Falk cookware decisions... replacing old cookware set, I want opinions.
I am thinking about making a quantum leap. I love to cook, and love great cookware, but am seeking advice on a sizable purchase of new cookware.
This is where I am... I have at my core of cookware, a 30+ year old set of Calphalon cookware. The old anodized aluminum heavy duty pots that I bought so many years ago and have served me well. The pots are well worn, and all of them have the anodized lining worn off, with bare aluminum exposed. While not proven...I am cautious and hesitant about all of that bare aluminum. Dont get me wrong, the pots have served me well. What I use of these pots mostly are the sauce pans, a sauté pan, and fry pan that I use largely to roast chickens in.
I have several carbon steel woks, some Costco generic non stick fry pans, and a whole slew of cast iron and DeBuyer fry pans. I have several Staub cocottes as well for my stew/chile/pasta sauce needs.
I want to replace the sauce pans with Falk pans, and perhaps the saute pans with Falk pans and want some advice on what to buy. This is obviously going to make my credit card groan, so I wanted some advice on what would be an essential set...what I should buy to make the perfect set of cookware.
I'm willing to cry once buying it, rather than live with regret.
Suggestions about a perfect set of cookware from Falk?
Thank you all in advance for your opinions.
First I want to thank you all for your informative opinions. Before I posted it, and after I read your responses, I did a lot of thinking. I took a mental inventory of what cookware I do have and use, as well as what I am replacing and what I need...or want as the case may be.
To answer some questions, normally I just cook for 2...my wife and I, but we do some entertaining, so I do cook for larger crowds. I do have a full complement of De Buyer fry pans now, as well as some aluminum non stick pans that I regularly replace when they lose their non-stickedness. I also have a full complement of Staub cocottes. Living in Hawaii and cooking a lot of asian food...we have several well loved hand hammered woks as well.
What I was going to be replacing mostly was sauce pans and saute pans.
I had previously ordered the Falk "try me" piece, which is a 1.5qt saucier...receiving that hooked me on buying the Falk stuff.
Soooo...I went ahead and ordered a set of sauce pans, (1.5, 2.5, 3.5 qt), and 2 saute pans, the 9.5 and 11 inch diameter pans.
I dont think this will be my last purchase from them... the larger saucieres, stew pans and casseroles are works of art in a pan.
I cant wait for their arrival........
While the colored anodized layer may have worn down, you don't have to worry about the bare exposed aluminum surface. That surface is oxidized into aluminum oxide, the same substance that the anodized layer was, just not as thick and not dyed to whatever color the surface was when you bought it. If you want to replace them with copper that is well and good, but you don't have to rush and do it immediately in bulk for health concerns!
What sort of foods do you like to cook and for how many people?
In general, I second ThanksVille and kaleokahu's recommendations on what pots to get, if you cook typical US/European style foods, though of course the size would depend on how many you cook for.
When I cook for two to four people, I mostly use a 24cm saute pan (~9.5" and ~ 3.5qt), a 16cm sauce pan (~6.5" and ~2qt) and a 24cm casserole (~9.5" and ~6.5qt). If I was limited to an "essential" three pot set, those are what I would buy to suit what I cook and the amount of people I cook for. That covers a fairly diverse range of foods, stews, sautes, "tagine"-esque dishes, roasting meats in the oven, pastas and sauces, braised meats and vegetables.
If I am cooking for 6 to 8 people, it's usually a far more elaborate affair with many more dishes, but in general I use a 34cm rondeau (~13.5" and ~11.5 qt) in place of the 24cm saute and augment the 24cm casserole and 16cm sauce pan with a 20cm sauce pan (8" and ~3.6qt).
Reheating leftovers for two usually is a cluster of a 3 to 4 assorted 10cm and 12cm sauce pans (~4" and ~5"; ~0.5qt and ~1qt) on one burner and perhaps a 14cm or 16cm sauce pan (~5.5" and 6.5"; ~1.2qt and ~2qt) on another, but the 10cm and 12cm pots are not even close to essential for me. I'd get a 30cm or 36cm (~12" or ~14") oval roaster/gratin first, which would allow roasting meats/vegetables/baked casseroles without occupying the saute pan first.
If you know you want Falk (as opposed to Bourgeat or Mauviel), and you know exactly what you want, I would strike up a conversation with Falk's U.S. rep, Michael Harp. Ask him for his best price on what you want, and at least try to *negotiate*. There's nothing wrong with this, or with asking him to give you the equivalent of their "Try Me" discount on your whole set (if it's your first purchase).
Essential is in the mind of the beholding chef, but I would say at least:
--one larger gratin (think fish pan, roaster, paella)
--at least one saucepan; and
--a stew pan/casserole/oven in the 5L-7L range
If you can afford lids, great, but you can use anything. Consider getting saute and the stew in the same diameter so one lid will fit both.
We first tried out one of the 2qt saucepans while also trying a slightly larger mauviel sauté pan. Found that we liked the easier maintenance qualities of the Falk; although both have excellent cookng characteristics. That was perhaps 12 years ago. We've since purchased one or two pieces a year and have a pretty full collection now....which is certainly overkill but will make for a nice dowry gift to our culinary focused daughter. IF I could only have three of their pieces, certainly a sauté pan 11" size. A 2 or 3 qt sauce pan and the largest double handle braised /casserole . Sizes are related to numbers you typically cook for; mine are based on cooking for 3. Please note, I have not committed our Falk sizes to memory so anticipate you may have to make choices from slightly different capacity options. Aside from all their other attributes, Falk's enduring design without pandering to stylistic changes for the sake of modish evolving tastes, like what AllClad has done has allowed us to collectFalk pieces over almost a decade with pieces all matching. We do have a couple Falk lids but frankly grab any lid that fits when needed so not sure they are worth the investment unless you're really fixated on matching panto lid while cooking. Still have the mauviel as a great risotto pan but after a dozen years, it's finish is more compromised than the Falk