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Ready to Buy New Pots: Need Advice

So I'm thinking that I need to stop boiling water and cooking sauces in my current non-stick Ikea-ware because everything ends up as cancer-water. I am ready to purchase some good pots - I have a great Le Crueset collection already and I'm not looking for cast iron - I'm looking for pots to boil things in, cook veggies etc. I don't want to buy anything made in China/Asia (the whole point of this replacement is to AVOID the carcinogens) so I would like USA or France made. Price isn't really a factor as I plan on keeping them a while - two caveats: I do not like All Clad as the handles hurt my hands a lot and I am wary of copper because between work, family and general craziness I don't think I'd have the time to keep it up properly. I was looking at Demeyere, Viking, and Mauviel but honesty I need some good Chowhound advice!

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  1. Hi, the amusedbouche:

    There are many choices available. To help narrow it down, is bare or anodized aluminum an option? If not, that effectively leaves you with carbon steel, SS clad and enameled clad.

    BTW, if you haven't actually had and used copper before, you may have an exaggerated idea about it's upkeep. The brushed finish, bimetal lines like Falk and deBuyer require almost none, and the polished finish you only do as often as you like. I now only polish only at the Holidays and midyear, except when I'm taking food somewhere in copper.

    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    4 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Really? That is amazing I thought it was like an every-time-you-cook endeavor. Good to know!

      1. re: theamusedbouche

        Hi, theamusedbouche:

        Yep, nope, and the tin linings are usually good for a decade or two.

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        1. re: kaleokahu

          wow! I had no idea - that is good to know because I have read that tin is a lot less "sticky" than stainless steel - I have a few All Clad stainless steel pans and I hate how much oil you have to use to get things not to stick to them. Have you found the tin to be less sticky?

          1. re: theamusedbouche

            Yes, tin is generally less sticky than SS, and ideally sticky for fond.

    2. If I were buying new I'd buy Cuisinart or Tramontina. Both makers make cheaper and more expensive lines, but the best lines of either of them will be much less expensive than All Clad. I'd go with multi-clad. Cuisinart, at the upper end, makes a very nice pan. I don't know where the pans are made, though.

      I recommend visiting stores and handling pots and pans. You'll know what you like after a few visits. And I'm going to share something. You don't really have to have the very best to cook well. Of course good tools make cooking easier and more rewarding. I think you should buy the best you can afford. But if you can't afford the most expensive, there should be some good things for you nonetheless. Enjoy your hunt for the pans you want to spend every day of your life with.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        Great advice - I will look into some good stores in my area for trying different pans (I got four all clad pans as wedding presents and if I'd felt those handles first I doubt I would have registered for them!)

        1. re: theamusedbouche

          I don't like All Clad handles either. I prefer a fat, hollow handle.

      2. <my current non-stick Ikea-ware because everything ends up as cancer-water>

        <I don't want to buy anything made in China/Asia>

        <I do not like All Clad as the handles hurt my hands a lot>

        Seem like you have quiet a bit of preference set already, why don't you tell us what cooking materials you deem safe? I can pretty much tell you a reason for every single cooking material to be a health hazard. So unless we know what you considered to be safe, we really don't know how to advise.

        26 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Sounds like Cookware needs a Sticky:
          Just threw out all my nonstick pans because I heard on the grapevine that they cause cancer. What do I buy in their place. No China, no hard to maintain cast iron or carbon steel, no expensive stainless steel, ...
          :)

          1. re: paulj

            Well, I certainly know some people say ceramic or glassware is better/healthier because all other metal cookware (including stainless steel) leach metals.

            "Readily attacked by organic acids, especially with heat, stainless steel cookware can leach iron, chromium and nickel in food. The levels of trace metals in food depend greatly of the meal prepared. ...For nickel and chromium, those metals have been implicated in many health problems, notably contact dermatitis. The worst nickel concentrations come from stainless steel utensils. Even if the nickel and chromium levels leached in food through cookware is still under the tolerable daily intake recommended by the World Health Organization, the stainless steel cookware industry should seriously consider switching to a formulation without nickel."

            http://lifewithnature.com/detox-foods...

            I mean, you can really go crazy with this line of thinking.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I mean, you can really go crazy with this line of thinking.

