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Pots/Pans Choice for Bride

As the aunt of the bride I''ve landed the responsibility of advising my niece on the "best" choice for her pots and pans. The problem is that I haven't bought any new pots and pans in decades. I'm still using the original black Calphalon pots that were the best for their day, a day that was a long time ago. Yesterday, I looked at the five lines of All-Clad, the one line of Le Cruset, and two lines of Calphalon.

By way of background, I should add that my niece has lived in an apartment for several years; she has been cooking with the pots and pans that my mother donated when she downsized her living situation. Although some of those pots are like the old Calphalon I use, some are even older. (I mention these Calphalon pots so you know that my niece has some experience using reasonably heavy pots.)

I'd really appreciate any comments and recommendations about pots and pans currently on the market.

Thanks!

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  1. I have a set of Calphalon and a set of Le Crueset that I've had for over 25 years and they have served me well. I've been looking at Scanpan sets and some copper pieces myself lately. I guess it would depend on how much she'll cook and what people are going to spend on it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bayoucook

      I've picked up Paderno pots over the years and love them. They are heavy bottomed stainess steel. I've got a few other pieces such as Calphalon "Kitchen Essentials' and the glass lid leaks. Condensation from the inside seeps through the seam and onto the top of the lid. I'm not sure about the anodize aluminum.

    2. I'd love to see more input on this topic.
      I know "sets" are easy, and my primary input on those is too duy one that is considered 'commercial quality'. The heavyness is a pain, but the evenness in heating is wonderful. Also, more pieces are not always better, even if it makes the price per piece lower. Extra pieces just take up valuable cabinet space.
      I also want to put in a word for buying pieces that may not be part of the usual starter set.
      My favorite specialty piece is a heavy cast iron skillet passed down from my mom, especially for anything that starts with a roux. I also rely on is a 6" Le Crueset enameled saucepan with a pour spout - great for warming milk for coffee, and making clarified butter.

      I'm looking for a suggestion on a good non-stick line with a coating that won't wear away after a year or two of stirring with a melamine spoon. Thanks for any advice.

      1 Reply
      1. re: flavorburst

        I, too, am lucky enough to own very old cast iron skillets and a Dutch oven. I also have the 6" LC pan w/o a pour spout. My calphalon has held up well for non-stick, even though I've replaced the skillets twice in 25 years due to MY mistakes. You can't put them in the dishwasher, but they are heavy and well-weighted and they've done the job for me.
        I bought both sets b/c they were a lot cheaper (very marked down), I had the room for them, and I have used all of both sets. Will watch this thread for more info.

      2. This is a tough one. I tend to think that a collected mish-mash of pots and pans (different brands, weight, sizes, uses) is the best way to go, rather than buying a set from a line.

        I cook every day, and based on what I have, I would recommend these brands for the following pieces:

        Lodge cast iron skillets and griddles (12" being very useful)
        Le Creuset, Staub or Lafont Dutch ovens (I like 3 to 6 quart sizes) and curved soup pots
        All Clad or Cuisinart stainless saucepans, windsor pans, saute pans and stockpot
        Calphalon anodized braising pan

        Also, any heavy roasting pan that can be used in the oven AND on the stovetop (we have the All Clad small roti pan).

        I would not recommend Le Creuset pottery- I've had cracks happen out of nowhere. I also don't do Teflon-type nonstick- I rely on cast iron. I have a large set of old Revereware (from mr. sfumato's mom and grandmother) skillets and saucepans that I LOVE, but I know that their factories have changed since these were made, so I don't know if they're still as good. We also have a lot of other pans and pots that we use, but I don't know how useful they would be to other people- it all depends on cooking habits.

        Is this for her registry, are people wanting to buy her nice cookware without referring to a registry, or is she buying all this stuff herself? If you know where the cookware will come from, maybe we could make some solid recommendations based on that.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sfumato

          Definately the Lodge cast iron. Some things you can only make in cast iron!

          1. re: sfumato

            If my sister, the bride-to-be's mother prevails, this is for a registry. (Incidentally, I completely agree with my sister about the registry. I'd much rather buy a gift for someone I know will be appreciated and a registry listing accomplishes that.) The other possbility is that I might end up purchasing many/most of the pots as a wedding gift. I strongly doubt my niece will buy all the stuff herself.

            FWIW, the Le Cruset pots are from their stainless steel line, not from their traditional enamel over cast iron.

          2. There isn't any "best" cookware,
            as the many Chowhound debates still
            attest, and cost isn't necessarily a measure
            of quality. Most cookware sold today will
            do a decent job.

            If you like clad stainless, Consumer Reports
            gave top rating to KitchenAid, which costs less
            than the heavily promoted All-Clad.

            For sauce pans, nothing wrong with Calphalon
            anodized. Mine has lasted 20-plus years and
            is still in fine shape. The frying pan finish
            wore off after a few years though. I now use carbon
            steel and aluminum for frying (and one inexpensive
            Wear-Ever non-stick for eggs and such),

            BTW. Calphalon anodized is aluminum, so it
            os not heavy as pans go. Steel and cast iron are
            heavier.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mpalmer6c

              Bloomingdale's is where I did my initial investigating since that's the likely registry location. The housewares sales clerk, whose business card identified her as a "Le Cruset consultant" never mentioned KitchenAid pots. Who sells these?

              1. re: mpalmer6c

                I find anodized aluminum heavier than clad stainless (though certainly not as heavy as cast iron).

              2. Before I got married I had a mish-mash of pot and pans. We registered for SS All Clad, and I have to say I'm glad we did. They are expensive, but distribute heat very evenly, and still look great after years of frequent use.

                If she doesn't have it already, a couple of pieces of cast iron are great for for high heat tasks (better than the All Clad).