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Stainless steel and 'green' non stick cookware?

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Hello! I finally decided to buy new cookware (yeeeehh).
Anyway, I know all-clad is the best stainless steel set but I really dont want to spend that amount of money ... Is there anything good but for a more reasonable price?
About non stick, I have some hard idonized pieces but prefer to go green maybe with ceramic or marble?? I have been reading reviews and cant find a brand everybody is happy with .... Suggestions?

Thanks in advance for any help!

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  1. sure this will relocate to cookware

    My thought is dont by a set or hang your hat one a single type - assemble a batterie that suits you and what you want to cook

    in my mind

    skillet - cast iron
    saute - clad ss
    dutch oven - enameld ci
    stock pot - aluminum disk bottom ss
    sauce pans - copper, anodized or clad ss whatever your fancy/price point allows
    carbon steel wok
    maybe a non stick egg pan

    pick the right tool for the job don't use a hammer to drive a screw.

    5 Replies
      1. re: JTPhilly

        As a latecomer to modern nonstick, and a staunch iron-or-tinned-copper guy of many years, I'm glad I took the advice of a chef friend and got a cheap 8" Orgreenic nonstick-on-aluminum pan for my eggs. I asked him about the fancy expensive kind, and he said none of them last much more than a year at most anyway, and if you find a cheap one you like just figure on replacing it; who can't afford $15 per year?

        1. re: Will Owen

          Thanks, I read tons of reviews on those new green non stick pans that say they lose the non stick property anywhere between 6months to 1 year... I am ok with that, although I have used my hard idonized pans and pots (daily) for over 15 years and they are still fully nonstick ... I guess it's all the bad chemicals they use?

          1. re: Effex

            <I have used my hard idonized pans and pots (daily) for over 15 years and they are still fully nonstick ... I guess it's all the bad chemicals they use?>

            I think it's how people treat them. I've read reviews of some ceramic coated pans that have been in use for 3-5 years and are still nonstick. Anyone getting only one year of use on a nonstick pan is abusing it, no question.

            1. re: DuffyH

              Makes sense ... i'll have to give them a try. My sister tried the Bialetti ceramic ones and she also had hard adonized for many years still non stick and told me not to bother as they are no good. Would try a different brand.

      2. Agreeing with JTPhilly. His list is pretty much spot on, though I don't have a working/seasoned cast iron skillet. The seasoning on mine is terrible. (and with a toddler, there are other things I would rather do than keep seasoning that pan)

        I bought an all non-stick set to "complete" my wedding registry almost 10 years ago. For the cook I was then, fine. Now, I'm spending a bunch to get the pieces that specialize in doing what I need them to.

        1. Most of the 'exotic' food I cook need a non stick surface, especially when I cook the crispy bottom rice. I really want to drop the hard idonized pots I have and replace them asap ... Any specific brand I should look into?
          I read some good things about ScanPan and the Marbleware .... Thoughts?

          1. If you have spent more than an hour perusing Chowhound, you should have come to the realization that nobody here agrees about anything. And we are happy to go to great lengths to convince you on why everybody who does not agree with us is wrong.

            I personally like JTPhilly's recs. 10 in. Teflon pan for eggs.

            1. I "invested" in All-Clad tri-ply stainless over a decade ago, back when it was the only fully clad throw-in-the-dishwasher cookware line. It has held up well, and I have enjoyed using it. That said, it's not the the only thing in my kitchen, and it is not necessarily what I would buy today.

              In my humble opinion, the current Cuisinart French Classic tri-ply is as good as the All-Clad Stainless. I bought a piece recently, and it looks and performs like my older All-Clad, for about 1/3 of the price.

              As has been pointed out, matched sets of cookware are neither necessary nor desirable. My kitchen uses mostly stainless tri-ply, but I have a few pieces of stainless-lined copper, a bit of nonstick, a few ceramic casseroles... I gave away my enameled cast iron during our last kitchen remodeling project because I don't hold onto things I don't use.

              So my advice is to think carefully about your cooking habits and practices, and get what seems best to you. Good luck!

              1. I'm with those who advise against a set. The only reason to have a set is to get a uniform look in your showcase kitchen. My kitchen is no showcase and I buy each piece to fill a particular need. I do have a few pieces of All-Clad, but a little bit of almost everything else.

