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pots and pans that will last a life time

Hey hey, I've been lurking for a little while but I decided I'd finally join since I'm genuinely getting interested in cooking and I have a ton of questions.

recently I've picked up a couple of cast iron skillets which are amazing. It's really nice to know that they could last my whole life if I take care of them.

Now I'm looking for something similar for a nice sized pot. Not cast iron, but Is there a type of pot out there that that I can easily boil water in at high heat, cook soup in, make stocks.... without worrying about chemicals and wear & tear?

I'm really looking for pots that'll that I'll be able to use for the next 50 years. Is stainless the way to go?
what are some good sizes that'll come in handy over the years for a small family?

are there any other types of pots or pans that i should think about getting?

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  1. I have reported your topic so it gets moved to Cookware, the appropriate board. Get a cast iron Dutch oven - enameled will be more versatile than non, since naked cast iron reacts with acids.
    Put a towel into your sink if you don't have a vinyl-coated rack in it, hand-wash the pot, don't bang it around, and it will last forever.

    Stainless steel or hard-anodized aluminum also fit the bill but I think properly cared for cast iron is more durable. Make sure that pots and handles are oven-safe up to at least 400 degrees. Eventually you will want to braise and/or oven-finish stovetop recipes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      Oh, I totally agree with Grey...in fact, I just took off the stove a potful of Chicken Mole that cooked in a cast-iron enamelled 4-qt casserole that must be 25 years-old. I bought it second-hand at the Chicken Barn near Ellsworth ME in 1998 and it is my best kitchen-pot-pal.

    2. One large stock pot will serve many purposes. I use mine for soup, I also can in it, and make large batches of foods like spaghetti sauce. I purchased a Tramontina at Walmart's many years ago, it is still in perfect condition. I wish that I would have bought the next size down, that's how much I like it.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ruthie789

        still using my mom's 8 quart cast iron and enamel le creuset pot, got to be about 55 years old and her old cast iron skillet.

        1. re: teezeetoo

          oh wow, I just looked at those on amazon. They seem reasonably priced

          1. re: teezeetoo

            I think my mom has one, maybe I can borrow it for a week and test it out.

            do the enamel cast irons do well on electric stoves?

            1. re: paulpaul

              <do the enamel cast irons do well on electric stoves?>

              Ok.

              1. re: paulpaul

                I don't see any difference in how they cook. Cast iron is not known for responsiveness anyway and do best at a maintained heat.

          2. I recommend All Clad for your pots. I have had my original set for over 25 years and it is still going strong. I occaisionally find pieces at TJ Maxx and Marshall's and the All Clad factory sale here in Pittsburgh but even at full price it is worth it. Just buy a piece at a time if you need to. I would start with a 4 qt saucepan with helper handle and a 6 qt stock pot. Most of my pieces are the original stainless and I have a couple of D5 pieces. BTW I also love my cast iron skillets.

            6 Replies
            1. re: nadiam1000

              I'll second the All Clad recommendation. I've had two different sized stock pots for more than 15 years now, and use them constantly...They are still in great condition. The downside is the price, but I'm lucky enough to live near the factory in Pittsburgh and can take advantage of their factory sales. Even without the factory sales I would gladly pay the price for the quality.

              http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

              1. re: Burghfeeder

                Considering the high price of All-Clad pots and pans, I would expect a decent pouring lip, which they lack. Aesthetically, the rimless edge looks sleek, but it is annoying that they drip and run when one pours out the contents. My Calphalon hard-anodized pan has the same lousy lipless edge but it's a shallow pan in which I rarely cook things that will be poured out.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Another thing that bothers me with All-Clad is the handle. It is the most uncomfortable pan ever to lift and pour from. I sell A-C along with a number of other brands. I am in the midst of trying to get a new store open in 2 weeks. I did not help with pan selection, I am going to try to convince my boss to get Chantal Copper Fusion in. Those are my favorite pans. They should last for ages and another feature is that they are excellent for use on an induction burner (my next house, in a couple of years will have an induction cook top. All Clad has recently seen the light and put out a pan that is induction friendly. It has a brushed SS finish. I still hate the handle. The Chantal is so energy efficient that even on my gas cook top food cooks more rapidly.

