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Setting up a kitchen - which of this equipment?

m
mc22 Jun 26, 2013 01:54 PM

After living with roommates for years, I have been cooking with wildly inappropriate pots and pans for six months. All purchased in a cheap set from Target 6 years ago. But now I'm getting married - woooo. I know this question gets asked a lot (and I have certainly perused the board for those threads), but it also seems like it is fun to answer.

I put together a list of recommended pots and pans, but I feel like there is some overlap. We are having a big wedding so I'm not concerned about cutting down the number, just more about not having too much overlap and inefficiency, if that makes sense?

I don't currently have a grill pan of any sort and living in an apartment have always wanted one, so I would be curious what people recommend. We cook a lot and a great variety of dishes - more vegetarian than meats but the occasional braising happens in our house and I love a good pot of chili. My fiancee is all about scrambled eggs with anything and also likes to make different (sometimses weird) pasta sauces. He recently did roasted beets and salmon on pasta, which was definitely a mistake. Hopefully that helps you get an idea of what's happening in the kitchen! We are avoiding appliances because of space - I'd rather have a pot that can cook rice and do more than a rice cooker at this stage of my life. I also left off a really big stockpot for similar space reasons - some day when I do more canning and large-scale soups and such I'll just get myself one :)

Here's what I've thought of. What should I cut? I can't think anything is missing, but if so, let me know that too!

AC Stainless steel fy pans, 10" and 12"
AC non-stick fry pan, 8"
AC Stainless steel large roaster with rack
All-clad double burner grill (not sure if this is the best choice?)
AC SS 2-quart saucepan
AC SS 4-quart saucepan
All clad SS Steamer Set - 3 Qt
SS Stock pot - 7 Qt
wok
Le Creuset 3 1/2 quart briaser
Le creuset 6 3/4 quart oval dutch oven
Le crueset 5 1/2 quart round dutch oven
Lodge cast iron round fry pan 10"

What do y'all think? Thanks for any help you can provide! Having bought cookware for all of my non-cooking friends I am excited to finally set up my own kitchen in a more lasting way!

  1. kaleokahu Jun 26, 2013 02:34 PM

    Hi, mc22:

    Here's my take:

    --Keep the Lodge an the 5.5Q LC and junk the rest

    --Get a larger inexpensive stocker in SS (like 10-12Q)

    --Get a Calphalon non-stick skillet

    --From Falk, Mauviel or Bourgeat, get in 2.5m copper bimetal:
    --a rondeau (or "stew pan") with cover
    --a 2Q sauciere
    --an 11" saute with cover
    --an 8.5Q casserole with cover

    If you have rich friends and family, I'd add two conventional saucepans with covers and Falk's 16x10 oval roaster/gratin.

    Congratulations,
    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    1. DuffyH Jun 26, 2013 09:15 PM

      I'd consider adding a cast iron pizza pan, which can also be used for baking breads. Some people swear by a stone, others by cast iron. Most threads and reviews from people who've used both don't seem to have a strong preference.

      I recommend the cast iron because it can also be pressed into service for oven-roasting veggies, and can be used on the stovetop to make crepes, tortillas, pitas, pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches and such.

      Lodge and some of the other big foundries make pre-seasoned models, Dansk makes an enameled cast iron pan under the Mario Batali label. Both kinds get very good reviews.

      1. r
        Rigmaster Jun 27, 2013 06:38 AM

        Here's my advice - cut that list down 50-75% and get only a few quality pieces that you can master. While each of those items can be good, how good will they be if that's not the way you cook?

        I'd suggest starting with a wok, Lodge cast iron fry pan, a 12" carbon steel sautee pan, a 10" or 12" nonstick or stainless steel pan, just one dutch oven - I'm not partial to LC because others work just as well for far less, and a SS sauce pan.

        I've learned through the years that most people buy far too many kitchen pieces than are necessary. Some, especially cast iron and carbon steel, get better with use but don't get used enough. They save lots of money down the road when you figure out how many pieces aren't necessary.

        I'd suggest a Vita-Mix blender, a steamer, and a quality set of knives are more important and more useful than the other items on the list.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Rigmaster
          Sarah Perry Jul 2, 2013 10:15 PM

          Absolutely second this. I find it hard to bond with more than one pan and one knife at a time.

