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Replacing Pots?

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I inherited my parents old pots when I went to college (while they bought nice new ones....). When making things from rice to things like puddings and pie fillings on the stovetop I can't never prevent the bottom of the pot from burning on the exact same place. With things like rice it can be ignored and just not eaten but otherwise it gives a burnt smell to the other stuff when its not even cooked and I have not been distracted to have allowed it to burn while unattended.

Do i need to fix the coating or just toss them? If so what should I look for that's affordable but not low quality?

Thanks!

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  1. Get rid of them. Those are hot spots. In college in home equipment labs we had to test pans for hot spots by burning vanilla pudding in them. We were looking to get a nice even burn/scorch across the bottom. Aluminum is a great conductor of heat as is copper and carbon steel. All-Clad and Regalware have stainless exteriors and interiors with an aluminum sandwiched in between for even heating. Regalware is about half of the price of A-C. Swiss Diamond is heavy aluminum coated with industrial diamonds. It heats very evenly, is non-stick and you can use metal in them and not scratch. Dishwasher and oven safe. Chantal is also great. Start by buying a piece or two at a time. Don't buy sets unless you are sure you will use everything in the set.

    1. You didn't say what you have, but if it a plain one-layer stainless pot, uneven heating is an inherent limitation. You need a pot with a thicker bottom made of a material which conducts heat better than stainless steel, usually aluminum, to reduce the problem with hotspots.

      Evaluate your needs, and decide which pot or pan you most need to upgrade first, then we can discuss alternatives.

      2 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        I've already replaced frying pans and since I love baking almost everything is brand new for that. For stovetop cooking I have no idea what my pots are made of and they are too old to find anything readable anywhere on it.... I basically have 3 different sized pots with lids that I'll use for anything from rice, chicken, boiling pasta, sauces, puddings... They all must have been from the same set but the one I definitely want to replace first is the smaller one I use for sauces, puddings to get rid of any burnt smell. Plus I live on my own so I can wait on replacing the large ones since I'm not usually cooking for many people.

        I ask about materials only cause I first made the mistake of buying a cheap muffin pan which corroded after washing...I want things that will last but arent very pricy or have special instructions for caring for it. I grew up never using a dishwasher so as long as it works, doesn't burn/corrode and can be easily scrubbed clean then its fine by me =)

        1. re: alliels

          If they are thin and shiny on both sides, they are plain stainless steel. For better heat distribution, modern pots are aluminum clad with SS on the inside and usually the outside as well (tri-ply). These will be thicker.

          If you are into sauces, you might like a saucier. Cutleryandmore has the 1-qt Emirilware (made by All-Clad) for only $20:

          http://www.cutleryandmore.com/emerilw...

          This is small, but I have a 1-qt saucier and use it all the time. Then you would need one larger, conventionally shaped saucepan.

      2. I've been looking to get new cookware myself, and I have found that Tramontina 18/10 Stainless Steel Triply is the best affordable coookware. You can only get it from Walmart's website though. Cook's Illustrated compared it to All-Clad, and it has hundreds of positive reviews. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

        1. Sounds like you have a hot spots in your pan. Get a higher quality pots. There are many many options. If you are looking for stainless steel surface cookware, then Tramontina stainless steel is a good choice.

          http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

          http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

          Cuisinart MultiClad is also a good option:

          http://www.cutleryandmore.com/cuisina...

          How much do you want to spend? There are cheaper still options.

          But the way, what size are you looking for?

          8 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I'm looking for a 3-quart right now....something like this http://www.walmart.com/ip/Kinetic-Kit....

            I was hoping to pay $50 or less (grad student budget here...) but i don't want to buy the 1st thing u see at Walmart. I'm willing to buy online.

            1. re: alliels

              Here's a tri-ply 3-qt saucepan with lid only slightly over $50:

              http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/...

              1. re: alliels

                You have been getting good advice. I would recommend that you visit stores like Home Goods and Bed Bath and Beyond to handle pans. It is helpful to pick the things up and imagine using them on a stove. I can't stand certain sorts of handles, for instance. I want a certain sort. You will find that some pans feel comfortable in your hands, and others don't.

                Visiting Home Goods is a bit like visiting a bazaar. You never know what you will find. Yesterday I found some really nice quality German pans. Some with lids, many without. A brand I see there that I would feel comfortable buying is Wolfgang Puck.

