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The Perfect Beginning Cookware.. And Longest Lasting Cookware Setup.

So I am getting married in June. I have literally looked at everything in cookware.
I have boiled it down to this.


12" Grill Pan
12" Fry Pan
10" Fry Pan
2 Cocottes/Round Ovens
Oval Oven

Stainless Steel Cuisinart Multi clad Pro

2 Qt Saucepan
4 Qt Saucepan
Saute/Simmer Pan
Double Boiler

Now This is what I have compiled. I have many reasons. But Can I have any help? The problem is I love to make anything am constantly trying new styles and things. Am I missing something big. What would someone consider. The best cookware for 1000$

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  1. Excellent list, the things I would change are the Staub grill pan and two fry pans, as beautiful as they are, enameled cast iron is not the best material for the tasks typically performed in those vessels. In these three cases you would probably do better with a bare cast iron grill pan and even one bare cast iron fry pan, as these will take the high heat typically used for they type of cooking normally done in these pans. You might also want to include one of the fry pans in your Stainless Steel Cuisinart set.

    With regard to your other Staub choices, I'll suggest one of the round cocottes should be in the 5 qt. range, it's just a good all around size. Depending on your cooking needs, either go up or down in size for the other round. I personally use the Staub Braiser the most often, it's great for dishes that start on the stove and finish off in the oven, when there's not a lot of liquid. I've got the 2.5 qt. and that's really a good size for most cooking, but when we have company, I wish I had the 4 qt.

    41 Replies
    1. re: mikie

      I concur with the swap for cast iron for the grill pan and fry pan. I'd also think about carbon steel for a fry pan. Perhaps a non-stick as well for eggs.

      My personal collection of ECI includes a 5 qt braiser (great for risotto) and a 7.25 qt round dutch oven. I prefer having a larger round than an oval but I think that's personal preference.

      How large is the saute simmer? I couldn't do without large saute pans, they are the work horses of my kitchen.

      Are the 2 at 4 qt sauce pans deep or more shallow? I just bought two in those sizes from All Clad and I'm going to liquidate them because they are too tall for my preference. I'm not using them for boiling veggies though.

      Are the double boiler and steamer inserts or also with pots? I might skip a double boiler - was just reading Alton Brown 'srec to use a bowl so there aren't corners in your double boiler and you don't have an extra piece of equipment. Rather than a steamer I'd suggest an 8 qt pressure cooker - they come with steamer inserts so that would cover steaming, they're very convenient and it would double for a small stock pot.

      Finally, I'd consider a saucier shape perhaps instead of or in addition to your sauce pans. If you love making sauce you might want this piece to be in copper. Falk and Bourgeat both make this shape.

      1. re: olympia

        If you haven't seen these resources already I thought I'd pass them along:

        1. re: olympia

          Thanks for the link! That helps.

        2. re: olympia

          The sauté simmer or saucier will probably be 12 in or 3 qt.

          About the saucepans. Isn't copper reactive with foods? Which saucepans would you consider. The cuisinart is about the same style as All Clad. I have read a 3 plu stainless steel - aluminum- stainless steel are the best. Is copper really worth it. I could get a 2 and 4 qt SS and a 3 qt copper pan if I would want variety. What would be the best set up of saucepans?

          I do like the pressure cooker idea. Thanks

          What about melting chocolate? No double boiler?

          1. re: roywhobbes

            Copper is lined with either stainless steel or tin, neither of which react with food. Unlined copper is only used for whipping egg whites. Copper's greatest advantage is it's ability to regulate heat, which makes it a very good medium for making delicate sauces that might curdle or something if it gets too hot. It is not compatible with induction.

            I have never used a double boiler for chocolate or anything else. A SS mixing bowl on top of a pot with water works just fine. Keep in mind that on some stoves you may not need a double boiler at all, because the simmer function is so good.

            If you have lots of $1000, then look at Demeyere for stainless steel cookware.

            1. re: E_M

              So could I buy just one really nice copper sauce pan that will last me? One all-clad piece for example?

              Should it be full copper or copper core?

