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Looking for new SS cookware. Need oppinions

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dixiegal May 17, 2011 05:24 AM

I am (after over 30 years) looking for new stainless steel cookware. 30 years ago, there was not many choices. So now I am a bit overwhelmed.
I have decided that I prefer the tri-ply that is on the bottom and sides. I have one 2 qt aluminum disc bottom that I don't much like. I find it awkward and bottom heavy. Would rather have the weight more evenly spread out.

I also would rather have the brushed or satin finish on the outside because that shiney mirror finsish will be quickly destroyed. Likely becoming a satin finish by the time I use it a while. I am not set on that though. Just hate putting the first scratches on that pretty finish.

I do NOT want non-stick. Just stainless, inside and out. I also don't know if I have a preference for the lids. I kind of like the glass lids, but they look like the would be hard to clean around all the stainless bands, I wonder how easy they are to break and then replace, maybe hard to store, and by the time the lid fogs up, I wouldn't be able to see my food anyway. I do like the little vents they have on them. I am thinking that might help keep the food from boiling over so easy.

I like the idea of SS lids, but the ones out their now seem to seal so tight that the food boils over easy. My old set has the type lids that just set loosley on the pot.

The riveted handles look very substantial, but are going to be a chore to clean around. Both inside and out.

I don't think I want to invest in All Clad. The style just doesn't appeal to me. Pots too deep and the handles seem awkward. Not to mention the cost. If I were to go with a high cost, I like the looks of the Le Creuset SS. I like the shape of the pots and the handles and they have a rolled rim for pouring. I just have not actually handled one yet.

By just shopping on line, I am interested in the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro or JC Penney's Cooks line of Tri-Ply. The Cooks line has glass lids and I can't tell if the finish is shiney or satin in the pics. I like the many sauce pot sizes that they have and at a reasonable price.

I like the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro because it has a satin finish and stainless lids.

I am not interested in SS fry pans. I can't keep stuff from sticking. I prefer my cast iron for frying. So the sauce pans and maybe a small stock pot is my main interest.

I am open for other brands as well.

So any ideas would be appreciated.

  1. e
    E_M May 17, 2011 06:42 AM

    If your pots are boiling over your heat is too high.

    I have a few heavy SS lids and I can leave the pot a little uncovered if I want to.

    Disk bottomed pots are excellent for boiling liquids. If you find your current ones awkward then I suggest you "try out" a few other brands just to make sure it's your preference and not your current pot.

    Although I hate rivets, I have not found them a problem to clean around.

    You might want to check out Tramontina and Sitram.

    I also like the looks of the LC SS but have yet to try them out myself, alas.

    6 Replies
    1. re: E_M
      d
      dixiegal May 17, 2011 07:09 AM

      I have a Tramontina stock pot that I really like. But Tramontina tri ply has the straight rims that make pouring messy. My current 30 year old pots also have straight rims and I have delt with messy pouring my whole adult life. LOL. I can live with it, but would still prefer a rolled rim for pouring. I like my tri ply Tramontina stock pot enought that might just deal with it if I can't find something I like with a rolled rim.

      I am pretty set on the no disk bottom since I have discovered the tri ply all over. Makes for a much more balanced feel to me..

      I don't have any opinion as to which cooks better. I don't know. As long as I can cook without a lot of burning and sticking, I'm good with it. My Tramontina stock pot cooks great soup. So far no sticking problems. So I am likeing the tri-ply thing.

      1. re: dixiegal
        Jay F May 17, 2011 07:32 AM

        IIRC, dixiegal, you don't live near a LC outlet store. I bring this up because it seems as if you might be interested in their SS. You could call one of the outlet stores and have them ship you a couple of pieces. Shipping is free over $100, and they're having some good discounts through the end of May.

        http://lcstores.com/

        This is from their regular line, and it will show MSRPs, not outlet pricing:
        http://cookware.lecreuset.com/cookwar...

        EDIT: I'm not sure you can get brushed or satin stainless from LC.

        1. re: Jay F
          d
          dixiegal May 17, 2011 08:07 AM

          No I am not near an LC outlet. In fact the closet LC store to me is about 30 miles away and it is a Signature store. I do like the way those LC stainless pots look. As for the satin finish. I may have to compromise that. Seems the mirror finish is the "in" thing right now. The only satin finish I have found that I like is the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro.
          I am looking at the JC Penny Cooks line, but can't tell by the pics if it is a shiney finish or not.