                1. re: nadiam1000

                  I'm considering a nice clad pot. It's pricey but I do like that it's american made and high quality.

                  1. re: paulpaul

                    That's a great choice that should last for years. Check to make sure it's induction capable.
                    Also, if you are just starting out, the All Clad 6 qt or 8 qt, are lower/wider and can double as a dutch oven. Great for browning a large roast and aromatics and then tuck it in the oven for braising, (or stovetop braise). Depending on how many you cook for, they should be sufficient to whip up a large batch of chili, soup or stew, stocks, or boil up a batch of pasta. Dual purpose is always handy.

                2. I have a 12 qt multi-pot ( the Cuisinart stainless one) which I use for most of the things you mentioned, when I need to size. I have a 20 qt pot for canning and various enameled cast iron dutch ovens.

                  1. Any metal pot without a nonstick coating will last a life time, if you handle it with care. Even a good pan with a nonstick coating can last until your tastes change.

                    The first 2 pots that I bought (as a grad student) were a stainless Revereware sauce pan and an 8" iron skillet. We used the sauce pan regularly until a house guest scorched it, and replaced it with another stainless sauce pan. That's been retired (but not tossed) in part because it is not induction compatible; but also because I now have other sauce pans that I prefer (other sizes, etc). It did not ware out.

                    I still have the skillet, but don't use it much. Lately I have used it as a small baking dish, since it fits in the toaster oven.

                    It doesn't bother me if I have to retire a nonstick pan if I've gotten 10 years of good use from it. It does bother me if I buy pan that doesn't work for me (for reasons that have nothing to do with durability). The handle might be too long, or heavy; the area might be too large for my burners; the lid might not fit well; the sides might be too high; etc.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: paulj

                      I am quite happy using the revereware set my mom got as a wedding gift in 1963. I have every reason to believe the will keep giong indefinitely. I suspect my cast iron will outlast my willingness to use it if I get arthritis.

                      1. re: calliope_nh

                        Same here except my mom got her's in 1956. I prefer my all clad but still use that old Revere Ware.

                    2. To be honest, most cookware, beside nonstick cookware, can last you a lifetime, and technically speaking nonstick cookware can also last you a lifetime too. It is just the nonstick portion is not. In other words, its properties start to change.

                      For pots, I would say stainless steel cladded cookware fit your description the best. It is chemically stable, physically strong, and property lasting. Hard anodized aluminum is very good too, as greygarious has suggested, but it is not chemically as stable as stainless steel. For example, you can stick a stainless steel surface cookware in an automatic dishwasher, but you cannot do so for a hard anodized aluminum cookware.

                      1. Stainless will last forever, but an important consideration is the attachment of the handles. I have a couple of stainless saucepans which are about 45 years old. One has lost the handle, which was spot-welded on. Both have lost the knob on the lid. For a soup/stock pot, look for a sturdy bottom and riveted handles.

                        I just bought a new stock pot which has not yet arrived. I'll report on it here when it comes, if it's a good one.

                        1. Tho most of the bases have been covered, I need to add my .02. IMO, for most daily uses, in terms of weight, performance, and ease of cleanup, stainless is the way to go.

                          Any stainless pan, pot, etc. that is smaller than your burner should be clad. A disc bottom pan or pot is fine for anything bigger, but I have found the disc on most disc bottom pans don't extent to the sides of the pan, leaving a "hot ring" between the disc and pot side. Discs the same size or larger than the burner generally heat evenly enough, especially for something like a stockpot.

                          Beware of cheap stainless pots without discs. Even if you only expect to use that 12 or 14 qt stockpot occasionally, you will regret not spending the money on one with a disc bottom the first time you burn your prized creation to the bottom of it.

                          1. All-Clad (make sure it's made in the USA), Demeyere, and Le Creuset. Pretty much any cookware that is not made in China.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: miss787

                              In my experience, 'made in china' is not a problem when it comes to durability. The same criteria applies, regardless of country of origin.

                              1. re: paulj

                                I have nothing against the Chinese, I just try to buy american when there is a good option available, because well, I'm american.

