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Pan Envy?

Ever made a good, sound purchase and then seen something better go on sale soon after? This happened to me this week.

About 2 weeks ago, Sam's Club got some pretty decent generic clad stainless frypans, with silicone handles. Nowhere near as thick as All-Clad, might be almost as thick as Cuisinart, but at a mis-marked $16.97 for the 10", a darn good buy all the same, one I easily pounced on, given that I lacked a 10" clad frypan.

This morning, what's in my email? SLT's Easter sale on Mauviel, with the M'collection de Cuisine (SLT-only version of M'Cook) 10" skillet on sale for $79. This one is 5 ply clad, and so thick, with that wonderful Mauviel handle, so sweet. Ah, well. I'll have to live with a bad case of Pan Envy.


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  1. Best chef's pan I ever owned is a 12" KitchenAid from Target, thirty-five bucks.

    1. Just enjoy your new pan. Eventually, in the next decade or so, that silicone handle will give out, and you'll have a good excuse to buy a new one, but in the meantime you've got $60 or so to put towards something else. Spices? Wine?

      Have fun!

      1. Personally, I would not spend even $79 for a skillet but if that's a really good deal - and it sounds like you'd know better than I would - why not get it? You've only spent the cost of a couple of workday lunches on the Sam's Club pan, and it's not like it takes up a whole cabinet to store. Hang onto it or give it away.

        4 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          I have spent more than $150 (on sale...+ a 20% off coupon!) in the past, for my short-lived romance with the big and expensive Demeyere Proline frypan. Eventually I realized it really wasn't worth it's price tag and returned it to BB&B. Sure it cooked more evenly than my Calphalon Tri-Ply, but in the end, it turned out to be a PITA to clean, so I never wanted to use it.

          I don't think the Mauviell would be hard to keep clean, as it looks to be brushed in and out, and it is really pretty.... but I've got a pile of frypans already and really, really do not need another. Still, it's just soooo pretty and I have no stove jewelry anymore. I can be such a girly girl sometimes. LOL

          1. re: DuffyH

            Oh, don't ask me, girlfriend, as I will be a total enabler here. Pretty works, and I have fallen before.

            Question, though. What made the Demeyere hard to clean? I don't have that line, but am curious.

            1. re: breadchick

              <What made the Demeyere hard to clean? I don't have that line, but am curious.>

              Hey, BC! Good to see you. :-)

              Hard to say what makes it hard to clean, especially since Demeyere claims Silvinox aids in cleaning. I was comparing it to old Calphalon Tri-Ply at the time. The Calphalon normally reacted pretty well to a deglaze or soak, followed by a soapy sponge. Not so the Proline. Cleaning some fried rice I soaked it then used the sponge. There was still a lot of starch left on the pan. This didn't happen with the Calphalon.
              That was pretty typical. Most of the things I cooked in it left a residue that required an abrasive, like BKF. Salmon cakes sautéed in oil required BKF. WTF?

              I'm not sure why this happened. Maybe the patina on my 12 year old pan made it better at releasing foods. The new Demeyere seemed to release VERY well, with hardly any sticking even on the fried rice, and as expected, none at all with the salmon cakes. But still there was residue that didn't want to come up easily. it was just damned annoying, and a big part of why it went back.

              By the time I took it back to BB&B, I hadn't used it in almost 3 months because of the cleaning issues and it's heavy weight. When you just don't want to deal with a pan, it's time to find another pan. Still, most people who have them love them. It does cook superbly.

              EDIT - I should add that when I wrote "soapy sponge" I meant one with the blue scrubby pad glued to one side. The blue scrubby thing didn't remove all the residue. There. Clarity at last. :-)

        2. $16.97? Not a bad price at all for something that could be donated to family or friend or neighbor. If you can afford it, get that $79 one. If not, you still have a good piece of cookware.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Muddirtt

            I know, right? Good price, easy to grab the pan. I knew it wasn't *quite* as thick as I prefer, but at 3mm overall, it's likely still got 2mm of aluminum, a lot more than some other pans. Although a fat aluminum layer isn't everything, it was definitely worth trying. I've only used it a couple of times, but it's done fine so far.

            I really am bad, collecting way too many frypans. In addition to the Mauviel, I've also got my eye on the Zwilling Spirit uncoated frypan. Also in 10", of course, my favorite size. There's got to be some meds to help with this, yeah? LOL

            1. re: DuffyH

              You can't have too many fry pans. Check this guy out, lol...

              That's a lot of weight going down on that floor in that closet.

              Ok, maybe you can have too many fry pans, lol.

              1. re: Muddirtt

                He has WAY too many fry pans. Makes me wonder what he's cooking. But thanks for posting that video link, it gave me a new storage idea. I have very similar shelving in my pantry, and the Dude has previously suggested I move some of my pans there to reduce the amount of bending and lifting I have to do.

                Let's see.... if we move the cereal and pasta to the cabinet,,,, hmm, I'll have to work on it. He may be installing some new pull-out shelving soon. :-D

                1. re: DuffyH

                  Yeah, I thought that shelving was pretty convenient. If he can hold that many heavy cast iron, with easy acces to boot, I think that will be going in one of my cupboards also.

