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Hey YOU, cookware companies!

Here's my chance to let the companies know what I would like to change, or improve on, the cookware available today.

1. I want comfortable handles. I don't want skinny handles that twist and turn when I'm carrying a swishy heavy load. Give me handles like the French lines have - think De Buyer. If I could take all the All Clad cookware I have, pry off the handles and rivet DB's on them I would die a happy woman.

2. Hey, you cookware folks - make standard widths so we can buy lids as we need them. (I'm talking to you All Clad - within your own lines there's no consistency.) It shouldn't matter where you buy the product, if it's a 12 inch saute, I should be able to get a lid for a 12 inch saute. Think bathing suits - mix and match. If I want a glass lid for that 12 inch saute... (I know, good luck.)

3. Don't mess with me and NOT give complete specs. I want to know exactly how high the sides are, how wide the top is, how wide the cooking surface is, and how heavy it is. (In this case, I'm also talking to you baking-dish manufacturers. Don't just tell me the quart size. I want to know if I can fit a regular lasagna noodle in it, or if I have to add another one running the other way to fit.) List the handle length separately - I can add the two for the total length - I'm quick that way.

Side note: Speaking of lasagna wish list: I want a white French porcelain, 4 inches deep, absolutely straight-sided and squared, sized for lasagna, with a well-fitted lid and handles that I can actually grip easily. They will sell like hotcakes. I have friends.

4. Be honest about country of origin. Most companies are at this point, but hey - we're not going to let you slip, and the rest of you - step up.

5. Pay attention to hazards. I've seen baking dishes with ridiculous handles. Wear a Santa oven mitt, and that sucker can end up on the floor or worse. Design handles that I can really grip - cheese gets HOT for crying out loud.

Side note: I have small hands, but I need a thick flexible mitt. Why do they all look like Santa's mittens and so stiff I can't bend my fingers? Who has thumbs that stick out sideways?

What I DO like:

1. I love clad cookware for so many reasons. It cooks evenly, browns wonderfully. AND, even if the pan is nearly black, you can soak it and the stuff just lifts off. A little scrubbie and you're done.

2. DeBuyer, yes, my dear friends. Love your products. Make more of your various pieces available to purchase here in the States. We do love you. Really.

3. My Karahi Indian wok. It's Calphalon One, they don't make it any more (for some reason) and I'm soo glad I got it when I did. I would like a carbon steel version, but can't find the authentic version online. Anywhere. (Can use help here - thanks in advance.)

4. LeCrueset, Emile Henry, Pillivuyt, and others - you know who you are.

I have lots of other likes, but I will say finally I am so glad to read everyone's posts here at Chow Cookware, because it's nice to run with you folks!


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  1. #3: old used classic cookware? call 'Cookin' on Divisadero in San Francisco, owner is a total crank, but knows her stuff. she may not have what you're looking for, but could probably tell how often she's seen it in the last 20 years and what your chances of finding it are.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      hill food, I owe you - again :) After all these years, I'd never heard of this shop. Sounds amazing. Thanks.

      1. re: c oliver

        hope she's still there, she's a trip "do you have an 'X'?" growls back: "whatta ya making?" "YZ" "ahh nobody makes that crap anymore, over here I got the pan you need, but why you wanna make that beats the hell outta me"

        1. re: hill food

          Love it. You're a good story teller, hf.

    2. I agree about uncomfortable pot handles. I won't buy a saucepan I cannot handle, unless I already know about its handles.

      I wish they'd bring back those terrycloth potholders. I have 2 old ones that are getting on in age. The potholders I am thinking of came in bright blue or red, and the terrycloth was thick. I haven't seen any of those (new) in years.

      And why can't we buy actual old fashioned Pyrex, that doesn't suffer thermal shock, and that is as good as it used to be? I am going to have to replace my old glass pie pans. I won't be buying Pyrex, or Fire King.

      And, while I am thinking about this, why are most of the new tablecloths made out of synthetics that are flimsy and feel fake?

      And I have wished for, and given up on, finding a good modern toaster. I now use a toaster oven. But really, how hard is to make a decent toaster?