                                1. re: paulpaul

                                  If so, then think about All Clad. Just beware of the handles.

                                  1. re: paulpaul

                                    I applaud that, and try to do the same, but I have also gotten some real American made junk in the process...including cookware.

                              2. Hi, paulpaul:

                                You've gotten some pretty good advice so far. But to answer your question more fully, you need to.. ahem... fork over some more information.

                                As others have already observed, other than nonstick, pretty much any pan will last you a very long time *if* you take care of it. What does 'take care" mean to you? Handwash or machine wash? Never scorching or scraping/scouring with the wrong things? SS clad is generally pretty durable, but not perfectly so.

                                Also, where do you see yourself, cooking-wise, in the next 50 years? If you envision developing a passion and aptitude for cooking, you may decide that even the most durable SS is not quite up to the performance level you may eventually want, and so knowingly accept a little more upkeep and maintenance. If you're like most people, this is a journey that allows you to make changes to suit what's important. Others want to jump right to the head of the line and never buy cookware again; while this is smart from a $ perspective, it can take some of the joy out of trying to improve your cooking by changing out the wares.

                                I would not be worried about "chemicals" much.

                                If you are looking to add to your skillets, I would get a 5Q and 8-9Q "Dutch Oven" shaped pots with lids next, then two or three saucepans (maybe 1.5Q and 3Q) and then a saute or rondeau.

                                Have Fun,
                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  Fortunately my career is also my main hobby and in order to stay competitive I have to devote a lot of time to it. So while I like cooking, I can never be obsessed about it.

                                  that being said I'm a simple man, I have cheap knives that I will sharpen until they break. I shave with an old double edge razor that is older than my dad. My main pair of work shoes are 8 years old and have had the souls replaced numerous times. I just like the idea of owning things for a long time and really learning their nuances.

                                  In the end I would just like to be able to prepare decent meals for my family. I don't have a problem washing pans by hand but hey if I could throw a stainless pot in the dishwasher occasionally, that would be pretty nice.

                                  1. re: paulpaul

                                    Hi, paulpaul: "[I]'m a simple man...I just like the idea of owning things for a long time and really learning their nuances. In the end I would just like to be able to prepare decent meals for my family."

                                    This is a laudable attitude, so good on you. Unless something changes with that expression, you should be fine with whatever you choose.

                                    I would humbly suggest to you a couple of considerations. First, limiting "nuances" in cookware can become, over the years, irritants of sorts. Second, one's interest in cooking oftentimes grows beyond decent belly-filling meals and into joyful exploration. The first can sometimes get in the way of the second, so I counsel that you buy the best pieces you can afford, so you have maximum "growing room".

                                    It sounds like you're best served by DW-able clad, so I would look at Demeyere, deBuyer, Mauviel, A-C, and Viking.

                                    Aloha,
                                    Kaleo

                                2. So far you have received excellent advice,tips.Plus and minus regarding material and care of.

                                  I would add,ERGONOMICS ,how well does the pan handle FOR YOU.Many of the pretty and
                                  utilitarian designs are ? .It's not a one size fits all world.
                                  What does it feel like,held elevated in one hand?Wobbly,do you need two hands?If so,does it have a helper handle?
                                  I have an equipped kitchen that receives real use.I also have 6 or 7 friends that would loath my equipment.The weight,ergonomics etc is ideal for me,5'10".Not so many,height,reach,hand size with control and leverage isn't a given,especially with the big names in stainless.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: lcool

                                    +1. There are folks on this board who collect cookware the way Imelda Marcos collected shoes.
                                    Most home cooks do not need a collection of Dutch ovens in the newest colors and a range of shapes and sizes. A full 4qt cast iron Dutch oven is manageable for people of ordinary fitness/strength. Make that a 6qt and the percentage of cooks who need assistance to lift and pour out the contents goes way up. If you shop for cookware in a store, don't get carried away with a 9qt cast iron vessel because it looks nice. Unless you are routinely feeding families the size of the Waltons or the Brady Bunch, you won't need anything that large. You'll still have several leftover meals' worth of food if you have a 4-6qt pot and a family of 4-5.