          1. re: Rigmaster
            PinchOfSalt Jul 3, 2013 03:34 AM

            While I have amassed a LOT of kitchen equipment over the years, I fully agree that there is no need to try to buy everything at once. Get a few pieces now that you know you would be using frequently if you had them. Then add to your collection as you discover gaps. Do not worry about having matching pieces. I like my All-Clad, but after my initial LTD purchases I added stainless and copper core pieces as well as more LTD. My Le Creuset pieces are in multiple colors because that was what was on sale. :) And do consider getting yourself one big pot. There's always corn to boil, or lobster, or a turkey carcass that calls out to be made into stock.

            1. re: Rigmaster
              kaleokahu Jul 3, 2013 07:54 AM

              Hi, Rigmaster:

              Your advice would be sage in another context.

              However, the OP is getting married, and everything about the post screams "wedding registry". We can lament getting-it-while-you-can, but paring the cookware wish list down to some minimal number (that tips sharply to frying) doesn't seem to serve either the new household, or their well-wishers.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

            2. s
              sueatmo Jun 28, 2013 12:17 PM

              I would want a saute pan. I'm not sure if one of the frypans or a braiser would function as that. But I am having to replace most of my pans, and the saute pan is the first thing I'm buying.

              I agree that a grill pan is good. I uses a Lodge CI pan. As I posted before, I find the pan quite useful for several different uses involving grilling.

              I like to steam veggies in the micro. I have found that it produces a good steamed veggie, esp for a veggie like broccoli. I don't know if you need a steamer, unless you are committed to tying up a burner while you steam. I almost never use my steamer insert.

              And I never use the larger sauce pan. I've owned several through the years, but don't find them useful. Do you plan on boiling a lot of potatoes? Maybe then.

              I'd get a good PC instead of the large s/pan. However, you may feel differently about this.

              5 Replies
              1. re: sueatmo
                DuffyH Jun 28, 2013 12:50 PM

                +1 for steaming things in the micro. It's faster, easier, and the result is identical.

                The 3.5qt brasier could likely do double duty as a sauté pan.

                I'd eliminate one of the DO's, perhaps.

                I have to disagree about the 4 qt saucepan. I currently have a 1qt, 2.5qt and 4.5qt. My most used are the larger ones, cooking for 2. The big one is perfect for soups, marinara sauce, chili and the like. It makes enough for 2 meals for 2 people without crowding the pan. The smaller DO would work, but the saucepan is a lot easier to handle for everyday use.

                But, I do not own a pressure cooker. If I did, I'd certainly use the vessel from it in place of the largest saucepan.

                1. re: DuffyH
                  s
                  sueatmo Jun 28, 2013 04:36 PM

                  You are right on the soups. I happen to have a couple of soup pots, small and medium. I prefer them because of their shape and the handles on either side.

                  I agree--you need a deep pot for soups. But I make stovetop chili in the saute pan, and I would do the same for marinara sauce. I prefer sauteing the veggies in it, I think.

                  1. re: sueatmo
                    DuffyH Jun 28, 2013 06:23 PM

                    <... I make stovetop chili in the saute pan, and I would do the same for marinara sauce. I prefer sauteing the veggies in it, I think.>

                    And I saute the veg in my saucepan. But I'm odd. I long ago stopped browning ground beef in a frypan, because I don't like big clumps and got tired of chasing the beef around the larger surface. I used to smack the clumps with the edge of a spatula to break them up. Now I just stir with a wooden spoon. So easy.

                    I'm not completely odd, I do prefer a frypan for tossing veg, but if it's going into soup or chili, I don't want to wash another pan. And since the normal goal for soups is to caramelize or simply soften the veg, the tall pot works great.

                    1. re: DuffyH
                      s
                      sueatmo Jul 5, 2013 06:30 PM

                      Didn't mean to say you are odd! You strike me as very focused and interested in cooking.

                      1. re: sueatmo
                        DuffyH Jul 5, 2013 09:54 PM

                        Focused! Yes, indeed. Focused on cleaning less and cooking more. Well, maybe not more, but... aw, you know what I mean. :)

              2. m
                msophelia Jun 28, 2013 01:14 PM

                i'll also put in a vote for a saute pan with a lid - mine gets pressed into service often, generally for things like caramelizing onions, but sometimes just for frying if i think it's more volume than my fry pan can handle.

                grill pans, i think, rarely work out to be worth the space they take up. for us, it's a low-use item anyway. and i don't find they heat evenly.

                if you're getting a roasting pan - invest in a good carving board, one that will catch the juices.

                while it's neither a pot nor a pan, i'd suggest adding a stick blender to the list. we have one that doubles as a mini-food processor (handle can hook up to a small work bowl). the stick blender is excellent for pureeing soups or sauces, right in the pan.