                I basically agree with the Tramontina rec, but you want one pan, not a set. I've seen single Tramontina pans at Tuesday Morning, but not lately.

                Whatever you choose, I hope you will take a little time to shop. You can always order online after you choose what you want.

                Good luck!

                1. re: alliels

                  I cannot tell, but it looks kinda of thin. I have seen Kinetic cookware before. I think it is great for short term or light use. I don't consider them as good as Tramontina. Tramontina has a 3-quart one for $40. It is fully cladded.

                  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

                  Do you have a Home Goods or TJ Maxx nearby? Go there and pick one with a thick bottom aluminum disc cap. Bottom disc pots are usually a bit cheaper. I bet you can find a 3-4 quart for about $25-30.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Well yea the link was only to show what I'm looking for but I'm not planning on buying that.

                    Here I have access to a Bed Bath and Beyond and Macy's has cookware, otherwise its the usual Walmart/Target/Kohls. Thats why I wasnt sure if it was worth going to the store and picking something that will just as bad.

                    So from what I understand I should aim for getting a tri-ply stainless steel one since it has more layers to evenly distribute the heat but is not as expensive as other materials.

                    1. re: alliels

                      "So from what I understand I should aim for getting a tri-ply stainless steel "

                      I don't know about your criteria. You do wanta good thermal conductor like aluminum or copper somewhere in your cookware. Triply stainless steel-aluminum is a good design if you like stainless steel surface.

                      Maybe you don't care for stainless steel surface. In this case, these two nonstick surface on hard anodized aluminum saucepan will also work well for you:

                      http://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-JR878...

                      http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-Class...

                      "but is not as expensive as other materials."

                      Actually full triply construction is kind of on the expensive side. Tramontina is just so happen on the cheap side. If you get an All Clad triply 3-quart saucepan, then you are looking close to $190:

                      http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Steel...

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        "close to $190"

                        Yes, but the Cook's Standard to which I linked can be had for $52 + shipping. Do you have an opinion on that brand?

                        1. re: GH1618

                          GH,

                          I don't know this brand, but it looks very nice too.

              2. Go to Bed Bath and Beyond (bring your 20% off coupon) and handle some pots. Find a style you like. Even if they don't have the exact size/shape you want, they will order anything available on their website, ship it to your house at no charge, AND apply the 20% discount. Win win.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mojoeater

                  Good strategy.

                2. Hi, alliels:

                  Life is too short to cook in crappy pans. While there is a world of difference between "best" and "acceptable", there are about THREE worlds between acceptable and crappy.

                  My advice is to consider two basic options: (a) Go to a restaurant supply store and buy a few sturdy all-aluminum pots and pans (these are what 85% of the pros cook in). They're inexpensive. Or (b) buy a small set of value clad (e.g., Tramontina) from WallyWorld.

                  In the event you can't afford this, I suggest you educate yourself a little more and canvass your local thrift stores, garage sales, and eBay. There are *really* good values out there if you know what to look for. As for new-vs-used, remember the old adage about your new car becoming used as soon as you drive it off the lot.

                  Hope this helps,
                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Two more good strategies. But the third (thrift stores) does not work everywhere. I have yet to find anything in a thrift store I would want to use in my kitchen, and I do check often. It just depends on the area you live in, I think. Occasionally I have found things in estates sales, but if you need things now, that could be iffy too. If your area has a multiplicity of second had sources, I think you have a better chance, but you pay for this with time instead of dollars.

                    1. re: sueatmo

                      Hi, sueatmo:

                      Sure, that makes sense. Where I live (Seattle), thrift stores can have good pickings, as can estate sales. Curiously, the low-end antique places around are generally a poor choice.

                      Absolutely right about paying in time. If you don't enjoy poking around these "secondary markets", it may not be worth it. And you can't be in any rush. But IMO/E, your options are pretty limited if you want the high quality level some vintage lines represent.

                      Aloha,

                      Kaleo

                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        I have access to numerous Goodwills and one other thrift I like to visit. For awhile I was keeping my eyes peeled for those old fashioned beer schooners from the fifties. But recently I read that those have been reissued. I can't guarantee that the ones I bought are really old. Really irritated me. But that's as close as I have gotten to vintage kitchen ware that I felt would be functional for me.

                        I have found my old skillets in junky antique stores or flea market type retail places. But once a long time ago I did find a really nice fifties era rolling pin that I really like at an estate sale. And in a flea market I once found a killer potato masher made out of a single rolled piece of stainless steel. I didn't know what I had till I put it through the dishwasher a couple of times. But at thrift stores I strike out.