                                    If I had to have only one pot, it would be my 4-qt covered saucier (aka chef's pan). The term is used loosely - what I mean is wok-like, with a flat bottom that rounds into straight sides about 4" high. It has one long and one helper handle. It's great for braising, soups, pasta, and baking a crisp or cobbler. Though the higher sides make it somewhat awkward to use a turner, it *can* be used to fry eggs or make pancakes.

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      thank you

                                      We entertain a lot.Setting the table for 12 - 16 often enough I can't pare down yet.But I do know what goes first as the wrists,back and other body parts get dimmer.At 67 this is reality.
                                      With many in laws and friends 5' to 5'2" offset by even more 6'6" and the rest of us average height I quickly learned design and ergonomics matter.

                                      ellabee in the post below touches on it,the fat used after market

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        I personally disagree regarding pot sizes and weight. I'm hardly young and not in the best of health but have no problems lifting my 7 quart enameled cast iron. I wish I'd bought the 9qt but I thought it would be too big. It's not. These pots do not need to be filled to the top when used. Nor does it take feeding 8+ people on a regular basis to justify this size. Many of us are not single meal cooks, who only cook 2 servings at a time even though we only cook for 2.

                                    2. There is something especially satisfying about using tools and equipment that have lasted a long time. For twenty years, my main piece of cookware was a cast iron skillet from my grandparents' kitchen, and it's still in regular use here for pork chops and cornbread.

                                      I'm also happily using a 4-qt enameled cast iron Dutch oven/soup pot that I bought forty years ago. For several decades, it was my boil pot as well as my large casserole. Eventually, I added a 6-qt stainless-with-aluminum-disk pot for boiling/blanching -- because of the slightly larger capacity and (mainly) because of the lighter weight and greater ease of cleaning.

                                      The 4-quart Copco weighs 10 pounds empty, which is about the upper limit of what I want to have to handle (especially when hot and full of hot food/water).

                                      The big auction site regularly has Copco/Nacco casseroles for a tenth of what you'll pay for a new Le Creuset. The pots also have machined flat bare cast iron bases, which makes them as useful on the stovetop as in the oven, and specially well suited to induction.

                                      Descoware is another high-quality enameled cast iron from the 1960s and early 1970s that's still abundant in the used market. Some of them have bare iron bases, some the LC-style fully enameled with raised bare iron rim.

                                      For that matter, there are also real bargains on used LC and All-Clad on the auction/flea sites.

                                      It's a good idea to visit kitchen stores and the kitchens of friends to check out what works best for you in terms of weight, handling, proportions, and materials. But you don't have to pay those prices to get cookware that you'll enjoy cooking with the rest of your life.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ellabee

                                        excellent advice and information

                                        1. re: ellabee

                                          Those Copco/Nacco CI casseroles are great looking too, the Michael Lax designed ones are, anyway.

                                          My folks have a dark blue Nacco which hey bought in the late sixties still in excellent condition. Aga bought the designs for their cookware range, they make LC look quite cheap!

                                        2. If you have unlimited budget, by all means buy Le Creuset or All Clad. But you don't have to buy a pot to last a lifetime to get a good pot. A good stainless with the encapsulated bottom will work for you for years.

                                          I am a great believer in buying a very good pot for the purpose. But I know that many things can happen to you before you finally give up cooking, and buying a pot that you want to use until you die, could be unrealistic, even if you pay hundreds of dollars. I do think there are very good pots out there from Cuisinart, for instance, or from Caphalon or from other makers that would serve you for many years.

                                          I'd go places that sell cookware and handle as many sorts as you can before making this decision.

                                          To get a pan through your lifetime, you will have to guard it against, stovetop accidents, theft and loss. If you ever do a long distance move, have a roommate, or totally forget the beans as they are cooking down, you will understand what I mean. This doesn't mean that you don't deserve the best you can find and/or afford, but that very few pans make it through someone's entire cooking life.