              1. re: roywhobbes

                I'd check this guy out for copper: http://www.brooklyncoppercookware.com/

                1. re: Jay F

                  Jay, do you prefer tin lined? I know it's got a thermal advantage but I prefer SS lined for the convenience. I also love the rolled rims of Bourgeat and Falk. I went with Bourgeat though because I love the traditional shiny exterior. Ahh.

                  1. re: olympia

                    Olympia, the truth is I will probably never buy a copper pan again. I had a tin-lined, 3 qt. copper saucepan. I burned the tin out of it one day when the phone rang and I got very bad news about a friend while I was making caramel. Not to blame the pot, but an All-Clad (copper or aluminum sandwich) might have been salvageable.

                    I thought Roy should know as much as he can about what's out there. That was my motivation in showing him the site for the copper guy in Brooklyn.

                    1. re: Jay F

                      Eek, sorry to hear that. I just wondered as there seem to be very staunch supporters of tin!
                      I've heard that the sauce pans at rocky mountain retinning are great too.

                      1. re: Jay F

                        Hi, Jay:

                        Sorry to hear of your learning experience. I am having a hard time understanding why your saucepan could not be retinned. Can you explain? Do you still have the pan? Mac in Brooklyn and Peter at Rocky Mountain Retinning both do great jobs.


                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          Oh, thanks, Kaleo, but no, I don't have it anymore. This happened in 1984. I think I gave it to someone.

                  2. re: roywhobbes

                    Full copper really represents the best control you can get. I just received my order of Bourgeat and it made my heart skip a beat!
                    Don't let me/us upsell you into copper though. It's not induction capable, it can't go into the dishwasher, to stay shiny it needs to be polished, it scratches easily. For performance it's great though. Think about it before you jump in - or do some bargain hunting on ebay or at TJ Maxx.

                    1. re: olympia

                      So... Do you have a whole copper set? Would that be necesaary? Maybe I could get just a copper saucepan for sauces? What do you think are sone things you cab do with copper and not with SS? Is a copper core in stainless steel good at all?

                      1. re: roywhobbes

                        The quality of copper core depends upon the thickness of the copper and other materials used in the pan. There is a difference between a cheap copper core and Demeyere, which I believe also uses silver as one of their plies.

                        Copper is not necessary. Thousands of people turn out fantastic meals in cheap aluminum cookware. Copper is a luxury upgrade. It can be a joy to use, but a pain to keep clean. It does speed up cooking because of its outstanding conductivity (like copper wire used in electrical applications.) It makes it easier to regulate the heat. Copper will make cooking easier on an uneven, electrical-coil stove. But it's not a magic bullet. A cooking class, better ingredients, or a new stovetop may have more positive results than new cookware.

                        1. re: E_M

                          Agreed. A good stove is way more important than a good pan. Though I didn't do any experiment myself, the book I'm reading now, Modernist Cuisine, spent like 60% of one page on how to choose a saute pan.

                          "Skimp on the pan, but choose your burner wisely"

                          Pick something that's the most practical and economical. Stainless steel gets my vote.

                        2. re: roywhobbes

                          Yes, I do have the basics in copper. Like EM said, there's nothing that you can't do in just about any material (not including the reactive ones). Copper is best for things like delicate sauces but is great at just about everything. I don't think I'd recommend using copper exclusively to someone starting out. As EM pointed out it's a luxury and a joy to use. I also love pieces in all materials.

                        3. re: olympia

                          Hi, Olympia:

                          Bit of a correction, but copper pans *can* be used on induction. You just need a ferrous converter disk to sit the pan on. As far as I know, no one here at CH has posted on their use after *actually* using one. Some have speculated that they ruin the induction hob's vaunted efficiency, but if efficiency is measured in terms of thermal energy put into the food per KW/h, I theorize that the efficiency might be no worse with disk+copper than straight cast iron.

                          There is also a line of induction-compatible copperware that comes with a converter disk fused onto the bottom of each pan. It is the Prima Matera line by DeBuyer. This is *real* copperware, SS-lined, not just clad with the outer layer stripped away. I'd like to hear from anyone who's used it side-by-side with clad on induction.


                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Me too.

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Valid point. Can't be used as is. What is the price point on a disc though? My previous albeit quick search showed discs around $100 each. Just another consideration.

