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Building All-clad & Le Creuset cookware set (wedding registry) - what am I missing?

I've always used hand-me down pots and my fiance and I have been excited to upgrade to high quality pots that will last us a lifetime. We love cooking and want to have a versatile pot collection that doesn't have too many extras (I mean those pots that won't get much use because other pots could easily be used instead).

Just a little blurb on our cooking - right now our 2 qt sauce pot, 5 qt casserole pot, and frying pans are probably the most used pieces in our kitchen. The choice of pots may partially be reflective of what we actually own though - We don't have a saute pan (we make do with a larger frying pan), but this would probably be well used if we had one. We don't do much roasting of large chunks of meat or whole turkeys or chickens. However, this may change as we grow our family and have more space to host dinner parties, holidays, etc. We love trying new dishes and cooking fairly elaborate meals (when time permits).

I wanted to register for a pot set since there does seem to be quite a discount for the pots through this mechanism, but I don't want to register for a very expansive set since these can get expensive and it is hard to expect one person to get us a gift of that magnitude. Instead I figured I would register for a smaller set and then register for the pots I feel I need a la carte.

Also, I was going to register for Fissler Pro-collection pots but decided on All-Clad because I wanted to 'buy local' and I like that they have more pot options.

Okay, so here is what I have registered for:

All-clad bd5 cookware, 7 piece set brushed stainless steel, which includes:
-10" frying pan
-1.5 qt covered saucepan
- 3 qt covered saute pan
- 8 qt covered stockpot
(I listed alternative set options below - in case you want to look)

A la carte
- All clad bd5 13" covered french skillet
- Le Creuset 5qt enameled cast iron braiser
- Le Creuset 7.25 qt signature round French oven

Have and will keep:
- decent small non-stick skillet (maybe 6" that we use for eggs)
-Lodge 10.25" Cast Iron Skillet

I'm wondering if 1) There are things on this list that maybe don't have much added value, specifically 2) will the All-clad 8 qt stockpot be of much value since I am registering for a 7.25qt le creuset french oven? (maybe I should find another pot set? but of course there are only so many options here) or should I get a different size le creuset? 3) Are there pieces that I am missing that are necessary in a well stocked kitchen?

Thank you all in advance!

Here are alternative sets (some are d5 and some are brushed d5) that I see as potential options, let me know if you think one of these would be better:

1. All-Clad small capacity 7-piece http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...&
2. All clad 5-piece set http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...&
3. All clad d5 7 piece set (different version) http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...&

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  1. I think your Le Creuset choices are solid. I have both of them ( along with a bunch of other pieces) and those two are among my most used. As far as the All-clad d5, I think that is a nice set although personally I'd rather have a 12 quart stockpot, but you can get one later for under 100 dollars. That set is well rounded.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rasputina

      Thank you. I appreciate your response - I can't tell you how much time I've spent researching deciding on pots and changing my mind. It is sort of crazy!

      I was thinking that I might be better off with a larger stockpot. Maybe I should register for one of the 5 piece sets that don't have a stock pot and register for the stockpot separately.

      There are 2 five piece sets I can find they aren't too different from each other
      1. 10" fry pan, 3-qt. covered sauce pan, and a 3-qt. covered saute pan, $449.99 (brushed d5)
      2. 9" French skillet, 2-qt. saucepan with lid, 3-qt. sauté pan with lid, $399.99 (not brushed)

      I'm think I'd go with the first and register for a small sauce pan and stock pot separately. Would this be better than the larger set?

      1. re: aspiringcook

        I don't know. I'm like you I go over the options so much it drives me nuts, when I'm shopping LOL.

        If I was going to do sets, I'd probably choose the 10 piece d5 because it covers all the core basics in both saucepans and sauté/fry pans. Although I agree with Rick I'd rather have the 12inch ( I own the d5 12 inch with lid) but I think it's probably the best set size wise and it's only 100 more than the 7 piece set.


        My other choice would be the 7 piece small capacity set you list in your first post. The 4 qt soup pot easily doubles as a saucepan ( I own it ).