              And reading about it

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Yikes. What about copper? The reason I'm being concerned about all this is that I'm newly pregnant and I want to do the best thing for the baby, now and once it's born....

                1. re: theamusedbouche

                  Hi amused,

                  <What about copper?>

                  You definitely should not cook on copper as in bare copper. Copper is toxic. It is not a "maybe". It is proven to be toxic.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_t...

                  That said, all modern copper cookware are lined/covered by another metal for exactly its reactivity and toxicity. Most commonly, copper cookware are lined with stainless steel or tin, so the foods are contacting either stainless steel or tin instead of pure copper.

                  In all honesty, stainless steel surface cookware is probably the safer choice out there. It is fairly non reactive over a wide range of temperature and pH -- thus it is stainless. My point is that anyone can point to a cookware material and claims it to be harmful -- even for stainless steel. Some people will tell you that Telfon nonstick surface is toxic, while some other will tell you that aluminum causes Alzheimer's disease.

                  Alternatively, one can argue that cast iron and carbon steel cookware to be the safest just because they are widely used with an extremely long history in cookware, so we have the a very good understanding of them. Yes, you can get "iron overdose" from extensive amount of iron (dissolved from carbon steel or cast iron), but that is extremely unlikely for a health adult especially in modern society where people tend to be iron deficient (not having enough iron). In fact, pregnancy is more like to make you iron deficient, so iron from the cookware is more likely to be a good thing.

                  http://www.babycenter.com/0_iron-defi...

                  http://health.howstuffworks.com/pregn...

                  So here is my thought. From a nonreactive cooking material point of argument, stainless steel is less reactive in a wide range of conditions and therefore safer. From a long term history understanding and exposure point of view, we have better understanding of carbon steel and cast iron which makes them safer in that respect.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I'm not sure that our understanding of iron and steel, as cookware, is any better than any other metal or material. Familiarity and long standing use is not the same as understanding.

                    1. re: paulj

                      <Familiarity and long standing use is not the same as understanding.>

                      True, but when all else is equal, at least we have much more data on iron than most other elements in our body especially its the long term effect.

                      In addition, I think our understanding of the pathways and pharmaokinetics of iron in human body is better known than say chromium or Teflon. There are just so much more controlled experimental data on various forms of iron (because of its abundance and history).

                      We know various iron transporters, iron pathways, different formulations of iron through IV or PO....half life, clearance. That vast knowledge is not present say in Teflon. I don't think there is any IV dose of Teflon done in human for example.

                      http://www.mdpi.com/1999-4923/3/1/12/

                      Actually, what cookware element material do you think we have better understanding than iron? Copper or aluminum? I would think we understanding iron better than those two.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        May be there are several levels of knowledge about these materials:

                        - in terms a metallurgy (how to refine, and use materials), I suspect scientific and engineering knowledge is about the same for iron, aluminum, copper and plastics like Teflon

                        - in terms of the role the chemicals play in the body, knowledge of iron may be a higher, since it is part of essential chemicals like hemoglobin. As far as I know aluminum does not have a role, but due to its abundance in the environment (e.g. in dust) it is also present in the body. Teflon in the body is also well studied, since it is used medically (not in IVs, but surgically)

                        - transfer of the material to the body via cook ware. This is probably the weakest area for all materials. Iron gets a free ride because it has been used a long time without apparent harm. Copper has an immediate toxicity, so tin linings have been around for a long time (which means that we should really be asking about the effects of tin, not copper). Refined aluminum is a newer material.

                        But it is hard to find information on how much of any of these materials we ingest, much less whether it passes through or gets absorbed. The data that I've seen about iron from pots is old and spotty (and appears to depend a lot on the food cooked, and state of the seasoning). The sources that I trust claim that intake of aluminum from pans is minor compared to the amount get via food (grown in dirt) and other natural sources. We do ingest Teflon as it wears off pans, but does it get digested?

                        1. re: paulj

                          <Teflon in the body is also well studied, since it is used medically (not in IVs, but surgically)>

                          In term of pure pharmacokinetic paramters, it is IV which gives the clearest results. For example, if you get a different clearance from IV and PO doses, you would almost always rely on the IV result. Teflon has a very long half life in the body if I remember right -- certainly much longer than most iron forms. As such, the need for chronic effects should stronger for Teflon than iron.