                                          And plenty of older cooks have chosen to give up their CI.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                            <and buying a pot that you want to use until you die, could be unrealistic>

                                            I think I will have to agree with this. There are two reasons why most people (not all people) should take one step back on this. First, there will be improvements to be made for cookware in the future -- as marginal as they may be. For example, All Clad has now decided to move toward 5-ply D5 series with a more comfortable handle. Stainless steel cladded cookware have made progress upon those from 25 years ago. Would one want All Clad cookware from 25 years ago with the sharp handles? If not, what is the chance that you may not want your cookware 25 years from now when companies make further improvement.

                                            Second, the cookware can last a long long time if one take really good care, but it may not worth it. Sometime it is just easier to treat cookware as cookware, and not babysit them. Chefs from professional kitchens do not babysit their cookware. They simply change them every few years.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Talk about a change in our culture, we have moved towards professional kitchens where light steel skillets are pressed into nightly service, abused at high temperatures and barely cleaned on the outside so a layer of seasoning builds up, the pans begin to warp and when tortured enough, a replacement is purchased.

                                              Growing up on the kitchen side of a family owned restaurant, my grandmother, aunt and uncles were the brigade along with the cousins who did the scrubbing, tablecloths and napkins.

                                              I inherited several of their commercial cooking pots that must date from 1950 and consist of a thick cast aluminum alloy that have the same thick base and thick sidewalks similar to the AllClad profile configuration which were used for sauté and sauce / ok, gravy, simmering and thick enough not to burn or scorch if nonna forgot to stir from the bottom every 20 minutes or so.

                                              Spending several summers "interning" as a paid scullery grunt, you didn't dare set those pots back on rack if they weren't spotless on all surfaces.

                                              That was almost 40 years ago and while they show the scars of use when a denser metal nicked or scratched into them, but there are no signs of accumulated carbon stains anywhere and their bottoms still sit perfectly flat..

                                              I rarely use them due to their weight and a bit of fear that even as a cast aluminum alloy, acidic foods might be impacted by the metal; however, even replicating tomato based pasta sauces, I have never noticed any metallic flavors in foods cooked in those pans.

                                              I have tried to search out any manufacturing data, but to no avail. They are insanely durable, especially in partial retirement, and will be measured in multiple lifespans.

                                              Along a similar vein, we have purchased some Falk pieces that have comparable heft but with a stainless steel lining which is chemically less reactive than any aluminum, steel or even cast iron cookware. As insanely priced as they are, there is no question durability is one of their assets.

                                              1. re: ThanksVille

                                                Your point is well taken. On a different note, expectation and perception are difficult to meausre. Aluminum cookware are soft compared to steel based cookware. I have seen many used aluminum cookware which are dented and bent...etc. They are still serviceable and many small restaurant owners I know continue using them until they are no longer functional.

                                                For some home cookers, aesthetic matters. Forget about a dented or bent cookware, many would consider a deeply scratched cookware is no longer acceptable.

                                                So the whole "timeline" and "lifetime" of a cookware heavily depends on the users' expectation. Some would consider this following pan as perfectly acceptable and continue to cook with it. Others would have replaced it long before it get to this point:

                                                http://img.ehowcdn.com/article-new/ds...

                                                So the lifetime of the cookware depends on many things. It depends on the cookware material, but it also depends how the users take care of it and most importantly: What the users consider as beyond serviceable.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  I have an aluminum pan like that, similar discoloring, a bit warped on the bottom, but still perfectly round. Partly due to the warp I don't use it much on my electric burners (and of course not on the induction burner). Still it is useful if I need to do something like toast spices.

                                                2. re: ThanksVille

                                                  A change in the relative costs of labor and material can account for that change to more disposable pans. Increased manufacturing efficiency means that usable pans a cheap enough that restaurants don't have to buy highly durable ones, and pay staff to keep them spotless.

                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                    An analogy can be made with clothing too. Not so long ago, people would sew up any minor wears and tears from their clothing. Now days, I would say that most people would dispose these clothing. In fact, many people would toss away clothing with fading color. People have different expectations.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      Now days we spend out evenings on Chowhound rather than darning socks. :)

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        True. Although I am pretty sure we stopped darning socks way before the existence of Chowhound. :)

                                                  2. re: ThanksVille

                                                    Hi, TV: "[E]ven replicating tomato based pasta sauces, I have never noticed any metallic flavors in foods cooked in those pans."