                1. omotosando Jun 28, 2013 08:47 PM

                  First, I hear your pain about limited space. Consider getting a pot rack. They are invaluable. I have a shelf that hangs on the wall directly to the left of my stove. I have pots sitting on the shelf and others hanging from the hooks.

                  Second, I recently acquired a wok after not having one for years. It hangs nicely from my pot rack without taking up a lot of room. If you are interested, this is the one I got and it was a mere $28. http://importfood.com/cwrk3201.html

                  The wok has become one of my used pots and I rarely make Chinese food. I use it a lot for a quick stir fry of vegetables since I find that the quickest way to get tasty vegetables on my plate -- a bit of extra virgin olive oil into the wok, some veggies, some seasoning, put lid from another large pot over the wok and I quickly have nicely cooked, but still crunchy vegetables. I also heard that woks are ideal for fried eggs, although I haven't tried that yet.

                  1. c oliver Jul 3, 2013 08:05 AM

                    Unless you're 100% sure that you're going to be cooking on gas for the rest of your life, I'd make sure all cookware is induction capable.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: c oliver
                      s
                      sueatmo Jul 5, 2013 06:31 PM

                      Yes!

                      1. re: sueatmo
                        m
                        mc22 Jul 15, 2013 10:35 AM

                        Great point! Thank you c oliver.

                    2. m
                      mc22 Jul 15, 2013 10:36 AM

                      Just wanted to say thanks to all for these suggestions. I'm leaning towards going the kaleo route and subbing in fewer high end pieces - while probably registering for the lower end and then returning them for such. Annoying, yes. But practical!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mc22
                        c oliver Jul 15, 2013 03:47 PM

                        And don't forget the magnet to make sure they're induction capable :)

                      2. v
                        VitalForce Jul 15, 2013 02:36 PM

                        I have to say that I find the LC braiser to be very well designed and useful for all manner of things. I would keep that on the list along with the 5qt pot. For two, a 1 ½-2 litre-quart LC pot would be ideal for rice, grains, porridge, etc. A heavy roasting pan of some sort would be useful as well. Roasting is one of the easiest ways of making a delicious dinner.

                        On the other hand, I’ve never really seen the point of a grill pan. With a regular frying pan, the browning is all over. With a grill pan, only the ridges are browning deeply. Seems like a flavour waste of the food’s surface area.

                        1. p
                          pedalfaster Jul 15, 2013 03:23 PM

                          A newlywed needs a 2.5 qt saucepan, a 8" non stick skillet and a 5 qt. LC casserole. A cutting board, 8' chef's knife. Colander.

                          And really really great underwear and multiple sheet sets.

                          Best wishes.

                          1. musictheory Jul 15, 2013 09:30 PM

                            How exciting! :) And what fun.

                            I'd add a cast-iron stove top grill/griddle. This will straddle two burners and let you get bad-ass grill marks even indoors in an apartment.

                            No non-stick, my dear. That's some icky stuff. Invest in Lodge seasoned skillets and use them often, and you'll be good to go!

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: musictheory
                              c oliver Jul 16, 2013 08:49 AM

                              The "icky-ness" of nonstick has pretty much been debunked. Unless at temps that you won't see in a home kitchen or unless you have a bird in the kitchen, no one seems to have been able to show any problem. There's loads of info here about it.

                              1. re: musictheory
                                kaleokahu Jul 16, 2013 09:17 AM

                                It's still "icky", i.e., hazardous, if it gets heated above 545F, which can easily happen on a home stovetop through inattention. If once you've volatized PTFE, it will re-volatize at an even lower temperature: 464F. See Seidel, WC., et al., Chemical, physical, and toxicological characterization of fumes produced by heating tetrafluoroethene homopolymer and its copolymers with hexafluoropropene and perfluoro(propyl vinyl ether) Chem Res Toxicol 1991; 4(2): 229-36.

