Post # 1
Currently I am using a random selection of cookware that doesn’t match. Some cooks well, others don’t, and other still I don’t have much of a preference for,
Anyway there are so many different types of materials you can get when it comes to cookware.
Non-stick cookware, Hard anodized cookware, Cast Iron cookware, Copper cookware, etc.
I just want something that is tough, long lasting, easy to maintain, and cooks well.
Post # 3
We use stainless steel on a daily basis (specifically, the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic series from Macy’s which goes on sale fairly frequently and is a great starter set). I read a lot of research online that said that non-stick is not good for your health and can release fumes if it is overheated to the smoke point. If you have birds, non-stick pans’ fumes can be deadly. Plus, if you accidently scratch up the non-stick finish, you kind of have to wonder where that coating is going. For SS, you can just soak it with hot water if you have food debris that is stubborn and sticking.
I like cast iron a lot too but it tends to be a bit too heavy for me for daily use. The copper looks nice but the ones I saw at Williams Sonoma were quite pricey. Our alternate set of pots and pans will be Le Creuset, which is on our registry.
Post # 4
One set I was looking at is actually the 14 piece Cusinart Chef’s classic series. It had a lot of good reviews.
Post # 5
I second pretty much everything Lilbb said up above there. I have had a combo of the three, and I realyl love gordon Ramsays SS pots n pans-everyday. We picked up the set and it cleans well, looks professional, and cooks evenly. Non stick is good for frying an egg…other than that, over 400 degrees heating it can release carcinogens into your food and also if it burns accidentally, it is highly toxic and leaves a sticky, black coating on your range hood (My son overheated one once).
Post # 6
This depends a lot on what style(s) of cooking you do. Most non-stick coatings are not particularly well-suited for cooking over very high heat, so if you do a lot of sautees, stir-fries and pan-fries you probably want to avoid the nonstick and go for a high-quality stainless. Don’t shop by price. You want a well-crafted, durable piece, even better if you can get (and afford) industrial/restaurant quality. It takes a little extra work to take care of a really nice stainless pan but if you treat it right, you will have it for decades. a trick to cleaning stuck-on foods: let it dry, then dump about a quarter-cup of salt in the pan and scour it using a coarse paper towel or some newspapers.
If you do more stews, soups, and slow cooking then nonstick works just fine and I’m partial to the higher-end Calphalon line although some folks can’t stand them. Good nonstick pans will have a warning label to not put them in the dishwasher. Excessive heat on a nonstick pan will cause the coating to degrade and soon it won’t be nonstick any more.
If you occasionally sear something on the stove then finish it in the oven, then nonstick is out, as is anything with rubber or coated handles.
Copper is beautiful but is a fairly soft metal and prone to bending and denting. This makes it conduct heat unevenly and that leads to sticking/scorching. I love the look of copper but find it really impractical for actual life in a kitchen.
The best way to choose cookware is to first decide what pieces you need, then go to a good cookery store and try the different brands. There is a huge styling difference between Cuisinart, Calphalon, and pretty much every brand. That translates into differences in weight, balance and overall “feel” of the pan. The label doesn’t matter if you’re not comfortable holding it. Try a few of each piece in different makers and price ranges till you find the one you like. You’ll know it when you feel it— a good pan, especially a good saute pan, will feel like an extension of your hand.
FWIW we have a very well-stocked kitchen but there are about 5 items I use regularly and the rest collect a bit of dust till I feel like cooking “fancy.” The 12″ Calphalon “Everyday Pan” gets a good workout, as does the 12 or 14″ Calphalon saute/frying pan. Also we use the 8″ omelet pan, 12-quart stockpot and 8-quart stockpot; between those 5, that’s about 80% of my cooking.