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Sep 21, 2011 09:39 AM


I am 35 years old and inhareted all my mothers cookware when she passed tell then all I had ever used was her cookware its nice but I dont like it any more its dented and the nonstick coating is almost gone me and my husband share cooking in the house and the kids are starting to take there turn they are not as careful as they should be and burn a lot of meals I need advice on what I should replace it with I was thinking about the enamel cast iron cookware but not sure there is so many to chose from and the price makes the choose very important to get it right the first time I want this to be the last time I have to do this and be able to pass the cookware on to my daughter something that she will be proud to keep any suggestions would be appreciated.

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  1. How much do you want to spend? Le Creuset enameled cast iron is expensive, but there are outlet stores all over the country. I'd recommend buying one of their French ovens first to see if you like enameled cast iron. 5.5 qt and 7.25 qt are the most useful sizes. The 7.25 might be just the thing for someone who cooks for a family.

    As much as I like Le Creuset, I don't like that kind of weight in saucepans and skillets. I have All Clad, and while I like them, I wish I'd known about brands like American Kitchen before I bought All Clad. It's a lot less expensive, and it's also made in the USA. The thing about stainless, especially if you're used to non-stick, is that it can stick when you're frying if you don't do it right, and it's easy to get it wrong if you haven't used it before. But it is masterable.

    I use non-stick skillets for eggs and sometimes fish. Though I've gotten the hang of cooking fish in stainless and non-stick pans, I usually choose to roast it in the oven with veg in a Le Creuset au gratin pan.

    Some people like bare cast iron for frying. I am not one of them, so I'll leave the recommending for others.

    1. The Tramontina Tri-ply stainless cookware is great, affordable, and will last a long time. I'd look into it.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Leepa

        cant do the stainless my husband would destroy it in no time. I have a few of them I know that my husband is ruining them big time that i payed a small fortune for I know cast Iron is pricey but you pay for what you get the good news is you can buy them one piece at a time. which is how I will be buying them hate buying sets always get pans I dont use and not enuff of what I need so not worried about price when I decide what I want then do the bargain shopping for it. my family and I watch alot of the cooking shows and like to take the challenge of making what we see into something we can eat now we need the cookware to help us meet this challenge.

        1. re: msbell

          If your husband can literally destory stainless steel cookware, then I cannot think of better alternative. Carbon steel and bare cast iron will rust compare to stainless. Enameled cast iron can crack and shattered. Ceramic can crack and shattered. Copper can oxidized and its tin coating can melt. Anodized aluminum is stable, but still not as stable as stainless steel.

          Stainless steel surface cookware is more inert (chemically stable), stronger and tougher (physically stable) than any other cookware I can think of.

          1. re: msbell

            I'm flabbergasted that he can destroy good quality stainless steel.

            I just linked to the set as an example, but they sell them in single pieces as well. I'd suggest buying what you think you will use and then supplement with other specialty pieces like cast iron, or enameled cast iron, etc.

            1. re: msbell

              Just curious. How does he destroy a stainless pan? Why do you let him into the kitchen?

              1. re: sueatmo

                i was wondering that myself bigtime how he does that i mean stainless is so strong but maybe he puts it on high heat while its empty for an hour ive never done that but i bet it would be bad for the pan.

                1. re: FoodDabbler

                  It is very rare to think of a way to destroy stainless steel cladded cookware but not the enameled cast iron cookware.

                  Sudden change of temperature? Stainless steel has a better survival rate than enameled cast iron

                  Dropping the cookware? Stainless steel ahead

                  Poking it with a kitchen knife? Stainless steel wins

                  Soaking in bleach? Stainless steel


                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Sometimes -- just saying -- it's cheaper to get a better husband than getting better cookware.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Compare that to the price of 50 years of ruined All-Clad.

                2. re: sueatmo

                  Running over it with a truck will do it, unless it is by Demeyere, in which case you will likely need to replace the truck's tie rod.

                  OP, enameled and bare cast iron require more care than stainless. You need to re-evaluate how you use your cookware if you want something more durable than SS. Perhaps if you clarify what your husband did and what kind of maintenance you are willing to do, we can help. Also, unless you plan on dying when your daughter moves out of your house, there is little point in buying cookware to "pass on" to her.

            2. Most people will tell that different materials are good for different cooking. While you may want a carbon iron skillet, you definitely won't want a cast iron saucepan. That is just ridiculous. Coversely, you may like enameled cast iron Dutch Oven, but an enameled cast iron wok is just not the way to go.

              So I would say try to understand what you want to get, and then what materials are good for what. Buying an entire of enameled cast iron cookware is not a good idea. If you really don't know what to get and don't know how to take care of different cooking materials, then the safest choice is probably stainless steel cladded cookware. Leepa made an excellent suggestion in that Tramontina triply cookware is very affordable and good quality.