    2. I'd want a 12" pan in addition to or instead of the 10". I'd also want one nice 12" non stick pan, really like the Calphalon Unison. A friend gave me an all clad dutch oven that I really like but wouldn't consider it essential. I have both of the Le Creuset pieces that you have listed (I might have a 3.5 quart braiser, not sure) and I think they are an excellent choice. I also have a 40 year old Belgium made enameled dutch oven that's probably 14 quart and I have to say it's very nice to have when making a huge batch of something, but also wouldn't consider something so large essential.

      Keep in mind Marshall's and TJ Maxx often have Le Creuset pieces, especially the ones you have listed. I bought both of my Le Creuset pieces from Marshall's for a combined total of $200 or so in the clearance aisle. All Clad pops up once in a while there but not nearly as often as the Le Creuset. Maybe you can pick up the Le Creuset on your own and instead put some nice knives on the registry instead.

      1. I think we have similar cooking styles -- most the time just 2 of us, but host small groups (4-6) of family and friends frequently.

        Like the others, I would recommend a bigger stock pot. I think you will find the stock pot in the set a bit redundant with the Le Creuset, although it would be nice for cooking pasta (not as heavy to handle and easier to get into the dishwasher). Tthe 10" fry pan may be redundant with your CI skillet. I have the 13" french skillet and use it all the time. I would add a 3 qt sauce pan to this mix.

        1. I think the WS 10-piece is a near-perfect selection--8 and 10 fry, 2 and 4qt sauce, 4qt saute and 8qt stock, though I would prefer 10 and 12 for the fry pans.. T'aint cheap though.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mwhitmore

            Thanks. It isn't cheap and I don't think I can ask someone to spend that much - my grandparents always buy the pot set for the grandkid's weddings and while my grandma said she'd get what I want I don't want her spending that much (my grandpa recently passed and my grandma doesn't get his pension) that is why I'm looking for a smaller set. I will supplement the set with an additional saucepan - the 13" skillet probably is pretty close to the 12" frying pan though.

            1. re: aspiringcook

              Agreed. The two problems are: A> A set is a big chunk o'money. B> Even one pan you don't use negates any 'savings', and I think with some LC, you won't need the AC stock pot. So I would go with individual pieces, and here are my choiced: 1a. AC 4qt saucepan. 1b. Steamer insert for 4qt. 2. AC 2qt saucepan. 3. AC 12inch frypan. Combined with the LC 7.25, your cast iron skillet, and a non-stick egg pan, you should be set. A luxury addition might be a good roasting pan (I like AC flared) and a Saute Pan, such as AC 3qt or 4q, or for ultra-luxury, Falk or Brooklyn Copper 11inch Saute. BTW have a great wedding and happy future!

          2. I'd like to complicate matters further by suggesting you look into buying All-Clad at www.cookwarenmore.com and Le Creuset at a Le Creuset outlet store. http://lcstores.com/ The prices can be really good (though not always). I've never paid full price for any piece from either brand, at least not in the modern era.

            Also, and I think you realize this already, the A-C 8 qt. stockpot is the same shape as a LC French oven. I find it convenient to own the A-C 8 *and* a 5.5 qt (size 26) LC French oven, with the LC 26 getting a whole lot more use (but I am single). But you'll likely want a stockpot that's got the classic stockpot shape, i.e., taller than it is wide.

            Since you've got the budget for expensive cookware, I'd also suggest looking into buying a 3 or 4 qt. copper saucepan, and maybe a copper saute pan. Here's a company in Brooklyn that makes nice ones, I have heard (I don't have any because I don't need any more, but another member recommends them highly).

            If I had to acquire new pots and pans today, I would look into getting a couple of these (but I wouldn't want more than two, as I am a person who would bother to clean them, and I don't want to be responsible for cleaning an entire set).


            3 Replies
              1. re: Jay F

                Better prices are certainly great... not complicating things much. I hadn't heard of those sites, so that is great.

                I'm not keen on cleaning pots either, which is why I've avoided copper. The A-C are dishwasher safe, which was a requirement for my daily use, non-cast iron pots. I've read a bit about copper, but I was thinking more in terms of everyday pots so I didn't go that route. When would I use a copper saucepan or saute pan over the similar sized A-C? Just trying to get a sense of added benefit. I'm going for high end, but I don't think everyone will buy me expensive pots - so there are limits! Thanks.

              2. Have you cooked with All-Clad before? I personally don't like it.

                Demeyere Atlantis is serving me well. You can also register for it at Williams-Sonoma.

