What do you have in your collection?
Okay, I'm officially in love with cooking for my family and it's time that I update the all-Teflon collection of pots and pans that my hubby and I got for our wedding. I know that stainless steel is great for fond, Teflon is a must for eggs, cast iron creates the best sear on a steak, and enamel cast iron is pretty all-purpose. I'm wondering...what pots/pans do you have in these materials and what do you use them for?
>>>I'm wondering...what pots/pans do you have in these materials and what do you use them for?
Of the materials you mentioned I have one 12 qt stock pot in Stainless Steel and a rarely used CI griddle – that’s it.
All of the rest of my cooking is done in 40+ pots and pans made of anodized aluminum. They are all Magnalite Professional series purchased 20-30 years ago. Sauté pans are perfectly seasoned and make cooking eggs a breeze; their roasting pans make delicious fond without burning. I have been given a plethora of other pots and pans by friends as gifts but to date none of them match the quality, durability and longevity of the old Magnalite pro series.
My only concern with aluminum is that I thought you weren't supposed to cook acidic foods in it b/c it will react. My family is Italian and anything I own must be able to hold up to our family tomato sauce or it's not allowed in the door (with the exception of a CI skillet for steaks). Is this a myth?
No, it is not a myth. If you cook something long cooking like a tomato sauce in a reactive pan you're sauce will have a tinny "off" taste. You might be able to get away with something like a quick deglaze with wine, but anything that cooks for more than a couple of minutes will not produce a happy result. JMOYMMV
The confusion arises between straight Aluminum pots and "Anodized Aluminum" pots - there have been numerous scientific studies done on high quality Anodized Aluminum that show no leaching of aluminum and no reactivity. I have cooked hundreds of tomato based and high acidic sauces in them with no off taste or problems with the pot.
I am happy to report, that my birthday has arrived and my wonderful mother-in-law purchased for me a 6qt. LC enamel ss stockpot. It's carribean blue and let me just say, this pot is currently sitting on my table just to make me smile at the color. LC cookware is made out of rainbows - there's just no other explanation for their color perfection.
That being said, I didn't even know there was such a thing as enameled ss, much less did I have a stockpot on my list of pots to look for. Still, I'm so thankful to have it and look forward to cooking amazing soups and stews in it. (I welcome any suggestions for use)
I wanted to say "thank you" to those who have posted. I know that my collection will take on my personality with time and that it will not mirror any of yours, however, I really enjoy a starting point. So when I am scowling at my Teflon pans while making eggs, I can now say, "Time to go buy a CI skillet". And off to TJMaxx I will go. :D
You have all been wonderful and I love how many ideas I'm getting so please keep your lists coming. Each has shown me something new to consider.
Happy Friday and happy cooking! :-)
Happy birthday, AChieffe! (A little late--sorry.) What a nice MIL :-).
I really like the 6-qt. LC stockpot. Mostly, I use it to cook pasta (I cook a lot of pasta), but I've also found it works great to do some other tasks that I don't do quite as often--e.g., boil larger quantities of potatoes than I normally do, boil ears of corn, simmer Boston butt for pulled pork sandwiches, etc.
I like it better than the pots I was using previously to boil or simmer larger quanities, because it's a little lighter, and safer to handle when I go to empty the boiling water. And it's easy to clean.
I don't have anything yet in Caribbean...I can't really tell from catalogs or websites what it's really like. I don't really need much more LC, except that I would like a 10" skillet, and I was considering the Caribbean. What do you think of the color?
Use it good health and much happiness!
Normandie, thanks for the birthday wishes! The color is gorgeous. It is the perfect mix of blue and green - a wonderful turquoise color. Seriously, it has not left my counter top since I brought it home because the color is so great. I have a very beach-cottage inspired kitchen so it looks like this pot was made for my blue walls, super pale green island, antique white cabinets, and sandy colored counter tops. I feel like I am literally in the Caribbean. And some might say that I am WAY to attached to my kitchen (it's the only decorated room in my house and we've been here a year!) and to my cookware, but I can't help it. Beautiful things and good food make me feel happy so my beach kitchen and this Caribbean blue pot are dreams come true, for sure! Plus, if my family wants anything that doesn't come out of a microwave, I've got to really "feel" it in my kitchen and now, I do! hehe
AChieffe, once (three decades ago) we had ONE nonstick pan -- IIRC it was Silverstone, not Teflon -- and we hated it, never replaced it when mercifully (as all nonsticks will) it expired. We are full of admiration for your perseverance in staying with Teflon so long.