      10 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        I prefer a toaster oven over a microwave, but they really suck at actually doing toast.

        1. re: hill food

          My breville smart oven makes fantastic toast.

          1. re: flourgirl

            My Cuisinart Toaster Convetion Oven does many things well, including making toast as well as any toaster I've had recently. There is a good argument for not tying up counter space with a singe task appliance. I've tied up more counter space with the oven, but I really really use it!

            1. re: sueatmo

              Yes, my toaster oven gets a regular work out. It's quite large, so I am often able to use it instead of my big oven, which is an energy saver as well.

            2. re: flourgirl

              I love my Breville smart oven, and it does make great toast.

          2. re: sueatmo

            Right there with you on the toaster. I don't want a toaster oven. I want a toaster. Mine needs replacing, but I don't want to buy another mistake. And I live in mortal dread of breaking my decades-old Pyrex. What do people replace it with?

            1. re: Isolda

              I don't regret buying my Cuisinart convection toaster oven. It makes acceptable toast, and it bakes fabulous potatoes. It heats up quickly, and shuts off after you turn it off. I can't say all of those apply to my big oven.

              I really like my toaster oven. But I wouldn't have bought it if I had thought I could find a decent toaster.

              1. re: Isolda

                DH wanted to get a toaster oven at the new house, but at the old house he burned bread bags against the side and lit taco shells on fire one too many times (and he's a wildland firefighter, no less) and the crumbs would get overheated because nobody ever emptied them and gods above, toaster ovens need looking after to a certain degree, and non-chowhounds in general and males in particular wouldn't ever think of emptying the crumb tray, so I put the kibosh on toaster ovens at this house and bought a nice cuisinart toaster. I did buy a toaster oven at Tuesday Morning but it's for my art projects, which I made clear early on.
                We don't have enough counter space for a rattyass burned-up toaster oven, in other words.

                1. re: EWSflash

                  I think you have good reasons for not wanting a toaster oven. :)

            2. They should all have a trade-in program and send me a check.

              1. If you can find leather/suede oven mitts/pot holders... you wont' be sorry. Just don't wash them.

                19 Replies
                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Wow, I can't believe I never thought of them. Thanks.

                    I have a pair of square suede pot holders which I love but dang... you nailed it.

                    1. re: hambone

                      careful you don't buy a retro vintage pair - asbestos fibers were used back then.

                      1. re: hill food

                        No. These are just leather.

                        The leather is thicker than the glove you might use for yard work.

                        1. re: Candy

                          love an OvGlove (ok was that too much alliteration?)

                          1. re: hill food

                            I shall check out this OvGlove you speak of.

                            1. re: hill food

                              Once they get oil on them that gets rancid they stink. No amount of washing seems to erase it. Mine now resides in my plumbing kit, for which I recommend it.

                              1. re: Paulustrious

                                I hate OveGloves, if they're the slightest bit damp you get burned, they get dirty very quickly and don't wash well as you've noted, and if you have small hands they don't stay put - the sides of the fingers seem to be less well insulated than the rest of the thing. When confronted with them as I am at my mother-in-law's, I use them folded as (inferior) potholders. And P, was just thinking the other day I hadn't seen boo out of you for ages (and missing it).

                            2. re: Candy

                              Googled it.

                              Not pretty but that could be a winner!


                          2. re: kaleokahu

                            You know I don't think welder's gloves are right for me! Aren't they large and stiff?

                            I really need to replace my terrycloth potholders, but I don't know where to find them. I believe the maker was Ritz.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              welder's aren't as stiff as those idiotic mitts. and as hambone points out the current welders ain't bad

                              1. re: hill food

                                What idiotic mitts? I am not fond of the mitts designed as potholders. I like a plain flexible terrycloth potholder. I did see an interesting leather barbecue mitt at Home Goods today. I stuck my hand in it, but it didn't seem to be a a good fit. Perhaps they are meant for the male hand!