                19 Replies
                1. re: Sid Post

                  What is the difference between cooking with All-Clad and cooking with Demeyere?

                  1. re: Jay F

                    Far superior welded handles are what I notice first. Then add the 7-layer construction which contains sliver as one of the layers. I also like the final finish each pan has.

                    The handles make those pans balance better in my hand. The handle shape also allows tight cooktops to crowd the pans closer together.

                    1. re: Sid Post

                      Good to know. I bought what I thought was going to be an All-Clad skillet from someone on eBay, and she sent me one by Demeyere. I sent it back because it wasn't what I'd bought, but I thought it was nicer looking. I didn't try cooking in it, so I could send it back, but I've always wondered what the difference might have been. I didn't know about the silver.

                      1. re: Jay F

                        Hi, Jay:

                        If you read the A-C patents closely, I think you will see that they, too, call for a "silver" layer. After reading them myself, and examining the Demeyere verbiage and cutaways, I'm convinced ttat the silver layers in both have NOTHING to do with conductivity or the performance of the pans. Rather, it's there for purposes of bonding dissimilar layers. Of course they like to brag about it in a way that suggests it does more than hold the pan together. I defy anyone looking at the Demeyere Atlantis cutaways to identify silver layers--they must be of infinitessimal thickness.


                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          Silver is not used as just a "bonding" agent. If silver was cheaper, you would see it used a lot more more.

                          1. re: Sid Post

                            Hi, Sid: "Silver is not used as just a "bonding" agent."

                            Well, that's not what the clad patents say. If you know, how thick are those silver layers in your Demeyere?


                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              From Wikipedia:
                              Among metals, pure silver has the highest thermal conductivity.

                              The thickness may not be very high but, these pans are heavy for their size. The saucepan has the majority of its weight in the base. Other pans have different thicknesses to best meet the needs of that specific pan.

                              1. re: Sid Post

                                The amount of silver in those pans is so minimal as to have no effect on the overall thermal conductivity of the pan. It's about the thickness of the conductive material in pans. The thinner the conductive layer, the less effect it has on the whole pan. That's because the heat will be lost to the air before it has a chance to be conducted to the sides of the pan. The amount of silver in those pans indicates it has a role in bonding the cladded layers together as opposed to playing a role in conductivity. Those pans are pricey, but for the silver to affect the conductivity the prices would truly be astronomical.

                                1. re: cacio e pepe

                                  In the end, what really matters is how the pans handle and cook. They cook very nicely are easy to work with.

                                2. re: Sid Post

                                  Hi, Sid:

                                  Coincidentally, I happened in to the original SLT this morning looking for a tamis, , and Lo!, they now have Demeyere Atlantis cutaways. With the aid of a machinist's rule, a magnifying glass, the manufacturer's sticker on the cutaway (of a saucepan), and two amused-then-interested sales reps, I was able to determine:

                                  (a) the published overall thickness is between 0.12 and 0.13 inches (or 3.05-3.3mm);
                                  (b) the copper thickness is exactly 2mm;
                                  (c) the "triplinduc" bottom is just under 1mm; and
                                  (d) the 18/10 lining approaches 0.5mm, maybe 0.3--0.4 (in accordance with All-Clad's 0.41mm).

                                  Assuming even the most favorable range of these numbers, there is simply no room for silver layers of any real dimension. The reps just laughed and winked when I pointed out that there can't be much silver in these pans.

                                  So, until someone convinces me otherwise with scaled microscope photos, my opinion is there's about as much silver in these pans as there is vermouth in an extra-dry martini.

                                  Don't get me wrong, these are *really* good pans, and well worth even SLT's prices. And silver is THE champ for conductivity. I just don't think there's enough silver there to do much. Now, if they reversed things, and had a 2mm disk of pure silver as a core... THAT would be something!

                                  Re: "...heavy for their size." It is comparative, of course, but they're not heavy compared with a monolithic 3mm copper saucepan of the same size.

                                  Aside: Do you have their Maslin pan? http://reviews.chefscatalog.com/8855/...


                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    While Demeyere's official corporate written propaganda does repeatedly mention that they use silver in their inductoseal bases, they never say that it is for conductivity, only for the attachment of layers. "The special Inductoseal sandwich base contains silver for the attachment of the different layers." I've seen product presentation videos, both intended for consumers directly as well as videos intended for sales staff of stores (but not top secret or anything, just posted to vimeo, youtube and the like) that also specifically state that the silver is for attachment purposes.