To answer your question directly, here is our collection after decades of acquiring and winnowing:
One Demeyere Apollo 1.3 liter (disk bottom); we use it for everything that is "small."
One "Karen di Zani" (Italian stainless) 1.5 liter (disk bottom); we use it for cooking slightly larger quantities than the Demeyere can handle. Looks like a single (long) handled version of this: http://pentole.tavolaregalo.it/P-34343-Pentole_Karen-Serafino_Zani-Pentole-.html
One Mauviel Induc'inox 1.7 liter ("Windsor" or "fait touts") pan; we use it for all sorts of uses; we probably braise steaks in it more than in any other piece of cookware; it simmers liquids at low heat beautifully. http://lacuisineus.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=63_239_252
One Kuhn-Rikon Duromatic 5 quart pressure cooker. (Kuhn-Rikon currently sells it as half of the "Duromatic Duo.") Sometimes we use it as a pressure cooker, but, with any plain-Jane top, it is one of the best, solidest pots anyone can buy at any price, period. I am constantly amazed at people (on this board, even) who freak out, "but it's a PRESSURE cooker! I don't NEED a PRESSURE cooker!" and who then go out and pay twice as much for an All-Clad that is not half the pot the Kuhn-Rikon is.
Two handle and loop-handle pots:
One (brand name not specified) Nambu (Morioka, Japan, cast iron) stew pot, loop handle. There is nothing that it cannot do. http://www.chow.com/photos/318813 (the photo shows it turned upside down).
One 2.3 liter Demeyere Apollo "mussel pot." Maybe the most versatile pot we own: we regularly cook pasta in it, or make stews. The domed top makes a great breading bowl.
One 2.5 liter Morsø (Danish) Michael Lax design enameled cast iron round dutch oven (brand name was Copco); we use it for the things everyone uses enameled cast iron dutch ovens for.
One not-expensive 1940's vintage Regal 3-ply 18/8 stainless "thicker bottom" (not really a disk bottom in the modern sense) 7-quart pot for cooking down the turkey carcass after Thanksgiving, small-batch canning, etc. Made in Kewaskum, WI, it does its job, and for the jobs we assign it, we have never lusted for anything to "upgrade."
One Nambu (Japanese cast iron) "tempura pot" made by Iwachu; you can purchase one stateside from Natural Import. http://naturalimport.com/inc/sdetail/... There is no better vessel for making a Dutch Baby, bar none, period.
Frying pans & skillets:
One 6½" enameled cast iron Descoware (Belgian) small frypan. Exactly the right size for scrambling two eggs in a pat of butter, or browning scallions for topping a bowl of ramen; used with the proper silicone spatula, it makes a good one-serving omlette.
One 8" enameled cast iron Morsø (Danish) Michael Lax design (brand name was Copco) fry pan, for general purpose frying.
One Demeyere Apollo curved sauteuse; we have yet to find any purpose for which it is unsuited.
One Kuhn-Rikon 2 quart pressure frypan. As with the 5 quart pressure cooker (with which the pressure tops are interchangeable: they are sold as a pair -- though we did not buy them that way -- as the Duromatic Duo set), the 2 quart frypan may -- and SHOULD -- be regarded on its own as a solidly constructed and versatile frypan. Big thick aluminum disk on the bottom spreads heat evenly, and thick stainless sidewalls inspire confidence that your grandchildren's grandchildren some day will own this pan.
One 12" enameled cast iron Descoware (Belgian) frypan. There are some times that you just want to fry two entire chickens all at once.
One Griswold "flat" No. 9 cast iron skillet. Well seasoned, it laughs at your assumption that you need Teflon for fried eggs.
One long two-burner stainless steel griddle that came bundled with our LG induction cooktop: we have not had to bend a single strip of bacon since we acquired it.