          Oh, and my old set of SS that I have had so long is Wearever Aluminum brand. It is stainless with the aluminum core. I bought is when I was 17 to have when I eventualy moved out of my parents house. My mom already had a set. (yep at 76 years old, she is still using it) Bought a whole set from a door to door salesman of all things.
          It's been a good one though. Doesn't look like much now, dull and scratched, but it has no damage to it after all these years. Light in weight, plastic knobs and handles that are screwed on to the pot. LOL I am now sending them off with my daughter that is moving out.
          Much of the set, I have already gotten rid of. That is why I won't buy another set of cookware. Not enough pieces of what I use and too many pieces of what I don't.

        2. re: dixiegal
          e
          E_M May 17, 2011 08:07 AM

          The other reason your pots could be boiling over is that they are too small for what you are cooking.

          Tramontina makes several lines. Many have rolled rims.

          The Emeril line made by All Clad is cheaper, has nice rims, and internal measurement markings.

          I have an AC pot that is too deep, the answer is to look for something called a low casserole or rondeau. AC does not make that shape (that I have been able to find.)

          What will you be cooking in your saucepans? You mention that you have no issues with soup sticking. Soup, mostly liquid, will of course not stick. You will have sticking issues with protein--meats, eggs, and the like. Cooking liquid actually doesn't require great cookware. It's either boiling, simmering, or it's not. Now, if you are making real sauces, then you need to have a greater control over the heat, which generally means a higher quality pan.

          1. re: E_M
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            dixiegal May 17, 2011 12:56 PM

            As far as I have seen the Tramontina tri-ply does not have rolled rims.
            I am interested in the tri-ply all over kind of pot.

            As for soups sticking. It depends on what you put in the soup. My soups are very hearty and have everything but the kitchen sink in them. LOL So has lots of potential to stick.

            As for my sauce pan type pots. I am apt to use them for anything. Might be boiling veggies, steaming veggies, cooking rice, warming up speghetti o's for my grandaughter, boiling an egg, boiling pasta, dumping something out of a can to warm up or maybe even melting chocolate. Might make speg sauce or gravy or boil some chicken for some other dish. I have no limits to my sauce type pans and use them probably the most often for everything but frying.
            I also cook a lot of dried beans(white beans, pinto beans, red beans, black beans, blackeyed peas,etc.) and they will stick and burn if you are not careful. I was raised int eh south and we cook our beans down soft with a thick soup. They are done when they are just short of refried beans. I don't like watery beans. :o)

            Most of the time my soups, chili's and stews are in my Tramontina tri ply stock pot, my cast iron dutch oven or my very special LC dutch oven. If I am cooking dried beans for several people, then I will use my LC dutch oven. Cast iron is great for cooking beans. If just for my husband and myself, I will use one of my smaller SS sauce pans.

            I could really tell a difference in my soups and dried beans when I switched from my cheap thin SS stockpot to the tri-ply Tramontina. I use to scorch stuff in the cheap stainless stockpot. I can't tell you the beans I have burned in that thing. Would have to dip the beans off the top and throw the ones on the bottom away.

            Something to be said for even heating.:o)

        3. re: E_M
          w
          will47 May 17, 2011 02:40 PM

          I have several pieces of Sitram (both Catering and Profeserie series), and like them quite a bit. Mafter Bourgeat maybe also worth looking at (copper bottom on the Catering series is the main advantage of Sitram). Lincoln makes a range of SS cookware now too, which might be worth looking into. However, these are mostly pieces with disk type bottoms, though personally I don't find it a problem most of the time. For stockpots, restaurant supply stores often have economical (and heavy-duty) SS ones at a lower price than the manufacturers mentioned here; see, e.g.,
          http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/b...
          I would especially recommend just going with the disk bottom for stockpots - with a pot that large, you're unlikely to have problems with the flame going up the sides, and it will be much cheaper than a fully clad stockpot.

          I actually like All Clad well enough (I've got a few pieces that I picked up one way or another), and they do look nice, but I just don't usually find them to be a good enough value to invest in compared to something more utilitarian, even when the price is somewhat discounted. I do sometimes find the rivets a bit of a pain to clean around. Personally have had no problems with the welded handles on the Sitram cookware I own, but I have heard people complain about it.

          If cost isn't a consideration, you could consider Falk (stainless lined copper).

        4. p
          pericolosa May 17, 2011 02:56 PM

          Lagostina makes some very nice cookware. Sears sells a tri-ply satin-finished SS set of their making.

          1. s
            ShawnPA May 17, 2011 06:49 PM

            I have the JcPenney Cooks Tri Ply set and have been happy with it. It is shiny, though, not satin.

            14 Replies
            1. re: ShawnPA
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              dixiegal May 18, 2011 03:37 AM

              I just looked at the JC Penney Cooks Tri Ply last night. I really liked the feel of it and especially the handles (not to mention the price is nice). Though it is a shiney pot, I think I am going to have to live with it. I saw no satin finish pots last night at any store I was at.
              I am still hesitant because of the glass lids. I thought the Cooks tri-ply was so similar to the Calphalon Tri Ply that I had handled as Bed Bath and Beyond. I actually liked the handles on the Cooks Tri Ply better and it felt a little lighter in weight than the Calphalon. Could have just felt lighter due to the handle being more comfortable.