                                    On the other hand, I have also seen the mention of silver be very deceptively (or outright incorrectly) presented by people I believed were Demeyere reps giving in-person presentations as well as by non-Demeyere sales staff in stores. For the sales staff I don't think that it was a willful decision to communicate a knowing mis-truth so much as they heard there was silver in the construction and they don't know any better as to what it's use was for and it was an unintentional ignorant mis-truth in an attempt to make a sale.

                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      No, I don't own the Maslin pan yet. At 10.6 quarts with a 5.5mm base, it sure is tempting considering I'm looking to replace my existing stock pot.

                                      1. re: Sid Post

                                        Hi, Sid:

                                        I have some older bailed/single-handle aluminum pans of this configuration, and I like them a lot. This shape is quite versatile--good for preserves, lobster/crab/pasta boils, stock-making. etc. I've been after brooklyncopper to offer a pan like this, but apparently the appeal isn't intuitive enough for them to invest in split chucks to turn them. Demeyere must press their version.

                                        Let us know what you think if you get one.


                                      2. re: kaleokahu

                                        Demeyere's own youtube video says 3.8mm total thickness for Atlantis pots.


                                        3.7mm/4.8mm (Proline frypan
                                        )2.2mm/3.3mm (conic sauteuse)
                                        2mm/3.8mm (Atlantis thin-walled pots)

                                        They specifically say in the youtube video that the copper+silver layer is 2mm thick. So that implies 1.8mm left over for other stuff, like stainless/TriplInduc. But for frypans and conic pieces those layers total 1.1mm. So where is the extra 0.7mm coming from?

                                        If you freeze the video at about 1:03, the copper layer looks like way more than half of the thickness, but I've seen analysis of A-C Copper Core before that looked similarly misleading. Perhaps the dark bands are bonding layers of aluminum? I sure hope so, because 2mm of copper/silver surrounded by a whopping 1.8mm of stainless/TriplInduc seems excessively heavy on stainless. The only other interpretation is that 3.8mm is false, but I find that unlikely because my digital caliper has agreed with Demeyere's other published specs on frypans and conic pieces, so I have no reason to believe that 3.8mm is inaccurate.

                                        BTW, you said they published .12-.13 inches (3.05-3.3mm) but I have never seen that published for anything other than conic pieces, which they do indeed advertise as 3-3.3mm total thickness depending on the size of the conic piece (larger has thicker). But the conic pieces have aluminum filling and do not even belong in the conversation as they are closer to their frying pans than their copper-bottomed Atlantis pieces.

                                        It sounds like you may have used a non-digital rule and magnifying glass, which is not very accurate for obvious reasons. If you get a chance and the cutaway is still there, try using a digital caliper. If anyone else is reading this, please do the same--I'd love to get exact specs on Atlantis overall thickness!

                        2. re: Sid Post

                          I haven't cooked with A-C. I'm used to really horrible pots that I took from an ex-boyfriend when he was about to throw them away - which may tell you how bad they are! I've sort of waited for my registry to get good stuff. I was previously thinking of getting Fissler pots - I liked how they were welded and other fun features of those pots. But the idealist in me decided to go with A-C because buying local is better for the environment and the US economy - as I said, it's the idealist. Do you know if WS has these pots in their stores. I live in the middle of no where, but with holiday travel around the corner I may be able to find a store to feel the pots themselves. That may help. I hadn't really thought about holding them.

                          1. re: aspiringcook

                            Some people really hate the feel of the A-C handles. You ought to hold a couple of them and imagine them full.

                              1. re: aspiringcook

                                Williams-Sonoma has All-Clad and Demeyere in stock and on display at the stores I have been too.

                                You really want to hold these pans in your own hands. The differences between the handles on All-Clad versus Demeyere are like night and day.

                            1. Hi, aspiringcook:

                              I don't think your a la carte items add very much. I definitely would not get the LC pieces (the d5 covered skillet will do for a braiser). If you're dead-set on LC, I suggest you get the 5.5L oven or possibly a similarly-sized oval.

                              Long ago and far away, I registered for a bunch of LC and got it all. Wow, did I think I had arrived! In retrospect, that was a mistake all the way around. It retarded and discouraged my development as a cook. The only two pieces I use at all any more are the 5.5 oven (for no-knead bread) and the pate terrine.