                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                  c oliver Jul 16, 2013 04:41 PM

                                  Well, I'm sure many hazardous things can happen in a kitchen or elsewhere due to inattention. That doesn't mean we shouldn't use them.

                                  1. re: c oliver
                                    kaleokahu Jul 16, 2013 05:20 PM

                                    Sure there are other hazards in the kitchen. But poisoning other residents and first responders with noxious fumes is a little different than most other things that come to mind when cooking.

                                    I'm not saying people should not use non-stick. But I am saying that responsible people ought to be aware that just a few minutes of inattention might cause a lasting personal injury or even death. Every person can make their own decisions regarding this kind of risk. As my other thread of today shows, after 3 minutes on high on a "weak" electric coil, PTFE starts to volatilize, and after 6 minutes the pan reaches 900F. *I* don't want to be anywhere near a kitchen where that happens. But maybe you do.

                                    Aloha,
                                    Kaleo

                                    1. re: kaleokahu
                                      c oliver Jul 16, 2013 06:20 PM

                                      Sorry, I thought you were saying no one should use nonstick. Thanks for clarifying. I was actually referring to more than the kitchen. Inattention while driving was what first came to my mind.

                                      1. re: c oliver
                                        kaleokahu Jul 16, 2013 06:25 PM

                                        Hi, c oliver:

                                        No problem. *Aware*ness solves many problems of this kind.

                                        Inattention while driving is one of my big issues, too. It's gotten to the point where Wahine can tell, with about 95% accuracy, that another driver is texting from several hundred yards away. Quite dangerous.

                                        Aloha,
                                        Kaleo

                              2. l
                                lireland Jul 16, 2013 10:50 AM

                                I would add a pressure cooker to this list. I never used to use one, but I now have a Fagor Duo that has a 4-qt and an 8 qt pot, a pressure cooker lid and a glass lid, so I can mix and match the parts. I use the 4 qt for fast rice pilaf all the time, I just saute the veggies, then the rice, add my stock, put on the lid, and as soon as it comes to pressure, I turn the heat off and let it sit. The residual heat does the rest. I make saffron or Mexican style rice often, occasionally Thai style rice, and if it's for a crowd, I use the big pot. The big pot is also good for lots of water when you're making pasta, and it comes with a basket, if you want to use it, too. Big time saver, don't waste money on an electric pressure cooker, these are multi-taskers. I also really like the Komin light weight cast iron that Williams Sonoma is selling. I have a Sarpaneva cast iron pot and an oval Le Creuset Doufeu, both are really good for braising and they are beautiful, but they are so heavy that I avoid using them unless I have to. I also have an oval stainless roasting pan with a reversible lid, so you can roast or braise on the shallow or the deep side, depending on what suits the situation. It nests with the Doufeu, very handy, and it's big enough for the once a year ham or turkey for a crowd. Also helpful, a 3-quart "4th burner" pot from Kuhn Rikon, it's a tall, narrow pot that I use for boiling water for tea, but also comes with a basket, fits 4 ears of corn, or asparagus, hard boiled eggs, etc. Don't bother with a tea kettle, I always hated that you can't clean them or even see what's inside.

                                1. C. Hamster Jul 16, 2013 07:03 PM

                                  You need a stock pot.

                                  Grill pans are useless. They are skillets that put marks on your food. The food doesn't taste "grilled "

                                  Another cast iron skillet and I'd call it a day. Your list is very good.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: C. Hamster
                                    c oliver Jul 16, 2013 07:09 PM

                                    I still have an LC grill pan...and haven't used it in MANY years. Need to dig it out and give it away.

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      C. Hamster Jul 16, 2013 07:11 PM

                                      I gave mine to my SIL who gave it to a friend ... Who knows where it is now.

                                      IMO they are useless.

                                      1. re: C. Hamster
                                        c oliver Jul 16, 2013 07:13 PM

                                        Like the proverbial fruitcake :)

                                        1. re: C. Hamster
                                          kaleokahu Jul 16, 2013 07:42 PM

                                          Hi, ch:

                                          Agree with you and c oliver 99.8% on this. I use mine only when the weather is really nasty and I don't have access to my wood cookstove. ImO, these pans are in the bottom 5% of what people should be spending their money on.

                                          Aloha,
                                          Kaleo

                                          1. re: C. Hamster
                                            s
                                            sueatmo Jul 16, 2013 10:59 PM

                                            I find mine quite useful, thank you very much.