                                                    Yes. Much too much hand-wringing and tooth-gnashing is done over this.

                                                    Aloha,
                                                    Kaleo

                                                  3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    But as the OP was specifically asking for long term probability with his purchase and stated he enjoys durable goods he most likely does take care of his things. I have two pots in my arsenal that have survived over 40 years of moves, kids, drops, burns, etc. and still look like they are maybe 5 years old. A West Bend sauce pan with lid and a Revere stock pot. Both stainless. Every other item in my kitchen has had to be replaced at some point. So if durability is the one thing the OP is looking for, I'd have to say his best bet is with a stainless steel product. The bakelite type handles were the downfall on some of my other stainless pots over the years. The fact that the newer cookware uses stainless, riveted handles should be an improvement. From the mindset of the OP, he chooses carefully and expects it to last and he will be satisfied with his choice for many years unless it becomes unusable. , He is shooting for a sound decison that will yield many years of household service.

                                                    1. re: Cam14

                                                      I have purchased some Reverewear at moving sales. Love those pots.

                                                3. So much depends on how you use your gear. For stock pots, enameled steel 8 through 12 quart pots should be fine...light weight, non-reactive and reasonably priced. Check World Market, Marshall's or TJ Maxx.

                                                  1. I think that pretty much any quality stainless steel cookware will last a lifetime with reasonable care. And by "quality" I don't necessarily mean "expensive". For example, my Tramontina multi cooker wasn't particularly expensive, but it's built like a tank.

                                                    You can't go wrong with the brands that Kaleokahu recommended elsewhere in this thread (Demeyere, deBuyer, Mauviel, A-C, and Viking). I would add Fissler to the list.

                                                    One thing to keep in mind, though. Whatever you choose, it would be a good idea to check whether it's suitable for use on an induction cooktop. You may not be interested in induction today, but there's no telling what your situation might be 5 or 10 or 15 years down the road.

                                                    BTW, all of the brands mentioned above are induction compatible (or at least offer specific lines that are).

                                                    1. vintage MagnaLite aluminum from Wagner
                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/351845

                                                      classic stuff, I had a set. tough, doesn't stain. takes a beating. good thick metal base for even heat. the handle screws need a tightening every now and then but no complaints. never had a pitting problem.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                        I would agree.I have a roaster that is ancient.It wasn't new when we married 42 years ago.Looks great,still use it frequently.

                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                          +1. Very good, highly underrated stuff. Another victim of clad.

                                                        2. Of course some pans will last and last. There are some people who will care for their pans extremely well. I don't have anything against buying quality stuff. But--life happens. There is no guarantee that your treasured pan will last your lifetime, but there is not guarantee it won't. My thought is simply that to get a really good pan, one that will perform well, giving you pleasure every time you use it, you don't have to get a pot that is wildly expensive, or that is the "best."

                                                          And, really, life happens, even to fabulous cookware. I'd wait until I was further along on my cooking journey to splurge on the best. And then you'll really understand why its the best.

                                                          And, feel free to disregard my advice. This is just my opinion.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                            I'm really just looking for some pots that will last 50 years, barring any accidents. I would actually prefer to spend as little as possible.

                                                            1. re: paulpaul

                                                              Stainless steel cladded cookware design is your best bet as many have suggested -- assuming that your description is accurate. Not specific to you, but I have seen many people described one thing, but really wanted something else.

                                                              1) Stainless steel cladded cookware are physically strong. You can use metal utensils, you can scrub them with steel wool...etc. You cannot do so for Teflon cookware as they will scratch. Clay based and glass based cookare are very fragile. This includes enameled cast iron cookware.

                                                              2) Stainless steel surface cookware are chemical inert. You don't have to worry about rusting, oxidization, most of the acidic or basic foods. You can soak them in water overnight. You can put them in dishwashers. You cannot do so for cast iron, carbon steel, pure aluminum, pure copper cookware...etc.