                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  aww I just meant those ones the size of rabbits that I think the OP griped about, quilted-dy and inflexible and difficult to even grab anything. or feel that you're grabbing anything.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    No those aren't functional, are they? I've also bought potholders like that. Not flexible and perhaps too big.

                                  2. re: sueatmo

                                    This is the suede pot holder I was talking about.

                                    I had my first set for ~10 years. They stayed soft and best of all had a nice grip. Then they went through the wash and drier and were really stiff. I oiled them and that helped a lot but now that I see how inexpensive they are, I just ordered a new pair.

                                    1. re: hambone

                                      Oh! (light bulb lights above my head). Hey I might try one. Thanks.

                                      1. re: hambone

                                        I never knew suede pot holders existed, but it makes perfect sense! I hoard my old double-thick terry ones, too. I will have to try the suede.

                                        1. re: arashall

                                          I bet you won't be disappointed.

                            2. breadchick: Well-written. I hope they take some notice. Especially w/ regards to your Wish #3.

                              The cookware industry can be a wicked place. And it doesn't need to be.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                Thank you. It's just very frustrating, and as you said "it doesn't need to be."

                              2. Karahi. The Calphalon Karahi is hard anodized aluminum if I remember right. All-Clad at some point also offered its stainless steel triply Karahi, but it has been discontinued:


                                I supposed the more traditional Karahi are cast iron, but I found some other materials instead:


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Yes it is hard anodized aluminum. I've read that some folks have a problem with the finish with than line, but so far so good. I just preheat it, then coat the inside with oil., add a little oil to the pan for cooking and I'm off to the races. I don't usually use metal utensils, but I could without harm.

                                2. breadchick - you have my support completely!!

                                  I would buy at least two "perfectly sized" lasagna pans so I can always have one in the freezer.

                                  It would also be nice if manufacturers made pots that exactly fit the new induction/glass cooktops. I have a heck of a time finding the exact dimensions that work. Almost all my pots are too big for the little rings and too small for the big rings, and the manual says not to go too big or there could be problems!! Maybe I need to start a post for stove manufacturers saying - Fix those burner sizes so they fit the pots instead of the other way round!!!

                                  Lids - I was cooking dinner last night and used the wrong frying pan, discovered this when I realized I needed to cover it for a few just to finish the cooking and none of the lids I have would fit, argh!!!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: nsstampqueen

                                    >>>I would buy at least two "perfectly sized" lasagna pans so I can always have one in the freezer.

                                    I freeze lasagne this way. I line the baking dish with enough plastic wrap to cover the lasagne all the way around before assembling it. Then I assemble the lasagne directly on the plastic wrap, which I buy at restaurant supply stores; I hate the kind you get at the store. When I'm finished assembling, I cover the top of the lasagne with the ends of the plastic wrap.

                                    I stick the whole thing in the freezer and when it's frozen, I take the baking dish out of the freezer and leave the frozen lasagne in. When it's time to bake the lasagne, I take it out of the freezer, take off the plastic, stick the frozen lasagne back in the baking dish and bake it.

                                    I started doing this one long-ago November. It's not Thanksgiving without lasagne.

                                    1. re: Jay F

                                      clever lasagna trick there Jay, back in college I'd make up a huge batch on Sunday, but instead of a traditional pan, I'd roll up individual servings in the noodle and freeze them in sandwich bags. traveled well to studio and starving roommates wouldn't ruin (snarf) my entire stash for the week. and i could use whatever size pan I cared to for reheating

                                    2. re: nsstampqueen


                                      It's your turn with a stove rant. I'm sure we have similar issues! ;-)

                                      1. re: nsstampqueen

                                        What kind of problems if using a piece too large? Maybe I need to reread my manual. That doesn't make sense to me.

                                      2. If there are any Indian grocery stores in your area, they probably carry karahis in various materials and sizes. Or you could order one directly from India! Just go to http://spicesonline.info/indian-spices/

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Miss Priss

                                          Yowza - cool site. So, you know I need to check out the Bollywood stuff too! Thanks for the link, I'll be browsing around waaay too long!