                              Conspicuously absent from your list is a saute. IMHO, a great saute should be your priority #1.


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                From the other post I was thinking of keeping the large LC oven and switching to a set that excluded the 8 qt stockpot then registering for a larger stockpot (12qt?) instead.

                                So would you recommend that instead I stick with the original set I listed and register for a 5.5L LC instead of the 7.25L? The A-C set has a 3L saute pan - does this seem like a good size?

                                1. re: aspiringcook

                                  Hi, aspiringcook: "So would you recommend that instead I stick with the original set I listed and register for a 5.5L LC instead of the 7.25L?"

                                  Maybe... The 5.5 is IMO the best, most versatile piece LC has made. You can roast chickens in your CI skillet, and you can braise in your covered A-C skillet. Your first linked set shows a TWO quart saute, which I think is quite small. As is the 4Q soup (which the 5.5 can also replace). The best argument for the LC 7.5 would be if you really get into braising joints of red meat and want to conserve the liquor.

                                  The problem I have with the second set is that "French" skillet. It's a weird hybrid between a radius-walled skillet and a saute--not conducive to sliding out omelets, but not as roomy as a saute (which you don't need anyway by virtue of the 3Q saute that's included). TMMW, that set's saucepan's height is all out of proportion to its diameter.

                                  I actually find the 3rd linked set to be the most useful, with one BIG exception, that exception being that the stockpot drags the price upward *substantially*. Gram would not be spending her money wisely with that stocker. The increment could easily fund a 9.5" Falk saute. http://www.copperpans.com/facosapa1.html

                                  Unfortunately, these sets are usually put together to lump one or more zonker pans in with a couple of better ones--just like your cable or satellite programming.

                                  Suggestion: Check the open stock prices for the 3 other pieces from Set 3, and see about adding a smaller (yet correctly-proportioned) saucepan from the first set. The SLT/W-S cabal have substitution deals that can both mitigate Gran's damages, and optimize your take. THAT set makes more sense, and then later add an inexpensive disk-bottomed stocker from a resto store or Wallyworld.

                                  Congrats. Have fun with this. And you have a great Tutu (Gran).


                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    Thank you! I didn't know about the substitution deals at SLT and WS, that really will help a lot!

                              2. I think your All Clad d5 choice is not bad. Between your 8 qt All Clad stockpot and 7.25 Le Creuset French Oven, I think they serve very different purpose despite the simialr size. Think about it. If for some reasons, you want to boil 6-7 quart of water, maybe you want to cook losters or something, is boiling water in a Le Cresuset an efficient choice of tool?

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  I definitely will need a stockpot, but is 8 qt the right size or should I go for larger? This one also isn't very tall (in comparison to others), will that be a problem?

                                  1. re: aspiringcook

                                    What do you want to use the stockpot for? To make stock? In my experience, a 8 quarts is pretty sufficient for making stock. Of course, that really depends the volume of stock you want to make. I will say this. A 6-quart will barely handle a whole chicken, and a 8 quart can handle a whole chicken with ease. If you want to make stock from a whole full size turkey, then you will want to look for 12 quarts.

                                    I wanted to say earlier, but I didn't. Since other posters have bought it up, so I will. If you buy a stock pot to make stock, then you really do not need an expensive All Clad stock pot. Stock pot, more or less, is for boiling water. As such, you can easily get by with cheaper construction stock pot. Just think about it.

                                    I won't worry about the height for now. You will need a taller stock pot if you are looking for a larger stock pot. The reason is that you want the base of the stock pot matches the size of the stove. Since your stove size does not change, this means your ideal stock pot should grow taller as it gets larger.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      At this point in life, I actually don't use a stock pot all that often.... I've always lived in an apartment, which isn't very conducive to hosting. But I typically use one to make stock and then actual soup after thanksgiving and sometimes chicken soup. I also would use it for pasta (obviously wouldn't need a fancy pot for this); and with my family I use one to make large pots of sauce ... we typically make manicotti for Christmas, so this is a lot of sauce (20-30ppl). Often we use multiple pots to make the sauce though. Also, I know tomatoes can react with cast iron, but is this an issue when they have the enamel layer? If it isn't then I could use the LC for sauce.