              I won't think so far ahead as in trying to pass your cookware to your daugther. People's preference are so different, and just because your cookware can survive, it does not mean it will be what she wants.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Thank you.
                I know I need 2 large skillets 2 large sauce pans 1 med sauce pan and 2 large dutch oven style pots. that's what I use the most.

                1. re: msbell

                  Large skillets for low to medium temperature: Bare cast iron or enameled cast iron or carbon steel.

                  Large skillets for high temperature like searing steak: bare cast iron or carbon steel

                  Sauce pan: I say either aluminum based or copper based cookware

                  Dutch Oven: Bare cast iron or enameled cast iron.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    my husband thinks he can cook and sometimes he dose he takes hours to make any thing and most of the time what ever he made stays in the pan for days tell I can sock and scrub it off he likes to cook things to long at to high of temps so far I have saved them all but know time will come when I cant thanks for all the ideas I think I can now start looking will let y'll know what I decide on and how it works out will still keep looking in for ideas.

                    1. re: msbell

                      Ok, if his preference is likening to cook at very high temperature, then you are better off with bare cast iron and carbon steel cookware. Both materials can handle extremely high heat yet remain nonstick. A carbon steel wok is a great example. Use for very high heat and can fry rice without sticking.


                      Problem is that one needs to know how to season carbon steel and cast iron cookware and many people have trouble seasoning the cookware.

                      If you think the problem is really about soaking cookware in water and scrubbing and scrapping, then stainless steel is still your best bet. Carbon steel or cast iron will rust if left in water for extensive period of time. Enameled cast iron cannot handle scrubbing and scrapping with metal utensils.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I think I finally got it , ruined means cooked on burnt remnents that were formally food, which is easily cleaned with SS cleaner/barkeepers friend but the easiest route is to tell him to cook on the gas grill.

                        1. re: Dave5440

                          But then the food would stay on the gas grill for days and they would need to repeatedly buy new gas grills. How would that help?

                          1. re: FoodDabbler

                            That's the advantage to a gas grill, turn on high,,,,wait an hr burnt remnents are black dust, would just have to buy new grates every year

                          2. re: Dave5440

                            I think I got it too, but burnt on residue can happen to almost any other cookware aside from nonstick Teflon.

                        2. re: msbell

                          My suggestion is to make YOUR pans off limits. Let your DH buy pans he wants to use. Insist he use them--not yours--and clean them when he's done. You aren't his mother.

                  2. msbell -

                    I have to agree with the posters - every cook is different. And what you like, your daughter may not. Plus, different types of cooking DO require different types of pan. You will have to replace non-stick. Repeatedly. The only "non-stick" you don't have to replace is cast iron and that takes true care and looking after. Must be washed in a certain way, must be kept dry, must be oiled etc.

                    I've heard great things about the Tramontina Tri-ply, so I'd say give that a shot. If you like it, one day you can uber upgrade.

                    And I'll say to you what I said to my husband when we were picking out wedding china. "What are we? BEARS?! Not everything has to be completely indestructible, we are humans, we can be actually careful."

                    Or have the bears cook on the gas grill.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: happybaker

                      "The only "non-stick" you don't have to replace is cast iron"

                      Pssh [whisper], also carbon steel cookware. :)

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Yes you are right!

                        But it is not as readily available to all and, as the other posters said - it has to be maintained.

                    2. As a person who has accidentally ruined more types of pans than I care to admit, I agree with those who say that stainless steel is probably most suited to an, er, "inattentive" cook because as far cleanup goes it can take the more 'abusive' methods which nonstick cannot. And if all else fails and the pan really is beyond saving, something like Tramontina or Farberware will be less of a financial write-off.

                      Also may I say (without meaning any insult to the OPs husband) that someone who isn't motivated to clean their cookware shortly after using it is probably not going to be motivated to properly maintain any cookware that requires any care other than normal washing and drying. Cast iron needs to be seasoned in order to allow it to perform at its best, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the OP's husband probably won't want to bother. Therefore, assuming total neglect, IMHO bare cast iron would probably not be a good cookware choice. Enameled cast iron, if accidentally chipped (which in the OP's scenario sounds fairly likely) will start to rust and we all know what happens to chipped LC if allowed to sit in water for an extended period (not only to the pan but to the sink surface the chipped area might be sitting on).

                      I'm not familiar with the use and care of carbon steel but if it needs anything other than to be washed and put away, it probably isn't a good choice for the OP either.

                      I second the comments about never buying cookware, dinnerware, etc with an eye toward posterity. Even if one's offspring likes something now, what are the odds that they will want them decades hence? Pretty much zero in most cases. That's what keeps eBay, Craigslist, and the great American garage sale alive and kicking, LOL!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: skyline

                        The care for carbon steel cookware is essentially the same as that for cast iron cookware. Both require oil seasoning to produce the seasoning surfaces. Both can rust if not careful. Both cannot go into dishwasher and should not be soak in water for extensive periods like hours.