                              1. re: olympia

                                Hi, Olympia:

                                $100 is ridiculously high. Even $50-60 is too high, IMO. All the "converter" is is a flat circle or square of steel. Mac at organiccookware.com tells me they are going to offer disks for their excellent wares at about $30, and I think that's delivered. THAT sounds reasonable. Until then, there's onlinemetals.com or your local sheetmetal shop. Personally, I'd pick something in the 1/8 (0.125) thickness or thicker so it stays dead flat on the Ceran.

                                If I'm right about the disks working well with copper without a big tradeoff in efficiency, folks'd be crazy to get rid of their copper even if they *must* have induction.

                                I also predict that within a few years, we'll have induction stoves that will work with straight-gauge aluminum and copper, so cooking in lesser pans just to make induction "work" may not be an issue for long.


                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  Hi, K.,
                                  That's good news! I'd looked for them before and thought $100 seemed like quite a bit to spend!
                                  I'm especially glad since I'm making the copper transition now. Thanks to all the "good" advice on here! :)
                                  Such a wonderful addiction to have though. I think I'm going to have to move into bakeware or someother such thing now that I've got the basics down. I suppose I could always hunt for bargain treasures :)

                                  Thanks again for the great info.

                                  1. re: olympia

                                    Hi, Olympia:

                                    As always, you're very welcome. Steel is steel, and cheap--don't pay exorbitant prices for a simple piece of flat steel.

                                    I have beach neighbors who have now been afflicted with the copper addiction. Already phenomenal cooks, they have taken their food quality to dizzying heights, and their kitchen is now absolutely glowing with "that shine".

                                    You speak of bargains... That's the only way I could afford my batterie. Another friend I hooked recently found a ONE METER-long turbotier that weighs 50 pounds, for very little money. Unless he buys whole fresh halibut, I don't know what he'll use it for, but it looks like a small coffin!

                                    Seriously, do you have any of the less-common shapes? Oval gratins are always useful (large ones serve as roasters), stockpots, lidded braiser boxes, doufeux, poachers, polenta pots, Windsors, Bain-Maries, Tart Tatins, Pommes Anna, Pomes Vapeur, Couscouseries, Zambagliones, Cataplanas, Crepes, etc. are all worth bargain-hunting for, if not buying at retail.

                                    Personally, I have drawn the copper addiction line kinda short of bakeware and confectioner's stuff. I DO have some heavy copper pastry rounds and a few cake molds, but... if you want all the tartines and smallwares in esoteric shapes in good thicknesses, well... that can amount to a lifetime of looking and collecting--and income.


                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      Hey K,
                                      Wow, I can only imagine building such an amazing collection. I think I'll need a huge house first!
                                      I bought the Bourgeat 8 piece set and a small flared saute (saucier). I just used my brazier and sauce pan for the first time tonight and had a great time breaking them in. I'll admit that they looked so gorgeous in their pristine state that I didn't want to use them!

                                      1. re: olympia

                                        Hi, Olympia:

                                        Fight the feeling, and use the heck out of them. That's what they--and you--were made for!


                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                          He he! Two of them did get used yesterday - they're a little less beautiful now but we're pretty well fed!
                                          I've got to exchange some of the pieces - despite being "commercially acceptable" they were not all olympia acceptable! When they're all finally home we'll have a great time together :)

                              2. re: kaleokahu

                                A ferrous converter disk just turns the induction burner into an ordinary electric burner. Yes, it lets you use non-ferrous pans on the induction burner, but you end up loosing the advantages of both the pot and the burner.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  Hi, paulj:

                                  Not quite so fast.

                                  You are correct that the converter disks change the physical *mode* by which the pan is heated (CONduction instead of INduction). Nevertheless, in both cases the FOOD is heated indirectly. The food does not care whether there are 1, 2, or more intermediate mode-changes from utility to deliciousness.

                                  We also need to take into account the poorly-explained induction field. With SS-Al-SS clad, are the induction stoves *really* heating the SS layer closest to the food? If not, there is ALREADY effectively a "converter disk" (and a mode change) in play--in every pan. And if SO, why pay to have a Cu or AL layer that sits BENEATH the one actually cooking the food? Satisfactory answers to these questions have not been given here on CH, eGullet or anywhere else I know, including manufacturer's materials.