                                                              3) Stainless steel cladded cookware can endure relatively high heat (not extreme high heat, but way higher than oil smoking temperature). Their temperature limitation is better than Teflon cookware or tinned cookware. Stainless steel cookware also have good heat shock tolerance, whereas glass based or clay based cookware can crack during thermal shock.

                                                              4) Stainless steel cookware also have no upkeeping effort or cost. You bought what you bought. There is not much you have to after day 1. You don't have to season the cookware like cast iron or carbon steel cookware. You don't need to reapply the tin as tinned copper cookware, which can be between $60-200 per cookware depending the cookware size...etc.

                                                              5) No harzard. When something goes wrong, the stainless steel cookware rarely crack and explode in your hand, whereas this is possible for glass based, clay based, stone based, even cast iron cookware.

                                                              That being said and all, stainless steel based cookware design can be considered as "Jack of all Trade, Master of None". This design is not the best for high temperature searing. It is not the best for egg and omelet. It is not the best for temperature control. It is not the cheapest (not remotely close). It is not best for stir fry. It is not a lot of things.

                                                              It pretty is not best for anything, but it is fair for almost everything.

                                                              <I'm really just looking for some pots that will last 50 years>

                                                              At the end, it heavily depends on what you mean by "last". For example, most cast iron and carbon steel cookware can easily last 50 years IF you know how to take care of them. If you don't, then they last about 1 year. Pure aluminum cookware can also last a very long time, but they tend to get scratched up and banged up and discolored. Is this something you would consider as "lasting"? Mind you that they will cook just fine and just as good as any brand new cookware out there. Take a look of the photo.

                                                              http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/124...

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                I like stainless for saucepans and pots. I think it performs well esp. if it has an aluminum or copper disk in the bottom. It also cleans up nicely, and with little fuss and you can add an acidic liquid to deglaze. I really do like my stainless saute pan. If you want to cook at high heat, then you need iron or possibly carbon steel. My carbon steel did not do well for me on high heat, I have to say. But the metal could tolerate the heat.

                                                                If you want low and slow, then I wouldn't buy stainless for that, although I have used stainless for roasting chicken pieces with no problem. For a casserole, I'd want clay or porcelain, cast and treated aluminum, or iron. For this use I'd stay away from glass in any form. But for baking pans, I've used stainless with good results.

                                                                I think the chief problem with buying sets of stainless (not the OP's question, but an issue often queried about) is that stainless is best for a fairly narrow range of uses. I do think the OP is right to buy one good pan for whatever use he has in mind. He can always buy another good pan later for another use. And pans usually can be used multiple ways.

                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                  Very good points. You described the situation much better than I did. I didn't really mean stainless steel cladded cookware are not good. As you have nicely said, stainless steel cookware are not best for everything. Nor is there a cookware design which is best for everything. Thus, a cookware set of a given design (stainless steel cladded or anything really) will run into some resistance.

                                                                  An enameled cast iron Dutch Oven may work fine, but a enameled fry pan may not work well. A nonstick Teflon fry pan may work great for eggs, but may not for blackening a tuna filet...etc...etc.

                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                    I use my All Clad stainless for low and slow braising, casseroles etc. quite often when my one LC pan isn't the right size for what I'm cooking. I really can't tell a difference in quality of cooked product That may be one good advantage of clad over the encapsulated bottom stainless. It is very multi purpose. The LC has more charm IMO, but the clad stainless can do the job quite well.

                                                                    1. re: Cam14

                                                                      I have used stainless for braising on stovetop too. It would not be my first choice for low and slow in the oven. But I don't think using stainless for that is awful. Years and years ago, I heard that stainless steel did not conduct heat as well as regular steel or aluminum. Funny, I'd been baking cakes in a stainless pan for years and had good results.

                                                            2. I finally bought my new pot.  What I was looking for was something a little larger than my current largest pot (6 qts), with stainless steel interior and induction compatible.  I have a few pieces of All-Clad, so am familiar with their products.  I like my A-C, but do not see any point to multi-ply in the sides of a soup pot, and I am not willing to spend $300 (US) and up to get it.  So affordability is a consideration.  I also like simple, well-made products.

