Pots and pans HELP!!!!
I'm looking for pots and pans to put on my wedding registry. I love to cook and bake! I do it often for large groups of people. I don't want anything with a "non stick" coating so I was thinking stainless steel maybe? Any alternatives would be appreciated. I really want these to be able to last me and my family a long time and have a good warranty, although the warranty isn't a necessity just a perk. Also price isn't really an issue as we will be receiving these as presents. Here's a list I was hoping you guys could help me out with
-does it really matter if it 3, 5, or 7 ply? If so whatever is best.
-be able to stack while cooking
-be induction capable
-must be sturdy
-hopefully won't stick
-I'd prefer something where I could buy different sets of lids, glass for everyday cooking and metal for stackable cooking
-don't really care about it being dishwasher safe
Any other suggestions would be great. I just want something that I'll be able to keep and grow with and I really thank you for helping me!
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro is solid, high performing, and reasonably priced stainless steel cookware. I believe Calphalon Tri-Ply is equivalent, though with glass lids. (I have one piece of the Calphalon and two pieces of the Cuisinart.)
I recommend a combination of materials on your cookware list - stainless steel (such as a stock pot, saucepan, and saute pan); Lodge raw cast iron 10" skillet; Lodge or Le Creuset or Staub enameled cast iron 5,6,or 7 qt Dutch oven; and a non-stick egg pan - TFal is highly rated. The 3.5 qt Le Creuset enameled cast iron braiser is also extremely versatile - you can use it for braises, roasting a chicken, casseroles in the ove, or as a skillet on the stovetop. In terms of bakeware - a jelly roll/bar pan is a must. I have one metal and one stoneware bar pan, and use them both. I think you will like that stoneware is generally non-stick and becomes more non-stick as you use it. I really like the Pampered Chef stoneware - I am not a consultant nor do I know a consultant, so not trying to advertise here. But I *love* the stoneware bar pan, and the Deep Covered Baker. Google it!
I'm really like my All Clad Stainless Steel which is the backbone of my cookware. Staub or Le Creuset dutch ovens (I've had both and currently have a large Staub and small LC), a bare, well seasoned cast iron skillet and a larger pot for stock/pasta/artichokes/corn.
Properly heated pans with enough fat will have fewer sticking issues, but absent nonstick or a fabulously seasoned cast iron pan, some things will be a bit sticky. But that's also good for sauce making, so...tradeoffs.
I think you won't go wrong with stainless steel for most of your pots and pans. Some people like to add a skillet or two in plain cast iron and a dutch oven in enameled cast iron.
I prefer the lighter weight of a carbon steel skillet instead of cast iron and a stainless steel multi-pot in lieu of a dedicated dutch oven. But, it's really a matter of personal preference.
The single most important thing you should do is get yourself to Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma (both would be good) and handle a lot of cookware. Handle shape is highly personal. One person's ideal handle is another's torture device.
If you want pans to last forever, I'd recommend thick heavy stuff. That mean a lot of aluminum in 3-ply, or 5-7 plies. My top 3-ply pick would be Zwilling Spirit Uncoated. It's identical to the more common Zwilling Spirit Ceramic, but without the nonstick coating. It's very nice stuff, thicker than All-Clad and with a handle I find more comfy. But that's just me. It's made in China, but quality is excellent, with as much attention to detail as you could want.
Mauviel M'Cook is 5-ply that meets all of your needs, including both glass and metal lids sold separately. At Sur Le Table, it's marketed as Mauviel M'Collection. But it's the same thing, just branded differently. Mauviel also makes carbon steel pans if you want continuity of looks. They're sold as Mauviel M'Steel. All made in France.
Also, Demeyere's Atlantis line is top-flight 7-ply cookware that Is fabulously thick and quite heavy. It's a bit spendy, and for good reason. It should definitely be considered.
All of the brands I've listed are known for excellent warranty service, with lifetime coverage. They're also heavy and will serve you well for many, many years. But none of them stack while cooking.
The only pans I know of that stack are the sets sold at county fairs, RV shows and similar events. The only advantage it offers is the ability to steam something without firing up an extra burner. You could accomplish the same thing by placing a steamer or double boiler insert into a pan that's already being used for another purpose.
But it does have trade-offs. The food you're steaming will take longer than with traditional steaming methods because presumably the heat beneath the bottom pan won't be as high (no boiling water). Additionally, you'll lose the ability to monitor the food in the lower pan,because every time you lift the steamer you'll bleed heat out of the pan. So it's really only useful in certain applications. Steaming some veggies over a pot of soup comes to mind.
This is a feature of "waterless" cookware - a gimmick really - it assumes you cook everything, alone, for a fixed amount of time - no stiffing, deglazing, searing... frankly no actual cooking - just each item steamed in its own little container - I have seen this on infomercials but never know anyone to actually cook like this and it seems quite impossible to tell you the truth - get a stack of Asian bamboo steamer baskets or a couple steamer inserts and a standard set of good quality stainless cookware - you wont be sorry.