                                  I posit that not only are *all* of induction's advantages not lost with these disks, but also that when high-conductivity cookware is perched atop them, the resulting totality of efficiency and performance may EXCEED that of lesser cookware placed directly on the Ceran. Since no major manufacturer of "induction cookware" is willing to do the comparisons and publish the results (Ask yourself why, and why they price the disks at $100!), it is left for the skeptics among us to try to answer these questions. That is why, e.g., I would like to see a side-by-side test--on induction--of DeBuyer's Prima Matera line against the d12-type clads.

                                  Food for thought,

                        4. re: roywhobbes

                          The saute simmer sounds good.

                          I think the sauce pan depth depends on how you are using them. For boiling and reheating tall is good. If you were making custard I'd go for something shallower or a saucier.

                          Copper should be lined with ss or tin. It has the best control but is definitely more advanced and expensive.

                          For double boiler I'd use a bowl.

                          1. re: olympia

                            In this case, would a good idea to be to get some 2-3 tall saucepans for height and 1-2 shallower saucier pans? Would that fulfill virtually all tasks?

                          2. re: roywhobbes

                            I use "la bomba" silicone bowl by Lekue as a bain-marie, including for melting chocolate. Fits perfectly into my 18cm Le Creuset cocotte, so no steam gets out to condense back into the chocolate and it's a breeze to clean.

                        5. re: mikie

                          Okay. So I have been doing some reading about cast iron. Originally I thought I would choose lodge, however, I have been looking into the matte enamel that Staib has. Others say: 1. It isn't reactive with any foods 2. It's seasons itself as you use it.
                          Why is the enameled impractical for cooking? Many have told me it is great?

                          1. re: roywhobbes

                            Bare cast iron becomes non-stick the more it is seasoned. However, the seasoning can wear off if it is used to braise with acidic liquids. Which isn't really a big deal, you can always re-season it.

                            Enameled cast iron (Staub and LC) don't need to be seasoned, but they are not non-stick--you need to use butter or oil like you would in any other pan. However, food does not react with them.

                            There is no one clear answer, it is a personal preference thing.

                            I suggest that you buy a small and cheap piece of cookware and give it a trial run. That should help you figure out what you like.

                            1. re: roywhobbes

                              The problem with enameled cast iron for some stovetop cooking is the ability to take the intense heat associated with that particular type of cooking. Where it is fine for braising or brownning a roast prior to putting it in the oven, it's not able to take the heat necessary to sear a steak for example. The problem is the differential in linear thermal expansion between the cast iron and the enamel coating. Excessive heat may cause cracking in the enamel. It's important to heat the enameled cast iron slowly to avoid thermal shock and rapid changes in thermal expansion and contraction. Your assumptions about the Staub are correct, and as long as you are willing to hold the temperature below a certian level, you should be just fine. I suggested bare cast iron as it does not have the same temperature limitations. It isn't ideal for making acidic foods and that's why I suggested you also include a stainless fry pan. I would also suggest a piece of non-stick, if you are not opposed to the idea of PTFE, just for omlets or fried eggs. The release is great, you don't need fat for non-stick purposes and the temperature is much lower than for most other frying, so the safety of the non-stick surface is less of a factor and it will last longer. I use an 8 inch Scanpan for this purpose.

                              As you are finding out, cooking is very complicated and very personal, everyone has a way they like to cook and impliments they prefer for particular foods and cooking methods. There are many ways to cook the same thing and you can be successful with all kinds of cookware. If one pot or pan did everything well, then that would be all you need, unfortunately every pot or pan is a trade off of one property vs another. You have to decide what you will likely cook and how you most likely would like to cook it, then pick pots and pans to match.

                              1. re: mikie

                                Thanks for the comment.
                                Just a few questions.

                                Does the enameled dark matte Staub have any advantages over plain cast iron?

                                Staub also says their cookware is 500F safe. Considering the grill pan is from Staub is for steaks etc... Can it really bot sear.

                                Sorry if that sounds repititious I just find it odd it can take high temps.

                                1. re: roywhobbes

                                  Yes! The enameled Staub surface is not reactive to acidic foods, so you can deglaze with wine for example and not have to worry about the surface or tainting the food with an iron taste. This IS the advantage of enameled cast iron over bare cast iron. This and the fact that you don't have to season it and then worry about maintaining the seasoning.