              I was just disappointed that I couldn't find a Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Tri Ply to handle. The Cuisinart MultClad has a satin finish and SS lids, so I was really hoping to see and handle the pot. If the handles on their MultClad line is the same as their Classic or Conture line, then I still like the handles on the Cooks better, but could adjust to the Cuisinart's, if I thought that the SS lids were more important. But never having glass lids, I just don't know. The glass lids just look hard to clean and I don't know how easy they will be to replace on the sauce pots. I have not seen where JC penney offer lids for their pots and I don't know if other brand's lids would fit them.

              Nothing worse than a bunch of pots and dishes with no lids.

              So unless I find something else, I am pretty much down to the Cooks Tri-Ply (which I have handled but have reserves about the glass lids) or the Cuisinart Multi-Clad which I have NOT handled but seems to have most of the options that I want. Cuisinart is more expensive, but not a lot. Ebay has some very reasonable prices on the Cusinart MC but might not be so easy to return if I didn't like it. I should like it fine as long as it isn't too heavy or the handles feel weird or something. I am also not sure about the rims, not rolled but tapered? Not sure what that means or how it works. Someone on here mentioned that the rims felt sharp. Don't much like the sound of that.

              I checked out Sears Kenmore line of tri ply and found them nice quality but felt really heavy to me. They seem to only come in sets too. I didn't see any open stock pieces.

              I could order 1 pot (Cuisinart MC) from bed bath and beyond then I could just return it to the store if I didn't like it. At the moment BB&B is out of the smaller sauce pan in the Cusinart MC, and seem to only offer two sizes, soooo, I have a lot to think about.

              1. re: dixiegal
                Jay F May 18, 2011 05:44 AM

                "I could order 1 pot (Cuisinart MC) from bed bath and beyond then I could just return it to the store if I didn't like it."

                After experiencing disappointment with different sets of flatware in the past year, and having to return so much of it, I think ordering one piece of something to see whether you like it is a very good idea.

                1. re: dixiegal
                  l
                  leacey05 May 18, 2011 06:03 AM

                  I received at set of the Cooks Tri-ply for a wedding present almost 2 years ago and have been nothing but happy with it! I have had no problems with cleaning the glass lids at all. My husband and myself are very rough on kitchen equipment and have not broken a lid yet! Hope this helps!

                  1. re: dixiegal
                    e
                    ellabee May 18, 2011 07:12 AM

                    What is it about glass lids that makes it seem they would be hard to clean? They can go into the dishwasher, after all.

                    If you'd be hand-washing them, it's absolutely true that stainless lids are significantly lighter, and unbreakable. Another consideration is that glass lids don't cool off as quickly as metal ones, and need to be put onto a dry cloth or a wooden board or the like when taken off a pot during cooking. They're not quite as easy to set loosely on a pot (partially covering it) as metal lids.

                    Do get one saucepan of the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro and use it for a bit before making a decision.

                    1. re: ellabee
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                      dixiegal May 18, 2011 09:07 AM

                      I would be hand washing the lids. I don't have a dishwasher. As far as my thoughts on hard to clean, I would be compairing to the glass lids on my crock pots. Seems like stuff always collects around the metal bands between the bands and the glass.

                      Had not thought of the fact that the glass would hold heat longer. My one SS pot with the flat SS lid that seals tight, doesn't set off the pot very well. I move it to the side and some how it will find it's way back flush with the pot. LOL I guess the steam moves it.

                      My biggest concern with the glass lids is storage. I tend to turn my lids upside down and stack one pot on top of another. Don't know if that would be a good idea with glass lids. The other is breakage and how hard it would be to find a replacment lid that fits. Especially if I wanted to switch to SS lids.

                      All an all I like the idea of glass lids and the fact they are rather dome shaped as opposed the low and flat lid of the SS ones. I really prefer the dome shaped lids.

                      My old cookware had SS lids but were domed shaped like the glass ones and only had a knob for a handle. They easily flipped upside down on one pot where you could then set another pot on top of that one.

                      I may have to change my way of doing things to adapt to this new type of cookware and lids. Handles are much longer on the new ones two.

                      More and more I am thinking on the JC penny Cooks line. They seem a little lighter in weight (probably not better for cooking, but better for handling) and I love the feel of the handles and I nice roll to the rim for pouring.
                      Who knows, once I get use to glass lids, I may just love them.