                                          1. re: breadchick

                                            Yes, very cool site! I wouldn't have discovered it myself if it hadn't been for your remark about not being able to find a karahi online, so thanks are due to you too. It also occurs to me that you could just try calling any large Indian grocery store to find out whether they sell karahis and if so, whether they'll ship them. One example is Patel Brothers, with multiple locations in the Eastern and Southern US: http://www.patelbros.com/ourstores.html. They don't list karahis on their website, but I'll bet they have them in the brick-and-mortar stores.

                                        2. Great rant! I could write an equal one about knives. (Remember when German knives were actually made in Germany and not in Portugal?)

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. Maybe you should try the Demeyere clad pieces. Not all are clad, but some are. Their handles are very comfortable, and they are made in Belgium.

                                            1. :: Speaking of lasagna wish list: I want a white French porcelain, 4 inches deep, absolutely straight-sided and squared, sized for lasagna, with a well-fitted lid and handles that I can actually grip easily. ::

                                              Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

                                              12 Replies
                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                Why would you want a lid for a lasagne pan??

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Why would you not want a lid for a lasagne pan??

                                                  1. re: Chris VR

                                                    Because I don't cook lasagna with a lid on it. You do?

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      I put foil on for the first 20 minutes or so, but I think that's beside the point. I believe the lid is intended for storage and transport. It beats plastic wrap/foil.

                                                      1. re: Chris VR

                                                        I've never 'transported' lasagna. When I freeze it, I take it out of the pan, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then into freezer appropriate containers. A lid might "beat" foil for transporting (not storage) but I wouldn't pay extra for it.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          I transport lasagna any time I make it for a friend, or bring it to a potluck. A lid would be handy there. I have young kids, and lasagna made one night will often be leftovers the next day. A lid would be handy there too. After that I'd freeze it (and package with my Foodsaver.) I'd pay extra for a lid. You wouldn't, fair enough. Chacun à son goût.

                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                    I bake lasagna with foil, but it's such a pain, it rips, I'm pretty much useless when it comes to messing with wrapping foil on a large pan. Then, for the last 20 minutes or so, I take the foil off so the cheese melts and browns a little. If I had a lid, I wouldn't have to worry about the darn foil. Also, with a lid the pan becomes more multi-functional. I can use it for stuffed cabbage, stuffed peppers, other baked dishes that need some cover and then...not. ;-)

                                                    1. re: breadchick

                                                      I had to check my recipe (Hazan's Green Lasagna) to make sure I wasn't losing it (over this anyway). I don't cover my lasagna at all. Nor do I stuffed peppers. Actually the only time I use foil to cover a pan I really want it as airtight as possible. I'm good for little but it appears I'm good at handling foil :) I can crimp it all around the lip of the pan and it's tight enough that it actually puffs up after awhile (the foil puffs up!).

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        Nah, I've never had puffy foil. It's my stupid Santa gloves that are to blame for my ripped foil - really. Anyway, we've always covered the lasagna for a bit and then ditched the foil for the final crisp melty thing.

                                                        Puffy foil.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          Marcella's lasagne may not be as tall as others, cooking through before it can burn, obviating the need for foil.

                                                          1. re: Jay F

                                                            I've never covered lasagna IIRC. But maybe I don't make as thick as some people do.

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              Neither have I. But like you, I make it alla Marcella, not American lasagna with ricotta and mozzarella, often cooked in those 3" high tinfoil turkey pans.

                                                  3. breadchick: "1. I love clad cookware for so many reasons. It cooks evenly, browns wonderfully. AND, even if the pan is nearly black, you can soak it and the stuff just lifts off. A little scrubbie and you're done."

                                                    Somebody has done a wonderful job of selling you the entire load.

                                                    How a pan cleans up relates to the inner surface of the pan where it contacts the food, period. That surface may be backed up by multiple layers of multiple materials -- or not. Makes no difference.

                                                    If the typical clad pot were as thick throughout both the bottom and the sidewalls as a typical disk-bottom pot is across the bottom, then the bottom of a clad pot might brown as evenly as the bottom of a disk-bottom pot. But the bottom of a clad pot typically has a much thinner layer of highly conductive material than the bottom of a disk-bottom pot does.