                                  Staub is I'm sure safe to 500°F, however, when you sear a steak on a pan, it's typically much hotter than that, especially the flame or range side. This may not apply to induction cooktops, I have no experience in that realm. You just don't have this concern with bare cast iron. I did some research not that long ago, and an electirc coil on a stove can get well above 1000 °F, enameled cast iron shouldn't go there.

                                  1. re: mikie

                                    Okay that's a lot of help. Thanks.

                                    If you had a 4 qt braiser Staub. Would that be too much for two people? I will need it later for kids and now for guests. Would the 2 qt be necessary?

                                    And your preference is no enameled grill pan or fry pan but the bare cast iron. Have you ever used an enameled fry pan for example is that worth it?

                                    Last. You have round Cocottes. Is there a better application of oval for anything. I honestly done want to buy an assortment of Dutch ovens. Could I get away with just two round ones or maybe a one round and one oval would be better?

                                    1. re: roywhobbes

                                      Ovals are good for whole fish or a rolled flank steak. I don't do whole fish but I adore rolled flank steak, so I have the oval on my list. Otherwise, I'd go round. Fowl is more oblong in shape but can be maneuvered into a round pan; rolled flank steak can not.

                                      My 2.75 oval dutch oven is fine for 3 people, that is, I have made 4-6 servings of soup and beef burgundy in it. But sometimes I wish it were larger, I think the 4 qt would be preferable. The 4-6 servings are small adult portions, they wouldn't suffice for a hungry teenager.

                                      I have attended several Williams-Sonoma cooking classes where meat was seared in a Staub fry pan and the results were spectacular.

                                      1. re: roywhobbes

                                        I don't think that the 4 qt would be too much at all. I've got a 5 qt braiser (LC) that I use for two people as well as guests.

                                        Look up reviews here for LC or Staub grill pans. When I was choosing I got a Lodge grill pan.

                                        1. re: roywhobbes

                                          For two to four people the Staub 2.5 qt. braiser is sufficient, it will easily hold 4 servings of salmon, or 4 good sized chicken breasts, or 4 red meat servings. The 4 qt. braiser would be nice for 6 to 8 servings. Keep in mind, the braiser is for dishes with a small amount of liquid and best for braising and then finishing off in the oven. It's a relatively shallow vessel.

                                          I don't have personal experience with enameled grill or fry pans, we have an antique Griswald bare cast iron that was my grandmother's. I'm just repeating what I've read and herd about enamel and temperature. Go for it, just be careful not to get over zellis and get it too hot.

                                          We have three round cocottes, a #20, 2.5 qt.; #26, 5 qt.; #30, 8.75 qt. Of the three, we use the 5 qt. the most, the 8.75 qt. second and the 2.5 qt. for side dishes or very small servings. We bought our daughters the Coq au vin #31 5.75 qt oval cocotte. It's great for a whole chicken or a 5 lb roast, it seems to brown well on the stove top and works very well in the oven. The only drawback I can see is some dishes, like a shrimp creole, might require more stiring as the ends will not be quite as hot as the middle section on the stove top. If I were to pick two, I would get the braiser, because I use it more than any other single cooking vessel and perhaps either the Coq au vin or the 6.25 qt #28 round cocotte for roasts and whole chicken or fish. This depends a lot on what you tend to cook. It's more a case of cookware to fit your cooking than it is ideal sizes on a theoretical basis.

                                  2. re: roywhobbes

                                    The matte black enamel that you find in Staub I think is the same as on some of the LeCreuset pieces -- I have several LC items with the black matte interior and I love it. It's non-reactive and at least the LC version is nearly as non-stick as Teflon-type surfaces and much more durable.
                                    I also have plenty of unenameled cast iron by Lodge which, because it is cheap and practically indestructible, I use for really high heat cooking.
                                    I'd also recommend hunting down vintage cast iron with machined (very smooth) interior cooking surfaces, which will give you both the indestructibility and the non-stick benefits. Or get someone you know who is handy at these things to polish the interior of the modern Lodge pans for you. But this won't give the non-reactivity of the enameled cast iron of Staub/LeCreuset etc.

