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Need new pots

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I have recently damaged and discarded a few of my veteran pots and started looking around for replacements. I am astonished at the # of brands, materials and cost of some of them. Any suggestions? BTW I don't uses non stick.

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  1. I'm going cookware shopping today. I'm looking at getting a set of hard anodized cookware. I have a set of stainless and a set of Club aluminum that is over 20 years old, and of course cast iron skillets. I don't want non-stick either. I don't know if hard anodized is the way to go, but I think this is what I want or until I look it and decide not to-LOL.

    1. I've been very happy with my stainless-steel All-Clad. High performance, thick-bottomed pans where I never have hot spots, these are pans that would be pretty difficult to damage (think, throw-them-out-of-the-car-at-top-speed-with-no-damage kind of tough). It's really hard for me to imagine what I could do to them to find myself in the position where I would want to discard them.

      They are a tad expensive, but I purchased my first about 15 years ago (my most recent was a Christmas present from my wife last year). I expect my grandkids to be fighting over who gets them after I'm gone, hopefully 40 years from now. I wish I'd had the resources to buy a set, they're quite a bit cheaper that way, but I bought my first as a treat for myself in grad school, and at that time, paying $150 for a pot used up all my disposable income for about 6 months.

      Good pots and pans.

      1. How much do you have to spend? What do you cook on? What do you like to cook?

        1. The most important element is deciding the material your pots should be made of. Different materials are better for different cooking purposes. They also determine a lot of the cost.

          Here's a longish article that explains how to make choices. It may be a bit overwhelming, but you don't need to read the whole thing -- scroll down to the bottom where you see the bold heading "How the materials are deployed" which gives a summary of different materials used in pots/pans and their most important characteristics.

          http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/...

          If you scroll down in this link, there is also a handy table that gives similar information (though slightly less detail):

          http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar...

          I find the specific brand of cookware isn't as important as the material a pot is made of, how thick that material is (which will change how it performs, as explained on the links), and whether the pot is comfortable to use (right weight, good handles, lids I like, etc.).

          One thing you should know -- expensive cookware is not necessarily better, and even the cheapest cookware is fine for some tasks (e.g., boiling water).

          Personally, I'd recommend that you read a little bit about the different types of materials available and see which characteristics match up with what you most use your pots for, then go to a store with a good selection where you can actually see and handle them to make sure you like the look and that they feel comfortable to use. I'd also recommend against buying a whole set of pots and pans -- it might seem cheaper, but I find it's better to have 3 or 4 pots I really like and use all the time than 12 pots that aren't quite what I want and take up space in my cabinets.

          8 Replies
          1. re: athanasius

            I second the recommendation to buy only a few pots that you'll really use. Years ago, I asked for and was given a set of Chantal pots for my birthday. They are still beautiful and very functional, but over the years, I find that I really only use three of the pots. I wound up supplementing with a small copper sauce pan, a larger copper pot, a 12 inch calphalon skillet, a stainless steel 4 quart pot with steamer insert, an ancient cast iron skillet, and most recently, an All-Clad roasting pan. My stuff isn't all that pretty or matchy-matchy, but it's what I reach for most.

            1. re: athanasius

              Agree. First thing first -- materials.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Great advice from all above! I agree about not buying a set. Need a stock pot or two, a large soup-chill pot and a couple of small and medium sauce pans. I have cast iron skillets and Le Cruset pieces that Im happy with. I cook on electric because there is no street gas, would have get some LP bottles and hide them in the bushes. I will install gas when the kitchen gets redone. Time to do my HW. thanks again

                1. re: CCSPRINGS

                  Well when I say a set I really mean going to to TJMAxx and buying individual pieces. That's how I got my stainless. They were putting pieces of it on clearance and I got about 12 pieces cheaper than if I would have bought a complete set. I really only need a dutch oven and deep fry pan so that's what I am hoping to come home with.

              2. re: athanasius

                Those articles are jam packed with info. Holy smoky, it is easy to over think this crap!

