Cookware Size for Electric Range
I am moving out on my own (finally!) and the apartment I am renting has an electric (coil) range - I was planning on buying Tramontina stainless steel cookware from Walmart, but I'm not sure about what size to get. Everything I have read here suggests getting larger saute pans, but as someone who has literally never used an electric stove, I am wondering how well the larger (12") pan would work? The coils seem very small to be able to distribute heat to the entire pan.
I was looking at this set http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-8-Piece-Cookware-Set/5716478?findingMethod=rr, which has 8 inch and 10 inch saute pans. I cannot really afford the bigger 10 piece set with the 12 inch pan (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-12-18-10-Tri-Ply-Clad-Stainless-Steel-Saute-Pan/5716483), but I could always just buy the pan by itself http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-... and fill in with other pieces.
I would appreciate any advice I can get. My cooking ability extremely limited, but I would like to learn, and choosing the right cookware will help me start.
Especially when you're starting out, the ten-inch frying pan is going to be a lot handier than anything bigger. And despite having has often recommended against sets here, I think you'll be very happy with the 8-piece Tramontina set you're considering. (I have and love the 8-qt stock pot in that line.)
Cook with it for a while, and hold off adding anything until you really feel the need. If it turns out that you do need a bigger frying surface, it could be that you'll want to meet the need with a different material for it: e.g. a braiser/rondeau (two-handled wide shallow pan with straight sides) with thick aluminum disk base, which would do better than the tri-ply stainless at compensating for a smallish burner in distributing the heat quickly and evenly. Or a cast iron skillet (if it turns out that searing multiple chops or frying chicken is the main reason for needing more surface). Etc.
Have fun in your new kitchen!
kobes18 - For just starting out, this seem like a good common sense approach. While many posters here disagree with buying a set over individual pieces, I think you have made an intelligent choice. Stainless, triply, and a good range of sizes. And not too much of a cash outlay. Experiment, build skills and go from there. Good luck and enjoy your freedom.