                                                    For cooking nonviscous liquids -- soups, veggies in water, etc. -- clad construction is wonderful for using the cookware as an auxiliary heat source for the kitchen, sending energy that might be better used inside the pot into the room instead.

                                                    1. Complete printed specs are needed only if you are buying online. In a store you can measure all of those things. I can only think of one pan that I've bought online, an aluminum dutch oven. Otherwise I like to give pans a feel test - including rapping my knuckles on the bottom to judge how thick it is. But the ultimate test of suitability is in the kitchen, actually cooking something.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        Many of us _are_ buying online. We live far from cities with big selections of cookware in retail stores, or restaurant supply stores. It's frustrating when online retailers who don't give dimensions, but understandable in places with huge inventories. But it seems inexplicable for manufacturers not to give full specs on their own sites.

                                                      2. +1 on most of what you posted.

                                                        especially regarding specs and country of origin

                                                        1. All-Clad is changing their handles. Look for sales on pieces with those awful handles that are on the pans now. If you like All-Clad you should be pleased. It is one of my least favorite brands.

                                                          Chantal and Swiss Diamond are excellent choices, not inexpensive, same league as All-Clad and Le Creuset. Swiss Diamond does have an industrial diamond coating and browns well. Guaranteed against everything except stupidity and mistreatment (leaving an empty pan on a burner and burning it up for example). They are very quick to respond to their customers. Made in Switzerland. Oven and dishwasher safe. Vented glass lids and lids are sold as open stock.

                                                          Chantal, the Copper Fusion line is superb. Base is carbon steel fused to copper, enameled inside and out. If the pan gets a little scummy Bar Keeper's Friend has them looking new and shiny quickly. Oven and dishwasher safe. lids are glass. While not found on the shelf as open stock, they can be ordered. Lifetime guarantee, except for stupidity and mistreatment.

                                                          Lasagna bakers. When making lasagna for 2-3 I use my LeCreuset terrine. It is 1 noodle long and 1 noodle wide. I also have LC's small bakers and large-baker roaster. I bought them years ago for lasagna. They work beautifully. If you get crud stuck on, oven cleaner will take care of it.

                                                          Most of my Calphalon has worn out. The annodization has worn off. I still have a rarely used windson pan and 2, 1qt. sauce pans I love. They are extremely heavy and i don't need a double boiler when making sauces that might curdle.

                                                          Matfer-Bourgeat gets a A+ from me. Love the carbon steel and they season well and turn black with age. Not beautiful but they produce.

                                                          As i said earlier get an Ov-Glove. They come in 3-4 sizes, are very flexible and knitted of 100% Nomex and are lined with double knitted cotton.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                            Ove Glove. I ordered one online to match another (didn't note that there is a size). I order online quite often as items are hard to find in my small town. Good price, but shipping brought it up to an acceptable price.

                                                            It is being shipped from Hong Kong :-)) That doesn't seem to make much difference in delivery time as a few electrical items DH has ordered comes just as promptly as other orders.

                                                            1. re: Candy

                                                              Candy, I know that the W-S line has modified handles, but are you saying that A/C in general are changing their handles? That would be amazing - any idea of when the new design will come out?

                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                Thanks for the info on the Ov-Glove. I 'need' little in my kitchen but do need that. I've been using dishtowels mainly cause potholders are too stiff. I have one mitt that I just use AFTER removing a CI skillet from the oven. A tip from jfood.

                                                                1. re: Candy

                                                                  Hey Candy:

                                                                  How thick is that copper layer in CCF? No one seems to know, and Chantal's not talking.

                                                                  Oh, and how do you take the Ove Glove off while holding something in your other hand? I find mine is like 5 Chinese finger-handcuffs.


                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                    I just have to ask. Why would one need to remove it while holding something in the other hand? And, if one did, how about teeth?