                As for non-stick, I've never been enticed to buy one of those special "green" pans. I have a new Scanpan Classic fry pan for omelettes which is marked "Green Tek." I don't know how, exactly, it compares to other pans in that department, but it's a great non-stick pan which I expect to last a lifetime.

                You need to state a particular use before considering which is the best pan for it.

                1. If you like the easy cleaning of your hard anodized exteriors but just want to avoid the teflon, consider Calphalon Commercial Hard Anodized. It has no coating at all, but is still mostly nonstick, as long as you cook with some butter or oil.

                  It is mid-priced, around $350-400 for a large set. You might be able to handle it at BB&B. You'll probably like it. This was Calphalon's signature line for many, many years. Many people use the term "Calphalon" to refer to this type of cookware, just as we say "Kleenex" to refer to tissues.

                  In fully clad stainless, the inexpensive Tramontina Tri-Ply gets good reviews. Walmart carries several sets and a lot of open stock, but online only. It's not normally found in their stores.

                  Even with the preference here for open stock mixed pieces, sets can make a lot of sense financially. If it mostly contains the pieces you want, and you're not paying for a lot of ones you don't want, go ahead. Use the savings (v. open stock prices) to get some other pieces in different materials.

                  1. Thanks so much e eryone, I do own a few hard idonized calphalon pieces but thought they were just as bad as teflon, I think I am a little confused about this ptfe thing.
                    I mostly use my in stick cookware to make chicken stews and rice with a crunchy bottom.
                    I also make risotto, and I use the hard idonized there too.
                    I make other food as well :) but these are the first that popped into my mind..

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: Effex

                      you don't have any PTFE with hard anodized Calphalon when the pan interior is also hard anodized. This can be confusing because they make hard anodized pans with non-stick interior as well. - Anodizing makes the aluminum non-reactive but it is still basically "stick" cookware. I like the stuff, perhaps better than my stainless but have seen different opinions here.

                      for stews and risotto I love my Enamel CI most. I am usually trying to avoid crunchy bottom rice and mostly get soggy rice in all cookware - I just bought a rice cooker LOL.

                      1. re: JTPhilly

                        I just chcked and this is what I have:
                        Circulon contempo hard adonized durabilitynon stick
                        Anolon hard idonized non stick
                        They are all hard idonized non stick
                        So if it says non stick s mo good because it has the bad stuff? I dont understand!! :) i want to get rid of the bad stuff but I dont know where it is, lol!

                        1. re: Effex

                          Hard anodized aluminum is tricky, because almost all of it has a nonstick coating of some kind. Calphalon Commercial is a lonely exception.

                          If you want to avoid Teflon and it's relatives, look for cookware that does NOT use the word "nonstick" at all. Those will be almost always be completely uncoated, because cookware makers want to advertise the fact that their stuff isn't sticky.

                          PTFE is what makes nonstick not sticky. So any coating that contains PTFE is essentially Teflon, despite whatever marking claims the maker is using.

                          If it says it is PTFE and PFOA free, but still nonstick, that's one of the newer ceramic nonstick coatings you mentioned in your original post. If it only says PFOA free, it's Teflon by another name, period.

                          Zwilling/Henckels is using Thermalon ceramic nonstick on some of their stainless steel cookware lines - Sol, Twin Spirit, Tru-Clad and Twin Choice.


                          1. re: DuffyH

                            Thank you so much!
                            So my hard idonized non stick should go in the trash ...

                            1. re: Effex

                              I wouldn't toss it unless it has lost it's nonstick properties and was shredded and scratched. But I'm not worried about cooking on Teflon. Since you are, if your stuff is still in good shape, why not donate it? Hard anodized stuff doesn't last long on the shelf at my local thrift store.

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                My pans are still in pretty good conditions, no deep scratches, clean, I only use wood or plastic utensils with them. Some are from 20 years ago.
                                Maybe I'll donate them when I buy the replacement then!

                                1. re: Effex

                                  When you buy your new pans, there's a sometimes-followed tradition that you post here to tell us what you chose and how it feels and performs. We love cookware reviews by real cooks. I'm just saying. ;)

                                  Happy shopping!

                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                    Will do :) may take a few months though, still researching

                                    1. re: Effex

                                      Cookware lasts a long time, and you will deal with it every day. It's worth putting some time and thought into it. Sizes, shapes, weights, materials, maintenance, uses, even your storage of it, are all individual choices, unique to you. As Duffy says, a well-chosen set can save you money, and you can use it as a core to build around, but you need to find the one that will work for you. I've found it useful to think of what drives me crazy (tiny, toy-like pans) and what I use most (a good braising pan).