                                2. A thought before you choose a lot of Staub: it's got a black interior, in which some people find it hard to see what they're cooking. Le Creuset has a light beige interior, which, at the very least, I'm so used to, I don't like dark interior cookware. However, I've never used Staub. Using a friend's Calphalon on a regular basis is how I know I don't like the dark interior.

                                  1. Hi roywhobbes, good pick on the cuis. mcp. Get or look at the 5qt casserole in the mcp line Makes a good braiser and is fairly cheap. Don't forget the mcp Roasting pan. Isn't it fun to pick out cookware? Have Fun!

                                    1. Here is what I have reconsidered and this is my new set up. Is there any obvious flaws?? Anymore suggestions? Size differences? For example a general idea is why not get bigger now for a family later if it isn't impractical. Please tell me what you think everyon and Thanks so much for the comments so far.

                                      Braiser 4 qt
                                      Cocotte 5 qt. 
                                      Oval oven 5 qt

                                      Stainless Steel Skillet. 12"
                                      3 qt sauté pan
                                      2 qt Cuisinart Stainless Steal Saucepan
                                      4 qt Cuisinart Stainless Steel Saucepan

                                      All Clad 3 qt saucier

                                      Cheap Stockpot

                                      3 qt copper Saucepan

                                      Cuisinart Multiclad pro
                                      8"  Skillet
                                      10" Skillet

                                      Bare Cast Iron
                                      Lodge grill pan
                                      Lodge fry pan

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: roywhobbes

                                        I think you have too many duplicates and too much stuff in general. Also the 3 qt copper piece wouldn't be my first choice, I'd go smaller. You're not cooking for an army (are you?)

                                        The reason that it's not always good to buy larger in anticipation of more mouths is because if you cook smaller amounts in a large pan or pot, it's sort of like keeping an empty pot on the stove. The interior temperature isn't consistent because there is so much less stuff inside relative to the overall volume. This increases the likelihood of burning your butter/oil mixture if you're trying to saute protein, for example.

                                        A better way to look at things is to buy a smaller cocotte, for example, and use it now to braise your main dish. When you family grows--and remember, it won't grow for a few years because babies and toddlers aren't going to significantly add to the food you cook--you can use the small cocottes for side dishes (rice, pilaf, veggies, etc.) and get a larger pot for your main dish.

                                        1. re: E_M

                                          Okay E_M thanks.

                                          One thing to consider for me though is I like to cook lots and have left overs. I've done it for quite some time. So cooking larger meals would be more practical and save money. Also, when we have guest is when we will really preparing a nice meal.

                                          Would you do me a favor?

                                          Copy and past my latest list. What would you change? What do you see as repetitious?

                                          I do think you have a point with the copper sauce pan also. Thanks.

                                          1. re: E_M

                                            IN essence I am wondering if you'd tell me what you would keep and what you would remove and maybe what you would add! Thanks

                                            1. re: roywhobbes

                                              These are the changes I'd make - I hope they help some!

                                              These are all for similar purposes and/or similar shapes:
                                              Braiser 4 qt
                                              Stainless Steel Skillet. 12"
                                              3 qt sauté pan
                                              8" Skillet
                                              10" Skillet
                                              Lodge fry pan
                                              I would cut the SS fry pan and the 8" skillet.

                                              I'd probably get one or get an oval and round in different sizes:
                                              Cocotte 5 qt.
                                              Oval oven 5 qt

                                              This gives you probably too many options in the sauce/saucier category:
                                              2 qt Cuisinart Stainless Steal Saucepan
                                              4 qt Cuisinart Stainless Steel Saucepan
                                              3 qt copper Saucepan
                                              All Clad 3 qt saucier
                                              I'd consider cutting the AC saucier and copper sauce pan and getting a copper saucier.

                                              I'd replace the stock pot with an 8 qt pressure cooker.

                                              1. re: roywhobbes

                                                Do you have to get everything right now? I would keep the list but buy things as you need them, that way you really are getting things you use. eg, I have all sorts of things: le crueset, all clad, nonstick and hard anodized. Frankly, I do about 80% of my cooking in about 4 pans. I'd focus on the cooking you do and get what you need for that, then branch out over time, with the recommendations above.