                  2. I have the Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 2.5-qt. Saucepan with Cover

                    http://store.calphalon.com/calphalon-...

                    I bought it at TJMaxx for $30 ~3 years ago. I can't believe how much they've jacked up the prices.

                    Even at $30 I thought it was over priced. I only use it for foods that stick and only clean it with a sponge. I can tell you it will last at least another 3 years.

                    I have another 2.5+ qt full clad exterior copper lined saucepan got it at Marshalls on clearance for $22. The brand is just called "Hotel". I was skeptical at first but I love it now. The copper is heavy and absorbs the heat better than my All-Clad SS. The interior is lined with SS and I dare say its almost as good as All-clad. No pitting and washes like new every time.

                    Using a SS saucepan for foods that don't require nonstick can extend the life of your nonstick pans. Better for your health and save you $$$ in the long run. TJ and Marsh carry quality cookware at very reasonable prices.

                    1. You may also consider "vintage" Revereware which can be found at yard sales, freecycle and eBay. I have been using the set my mom got when married in 1964 since I was married in1984. This is thick stainless with a copper clad bottom. The older pieces are made in the USA. I have hears that the newer stuff doesn't compare.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: calliope_nh

                        My mother has used the same Revereware set for twenty-something years. We both cook a lot and have been happy with them. They're pretty basic, but all you really need. I've also heard new Revereware is not nearly as good as old - maybe check Ebay?

                      2. I've got at least four times as many pots and pans as I need, mostly because I find them at flea markets and estate sales and can't pass them up. Started with cast iron, then got into Magnalite, then into enamelled iron, and now tinned copper, and I never paid over $20 for any single piece. Magnalite is my favorite everyday stovetop pot, except for one nonstick heavy aluminum sauté pot, 5 qt. with a glass lid, that my late father-in-law bought a bunch of as Christmas gifts because BB&B was selling them for $19! It's my big stovetop braising tool. But for sautéeing and frying, I've laid off the cast iron and begun using my tinned copper skillet, and all of a sudden a perfect omelet happens every time.

                        I'm not sure what I'd buy if I wanted all new stuff and was starting from scratch, but I wouldn't be getting any stainless. Shortly after we were married Mrs. O gave me an All-Clad sauteuse, kind of like a heavy wok with a long handle, and despite their claims to the contrary any raw meat or poultry I try to fry in there sticks like mad. Ditto Calphalon, though the new nonstick ones will no doubt be much better.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Will Owen

                          So you find Magnalite functional? I always think it looks sort of clunky. Really interesting lines, but somehow not functional. Can you cook high acid foods in Magnalite?

                          1. re: sueatmo

                            That was one big advantage over straight aluminum: Magnalite is apparently as nonreactive as tin, but a lot sturdier. I have two 3-qt saucepans, one 2-qt, an odd wide but shallower 2-qt and a very late 2-qt covered pot with Teflon lining (bought NOS in the original box), which is my everyday rice cooker. I also have a big dome-topped roaster I just love the looks of, though I haven't used it yet. What looks non-functional about it to you? Mine are mostly just regular-looking saucepans with well-fitting lids, black Bakelite knobs and handles. All with the Wagner Ware - Sydney O. on the bottom, except for the newer one.

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              I remembered it looking heavy or cumbersome. If the stuff can keep going for generations, then it must be well constructed. Since you love the looks of the roaster, I think you will enjoy using it. I saw a piece in a Goodwill In Portland recently. For me it is not appealing. So my reaction to it is subjective. It appears to be very sturdy.

                        2. Thanks for all your help and suggestions!!! I settled on the Calphalon Contemporary 3.5qt saucepan from all the ones I saw at Bed Bath and Beyond. I opted for 3.5 instead of 2.5 and they were out of that one but it's being shipped to me with no shipping charge and the 20% off coupon =) Once I receive it I'll have to decide what next to replace!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: alliels

                            You did it. You evaluated several pots, and you chose the one you thought was best for you.

                            May you cook many happy dinners in that pot.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              Glad for all the help here cause at the store an employee saw me looking around and tried to force me into buying a pot just cause it was by Emeril....

                            2. re: alliels

                              Hey, you picked the one I suggested. :P

                              1. re: alliels

                                We have that same pan :)