                                      Have fun!

                                      1. re: texanfrench

                                        Thanks, I just wanted to replace my old hard idonized pieces, so I started researching for green alternatives but there dont seem to be many good alternatives out these, most of the 'green' new cookware apparently last only 6 to 1 year then lose the non stick properties. That's what I realized so far in my research ...
                                        I also have a hold cast iron pot I used to fry french fries in and it seems good, my DH hates cast irons, too heavy and took high maintenance plus you cant put anything acidic in it and we cook with tomato sauce. Never knew it was so difficult to buy a pot! Lol

                                        1. re: Effex

                                          Its not soo hard - go get yourself a good basic set of stainless (clad or disk bottom) best quality you can reasonably afford - this will be your best for tomato sauces - hold on to your CI skillet for searing and frying and look into a Le-Creuset style duch oven for braising. Get one non-stick pan, green if you like or keep your existing non stick as long as it lasts.

                                          1. re: JTPhilly

                                            Thoughts about these?

                                            They oddly seem to have good reviews ....
                                            The stainless steel cookware is less of an issue ... I am mostly cpnfused about the non stick.

                                            1. re: Effex

                                              Simply Calphalon is generally well-regarded. The question, as you said, is the ceramic nonstick. Whether it lasts a long time is less, IME, a function of the coating and more the result of how the pan is used.

                                              Follow Calphalon's recommendations and you'll get more use than others. If some of yours are 20 yrs old and still performing well, you already know how to use it properly. Remember, most people abuse nonstick with high heat, heat them dry and many also use cooking sprays. Then they complain the pans don't work after a year.

                                              One of things I've learned from reading reviews of ceramic nonstick is that cooking sprays like Pam are death to it, perhaps even worse than using them on Teflon. I'm considering buying a Henckels Spirit 10" frypan, as I find myself in need of a nonreactive smaller pan and thought it worth a try.

                                              1. re: Effex

                                                My son recently bought the Simply Calphalon Ceramic and he really likes them. He is normally not a non-stick fan.

                                                He's convinced me to get some for myself.

                                                  1. re: Effex

                                                    The only thing is that he has a dark almost black coating, but we can't seem to find them online. Other than that, those are the same pans he has.

                                                    1. re: bear

                                                      Oh, the ones in my link are white .. Interesting. Wonder if it makes a difference.
                                                      Are you sure it's. ceramic and not regular non stick? Where did you buy them from?

                                                      1. re: Effex

                                                        My son got his either at TJMaxx or Marshall's, he can't quite remember. I'll check the store near me and if they don't have them I'll take a chance with the BBB white ones using one of the 20% off coupons.

                                                        His is definitely ceramic, though.

                                                        1. re: bear

                                                          And now I have to tentatively retract my assertions that my son's pans are ceramic. He searched extensively to try and find them, and thinks they were mislabeled. I'd hate to give you an endorsement for the Calphalon Ceramic if that's not what he has.

                                                          He says it's definitely not conventional Teflon, though.

                                                          1. re: bear

                                                            Ended up buying the white ones from Bedbath and so far I love them, they seem like a great healthier alternative to nonstick!

                                                            1. re: Effex

                                                              Thanks for the report, Effex! I think I'll have to pick some up myself. Using the 20% coupon, it's really not that much of a financial investment.

                      2. Why not buy cheap All Clad cosmetic seconds at Cookware and more?

                        I have a bunch.

                        For the most part the defects were imperceptible.

                        After 15 years they are nicked up a bit because of the ins and outs of cooking but the look great and are going strong.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          Interesting, you mean the irregulars, right? Was checking the prices and.. Those are not cheap either! :)
                          But something I may consider .... Although I was looking at a small stainless steel sauce pan I have and used yesterday and I thought it was pretty good, it was Calphalon ... I really think calphalon makes good products.

                          1. re: Effex

                            They are cosmetic seconds, yes. Hardly or not noticeable,

                            Buying during their 4 times a year sale saves you even more.

                        2. I bought Caphalon tri ply years ago and love it. Got it at Bed, Bath &Beyond and they let me use the 20% off coupon. You might want to look at the Emeril line of cookware, it is made by All-Clad. As for non stick, I use cast iron. Love that too.