                                                1. re: roywhobbes

                                                  Staub braiser 4 qt AND Cocotte 5 qt. AND Oval oven 5 qt
                                                  Staub braiser 4 qt AND Cuisinart 12" skillet AND Cuisinart 3 qt saute pan
                                                  Cuisinart 4 qt SS saucepan AND All Clad 3 qt saucier AND 3 qt copper saucepan

                                                  In general, I'd pick 1 or 2 out of the 3. Also, I'm not a fan of grill pans. Better to grill outside or get a grill/griddle thing that goes across 2 burners. Also never liked the size of my 10" nonstick. Too small for some things and too big for others. An 8" works for single or double servings of eggs and if I need more I'd use the 2 burner thing mentioned above.

                                                  A piece I adore that you don't have is the 12" demeyere multi-function pan. It would serve as a braiser, saute pan, fry pan, large steamer, and a few other things I haven't figured out yet. I would rather have smaller and specialized things for me and my SO, and for large crowds, have a multi-functional pan.

                                                  When you have a "nice meal" what does that entail? what sort and size dishes?

                                                  1. re: E_M

                                                    It's interesting to see people's personal preferences. I'd rather a large non-stick and I love my grill pan. I think you'd probably go way smaller than I did on my ECI. Some of it just does come down to personal preference. I'm hoping the OP will go and check out everything in person before finishing the list.

                                                    I love having a big piece - my pick is the AC 6 qt saute - but I think that would overlap with the braiser, skillet and saute pan on the OPs list. Maybe if she could pick one of two of all of those she'd be set.

                                                    1. re: olympia

                                                      Yes, so much of it is personal preference. That is why it is hard for me to tell the OP what to do. That is why the first half focused on what I would call duplicates.

                                                      Ditto the really big piece. WS sells a 7 qt Mauviel tin-lined hammered copper rondeau that I love to visit.

                                                      The last reason why I don't like to serve a lot of dishes for company is then I have to have courses and multiple dishes and flatware, which would only work if I had a maid. So I'd get one really big piece of cookware and make a braise or something, and serve that. The end.

                                                      1. re: E_M

                                                        I know the rondeau of which you speak - it is quite lovely! I totally hear you on entertaining too, I max out at about six people.

                                                    2. re: E_M

                                                      E_M where does one find the Demeyere multi-function pan on the web?

                                                      1. re: diamond dave

                                                        Is this it? http://www.amazon.com/Demeyere-12-5-I...

                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                          Thanks Jay F, wow 200+ for that? I've got the cuis 5qt that looks just like that and it came w a lid. For a lot less $$$.

                                              2. By now you have been given all sorts of input. I just want to add that I use my 1 1/2 qt saucepan far more often than I do my larger saucepans. I'd buy cast iron for the frypans and grill pans. And, you will probably discover what pans you like to use by buying them and using them. There isn't any one right combination of stuff. I think the Cuisinart pans are probably a good choice, but so is the Tramontina. But honestly, you don't need a whole set of anything.

                                                Since you like trying new things, I'd try to imagine what pieces are the most versatile for the way you like to cook. And, most stainless pans are not lifetime investments.

                                                1. Hello everyone.. Thanks for all your replies and help... I have almost narrowed down what I want! I'll have some more questions in a little bit here.
                                                  Right now I am curious.... I have ran into a few times this concept "waterless cookware." I am mostly curious about the Saladmaster brand seeing a few people I know own it... Is they claim true? And if it is true, I just find it hard to believe lots of other pots couldnt do the same thing for a fraction of the price. I am gonna check other forums to see if this was already discussed, but I this worth my time?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: roywhobbes

                                                    I am surprised you haven't gotten an answer from someone who knows. For me, cooking waterless or not, I'd buy a good tri ply bottom stainless pan with good balance, and the right weight for its size, that is dishwashable, and not worry about the "waterless" gimmick. I seem to remember heavy polished aluminum pans that advertised themselves as "waterless" but my memory might be defective here. If you want to cook waterless, or almost waterless, you can always use a glass pie pan and plastic wrap in a micro.

                                                    And, are you really going to be cooking veggies on the stove all that much?

                                                    Aren't you going to boil water for various things?

                                                    How would you make a sauce in a waterless pan?

                                                    How would you cook potatoes in a waterless pan?