                                            1. re: sueatmo
                                              s
                                              Sirrith Oct 30, 2013 06:55 PM

                                              I also find mine quite useful. Cooking the food above the fat drippings does actually give it different taste and texture. This is especially noticeable with things like sausages.
                                              The stockpot however, I've been able to do without quite easily for many, many years.

                                              With that said though, I would avoid the big double-burner griddles. They will have many hot/cold spots so you won't be able to use the whole surface effectively anyway. Just get the lodge square grill pan (the one that is shaped like a square skillet).

                                              1. re: Sirrith
                                                c oliver Oct 30, 2013 07:05 PM

                                                I'd give away a lot of thing before any of my DOs. They get used regularly for all manner of things.

                                                1. re: Sirrith
                                                  wekick Oct 31, 2013 06:02 AM

                                                  I just bought this and because it is aluminum, it heats very evenly and is a little bigger. I had an older, smaller one that seasoned with use. My new range is much deeper so it didn't work anymore. This comes in several sizes. Some people like the unevenness of heat of the cast iron griddles because it is like having different zones of heat.

                                                  http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/r...

                                        2. e
                                          eatlikeobelix Jul 17, 2013 01:07 AM

                                          Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

                                          There has been a lot of great advice above so I will try to just stick to what I think hasn't been mentioned already.

                                          1) I have 3 non-stick items but I only use 1 and only for one purpose: making rice. This is because I want to be able deglaze and not every dish requires it, but out of habit I go to my regular AC pans for almost everything in case deglazing is necessary even with things like onions.

                                          2) I am not a vegetarian but I also cook a lot of vegetarian dishes, especially beans. I like slow cookers for beans v. a pressure cooker or stove top. I find pressure cooking doesn't develop as much flavor as other methods. (My old one was gifted to my neighbor in my last move.) Slow cooker v. stove top is better I think for beans because of less heat, less energy, often deeper flavor.

                                          3) I know this isn't a pricey item but do you have flat baking sheets? There are so handy for roasting veggies (and of course baking.)

                                          4) I have to second the stick mixer suggestion. It's great for making a paste as a base for sauces, pureeing a veggie soup to make it smooth, and making smoothies-so versatile and takes up very little space.

                                          5) Mortar and pestle or coffee grinder for whole grinding spices?

                                          6) Double-boiler. I use mine for primarily for making chocolate desserts that require melting chocolate and sometimes for hollandaise sauce. (Admittedly I used the double boiler maybe 2x a year.)

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: eatlikeobelix
                                            grayelf Jul 17, 2013 04:23 PM

                                            Double boilers are also awesome for making coddled eggs or as the SO calls them, fluffy eggs. A nice alternative to scrambled.

                                            1. re: grayelf
                                              c oliver Jul 17, 2013 05:41 PM

                                              Here's a link for coddled eggs:

                                              http://theenglishkitchen.blogspot.com...

                                              So do you put them in the top pot with any water in that or just in the bottom?

                                              I have some lovely ones from Bob's family that I don't believe have ever been out of their boxes. We have family coming in next week. This could be a special breakfast. Any advice would be appreciated. TIA.

                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                grayelf Jul 17, 2013 06:25 PM

                                                Ack, not what I meant by coddled eggs, my bad. I guess it was family slang, shoulda checked. Our version of coddled eggs is eggs beaten with salt and pepper, a bit of milk or sour cream if you're feeling naughty, cooked over gently bubbling water in the top of a well-greased (or even non-stick) double boiler. You can sprinkle some grated old cheddar on top in the last few minutes. Be sure to just fold the eggs together, to preserve the fluffy texture, but definitely stir them together after they start to set.

                                                1. re: grayelf
                                                  c oliver Jul 17, 2013 06:29 PM

                                                  Regardless of its name, it sounds GREAT!

                                            2. re: eatlikeobelix
                                              l
                                              lireland Jul 19, 2013 01:00 PM

                                              I find it interesting that you say that pressure cooking doesn't develop the flavor as much. In my experience, it's the opposite. When I make mashed potatoes using the pressure cooker, my friends commented, un-prompted, that they tasted more potato-y. I didn't do anything very unusual for mashed potatoes, just used a lot less water than I normally would, so all the potato flavor isn't thrown away with the water (maybe 1/2 to 1 cup water for 2 pounds of russet potatoes), and I put the potatoes in the basket, so they're only barely touching the water, pressure cook high for about 6 minutes. Same thing goes for beans, I use Peruano beans, because I think they're creamier than pintos, with beans, I put them in the water, but just less than usual, and I think the flavor is more concentrated. I do in both cases, save most seasoning, salt especially, until after the pressure cooking, because it's easier to judge the concentration then.