                          <transfer of the material to the body via cook ware. This is probably the weakest area for all materials.>

                          Let's talk ADME then. (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion). When you say iron has the weakest area for all materials, do you mean absorption mechanism or transporters? It is my understanding that we know quiet a bit about how iron get absorbed into our bodies probably more so than many metals. For example, we know all these iron absorption rates -- if anything from the iron supplement pills. This cannot be said for Teflon. We know we can absorb Teflon from cookware, but I don't know we have a lot of data about the PK paramaters. PO or IV.

                          <Iron gets a free ride because it has been used a long time without apparent harm. >

                          Back to your earlier point, if iron is considered as harmless, then maybe this is a moot point for the original poster? (not for other people just for the original poster who cares about toxicity)

                          <We do ingest Teflon as it wears off pans, but does it get digested?>

                          Teflon does get absorbed into the body via oral. I won't think it can be digested. Digested implies some form of metabolism, some biotransformation, and I don't think it get metabolized.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            What do you mean by absorbed? I make the distinction (informally) between something which stays in the digestive track, passing out the other end (like insoluble fiber), and stuff which passes through the intestinal walls into the blood stream. I suppose digestion would also imply being acted on by digestive enzymes and acids, such as breaking starch and sucrose into simple sugars.

                            PTFE probably is immune to digestion. Flakes should pass on through. But is there fine enough particle size that passes into the bloodstream?

                            Of course when dealing with cooking pans, we need to think about PTFE that might have been altered by heat. That fumes from over heated PTFE can cause problems in birds is well known. But I've seen little (scientific) discussion of how the remaining coating is changed.

                            Doing a search on 'ptfe blood' gives me articles like this on soft tissue applications of PTFE,
                            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20...
                            Alteration of PTFE surface to increase its blood compatibility.

                            1. re: paulj

                              <What do you mean by absorbed? I make the distinction (informally) between something which stays in the digestive track>

                              Absorbed as in absorption -- getting absorbed into our systems. I was using the ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion) definition.

                              <I suppose digestion would also imply being acted on by digestive enzymes and acids, such as breaking starch and sucrose into simple sugars.>

                              Yes, that would be the definition I am more familiar with. For example, you can absorb something through your GI tract into your bloodsteam, but if it is not metabolized/altered, then I still won't call it as "digested". That is what I meant by Teflon can be absorbed but not digested. A good example is PEG400. Quote:

                              "PEG 400 is nontoxic, not degraded by intestinal bacteria, not metabolized after absorption, and rapidly excreted in urine."

                              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/87...

                              PEG get absorbed into your body, go through your bloodsteam, your kidney... bah bah, but it is not metabolized. So I would call PEG400 something which can be absorbed, but not metabolized.

                              <But is there fine enough particle size that passes into the bloodstream?>

                              Yes. I am not an expert in Teflon, but my understanding is that it can be absorbed. The bioavaliability, that I don't know, but I could probably look up. So here it is. We know Teflon can be absorbed, but there are significant less data on the PK (pharmacokinetics) side of Teflon than Iron.

                              <I mean that the weakest area of knowledge, for any material, is the rate at which it is ingested (and potentially absorbed) from cookware>

                              See, that is the part we differ. I just think we know more for iron than other materials. We may not know everything about iron cookware leaching and then get into our systems, but we know more about iron than other cookware material. So this still give us a better understanding. I doubt we can resolve this part of the debate. I I think we just have to agree to disagree on this one. :)

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                When I do a search on 'pharmocokinetics ptfe', all I get are items that use pfte screens and tubes use to study the pharmocokinetics of other substances.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  :) I know. We know so much more about the PK of iron than the PK of PTFE or even other metals. I think there are many reasons for this. One is the avaliability of iron. Two is the safety margin of iron. ...etc. It is just so much easier to design a study where you are trying to dose a human subject with iron, then to dose him with copper. I mean, there just aren't that many healthy subjects want to be dosed with copper, right?