                                      I like cooking more then others in my family so I foresee hosting more holidays when we have the space and supplies. Although I suppose I can supplement as needed.

                                      What else would a large, heavy stock pot be used for?

                                      1. re: aspiringcook

                                        <Also, I know tomatoes can react with cast iron, but is this an issue when they have the enamel layer? If it isn't then I could use the LC for sauce.>

                                        No a problem for enameled cast iron since, like you said, the enameled layer will protect it.

                                        <What else would a large, heavy stock pot be used for?>

                                        I just use my 8 quart to make stock mostly, and sometime for large batch of soups.

                                        1. re: aspiringcook

                                          A large stock pot is very useful for canning. If you might ever be interested in that. I have a 20 quart I bought for canning years ago but I use my smaller pots if I'm just doing a small batch of jars.

                                      2. re: aspiringcook

                                        If you aren't sure you will be getting the LC dutch oven, the 8 qt can make a great dutch oven or stockpot and that lower sided profile makes it easier to brown and stir your aromatics before braising or stewing or making a big batch of chili. It's also easier to store if you don't have tall cabinets available. The shape of that one would be more useful than the tall skinny 7 qt. America's Test kitchen rated an 8 AC stockpot 1st in a test of dutch ovens awhile back.

                                        1. re: Cam14

                                          Great point. I'd return/swap out the AC stock pot and get either the LC dutch oven or a 8+ qt Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker, but if you use the AC stock pot as a dutch oven its utility increases a whole lot. I didn't consider that.

                                    2. I like the number two all clad set and the a la cart pieces mentioned. I really like the saute pans and i think the price point is more reasonable for a registry (though you may have people chipping in etc) just make sure to have plenty of less expensive items for your shower! Congrats

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: qwerty78

                                        Thanks! The pots are our luxury item (well those and some electronics), other stuff is far more reasonable in price... we actually aren't very fancy people. We just like cooking. I don't expect most people to buy these types of items, but then there are always registry completion discounts too.

                                        1. re: aspiringcook

                                          And i didnt mean that as judgment- i registered for allclad myself! No regrets either, we use and abuse them. They go in the dishwasher and i cant imagine needing to replace them. Ive added additional pieces from outlets and sales, but it was nice to get the good stuff for our wedding.

                                      2. You're not really going to go wrong with what you have there. The only thing I'd say is that I personally wouldn't get much use out of a 1.5 qt. saucepan. I'd go a bit larger, but that's for my needs.

                                        I also think the 8 qt. AC stock pot is probably the least useful pot on your list. The biggest issue is that a stock pot need not be of such high quality. The second issue is the size is a touch small. I'd rather have the 12 qt. AC stock pot with a pasta and steamer insert. It's bigger and more versatile.

                                        I actually got an AC set in a similar situation. Being the absolute rat that I am, I returned the 8 qt stock pot as if it was purchased a la carte and used the credit to get a decent chef's knife.

                                        I like the two LC choices. The 5.5 I have is what I use for my no-knead bread. I don't braise much in it as it isn't large enough for me, usually. The larger 7.25 qt is what I use for most braises, sauces, etc.

                                        I think you might want to consider a pressure cooker in there. Kuhn Rikon makes a great product.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                          Thank you. I've never used a pressure cooker and I don't think I know anyone with one. What do you use it for? Which would you recommend I look into? I'll have to do some looking around to figure out how much I would use it. Thanks for the suggestion.

                                          1. re: aspiringcook

                                            I use my pressure cooker for a ton of stuff. They are really wonderful tools.

                                            More than anything, though, I use my smaller pressure cooker for beans. My wife and I eat beans really frequently. No soaking is necessary and beans are done perfectly in easily under an hour. We think the Rancho Gordo products are amazing.

                                            I use my bigger pressure cooker primarily for stocks. It's rare for me to ever go back to making stock in a standard pot. No skimming necessary and I get an incredibly rich stock with better clarity and gelatin extraction than I used to get tending to a stock pot. And it's ready in 1/3 the time? It's a wonder. Truly.

                                            For about the cost of a cladded stock pot you can get a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker of the same size. It has a much thicker aluminum disk on the bottom and is stainless steel. You can use the pot without the lid as a traditional stock pot if you like, too. And I prefer the taller profile, to boot. The truth is, there is zero advantage to having a fully cladded stock pot.