Were we starting our with a clean slate today, we would be looking long and hard at the Chantal Copper Fusion line.
I agree with those who say Teflon is *not* a must for eggs. I can cook them easily on my (well seasoned) CI griddle and skillet, and my no-fail omelette pan is merely a 20-year-old inexpensive (i.e., no-name) 9" stainless steel (yep) frying pan with a disk bottom. I don't know *why* that pan works so well for omelettes--it shouldn't. And yet it does.
Most of my cooking is done in enameled CI. Staub--2 qt round and 5 qt round. LC--2 qt and 4.5 qt rounds; 2.5 qt and 5 qt braiser/casseroles; 3.5 qt oval FO; 2 - 1.25 qt Precision Pour saucepans; 2.75 qt soup pot; 7.5 bouillabaisse pot; 9" and 11-3/4" skillet.
Stainless--10" Marcus fry/saute pan; aforementioned SS pan used for omelettes; 9" Revereware fry pan; Demeyere saute pan; Demeyere 5 qt casserole; Calphalon 2t and 3.5 qt stainless-copper clad saucepans (the 3.5 qt is actually a saucier shape, which is useful to have. I use that to make patisserie creams, white sauce, etc.). I have a 14-inch AC skillet and the smaller AC stir fry pan, but I'm donating those two; don't really care for them. It's good to have a larger skillet like that, though, if you like to saute (as I do) larger batches of leafy greens or sautee large batches of veggies, so I'll replace that with *something*, I just don't know what yet.
Enameled steel--2 - 6-qt LC stockpots; 12 qt graniteware turkey roaster
CI (Lodge and Wagner)--griddle; 10" fry pan, 12" grill pan
Aside from that, a few half sheet pans, broiler sets, and some ceramic bakers I use for roasting, in addition to baked goods, mostly Emile Henry or LC
Well seasoned cast iron (at least the older, smoother versions) work just fine for eggs--even scrambled, as long as you don't mind using a small amount of fat for cooking. You can avoid teflon all together, with a little looking around and experimenting.
--All-clad stainless: I have 4, 3, 2, 1.5, 1 quart sauce pans (these are stellar performers!), 3 and 2 quart sauciers (love 'em), 6 qt. stock pot (my main chili pot, and anything acidic that I don't want to put in cast iron), large roaster (not used very often but I got it for "seconds" pricing), steamer insert, 3 quart lidded saute pan (use this a lot), 13" french skillet with lid (great for large saute amounts), a 10 quart rondeau (MY soup pot!), and two frying pans that came with a set and, frankly, I almost never use, as stuff sticks.
--Le Creuset: I have 2, 3, 5.5, 7.5 round French ovens--these are my workhorse slow cookers for any foods that need gentle, low heat or have acidic ingredients. I adore them and the colors make me happy. I also have three gratin pans in various sizes (from about 8" to 14") that are for precisely that, or for broiling/baking fish. And a 3.5 quart lidded braiser, for pork chops and the like...I have a grill pan that I rarely use, and a few cute smaller, vintage casseroles that aren't used too often, as they're small, but they were cheap on Ebay and I love looking at them.
--Cast iron: I've gotten into vintage cast iron in a BIG way, lately, adding a lot to what I already had. I won't bore you with a list of all I've collected <g> this past year, as clearly I don't "need" 7 different sizes of Griswold skillets...Here's what I use the most for frying, searing, and even cooking eggs: my #5, 7, 8, 10, and 12 Griswolds. I have a large #8 Griswold cast iron griddle, for pancakes, that fits over the center burner on my gas stove. For pot roasts and pork roasts and the like, I always turn to the 110 year old, #9 Favorite Piqua ware dutch oven. For no-knead bread, I bought two #8 cast iron dutch ovens (so I can make two loaves at once) as I didn't want to subject my Le Creuset to such high heat. I have lids for three of my skillets, so they do double-duty as braisers.
I have very large, Italian copper gratin dish for fancy dinners, as it looks gorgeous on the table. And someday I'm going to afford a really heavy French saucier in a larger size...