                                              1. re: lireland
                                                e
                                                eatlikeobelix Jul 20, 2013 07:59 AM

                                                Hi lireland, that's an interesting question and I am not sure how to answer it in a non-subjective way. If I had to choose slow cooker v pressure cooker, I would be in favor of a slow cooker. I can see how the pressure cooker would give you punchier flavours. I remember making a ginger and lemon chicken dish in the pressure cooker that is more mellow in the slow cooker. But I think the long cooking times of a slow cooker adds depth to my sauces. If I still had my pressure cooker I would ask you for your mashed potato recipe. It sounds yummy.

                                                1. re: eatlikeobelix
                                                  l
                                                  lireland Jul 22, 2013 03:17 PM

                                                  I don't know that I have an opinion on pressure cooker vs. slow cooker, but my comment is really on behalf of using less water than conventional cooking, that washes away nutrients and flavor. I think when you braise in the oven or use a slow cooker, you're still mostly trapping the flavors in, it's not like throwing away the potato or pasta water. However, there's the speed issue, too. I am in favor of pressure cooking for 1) flavor, 2) speed (not microwave fast, but better than conventional cooking fast), and 3) ecological reasons (you use less energy). I think pressure cooking is a confidence thing, since you can't peek mid process without losing the pressure, you have to learn it gradually what works and what doesn't. But for some things, I think it's great, and I'm sorry it took me so long to try.

                                                  As far as my mashed potato recipe goes, try 2 pounds of Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered, in the basket with 1/2 to 1 cup of water. Bring to high pressure, cook for about 6 minutes. Dump out potatoes and any residual water, and heat 2/3 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter in pressure cooker (reuse the hot pan, but without pressure), while you mash the potatoes, either manually or using a ricer or mixer, (your choice, but don't overmix them to glue). Stir in milk and melted butter, potatoes will gradually thicken. Season liberally with salt, pepper to taste.

                                                  That's a starting point, you can of course use any mashed potato recipe you like, cream instead of milk, and substitute Yukon golds or baby reds, add garlic or sliced scallions, chives, etc. My only advice on potato substitution, however, is that if you prefer your mashed potatoes with the skins on, cut the potatoes or at least prick them before cooking, so the intact skins won't explode under pressure.

                                                  I think slow cookers are fine, but for me, it's usually either too long to wait or I'm going to be gone too long to plan the cooking time in advance. So I use mine more as a continuous warmer for potlucks and parties. Maybe if I were better organized it'd work better for me.

                                                  1. re: lireland
                                                    e
                                                    eatlikeobelix Jul 23, 2013 02:38 PM

                                                    Thanks so much for the recipe!

                                            3. g
                                              Gloriaa Jul 22, 2013 03:44 PM

                                              If I weregetting married I would definitely ask for a the thermomix they are super expensive but it is all you will need. It is great for cooking for two. They are far more popular in Europe...cookware is like clothes in your closet. You use 10% of the stuff 90% of the time. Edit, edit and edit some more.
                                              I also love beautiful mauviel braising pots

                                              1. Carrollton Foodie Jul 23, 2013 07:09 PM

                                                I might eliminate the stainless steel fry pans from the list and add an additional, larger non-stick fry pan and an additional, larger Lodge cast iron fry pan. We have three cast iron fry pans and put them all to regular use, and also use non-sticks pretty regularly, but I find my beautiful stainless steel fry pan virtually useless.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Carrollton Foodie
                                                  DuffyH Jul 24, 2013 09:19 AM

                                                  What do you use when you want fond and an acidic sauce? My non-sticks don't develop fond.

