What pieces do I need (All Clad & Le Creuset)
I am looking at getting a new pot set (well not a set but open stock). I currently have an inexpensive set I've had for years and looking to replace it with better quality. I am thinking of going with the All Clad Copper Core line. I will be cooking for two and we have gas stove and convection oven.
These are the pieces I'm thinking of getting. Anything else I should get (or remove)?
1.5Q saucepan w/ lid
2Q saucepan w/lid
4Q saucepan w/lid
3Q saute pan w/lid
Le Creuset dutch oven - what size??
Also considering a 3Q saute/simmer pan w/lid and/or 12' chef's pan. Should I get either of these, and if so would I then need less of the pans above?
Great topic. If you haven't already made your purchase, I have a few thoughts. You may want to get the LC 1.5Q Sauce pan, since I find some sauces work better with a non-reactive surface. I think people already recommended the 3 qt LC braiser in lieu of the 3Q saute. I would suggest you still get a saute - and mabye go with 4 Qt AC. Lastly, I think any of the LC DOs would be fantastic. I personally like to buy the LC in different colors and that has been driving a lot of my choices lately. Julia Child recommended a 7Qt., but I personnally use my 5Qt more. But I do like the oval for poultry. Also, I really love my AC Copper Core 12". Even though you are only cooking for two, you may find the 8" and 10" both too small.
I think your list is pretty good. Personally, I like to pick my tools as I need them rather than buying a bunch of stuff I've never used. But everyone's a little different -
I would, as I believe others have suggested, replace the 3 qt. saute with the 4 qt saute (same diameter but taller sides). Copper Core is fine but so is the AC Stainless at considerably less money. It can also substitute as your frypan. At least try that before you decide if you need the 10" frypan. My guess is you won't get one.
As for the CI dutch oven, I think a 6.75 or 7.5 quart is good for most people. LC does get high marks from testers and I really like mine but they're pricey. Many people report finding good deals at discounters like TJMaxx (?). If the color is important to you then you probably won't get much of a deal.
For the sauce pans I suggest hard anodized heavy wall aluminum. Tempered glass covers are nice but not necessary unless you are a 'helicopter' cook. Also regarding the sizes (capacity). While they look close that's not the issue. It's when you need three sauce pans at the same time such as Thanksgiving Dinner that they come in handy.
Let me tell you a story.
Growing up, we ate a lot of processed foods. Stuffing from a box. Mac 'n cheese from a box. Lots of vegetables, like corn and asparagus. Rice and spaghetti. All of these things are cooked in a pot of boiling water. You do not need a quality saucepan to manage boiling water. We had the cheap-o saucepans. Total crap, but they do indeed hold boiling water. It wasn't until I started experimenting with making actual sauces that required reduction that I realized the limitations of a cheap-o saucepan.
On the other hand, we ate a lot of meat. We had a great roasting pan! Some people are bakers--they have things like a marble slab for dough. I've got a friend who is French--she says you will have to pry her crepe pan out of her cold, dead hands. Another friend who is Chinese swears by her rice cooker.
So you see, you will be better able to judge what you should buy if you analyze what you actually cook. This is why I recommend you upgrading your cookware one at a time, starting with the piece you use the most.
What a great answer, E_M! You've given solid examples with very good reasoning behind each story. I have **always** skipped answering the "what do I need?" posts because I couldn't begin to tell someone else what THEY need. I know what I need, but a stranger? Hell no. How do they cook? How many people? Daily? Survival food? Extravagant multi-course meals?
The manufacturers would love for everyone to buy sets; great for their business. But no one I know uses or even wants to use the same material for braising as they do for a quick saute. This doesn't begin to address storage issues or budgets ......... too many variables. But your examples of the Chinese friend and her rice cooker (I have one that I use maybe four times a year and only when I remember it) VS the French lady and her crepe pan (daily for me) are great personal stories with meaning. I hope the OP takes them to heart.