                                            So what you end up with is much more versatility for about the same price. Other than than beans and stock, we've done quick braises in our pressure cookers. Some people even argue that the pressure cooker produces better results because of the higher temperatures attainable under pressure and the fact that the steam is mostly trapped, thus keeping more aromatics in the braise. Personally, it's about being able to cook certain things faster and easier. If I have the time, I prefer that the house smell like beef bourguignone or galbi jjim for hours. But if I'm pressed for time, it's nice to know that the pressure cooker will make a braise at least as good as the traditional method in 1/3 the time.

                                        2. I would lean towards something that got you the 4-quart covered saute pan instead of the 3-quart. Contrary to what you might expect, it's a great pan for things like stews -- you can brown the meat in place, and stick it straight in the oven. I have often filled my 4-quart well past 3/4 full, though -- and so I suspect the 3-quart wouldn't have the same versatility.

                                          Are you dead set on registering through W-S? The sets are not always the same in every store, and I found that when I bought mine, the sets at Bloomingdales were a better combination. I ended up getting everything on sale and some nice gifts with purchase.

                                          Finally, as for a large (12 quart?) stock pot -- consider whether All-Clad is really worth the money here. I have nothing bad to say about All-Clad, but realistically you'll use a big stock pot very occasionally, and mostly with lots of liquid in it. Consider something like the Cuisinart multi-clad -- you'll save $200 and it actually looks a lot like the A-C anyway. You can probably make the same argument for the 8-quart, really -- though as it's shallow, you can saute in it for big recipes.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: dtremit

                                            I have AC D5 and really like it. I have probably have at least 10 pieces, all purchased in the last year. Just a couple of ideas for you. Go to WS and physically look at it. Hold it, compare the various AC lines, see if the stick handles work for you. If they don't, then modify your plan in terms of which item you want in the AC line. Those handles are akward on the stovetop, and very akward in the cupboard. They don't stack, either. Just imagine cooking for company and juggling those handles around the other pots and pans on your stovetop.

                                            Also think about weight when a pot is full. I do better with the larger pieces (dutch ovens) in the oven than I do with them on the stovetop. In the oven I always use 2 hands anyway, but on the stovetop I like to move pots around, or I need to fill them or empty them. Thank goodness I have a cooktop with continuous grates so I can just slide things around without always picking them up!

                                            I have found that department stores, Amazon, and BBB don't carry D5. I did find one piece at Home Goods, but since it sounds logical that you will register, then be sure to check out exactly which AC version your store sells. I think WS is worth $$ they get. You can always supplement later with Cookware And More online.

                                            Oh, one more thing. Someone above mentioned that they didn't find the 1 1/2 qt pan useful. I love mine. It is so solid for a little guy. I use it all the time to heat up soup or to cook a small portion of veggies. It is ok to use AC just for the heck of it! It makes me feel so good. Not everything you cook will be special or fancy, but you can enjoy the process, even if the microwave could do it faster!

                                            1. re: Cheesed

                                              Hi, Cheesed: "Someone above mentioned that they didn't find the 1 1/2 qt pan useful."

                                              If you're referring to me, I was addressing the 2Q saucepan in the second linked set. I'm sure it would be very useful as a milk pot, but the height-to-diameter proportion is 'way off for a saucepan. Even the 1.5Q in Set One is a little too tall, IMO.

                                              But I find a 1.5Q/L size (and even smaller) very useful for reduced sauces, demi- and glaces.

                                              10 pieces of d5 in a year? My, you've been busy...


                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                Oops Kaleo, I apologize for mis-information. I do agree with you about the 2 qt. You put my thoughts into words. It is the height-to-diameter ratio on that one that seems off to me. The 1.5 is still my fav. I outfitted two kitchens in one year and tried to make each of them a little different. That's why I got carried away. Also thanks to reading Chowhound I couldn 't help but notice that I had been cooking with really awful cookware. Once I had enough stainless I decided to collect interesting spatulas instead. Sounds funny, but they are colorful, much cheaper to buy, and easier to store, too :).