                                  Even if you find them, you have to be so much more careful about the dose design because of the toxicity.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    "Because of its toxicity, free soluble iron (soluble ferrous ions Fe(II)) is kept in low concentration in the body."
                                    Wiki article on human iron metabolism

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      <Because of its toxicity, free soluble iron (soluble ferrous ions Fe(II)) is kept in low concentration in the body>

                                      Now, now, let's not pick one statement on its own. The statement in the larger context from the Wikipedia text you cited is:

                                      <A relatively small amount (3-4 mg) circulates through the plasma, bound to transferrin. Because of its toxicity, free soluble iron (soluble ferrous ions Fe(II)) is kept in low concentration in the body.>

                                      Doesn't it support what I have been saying? Even for the free soluble iron, which is toxic, is kept under controlled by the transferrin/apo-transferrin. In other words, our bodies have a mechanism to deal with this situation. Of course, I am not saying that you can keep putting free soluble iron in your body to over-saturate your transferrin capacity, but it does demonstrate that your body is evolutionally developed to deal with this, to regulate it.

                                      I would like to cite two very short statements about transferrin from wikipedia:

                                      "Transferrins are iron-binding blood plasma glycoproteins that control the level of free iron in biological fluids"

                                      and

                                      "Transferrin is a glycoprotein that binds iron very tightly but reversibly."

                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transferrin

                                      The "reversibly" part is why we can control the free iron level in our blood. The total iron level is the same, but the free form is regulated by transferrin. Of course, this also get back to my another point that we know so much more about how iron works in our bodies than other elements like PTFE Teflon. I won't able to tell you if there is something which is designed to regulate PTFE. My guess is that PTFE, being a man made chemical, is not tightly regulated like iron.

                                      Paul, you seem to try hard to tell me that iron from cookware is more toxic than other elements from cookware or that we know less about iron than other elements. As you know, I don't share either views. I just like to reiterate my earlier point that we are not going to convince each other on this, so we just have to agree to disagree on this. Sound fair? Cheers. :)

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        I'm not trying to claim that it is more toxic than other pot materials. But I found it curious that elemental iron is toxic. Nearly all of the iron that is present in the body is in compounds, and even intake is most efficient in those forms (e.g. from meat).

                                        I think it raises questions as to whether cooking in cast iron pans adds iron to the diet. There's a report from the 1980s that claims the iron content of applesauce and tomatoes increases significantly when cooking in a new cast iron pan. But there's no evidence that the added iron (bound in some way with the acidic food) is absorbed.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          <But there's no evidence that the added iron (bound in some way with the acidic food) is absorbed.>

                                          My understanding is that iron which leaches from cookware get absorbed, but it is fairly ineffective.

                                          <Here's a European 2008 review of aluminum in diet.>

                                          :) I am not touching the aluminum thing with a 10 feet pole today.

                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Here's a European 2008 review of aluminum in diet.

                                      http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajour...

                                      It doesn't tell us anything we haven't discussed - there's no known biological use for it, but it is abundant (coming from the soil that plants grow in). In take might be a bit higher for people eating biscuits made with aluminum containing baking powder, but the only edible form that might be of concern is antiacids taken in excess. I post it more for reference than anything else.

                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                " When you say iron has the weakest area for all materials, do you mean absorption mechanism or transporters?"

                                I mean that the weakest area of knowledge, for any material, is the rate at which it is ingested (and potentially absorbed) from cookware. For one thing there isn't a lot of financial incentive to study this - not like studying iron supplements, or other essential nutrients. And the conditions vary too much. The little data that I've seen indicates that iron leaching (and assumed intake) is highest when cooking acidic food (tomatoes) in an unseasoned cast iron pan. But is that form of iron absorbed? And since most people eat food cooked in a variety of pots, it is next to impossible to identify any long term connections between pot material and medical conditions - except for the few cases of nearly immediate toxicity.

                      2. re: theamusedbouche

                        Hi, again, the amusedbouche:

                        Contrary to reports, copper is not toxic, although *too much* copper can be, well, too much. Bare copper is used--and widely so--for beating eggs, making preserves and confections, cooking zambaglione and polenta. If cooking those dishes resulted in toxicity, a third of Italy would be in hospital or morgue.

                        In fact, copper is powerfully antimicrobial, and its presence in our bodies plays an important role in healthy metabolism. These are probably among the reasons drinking water from bare copper is a fundamental treatment in Ayurvedic medicine.