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      I'm wondering also. However, I use an ove glove on each hand. Not every dish/pot/pan is light enough to pick up with one hand.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        Hi, c oliver:

                                                                        Why would you need to remove it? Well, if you're moving things around in a pan by hand, grasping a knife, finger-dipping for a taste, rinsing things, feeling for temperature, dialing a phone, turning a cookbook page, holding a morsel for cutting, etc., etc. I find that these knit gloves work fine, but I waste so much time getting them on and off. I'd be happier if they made an OvPad or OvTowel.

                                                                        Teeth? You must have small hands. For me, I have one bite per digit to get one off.

                                                                        And then it takes both hands to put it back on again... 'round and 'round.


                                                                  2. Dittos on the lasagna wish list: 4 inches deep, straight-sided and squared, sized for lasagna, with a well-fitted lid and handles that I can actually grip easily.

                                                                    Why aren't these available? It is unfathomable!!!

                                                                    Mario Batali's enameled cast iron is the one I have and is the closest I could find with any depth.
                                                                    Three cooked lasagna noodle fit perfectly across it's interior. (Barilla)
                                                                    My only complaints are it's weight and no lid.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: terlin

                                                                      Now that I have Mario's enameled cast iron lasagna-type pan, I cook lasagna exclusively in this pan, as well as some other baked pasta recipes. Owning several of his other pots encouraged me to buy this pan.

                                                                      I think he must give some for-thought as to the dimensions of the pans he sells. For instance, I looked around for pans to cook risotto and after reading about dimensions for ideal sized risotto pans, I found that lo&behold, Mario's pan was just the right configuration for risotto.

                                                                      I like the lasagna-type pan so well, I ordered the itzy-bitzy rectangular pan (on sale) and haven't used it yet. I can think of several things I will use it for.

                                                                      1. re: terlin

                                                                        Maybe the pasta companies should make pans custom sized for their lasagna!

                                                                      2. I think it is so cool that you cook in a Karahi Indian wok! Do you do a lot of Indian cuisine?
                                                                        I practically lived on stir-fry from my carbon steel wok during part of my college years, and picked up another one at Walmart recently. In my search for more interesting wok experiences I found Eleanor Hoh's site ....
                                                                        which is a very fun read, and has some fun videos. I am so tempted to get her stuff just for her dvd instruction, to see if it is "all that." But you can get her fabled, round-bottomed cast iron wok (or one that is one inch bigger or one inch smaller than hers) at
                                                                        for Walmart-type prices, and her 10-12K BTU butane stove for half of what she charges at
                                                                        and you can buy the fuel canisters individually for 2.46 as of this writing.
                                                                        the best price on the fuel canisters that I found was at:
                                                                        If you get a case of 12, the price per can is only 1.79....and they also carry the stove at a very similar price as Wasserstroms.

                                                                        Anyway, I thought there was a certain cool mystique to the cast iron wok, and really enjoyed all the videos at Eleanor Hoh's site, and thought other people might like them, too.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: cookware junkie

                                                                          I love the wok because it's the perfect size for stir fry, but also for curries. I'm gaining a real interest in Indian food, and since there isn't much around here as far as restaurants I figured I could give it a shot myself. Saveur Magazine had a real interesting article a while back about Chinese cooking and the cooks were using these HUGE cast iron woks on these high fired dedicated burners. In their homes! The kitchen is rather small, but here's this gianormous wok set up. Loved it.

                                                                          Wok Shop's cast iron wok - I may need to look into that!

                                                                          Thanks for the links!

                                                                          1. re: breadchick

                                                                            I can see why you like the size of the wok - chinese woks are much wider. There is such a cuteness to the more vertical shape of the Indian wok. We are partial to a good Naan bread and love Indian creamed spinach dishes especially. I've only scratched the surface of Indian cooking with curries over rice and the faux Indian Chicken Tikka Masala - but how yummy! I usually make these Indian creations in my little Staub pot.

                                                                            I'm imagining the big woks you mentioned - it reminds me of the gianormous paella pots at an outdoors-on-the-beach restaurant in Nerja, Spain. It was like a wading pool, almost. I coveted a proper paella pot for months after that trip, lol!!