Help return peace to our kitchen: cookware recommendations
I cook. I cook a lot. I spend enough time doing it that I've learned (sometimes the hard way, sometimes the easier way) how to take care of my cookware.
Don't add ice water to a hot pan lest it warp.
Don't use steel wool on a non-stick pan.
Don't scrape away burned bits with a knife and scratch away the coating to crumbs.
The trouble is, my husband is a much less experienced cook, and although he's actively trying to improve, my pots and pans are suffering greatly from his efforts. I've already had to throw out three irreparable pans, and I'm on my way to another.
What's the best solution here? Is there cookware out there that is virtually indestructible but still enjoyable to use for a more advanced cook? Or should I just give up and let him keep trashing my pans, while keeping a secret set for me?
<Is there cookware out there that is virtually indestructible but still enjoyable to use for a more advanced cook?>
Different cookware have different weak points. For example, cast iron cookware hardly warp, but can rust. Aluminum cookware do not rust, but can warp. If you are creative enough, you can always find a way to damage some cookware out there. Your best bet is the heavy duty stainless steel cladded cookware like All Clad and Demeyere. They are as durable. Due to the stainless steel surface, these cookware do not rust, and can endure minor scratches from steel wool (though not recommended). They are also thick enough that they are fairly resistance to warping (again, not recommended). Nonstick cookware are the most vulnerable.
<Or should I just give up and let him keep trashing my pans, while keeping a secret set for me?>
How receptive is your husband to "learning" how to take care of cookware?
First, avoid the non-stick and anodized aluminum pans. Lodge cast iron is pretty hard to really mess up but, you can let them rust away. Same for DeBuyer Mineral pans.
I have 5 layer "Spring" pans from Switzerland and Demeyere Atlantis from Belgium. While not totally fool proof to out right abuse, they can take a beating and still work well.
As others have pointed out, any pan can be ruined through misuse.
What I would humbly suggest is an amicable division of cookware: You get yours, and he's not to touch it. He gets his to ruin or take care of as he sees fit.
I would start him out with a Lodge skillet and one bare aluminum saucepan or casserole of appropriate size, budget-priced from a resto supply store.
I went through this with Wahine and knives. She now has hers and I have mine, and we have a tipless expensive chef's knife stuck to the wall as a permanent reminder to keep her hooks off my knives.
If you're really looking to share cookware with your husband, I'd suggest checking the restaurant supply houses, as commercial cookware is usually very durable and reasonably priced. Based on the condition of my Sitram Catering saute pan when I found it at a flea market, I'd say that particular line is pretty close to indestructible. But while commercial cookware is high on performance, it does tend to be low on esthetics.
Maybe your husbands talents would be better served in an outdoor kitchen. Grilling and smoking. Your cookware is saved and peace reigns supreme.