                        Now then, "too much" will occur when you store food (especially acidic foods) in bare copper. And copper SALTS (the greenish verdigris) are indeed toxic. The latter can poison you, the former mostly upset your gut temporarily--if you get too much.

                        Copper "toxicity" is not a reason to avoid copper cookware, unless you have a particularly sensitive condition. If you conclude otherwise, you should stop drinking tapwater, as much of it arrives to your glass through copper pipes. Think about it.

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                      3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        You cannot be too careful. Then again, you can be too careful.

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I know that boiling stuff in nonstick and high heat cooking isn't safe, and I like supporting US made or at least European made where people earn a decent wage and are not under an oppressive gov, but I don't really know what's not safe other than that, which is why I asked here! I'd love your advice about it.

                      1. re: theamusedbouche

                        'boiling stuff in nonstick ... isn't safe' - that's a new one. What's the source for that claim?

                        1. re: theamusedbouche

                          This should totally not be an issue. No one needs non stick pots. You can make a good argument for non stick fry pans or skillets, especially if you want to cook low fat. There are some good low stick cast aluminum pans out there.

                          Given that, you don't really need no stick, or low stick in a pan that boils water. Just buy something else, like SS.

                          We can make ourselves crazy with all this worry about the safety of cooking pans. It isn't a productive use of anyone's mental energy. To carry this to its furthest end, we could eat everything raw. And there are some things we simply can't control.

                          1. re: sueatmo

                            You caught something that I missed - the OP talks about boiling water and cooking sauces. I agree that SS is great for those purposes. I'm not afraid of non-stick or cast iron, but only have those in the fry pan style. If sticking isn't likely to be an issue, I prefer to use SS pans, which have no coating to wear off

                            1. re: paulj

                              And which clean up in the dishwasher--making them easily cleaned and sanitized. So many posters seem to worry about the metal itself, but don't seem to worry about the cleaning up aspect. Give me a good dishwashed pot any day, rather than a hand washed one.

                              And there are some really well made stainless pots out there.

                      2. I guess you're looking for SS as you pretty much ruled out everything else. You're going to need to get out to some stores and handle the pots if the handles are also going to be an issue. As a side note did you know that between 2001 and 2005, the District of Columbia ranked 6th highest in the nation for cancer deaths, third highest in the nation for colorectal cancer deaths, and first in the nation for deaths due to prostate, cervical, and breast cancers, my guess is it's not the cookware.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Dave5440

                          It's totally the water (and the general health care as indicated by the poverty rates). Even with a good filter the water here is disgusting. And every year they send you literature in the mail from the city about not using the water to mix with infant formula and not cooking with warm water. Gross.

                          1. re: theamusedbouche

                            http://www.dcwater.com/waterquality/f...
                            talks about using cold water - if the line from the water main to your house is lead. In other words, it's the old housing stock that gives rise to this concern, not the water source.

                            http://www.dcwater.com/news/publicati...
                            also points out the hot water may pick up sediment from the hot water heater. Again, that's a house issue.

                            http://lombardi.georgetown.edu/commun...
                            this Georgetown report does not blame the water, or cookware for the high cancer rates in DC.

                            1. re: paulj

                              lol well it sure tastes terrible! As I mentioned before the disease rates in DC are pretty much due to the extremely high poverty rates which are part of a larger social breakdown that results in poor medical care (poor schools, poor government...). But the tap water is gross, cold or hot, for palate purposes all should avoid it.

                        2. Hello theamusedbouche,
                          For American made, there is All Clad, but I have not found the handles on either their try-ply of the d5 line particularly comfortable. There is also Regal American and 360, both made in the USA. Cuisinart French Classic is made in France, and there is the Demeyere, and I believe this includes their Viking line from Belgium. Mauviel has relatively long handles; great looking and heavy but the handles may get in your way. Then there is Fissler from Germany and the list could go on and on. All are stainless steel.

                          As far as maintaining copper, the exposed copper on the All Clad copper core is not that much and a little Twinkle (do they still make it?) should shine it up in short order.