                                                  1. re: DuffyH
                                                    Carrollton Foodie Jul 24, 2013 06:07 PM

                                                    Duffy H, you make a great point I hadn't thought of. Developing fond for an acidic sauce is the perfect use for a stainless steel fry pan. Granted, a cast iron fry pan that is really, really well-seasoned (as ours are from decades of use) can be used for that purpose, but I wouldn't simmer an acidic sauce for hours in a cast iron fry pan, and you'd never want to use a new cast iron fry pan for that purpose at all since it'd be reactive. Someone setting up a new kitchen does have a use for that beautiful stainless steel fry pan :)

                                                    1. re: Carrollton Foodie
                                                      c oliver Jul 24, 2013 06:49 PM

                                                      I don't understand that "reactive" part. I bought a new Lodge DO a few years ago and I make Hazan's Bolognese sauce x 4 or 5 many times. What's the diff please?

                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                        kaleokahu Jul 24, 2013 08:17 PM

                                                        Hi, c oliver:

                                                        I'm mostly with you on this one. I think far too much is made of reactivity in linings. People gasp at the idea of deglazing a tinned or hard-anodized pan with wine, when in fact there is no problem.

                                                        It's possible to get "pepper flakes" of seasoning in your gravy using bare cast iron, but if you do you prolly need to strip and reseason anyway (as if it would hurt anyone, either).

                                                        For me, unless there are off-flavors or -colors, I pay no attention to "reactive" surfaces. The only example that springs to mind is onions sauteed in a freshly polished bare aluminum pan.

                                                        Aloha,
                                                        Kaleo

                                                2. Atomic76 Jul 24, 2013 08:22 PM

                                                  I've been living in apartments for the last 10 years, and I've actually been trying to pair down my collection of pots and pans.

                                                  I've found that a good quality oven safe nonstick stir fry pan with a lid can cook just about anything - without the need for all sorts of separate pans. I can scramble eggs, make home fries, pan sauces, cook burgers, braise meats, stir fries, you name it. I can brown stuff on the stove then throw it in the oven to slow roast.

                                                  A pressure cooker might also be a good choice. You can use it as your standard pot to boil pasta, but also use it to pressure cook homemade stocks, make batches of fresh beans, etc... with it.

                                                  A decent size deep glass baking dish with a tight fitting lid would also work for making roasts as well as casseroles. Plus they are less expensive than cast iron dutch ovens, lighter, and easier to clean/maintain.

                                                  I have a Calphalon grill pan, and I actually hate to use it because it's nearly impossible to keep clean. I also had a cast iron skillet, and rarely used it as well since it's a pain to clean and keep seasoned. Plus they smoke up my place.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Atomic76
                                                    s
                                                    sueatmo Jul 25, 2013 11:18 AM

                                                    Not sure about the oven safe non stick. Is this anodized?

                                                    And I've just left the exploding Pyrex thread. A glass baking dish is simply not the best choice, IMO. I'd choose metal, pyroceram or a clay-based pot for this. I have used successfully a cast aluminum pot from Berndes for this use, but it was not budget friendly.

                                                    http://tinyurl.com/kejl3t6 Berndes SignoCast Dutch Ovens

                                                  2. g
                                                    gourmanda Oct 31, 2013 09:37 AM

                                                    Lose the 10" SS pan; make the non-stick 12"; nix steamer, wok and one of the dutch ovens.

                                                    1. j
                                                      JohnMD1022 Nov 1, 2013 12:13 PM

                                                      Favorite stove top pan = 10.5 All-Clad Saute pan.

                                                      Wok = LeCreuset cast iron... the pre-enameled model

                                                      Stock pots = 4 1/2 qt Descoware and two 7 1/2 qt LeCreuset (2 because the second was $12 at Goodwill). We have several smaller Descoware pieces, and love them. Available for a song on ebay.

                                                      We also have AC 3 and 6 qt, a no-name 8qt with steamer inserts, and a couple of Revere in 12 and 16 qt.

                                                      Sauce pan = AC 2 qt. plus a couple of old (50 yrs) Revere in 1 and 4 qt.

                                                      Wagner and Griswold cast iron frying pans. I'd really suggest looking in "antique" (junk) stores or buying the good old stuff on ebay.

                                                      As far as knives are concerned, I use 3 "regular" knives, a 3.5" Sabatier paring knife, a 5.5" Nakiri (Japanese) and a 9" no-name chef's knife. A good bread knife (Messermeister) is great for slicing tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.

                                                      Of course there are various roasting pans, biscuit pans, etc.

                                                      Amazing what can be accumulated in 50 years of marriage.

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