                      Besides, the Cooks line offers more sizes in their sauce pans and they are less in price. Probably not as well made as some of the others, but it gets good reviews.:o)

                      1. re: dixiegal
                        s
                        ShawnPA May 18, 2011 03:14 PM

                        I also have no problem cleaning the glass lids. They also have a little hole in them to help let steam out, so you don't have to worry about setting the lid a little off the pot for ventilation. Also, for normal use, the lids are pretty durable. I have never dropped one, but they are tough enough to be turned upside down and stacked on, and they can handle being banged around a bit.

                        1. re: ShawnPA
                          d
                          dixiegal May 19, 2011 05:46 AM

                          Thanks for the replies and advice. Sounds like glass lids will be fine for me. After all, most people must like them or they wouldn't be on so much of the cookware.

                          I think I am going to give the JC Penny Cooks Tri-Ply a try. Price is quite a bit less than than some of the others that I was considering. I can save the difference toward a new Le Creuset enameld cast iron something. I really like my other one. Maybe one a bit smaller than by 7.5 qt would be useful.

                    2. re: dixiegal
                      c oliver May 18, 2011 07:32 AM

                      I have some glass lids and like them. While you can't look through the glass til the very end of the cooking time, you can see how it's going, i.e., boiling too fast. I have no problem cleaning them.

                      1. re: dixiegal
                        d
                        diamond dave May 19, 2011 08:37 AM

                        dixiegal, Trust me, cuisinart MCP IS the best! Use Amazon for your purchase and checkout ALL of the MCP line. Tough call on which one pan to buy but a 3 or 5qt casserole is a nice pick. Isnt shopping for cookware FUN?

                        1. re: diamond dave
                          d
                          dixiegal May 19, 2011 12:28 PM

                          diamond dave, I wanted really bad to check out the Cusinart MCP, but could not find any in the stores. I did handle some of the other Cuisnart lines but not the multiclad line.
                          I was going to order one from bed, bath and beyond, but they are out of stock. (I knew that would be an easy return if needed)

                          So without actually seeing the pots in person, I don't really want to order it.
                          I liked the Cooks line handles better. Not that, that would be a total deal breaker.

                          The deal breaker for me is that the Cooks line is easy to get from Penneys, easy to return and they have lots of sizes of sauce pans, which I use a lot.
                          I will be replacing my 1 qt, 2qt, 3 qt, a 4qt saute pan to replace an old pan that is similar, but I don't know what kind of pan it is. Don't see anymore like them. I think it is like a roaster. Top and bottom of pan is about 3 12 inches deep, about 10" in diameter and can be used together or as seperate pans. I think it would be a roaster for the top of the stove. It has plastic handles, or otherwise could be put in the oven.
                          Anyway, I have always just used it to cook various things in. It works well to put my steam basket in. The Cooks saute' pan looks similar, but without the top that looks just like the bottom. Or I am going to get the 5qt stockpot to replace it.
                          Or heck, maybe I will just get both.;o)

                          Anyway, the Cuisinart MCP is probably better quality, after all it cost more, but then again, I think both Cooks and Cuisnart is made in China. I hate that, but I haven't seen much American made cookware.

                          I just don't care for the All-Clad. No rolled or flared rim for pouring, pots are too deep, handles are awful, and they are really, heavy. Not to mention the cost. YIKES.
                          The only pots I picked up that felt like it might be heavier than the All Clad were the Kenmore tri-ply from Sears. They were so heavy, I figured I might as well just use cast iron. They were really nice though.

                          No doubt I will eventually stumble up on the Cuisinart MC one day, and totally wished that I had got that instead. But my daughter is moving out in less than two weeks and is going to need my cookware. Doesn't give me any more time to shop the stores.
                          I have been to the 6 stores realatively close to me and none had the CMC.

                          1. re: dixiegal
                            e
                            E_M May 19, 2011 01:25 PM

                            I recommend you check out American Kitchen. I believe it is made by Revereware. all US made. Very very nice stuff. My local kitchen store in no man's land has it, so call around. And did I mention, very affordable? Internal measurement markings, rolled rims, the works.

                            1. re: E_M
                              e
                              ellabee May 20, 2011 07:13 AM

                              Minor correction: the American Kitchen tri-ply is made by Regal, in Wisconsin. I'm very impressed by the quality of the skillet, which is less than half the price of the corresponding All-Clad (the only other US-made tri-ply).

                              1. re: ellabee
                                e
                                E_M May 20, 2011 07:22 AM

                                Oops.

                                Thanks.

                            2. re: dixiegal
                              d
                              diamond dave May 19, 2011 09:04 PM

                              dixiegal, I know it's tough to get a hands on look or inthe hand but the best I can do is Cuisinart Chefs Classic and just close the eyes and add more weight. The handle is the same on both. I told the salesperson at Macys last Sunday that They would sell a boatload of MCP if they put it in the store.

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