                                                1. re: Cheesed

                                                  Hi, Cheesed:

                                                  No problem. People being creatures of habit, it's common to find a certain size saucepan that fits you and your normal cooking, Goldilocks' "Just Right". I get a visual reminder of this every time I reach to the etagere, where I find one or two saucepans with patina and scars, and the polished rest clamoring for attention. Tonight I took pity on the Pommes Anna, and used her for Swiss steak. It keeps the Junior Varsity on their toes...

                                                  I'm glad your 1.5 brings you pleasure; many years of happy cooking in it. A photo of your spatula array would be fun...

                                              2. re: Cheesed

                                                That was me. I don't want to imply that the 1.5 qt pan isn't nice, just that I'd put it as a lower priority than some other items. I would love one, in fact. But as the OP's only sauce pan it might be on the small side.

                                              3. re: dtremit

                                                I'm actually not dead set on W-S. As of now I'm not even registered there... the initial set I described was at Macy's, but the other sets that seemed like good options were at W-S. I think I'm sold (from this forum) on a less extravagant stock pot. I definitely see the point for why it isn't worth it. Especially if I'm getting a large LC. I'll see what I can find with the larger saute pan too. I definitely expect to get a lot o fuse out of that.

                                              4. Hi... congratulations! I vote for the larger Le Crueset. I use mine all the time... sometimes more full than others. I think you will be glad, especially if you have guests and/or like leftovers.
                                                In a moment of foolish over-ambition years ago I got a 16 quart stock pot. Wish I had the 12. Never need the extra capacity. Whatever you get, enjoy your cooking.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: debbypo

                                                  I have a 16 qt. stockpot I've used as a trashcan for, god, must be decades now. I never need to make that much stock, or have that much shellfish to cook, etc.

                                                  1. re: debbypo

                                                    That's funny about the stockpot. I'd take the other approach. I've had a 12 qt and now have a 13.5 qt and I often wish it was a 16 qt, 20 qt, or even a 24 qt. Assuming you have a selection of other pots and pans up to about 8 qts, a large stockpot is probably going to be used to make large batches of stock, sauces, etc and for boiling or steaming large items or quantities. For example: When I bought a couple of boxes of tomatoes from a farm stand this summer to make sauce, I could only get about 20 lbs of tomatoes into my stockpot. I sure wish I'd been able to get 40 or 50 pounds in there. When I make lobsters, I find that I can only do 2 at a time in a 12 qt pot. 4 at a time would be awesome. Basically, it comes down to this. pots up to about 8 qt see regular use. When I need to go larger than 8 qt, I want that pot to be as big as possible.

                                                    So, I'd get as big a stockpot as you and your stove can handle. If you don't do any of the things I've described above, however, even a 12 qt might be too big for you. Stick with an 8 qt then.

                                                    In either case, do get an 8 qt pot! In my opinion it is an essential pot. It's your 'make a pound of pasta' pot and your chili pot, etc. It will see regular use. The question is really whether you are going to want something larger too, and if so, how large.

                                                    I hope this perspective helps a little!

                                                    1. re: jljohn

                                                      Yes a 20 qt stock pot is one of things where you may not need it a lot but when you do you are glad you have it. I have had mine for 20 years.

                                                  2. Thank you everyone! I think I have a pretty good game plan here and a good idea of the pros and cons of different pieces. Now I just need to get back to a normal town where I can actually hold these pots like you all suggested. Looking forward to my travels! Thanks!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: aspiringcook

                                                      Handle as many pots and pans as possible. Handles, balance, etc. are really in the hand and eye of the beholder. As you can see in this thread, there are many very good reasons otherwise similar people make very different cookware decisions. Myself, my choices are very different from a few years ago after experiencing some pans out of the ordinary from what I had previously used and currently owned.

                                                    2. Hi! Hope this helps. I've spent lots of money on cookware. Le creuset, I love, and had over 20 pieces. However, if you have people with the bad habit of banging a spoon on the rim of your pot, you WILL KILL! It chips the enamel.
                                                      I now have Al Clad LTD, (grey anodized exterior) which is great, however, it's a learning process cooking in stainless. Once achieved, wonderful.
                                                      Warning...if you wash your pots in the dishwasher, DO NOT buy the LTD, buy the stainless. Same with cooking on an induction cooktop. LTD does not conduct, but stainless does.
                                                      If you require non-stick skillets, Bed Bath & Beyond, carries Calphalon skillets. (I believe a 8" + 10" set is about $20)...which I've had for over 20 years!