                2. re: Muddirtt

                  Good lord, that is crazy. I sent the link to my spouse who thinks that my 4 CI pans (+ dutch oven) is beyond the pale.

                  I wonder if he rotates through to ensure that each pan gets used once in a blue moon.

                  1. re: tcamp

                    He obviously doesn't use them all.

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      <He obviously doesn't use them all.>

                      That's when I can't see the point to having them.

                    2. re: tcamp

                      <... my spouse who thinks that my 4 CI pans (+ dutch oven) is beyond the pale.>

                      I'll speak up for you, tcamp. I've got 4 carbon steels, all different. 3 sauté pans, all different. Now if you've got 4 12" skillets, all exactly the same, well.... ;-)

                      1. re: DuffyH

                        Four 12" skillets won't even fit on my range. Now, two 12" and two 10" ... That works for me. If the kids are both having sleep-over friends, it's juggling time in the morning, lol.

                        1. re: Muddirtt

                          <If the kids are both having sleep-over friends, it's juggling time in the morning, lol.>

                          When the Grands sleep over at our house, I often forget that I've got a perfectly good electric griddle. Makes excellent pancakes, but do I ever remember to get it out? Hell, no! :)

              2. I've found all-clad d5 to be pretty heavy and slow to respond to temperature changes, probably due to all that SS.

                4 Replies
                1. re: filtered

                  Does the d5 have extra steel in the layers? Oh, I remember reading something about that here... supposed to spread the heat more evenly, yeah? Does it make it act more like carbon steel/cast iron than clad stainless?

                  Both my Vollrath Tribute saucier and Zwilling Spirit sauté have been happy surprises. Both are 3-ply, but they've got much, much more aluminum than I expected. Based on reviews, I figured they'd be kind of average 3-ply pans, about the same as Cuisinart or Calphalon, but not as thick as All-Clad. I was wrong. With about 3mm of aluminum, they're thicker than the AC 3-ply I've seen and continue to outperform my expectations.

                  Maybe the thing is to look for really thick aluminum in 3-ply pans, instead of adding extra layers. That's a whole new thread.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    ...or just look for really thick aluminum..

                    Have you seen these magnetic stick-on induction chafing heaters? Heck you don't even need a stove anymore, you can just wave the pan around...

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      I love it. Will it go Up The Country, do you think, like regular Canned Heat units?

                      How about a roll-up unit?


                      1. re: DuffyH

                        Yes, all you'll need are a squirrel, a cage and a generator.

                        Doubtful they have all the electronic safety sensors/circuits, so buyer beware.

                2. I've been trying to stay away from looking at "deals." Almost bought a Mauviel pan that, after later research, was 1.5 mm copper when I already have two All-Clads in similar sizes.

                  In my cooking the most temperature sensitive stuff I do is with sauces and my 1.8 quart Alessi (a recent purchase for a serious discount) works just fine. I think many of us - myself included - should work on developing better cooking skills and technique before investing in more expensive pans. If I'm not curdling bearnaise or kimizu in my current setup, would picking up a several hundred dollar copper saucier help me cook any better?

                  On the other hand, I do collect knives and sharpening equipment, so perhaps I'm just kidding myself...

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: Cynic2701

                    Nothing wrong with collecting. At least fry pans aren't as big as Jay Leno's cars. I'm glad I don't collect anything but Bic lighters, bottle caps, glass bottles, and music CDs. But all those are shown off on display (or audio). Maybe a hanging rack from the ceiling is in order for the original poster, or a glass door cabinet :)

                    1. re: Cynic2701

                      well if you are going to collect knives..... check out bladesofthegods.com (sighs) seriously expensive but gotta love the workmanship

                      1. re: Cynic2701

                        <On the other hand, I do collect knives and sharpening equipment, so perhaps I'm just kidding myself...>

                        Yup, it's not just a river in Egypt, is it? :-)

                        Seriously, to some extent you're correct and i would never think of paying several hundred dollars for any one pan. But we also know that better tools generally yield better results and the splurge I'm considering is only $80, not so very much, all things considered.

                        1. re: DuffyH

                          I didn't think I was crazy for spending $120 on a multi tool (Leatherman Surge) or $1800 on a bicycle, although somebody else may think it was crazy. Are people who buy a $300,000 Lamborghini crazy? No, they can just afford it. Money and spending are all relative.

                          I have too many wooden utensils, which is redundant, but each one is different and I think I'm done buying them. Plus they look good in the bamboo canister on the counter.

                          I'm starting to build a collection of cast iron pots and pans (about 9 pieces) and I want more but I think it's justified because each one will have a use. I don't need two 12" skillets of the same but I will use them both at the same time sometimes. Do I need a 15" skillet or a 7qt dutch oven? No, but I will use them and they all look pretty on display in the kitchen.

