of taking out a phillycarshare for this venture) to buy some quality cookware... i don't want the non-stick stuff... i need something i can really beat up and that will last me a lifetime. i already have a really nice cast iron (and THAT i'm keeping!), but i could use a smaller sautee pan, a small pot and a medium-sized pot. any suggestions on where to go, and what (brand, material) to get? fante's and fosters - how are prices?

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  1. I have to say that I love my All Clad that I bought at Fosters. I have literally beaten the crap out of it over the last 10-12 years and it has served me well. I cook probably 5 nights a week, and for 5 or 6 years I did catering 1-2 times/month using my same pots. All clad is great construction (the all clad part refers to layers of material which I don't recall but it does heat evenly). AND a big thing for me these days is that all clad is a Pennsylvania based company that uses american metal and while I have not always been a "buy American" kind of girl, in these times I feel compelled. The same way I feel compelled to buy whatever from local businesses like Fosters and Fantes rather than large chain stores. But I digress, and must get back on point before the monitors remove me!
    The handles are "stay cool" so (except when you put them in the oven (duh!)) they stay cool. My non stick doesn't stick and my stainless hasn't warped. Can you tell I like this stuff?? The MC line is slightly less expensive (brushed stainless exterior) but works equally well as the other finishes (I have three different finishes).
    FYI - all clad use to offer promotions in May - they would be announced in April (10% maybe? I don't remember). Might be worth it to buy your most needed piece now and even ask at Fosters if All Clad will be doing a promotion this year.
    Good luck! And post later about how great it is to cook on better cookware!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bigley9

      I can't tell you where to buy in Philly, but I can definitely 2nd the All-Clad. I have been gradually transitioning from the Calphalon Anodized Aluminum (not worth the money) to the original All-Clad Stainless - not any non-stick. I love it. I now have a 10 in fry pan, 2 qt. sauce pan, 3 qt. sauce pan, 3 qt. saucier, and the roasting pan. I love them, and they go in the dishwasher no problem, you can also scrub the hell out of them, soak them, whatever. Not the most well thought out set, but they were all gifts - I've been asking for a new piece every year for Christmas for a while now.

      1. re: centralpadiner

        I third the All-Clad.

        Cookware & More
        2586 Industry Lane
        Trooper, Pennsylvania 19403

        They sell factory seconds for significantly cheaper than retail. And as far as I can tell, after a few weeks of use, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway.

        www.cookwarenmore.com

        1. re: Boognish

          Hear, hear! Cookware and More is THE place. If you don't mind a wee scratch on the bottom or on the underside of the lid, here's where you can get top quality seconds of pots and pans that will last a lifetime - and never catch on fire. They always have a spring sale so check it out and wait to pounce.

          CP

      2. re: Bigley9

        There is a Foster's at 4th and Market in Old City.

        Another great place for all things kitchen is Fante's in the Italian Market - 9th between Washington and Christian in South Philly.

      3. All-clad is decent but way overpriced, you don't need to spend that much to get good stuff that will last a lifetime. Search the cookware board.

        1. Go to Bittman's past columns about pots and pans and where to buy them, how much to spend, etc. It is in the NYT archives.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mlplyons

            That's a good idea - I remember that article/review & it was good.

          2. I just checked the bottom of my pet non-stick pans: Calphalon all. Never tried theAll-Clad, although they sound great. A tip to save money on the best pots: check out the department stores on the net for sales/amazing prices. For example, Macy's, Boscov''s.

            For sure though, Fosters on 4th & market would have great selection, but not necessarily discounted pricing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bashful3

              I've heard great things about Cooks Essentials from QVC. Might be worth driving out to the outlet in Frazer and looking at the sets they have. I've heard people say they are best pots and pans they've ever had! Good luck!

            2. I do not buy my cookware in "sets". I have found different brands offer me a pan or 2 that I like the feel of. I have some Calphalon, some All Clad, some Le Creuset. I would start by determining what is most important to your style of cooking. I have some Lodge cast iron too. I have done the non-stick thing. I do have a non-stick omelette pan. But that is it.

              For every pan manufacturer out there, you will find devotees. Pans are like underwear. A personal choice! ;-D

              2 Replies
              1. re: crazyspice

                Sound advice, Your Spiceness. Who says that pots and pans have to match? I have several different brands based on who makes the best of what. You can't beat Le Creuset for a heavy Dutch oven. You might want a glass lidded saute pan, a stainless stock pot, a Teflon lined omelette pan and a copper butter warmer. Think about what you make the most and what is the best tool for the job.

                CP

                1. re: Chefpaulo

                  Actually, you can beat the Le Creuset... I got a Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven from Amazon for $50 a couple of years ago.