                          China has had its problems and there is some really good SS cookware carrying US Brand names coming from China and the quality, $ for $ is very good. We have a mishmash and only 1 AllClad d5. Scanpan Fusion 5 (China), Westbend (very old US), Cuisinart, Lodge, Some Swiss Diamond, Le Crueset, Mauviel roasters, a couple of Atlas Woks, and several older Magnalite Pro. All good for different reasons. I think you are safe with the SS regardless of the country of origin. That constitutes my nickels worth. And fair warning: the 360 is touted at waterless or vaporware which you of course can use in any normal fashion. But waterless cookware generates a little bit of heat here. Just saying. Good luck and please pardon my rambling.

                          15 Replies
                          1. re: dcrb

                            Thank you for your comments! I don't mind the rambling :)

                            1. re: dcrb

                              I'd have a very hard time believing all SS is safe let alone equal. There is no real standard on SS metal composition and even if there were I have little doubt the Chinese would ignore that.
                              Look at the wide range "SS" covers in a metallurgical sense in regards to knives.
                              Personally I'm avoiding products made in China as much as possible but can respect others may have a different view about that.
                              Mauviel SS is very nice and made in France. Tri-ply like any thing else varies in quality from brand to brand.
                              All-Clad quality has really fallen off over the last few years. I really liked the LTD line.
                              The Mauviel ss lined copper is great but the price is steep. Very easy to maintain with bar keepers friend.It's not like you HAVE to keep it polished.
                              Calphalon is made in the USA and they stand behind their warranty which is nice.
                              Over all Mauviel SS would be my first pick if you are ok with the price.Viking SS and the Sur la Table house brand are both worth looking at closely as well.

                              TJ

                              1. re: TraderJoe

                                <Calphalon is made in the USA and they stand behind their warranty which is nice.>

                                A lot of Calphalon aluminum cookware are made in US, but the stainless steel ones are made in China and others. They are great cookware nonetheless.

                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                  The Viking SS is made in Belgium, I have one piece and am looking for more to replace old pots and pans. If I'm not mistaking, the Sur la Table house brand is made in China. BTW, I'm with you 100% on not being comfortable with and avoiding where possible, products made in China. I just read today that the scale is tipping back the other way as wages in China increase from 15 to 20% annualy, and companies are looking into reshoring as the cost advantage just isn't there anylonger.

                                  1. re: TraderJoe

                                    And what could be dangerous about Chinese made stainless steel? I'm not interested in generic 'can't trust those xxx'. I want to know what harmful metals might be present (preferably has been found). 18/10 is a common ss used for pots, though 18/0 might be used in the base for induction compatibility.

                                    Consider also that just because a pot is made in the USA or a European country, the steel itself might come from China or India or Brazil. I read someplace that the Keystone pipeline uses Indian steel.

                                    And what about pans designed and marketed by Berndes? I have several (both SS and nonstick) aluminum of this brand, but made in China?

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      Hi paulj,
                                      It's not so much that it's dangerous (although I don't know either way about that) as much as it is that I'm not a fan of supporting exploitative working conditions and countries like the US and EU, while certainly not perfect, have laws in place to help prevent such things. I try to buy clothes etc that are US or EU made, and buy foods from purveyors that I think do the right things (e.g. grass-fed and finished beef, free-range chickens) - it's more about the "voting" aspect of where I spend my money - I'd rather spend it to sustain something that is positive. Just a predilection!

                                    2. re: TraderJoe

                                      Trader Joe, I can fully understand concern over cheap imported cookware whether it be of Chinese manufacture or from some other country. There is a standard for SS in its various forms and it is incumbent upon the manufacturer to ensure standards and quality are met. A lot of brand name cookware, as well as knives, are imported from the Orient; it may be designed and spec'd out in the US, or Europe, and then an overseas manufacturer is contracted to produce it and it is branded as with the domestic manufacturers name, which dictates in large part the price you pay. A reputable company will have their people periodically inspect the factory, may even have a staff on site full time to guarantee quality. That was the case with the ScanPan Fusion 5 cookware I purchased many years ago. It was manufactured "under license" and is a very heavy 3mm thick 5 ply. Excellent performance. Had I known about its Chinese origins beforehand, my perceived prejudices would have stopped me cold. I only found out after the purchase how it was made.

                                      This computer is made in China. No choice. Most electrical countertop appliance come out of the Orient. I have not changed my mind about the government and human rights violations, but I try to believe that the factory worker takes pride in his or her work and produces to the specifications of the brand name manufacturer. If it is cheap and shoddy, and carries the All Clad, or Cuisinart, or Revereware brand, to name a few, shame on them for either allowing it or specifing a low grade product to begin with. I too prefer to support the American worker and am willing to pay for it. But I always look for country of origin. I now see Fusion 5 being sold as PEI Fusion Five (Prince Edward Island).