That about covers the heavy users. Everything else is just because I'm a hopeless cookware collector. ;-)
<<I adore them and the colors make me happy.>>
So true. I understand to some the "color issue" may be frivolous, but we have long winters here and year-round it's often grey outside. Those beautiful warm colors give the kitchen and our spirits a lift and make the kitchen feel really homey.
P.S. I covet your copper gratin dish! Lock your doors at night! :-)
Yes, we live in a land of Long Winters, too--often from November thru April, here just south of the Minnesota border. And those colors save me when all the world is brown and grey or white and slate.
Hey, I wish you could find the same deal I did, Normandie! Someone was unloading a virtually mint Ruffoni for HALF the retail, on Ebay. And it was "Buy It Now" so I did. :-)
Well, that's the thing with nice cookware, Becky...if you don't want to have to "mortgage the farm", you have to take advantage of the good deals when you see them, right? There's really no reason ever to pay the MSRP on cookware, and one can almost always do better often than the "going" below-MSRP retail price, by comparative shopping/outlets/etc. But you did an especially great job with that Ruffoni, because copper, especially from the major makers, isn't so easy to find those deals on.
Back to the color issue...I will never disparage the notion of "color psychology" when I think of how those pots do make a difference in the winter (and my house is colorful to begin with). Every now and then I see a post in here in which the poster almost seems to apologize for liking LC for the colors, and I want to tell him/her, stop apologizing. Morale matters, and if you can find a cooking vessel that functions well in addition to be cheery, it's a legitimate benefit. It would be of course a different matter if all LC had to offer, in comparison to other high-functioning cookware, was the color.
Ohhhh...thank you so much, Becky. I didn't take that as "gushing"; I just found it to be very considerate. I'll let you in a little secret. I have a little foot injury that, while not the end of the world, has been keeping me awake at night (and sleeping during the day when I ought to be doing my "chores", LOL). Anyway, we humans sometimes feel a little shy about giving out compliments, but we never know when a kind word is going to give someone who could use it a little boost--as you have for me here in the middle of the night. ;-) TY.
I've enjoyed reading your posts, too, and your points of view. This is a great site with so many diverse posters of different experiences who are willing to help whoever asks for help. I can tell you for sure my cooking has benefited from my time here, not only from technical advice, but from the encouragement found here to try different foods and methods.
TY, AChieffe. I appreciate that very much.
CH has been useful to me on so many planes--of the figurative, not aeronautic, type. :-) I understand so much more about using equipment, thanks to CHers, and I can come here when I'm tired and need to find something quick and easy to cook for my family; or when I need a bigger, creative challenge. My main issue the past few months has been that I'm in an idea slump...cook daily for so many years and sometimes you just need something to jumpstart your thinking so that you're not serving the same things repeatedly. CH has been invaluable in that way.
I wouldn't say teflon is a must for eggs. I use well seasoned cast iron for all of my eggs and it's just as good as any foo foo non-stick surface if not better. In fact, I use cast iron far more than I use anything else, although I do also own a lot of stainless and some enamel coated CI. I do not, however, own even a single piece of non-stick anything unless you count the bowl in my rice cooker.
So much depends on how and what you cook.
But...I'm bored in class this AM so I'll give this a stab.
Here's what I have:
12" cast iron skillet - i have an old and pretty much useless exhaust in my kitchen so I dno't use this for much other than cornbread. We do steaks outside. I know the value of cast iron and agree I just don't have a hood system to handle any sort of smoke, etc
Enameled cast iron: I use this for soups, stews, braises
2.75 round oven
5.5 round oven
8 qt oval oven
3.5 qt buffet/brasier
grill pan - i never use this. hard to clean and see the exhaust issue
Non-stick - eggs mostly
8 and 10 inch skillet
Copper - everythign else
10 and 12 inch skillet
1, 2, and 4 qt saucepans
2 and 3 qt saute
2 and 3 qt saucier
Stainless triply - this is the one piece i haven't yet replaced with copper. with only two of us i dno't use it much
5 qt saute
Pressure cooker - stock and beans
7 1/2 qt
Stoneware- casseroles, lasagnas, etc
4x6(we're a two person household so this size is very useful to us)