                          An unused pan is a waste, unless you collect them for... a collection. As long as you're not walking over pans in your kitchen, and it's not hurting financially, why not. Redundancy is sometimes a good thing. You take 5 ways to start a fire with you into the woods but only one is needed.

                          1. re: Muddirtt

                            <You take 5 ways to start a fire with you into the woods but only one is needed.>

                            Never thought of that. I do agree that redundancy isn't necessarily a bad thing. I consider 3 10" frypans necessary. 1 carbon steel, 1 stainless steel and one nonstick. There are times when I wouldn't mind having an extra one of each.

                            I seldom use 12" frypans and am considering dumping them entirely, since my sauté pans seem to have taken over my large pan frying duty. I'm also giving Dude's cast iron back, because I just don't use it.

                            I've been feeling pretty proud of myself for resisting the urge to buy a Zwilling Thermolon coated frypan, because we're loving the performance of the sauté. I'm determined to use it for at least 9-12 months before buying another piece, because people complain about longevity. See how wonderfully reasonable I am? 0:-)

                            Side note - Have you considered turning your wooden tools into a spiral chandelier, ala the new commercial from some financial services company? It features a celeb chef I've never heard of, showing a kitchen decorated with gadgets/tools. I seriously want that chandelier.

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              Better have a minion to dust that sucker. What are people thinking?

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                Hey, K

                                No worries! The one I want is much easier to clean. It lacks the upper outer ring, having only the spiral. Oh yeah, that'll make all the difference.

                                Besides, who needs to dust, when all the parts get used on a regular basis? 'Course, I'm going to have to raid Muddirtt's drawers to equip it. :-0

                                1. re: DuffyH

                                  If my large wooden ladle comes up missing, I'm going to go ape s*** lol :)

                              2. re: DuffyH

                                "... Have you considered turning your wooden tools into a spiral chandelier..."

                                Hey, now that's a cool idea. Maybe mix with stainless and silicone to make a wood/metal/colored pattern.

                                I do want to hang my pans from the ceiling someday, but it's kind of a big project being that it'd have to be safe and that I'd anchor it over top of the rafters in the attic.

                                No need to worry about dust. I'd make a very simple and minimalistic design, and my pans and utensils are already outside of the cupboards. It's the price I pay for showing them off. I'd rinse off the utensils prior to use anyways even if they were in a drawer. And I rinse off my cast iron once a week if it hasn't been used, or a quick rinse before use just to rinse off airborne crud.

                              3. re: Muddirtt

                                Yeah, I have a few $400+ knives and have been trying not to convince myself to start buying $700+ Japanese natural stones for sharpening. I have several of the same knife (it was/is produced in different steels and handle colors and configurations) that each cost $200+ at the time, but are now worth over $300. Most people think I'm crazy, but I guess it all depends on what you are interested in--lots of women carry around $400 purses or wear $200 jeans, not to mention their shoes.

                                I've gotten to the point that I don't like having stuff I don't use, so I've pared my pocket knife collection over time down to ~14 knives (I trade or sell one from time to time).

                                1. re: Cynic2701

                                  Yeah, Buck collectors are an interesting breed also. I've seen some collectors own over 200 Buck 110's. Crazy. I'm on an air gun forum too and some of those old timers have an outrageous collection, sometimes hiding a new $2500 PCP airgun from their wives, lol. Or a $400 carbon fiber tank :)

                                  1. re: Muddirtt

                                    <I've seen some collectors own over 200 Buck 110's.>

                                    I've never understood the collector mentality that wants to have many multiples of the same thing, all in identical condition. I don't see the point.

                                    I could see stuff from different production eras or something like that. Then you're still got a representative collection. Makes sense. But to have all these things, all the same, what's up with that?

                                    EDIT - Hiding stuff from a spouse or SO, that's a person with a problem.

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      There are lots of subtleties in some of the collections. Manufacturers a lot of times making rolling changes in the manufacturing process for knives that have been around for a long time (e.g. Chris Reeve's Sebenza or the Buck 110) and sometimes certain knives made a certain way - despite being the "same" knife - are more desirable than others.

                                      For example, when Chris Reeve started stamping "Made in Idaho" on his knives, the value of the non-stamped knives went up slightly. When the stopped using a bull pivot on the Umnumzaan the demand for older style pivots went up dramatically. Then there are tons of other more subtle changes: perforated washers, different screw heads, hollow screws, flat grinds, hollow-flat grinds, etc.

                                      1. re: Cynic2701

                                        You lost me at bull pivot, because I don't know jack about Buck knives, but I understand your point. I get that subtle changes make an item slightly different. That's the type of thing I was referring to as making some sense. Still, I'd hope they're all displayed in some way, even if it's a limited space rotating display, perhaps one that's changed every so often. If they're stuck in shoeboxes in a closet, it's not a collection, it's just an obsession.

                                      2. re: DuffyH

                                        Well, the Buck 110 is one of the most famous knives ever. And there's literally hundreds of different ones through the decades. Different stamps, mismatched handles, different wood, different steel, special editions, ect. It's quite boggling. If one is to collect one knife, they won't be bored with getting all the 110's, lol.