                                      Your other points are well taken also. Viking is or was made by Demeyere which is a good example of spec'ing a design and contracting it out. Was it made to Demeyere's standards which are very high or did Viking spec a lower quality and depend upon their Branding to justify a high cost? I do not know. Calphalon has/had two identical lines Simply Calphalon; one is or was made in Toledo Ohio and the other in China. I purchased some a few years back for family and they sat side by side in Macy's. I was surprised. I could not tell the difference without looking at the pans bottom. I suppose the company had to open a second factory to meet the demand. The funny part was the cookware was the same price regardless of where it was made. Having seen the Sur la Table first hand in Phoenix 2 or 3 years ago, I can tell you it is Made in China. At least what I looked at was so maybe they have another line now. And the Mauviel M'Cook SS cookware at Sur la Table is very heavy and if I could afford it would buy it in a heartbeat. But I cannot.

                                      Personally I would be more concerned about prescribed or over the counter pharmaceuticals/vitamins coming out of the Orient than I would be a pot or a pan. The FDA readily admits they can only inspect once a year and they find purity problems. I recently discovered that my vitamins are from China. Toothpaste is now Distributed By instead of Made By. I cannot check the purity hands on with these items, but I can with durable goods such as cookware.

                                      I hope this did not sound argumentative or judgmental. Just a different point of view who reluctantly has had to make a few adjustments, globally speaking.

                                      1. re: dcrb

                                        "Having seen the Sur la Table first hand in Phoenix 2 or 3 years ago, I can tell you it is Made in China"

                                        I was in a Sur la Table very recently and I believe the store brand SS was made in France but it's worth double checking. If I'm incorrect and it's made in China it would come off my list.
                                        There are NO standards for SS in the generic sense and we have seen Chinese manufactures ignore licensing specs over and over.... Unless of course we are to believe that corporations that licensed products to be made in China wanted products with toxic paint, chemicals, defective materials, (including steel) etc.
                                        I do agree there may well be a few companies that use some "slight of hand" by marking products made in one country and use imported SS. I think that would be the exception and not the norm especially as people are more cognizant of not only the lack of Chinese manufacturing standards but of domestic jobs. Every product we buy matters.
                                        Some where along the line as consumers we have to place some trust in a manufacturer. I think there is a much higher probability that I'm getting a quality product when I buy cookware that's not explicitly marked "made in China" and from a reputable company. The Op wanted to avoid Chinese products and I for one applaud that notion!

                                        "Companies that make cookware like Calphalon don't produce the the raw materials like the aluminum core"

                                        The last I knew the cookware made in Toledo by Calphalon was made with domestic material. Since they are a US based company with great customer service one could always call or email and re-confirm.

                                          1. re: ziggylu

                                            I just came back from the Local SLT and they say their SS triply is made in France and Thailand depending on the piece. Not China.

                                            TJ

                                            1. re: TraderJoe

                                              Thanks. That is good to know. Did the cookware identify the country of origin on the bottom? Some do, some don't. Our Scan Pan Fusion 5 did not which truly upset me. But as I said earlier, it is good solid cookware and we are glad to have and use it.

                                      2. re: TraderJoe

                                        These are great responses (Chem, paulj, and dcrb) that people often over look.

                                        dcrb: "Consider also that just because a pot is made in the USA or a European country, the steel itself might come from China or India or Brazil. I read someplace that the Keystone pipeline uses Indian steel."

                                        I'd like to add...

                                        Companies that make cookware like Calphalon don't produce the the raw materials like the aluminum core, cast hands, and SS sheets that you cook your food on. The raw materials comes from multiple third parties, which may not necessarily be located in China. The factory that assembles everything together happens to be in China.

                                        Ultimately, it's Calphalon's responsibility to ensure their interior SS lining is safe for consumer use. Because in the end, they will be held accountable for all health problems the cookware may cause.

                                        1. re: unprofessional_chef

                                          Hi unprofessional_chef,

                                          Wish I could have been that short and to the point. Well said indeed!