So, OP, you will be the best judge of what you need. You need not buy it all at once - pots and pans will continue to be manufactured. When you have a need, buy it then. You'll do a better job for yourself. If you make a mistake and buy something you won't like/use, donate it to a charity and make someone else's life a little richer. Remember, this is not now or never. Teach yourself as you go and you'll be both smarter and better equipped in the long run.
Well the answer lies in your needs. Such as, how many people do you cook for on a regular basis? What types of dishes do you make on a regular basis? And when you entertain, will you be able to make your "go to" dishes with the above list?
From the list above I would say that the 3Q saute/simmer and the 3Q saute pan are interchangeable. Also, I don't see any non stick items listed. I myself have a calphalon one that is a must have in my kitchen. Plus I think you could do away with the 1.5 saucepan and make do with the 2Q saucepan. And for my cooking needs I would go for a 4Q saute pan, but that's me. I myself could also never do with out a cast iron skillet, for making bacon, roasting a chicken, baking, frying, making a steak, etc.
As for a Dutch oven I use a 6.5 Q Le Fontignac (which I ADORE) and upgraded from a 5Q because the 5 always seemed a bit small. And I usually only cook for 2-3 (but then have yummy leftovers). I make soups, stews and various other dishes in it. I use it 3-4 times a week.
I also use on occasion, a very small skillet. I have an inexpensive non stick variety, and I use it for toasting nuts, or spices, or frying a single serving of eggs. It's a handy item.
I don't see a stock pot in your list, so I'm assuming you have one.
Basically, you have to think about what you cook and how that cookware will adapt to it. Think of what you have now, and if any of those items bothered you in the past when cooking. Like "This pan is too small", or "I wish the sides were higher" or "If only I had a pan that fit X perfectly" HTH
You have gotten a good advise already.
I strongly agree 3qt suate pan is too small. I myself do not have any saute pan but almost all of my friends told me it is just too small and wish they bought at least 4 qt. I am not sure about 3 qt saute/simmer and chef's pan. I would buy a 4 qt suate/simmer or a 4 qt saute pan instead of those three. If you need a something versatile for 3qt, I would addd a saucier. But maybe my need is different from yours. It all depens what you want to cook as others already said.
1.5 qt and 2 qt sauce pan are definitly an overwrap to me. They have the same diameter and just a difference of the height. What you want to cook in 1.5 qt, you can cook in 2qt. I like the high side of AC 2qt sauce pan to boil potatoes and vegis a lot. I would get 1 qt saucier instead of 1.5 qt sauce pan. it can do jobs, like boiling 2-3 eggs, warming butters and small amout of sauces and vegis, roasting nuts etc just as the 1.5 qt saucepan does for 2-3 people. Only one drawback is not to have a lid. Good luck.
Oh, I forgot that you ask about LC. The reason I do not have a saute pan is that I use my LC buffet/casserole 3.5 qt for the purpose of saute pan of others. It is indeed a pan for saute and simmer. You can use it for your enternaining, too. Great versatile piece on the table. The size of DO depends on for how many you want to cook etc but most of people wants start with a 5.5 round or 7.25 round. Me, too, however, I ended up starting with a 6.75 oval, which I love. Again, this is me and my story. Hope it can be a bit of help of your analysis. Good luck.
I love my 5.5qt round and find that I use it frequently for frying and things like red beans, stews and such.. though I did recently "graduate" to the 7.5qt doufeu oval, worked beautifully as well. I didn't put ice in the lid as it's supposed to be designed but found it worked quite well as a normal dutch oven and it was the volume/shape I wanted.
Hope this helps as well.. I normally cook for two and plan for leftovers.
Hi, grnidkjun:) One mistery in my kitchen is I have No saute pan:) I have 3.5 qt saute/simmer/wok like shape from a cheapo company,My hus exceptionally bought by himself long long time ago: ] and we abuse it with high heat. it is made of a thin SS and easily discolored, but don't care much as it is a cheap pan. With this one, my 3.5 qt buffet/casserole, and 12 inch AC frypan with a lid, I am fine without a saute pan. But in case I buy it, I buy 4 qt saute or saute/simmer. Another reason for a bargain hunting?