                                                              Then I saw these on Overstock.com:

                                                              http://art-and-cuisine.com/produit.ph...

                                                              The 28 cm (11") pot seems just the right diameter for the induction u it I intend to use with it, and the 9.7 qt capacity is significantly larger without being huge.  At below $100 it seemed like a good deal, so I bought it.

                                                              Having received it, I would say that while it is not a bad deal, I don't consider it a great deal, as I have mixed feelings about it, which I will detail.

                                                              First, despite the French labelling, it is made in China.  This should be no surprise, as Europeans have been moving manufacturing to China along with Americans for some time.  But had I known this in advance, I probably would not have bought it.

                                                              Second, despite the line being called "Professionnel," it does not strike me as professional quality. My main concern is the handles.  They are attached by a plate spot-welded at 10 points for each handle.  I have some experience with this type of handle attachment.  I have two Revere Ware saucepans about 45 years old.  The handle of the larger one broke off at the welds some years ago.  That of the smaller does not show any sign of breaking.  Given my advanced age, this new pot may well last my remaining lifetime, but then it's a pretty heavy pot when full and this does not seem a sufficient method of attachment to me.  Time will tell.

                                                              On the other hand, it does have a heavy, induction-compatible base, and it is exactly the right diameter and volume for what I have in mind.  I am sure that I will be able to make a big pot of chili with it without having spent too much on it.

                                                              In retrospect, I think the similar 28 cm Bourgeat pot would have been the better choice from the standpoint of professional construction:

                                                              http://www.culinarycookware.com/bourg...

                                                              This pot is the same diameter, but a little taller.  The handles are similar, and are also welded, but with a continuous weld around the handle, not with the tiny spot welds.  It is significantly more expensive, but not by a lot, and a little can be saved by omitting the lid if it is not needed.  For all I know, these pots may be made in China as well, because they are not advertised as made in France, but I have no doubt these are true "professionel" quality. 

                                                              Correctione: The Bourgeat pot shown is made in France.

                                                              1. What about some Paderno, made in PEI, Canada. As well Grocery Bags tested Dutch ovens and they liked the Emile Henri Ceramic Dutch oven. After seeing the show I am considering buying one.
                                                                http://paderno.com/

                                                                1. My Mauviel Stainless is MUCH heavier than all clad...and after 15 years, it still looks like new (I throw 'em in the DW all the time). Tho I do love my all clad 6 quart chef's pan.

                                                                  Stockpot(s) (8 qt wide and/or 12 qt tall, the latter if you like to make large batches of soup), 4 quart sauce pan, 6 quart chefs pan and a roaster are what I'd start with. Might also suggest 1 nonstick frying pan for eggs (or 1 rounded bottom skillet for 'sticky' items that might get burned in cast iron). Every other size is some variation of the above.

                                                                  Also, check outlet stores, TJMaxx and factory seconds. A GREAT way to pick up good individual cookware pieces at pretty reasonable prices.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: TechieTechie

                                                                    Well those pots look professional and of very good quality. I want some! I also like a french company for cutlery, Laguiole
                                                                    http://www.laguiole.com/laguiole-tabl...

                                                                    1. re: TechieTechie

                                                                      For breakfast I made a Spanish style cabbage and bacon tortilla (omelet). I cooked some minced bacon in a stainless steel skillet (German Berndes brand from TJMaxx). That left some fond. I then wilted chopped cabbage in the same pan, which loosened the fond. I beat some eggs, added the cooked cabbage and bacon, and poured the mixture into an oiled nonstick pan (induction compatible aluminum, also from TJ), and cooked it covered until set.

                                                                      I switched pans because there was a much greater chance that the eggs would have stuck in the stainless steel pan. I did not need nonstick for the bacon, especially since the cabbage 'deglazed' the pan. Come to think of it, stainless was probably better than cast iron or carbon steel as well, since deglazing can eat away at the seasoning.

                                                                    2. The seven ply Viking saute pan will last two lifetimes, I expect. Much as I love mine, I probably reach for an AC skillet more often.

                                                                      1. All Clad is what I purchased 20+ yrs ago..they perform well and still look brand new.
                                                                        Expensive, but they will last forever!