                1. re: CCSPRINGS

                  CCPRINGS: Not as easy as it is to underthink it. ;)

                  1. re: CCSPRINGS

                    You are so right about overthinking! We know that we will need a new refrigerator very soon. I researched this for months, reading, shopping, posting on this board, etc. I came away with so much info overload that I just gave up and decided I'll keep my crappy fridge until it really, seriously, finally dies, then I'll shop quickly, with more urgency, but less angst.

                    1. re: Isolda

                      Sorry for taking this a little farther off topic, but I know exactly how you feel, having been through the same thing with our own fridge. Once you get a new one, you (and your power bill) will wonder why you waited. Take all that knowledge you've built to a scratch and dent place and just stroll around. You will know a good deal if you see it. We wound up with an amazing LG for less than half price. Just covered a dime-sized dent near the top of the door with a cute picture and tada--brand new ultra cheap appliance! :)

                2. For stainless steel cookware with aluminum or copper disc base (not fully clad), check out Sitram (both Catering and Profeserie lines), Mafter Bourgeat (Tradition and Performance lines), as well as Vollrath's stainless steel line. These are all pro kitchen brands, and I think are a good value for the money (you can get cheaper, but for me, these pots fit in the "sweet spot" of price to performance); the finish and handles will be more utilitarian than some of the brands designed for home use. I have about 3 pieces of Sitram's Catering line, and am reasonably happy with them. For most of these, you will need to purchase lids separately, which is actually nice, because you can simply not buy lids for pans that don't need them, or, if some pans are the same diameter, "share" lids.

                  I think for stockpots / casseroles, you can go a little cheaper if you like - because you're less likely to be needing precise temperature control with these. I would spend a bit more on saucepans, saute pans / sauciers, and / or skillets. A 3 qt (9") saucier (curved sauté pan) could handle a lot of the things that people use a saucepan, skillet, and saute pan for, so it's a good multi-use pan.

                  You could also look at Sur La Table's store brand stuff, which is made overseas; similar to All Clad's lowest end line, but cheaper.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: will47

                    All my pots and pans art Sitram Catering. I like them a lot and would recommend them to anyone going out to buy new cookware. They heat up well and are very easy to take care of. They can go from stovetop right into the oven.

                    Several years ago, the individual Sitram Catering pieces kept showing up at Homegoods. I bought pretty much everything they had from a 12-inch rondeau to a huge 20-quart stewpot with all kinds of skillets and saucepans in between. Each piece was around $14.00 except the large stewpot which was $11.00! That pot alone online goes for around $300.00. I had to buy all the lids separately. They averaged around $30.00 each. I got a huge amount of cookware for around $150. Even though I have more cookware than I could possibly use, I still check Homegoods every time I go in.

                    1. re: skippy66

                      It seems like the prices of that series have gone up in the past few years, probably due to the increase in the cost of copper.

                  2. I suggest you test drive ones you are considering, either in a store or from a friend that has a particular brand. Why? Handling and balance. While All Clad is nice, for me the handles are too skinny and uncomfortable. Others I have tried felt unbalanced.

                    In general I prefer a fully clad pan over one with just a disc on the bottom. The exception would be a stock pot or similarly large where a clad one would be prohibitively expensive.

                    Also, I have found the exterior of Calphaon to be a bit of a pain to keep clean. I do like stainless and find Bon Ami keeps it looking like new.

                    1. Check out any restaurant supply houses in your area. Commercial cookware may not be pretty but it will provide a performance and price combination that is hard to beat.

                      1. FYI

                        http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                        1. Well I bought two pieces of Calphalon- a 5 qt dutch oven and a 12" fryer both with glass lids. Even after saying I didn't want nonstick, I got hard anodized with nonstick interior. I will use the dutch oven to boil pasta and make tomato sauces that I can't do in cast iron. Will use the fryer to brown hamburger and the like. Hope I made a good choice.