12-23-2012, 09:29 AM
#1
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I am looking at buying some new cookware for our home. I have looked at ceramic covered cast iron and stainless steel. Which do you prefer and what brand?

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 12-23-2012, 10:05 AM
#2
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I've used heavy Emeril stainless steel cookware by All-Clad for a long time, and it is excellent. I think I found the set on eBay, but it is sold in many places.

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 12-23-2012, 10:09 AM
#3
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We have replaced most of our cook-ware - except for a couple of cast iron skillets - with stuff from the Beka Eco-Logic 100% range; good for you, good for the environment and a dream to cook with. Outside layer is oxidized aluminium, which is tougher than most steels, while the pots are lighter than cast iron. Also dishwasher safe, which is a bonus.

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 12-23-2012, 10:17 AM
#4
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All you need is a 12" stainless pan, a 10" nonstick pan (cheap as they all wear out (that said Analon is the best)), a chef's pot in stainless, a 10 or 12 inch cast iron, a stock pot, and whatever other specialty pot you need for whatever you cook the most often.

For stainless, All Clad is the best, but the best value is triply Tramontina from Walmart. Calphalon is what I use and I like it for the handles & warranty.

There's a few brands better than All Clad and IIRC in the same price range.

For cast iron, just go thrifting. It's just casted iron.

For ceramic coated, I don't know. I've heard good things about Le Creuset.

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 12-23-2012, 11:16 AM
#5
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Easiest to clean is all stainless like All-Clad. I have a few of their pieces

Le Creuset is nice. I have a lot of their large pots. Heavy and requires a lot more care in cleaning and diligence in using. If you chip the enamel you are screwed. Not all handles are oven safe. But their large pots are the dandy for slow cooking and braising. Brings the benefits of cast iron without the acid discoloration issues.

I would buy all stainless saucepans and stock pots, enameled braising pots and dutch ovens, non-stick or stainless saute fry pans. One line of cookware just is not the best in every category

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 12-23-2012, 11:51 AM
#6
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I have a Calaphon set and love it, but that ceramic coated stuff above looks pretty sweet too.

Make sure you keep a nice cast iron skillet no matter what you do. Some things just call for an old, well seasoned cast iron skillet.

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 12-23-2012, 09:14 PM
#7
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For stainless I have some Calphalon, which is very good. I recently picked up a 12" Tramontina stainless fry pan from Walmart and it's excellent. The Tramontina is virtually the same weight as All-Clad at a fraction of the cost. In all cases with cast iron, be sure to buy tri-ply with a layer of aluminum sandwiched between an inner and outer layer of stainless.

Regarding enameled cast iron, I own two large Le Creuset dutch ovens as well as two Lodge color smaller pans and one Lodge Logic pans. For Lodge, the Logic line has four coats of enamel as opposed to the color line which has only two layers of enamel. I use all of these pans as well as plenty of raw cast iron for bulk cooking and they all perform equally well. Aesthetically the Le Creuset pans simply look coolest, followed by the Lodge Logic and then the Lodge color.

The main difference between any cast iron pan and a stainless pan is the difference in thermal mass. The greater the thermal mass of a pan, the longer it will hold onto heat. Tri-ply pans respond rapidly to temperature change, if you turn down the heat, the pan will cool more quickly, where cast iron will take longer to cool down.

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 12-23-2012, 11:22 PM
#8
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First, find out what Americas Test Kitchen suggests for what you want/need. Packaged sets come with junk that you'll use so infrequently that they're just a waste of $.

OK, know what you use, got the recommendations from ATK and the reasoning behind it? Find a restaurant supplier in your area and go there. See what they have. Judge what they have based on the ATK suggestions and reasoning.

I find that I need an 8" Lodge CI fry pan and a 12" CI fry pan. CI is the best you can do for frying, just don't let detergent or soap ever touch it. Yeah, I know we Americans need to wash everything, but don't do that to CI. CI is the best you can do for frying unless you're made of money. In SS, I have one 12" skillet with an aluminum encapsulated bottom, not perfect, but it'll do (handle issues). In anodized aluminum another 12" (Calphalon?) non stick that I use when it's absolutely mandatory since the life of them is so short and the cost is so high.

What I'm trying to say is, figure out what you use, then get good stuff that will fill the bill.

For stock pots, having used junk for years, get good quality aluminum encapsulated SS stockpots from the restaurant supplier. Yes, they're expansive and do you really need an encapsulated bottom to boil water? Well, no. But for other things that the stockpot will be used for you absolutely do. Don't scrimp on pots, get the thickest encapsulated aluminum you can find. You won't cuss me out except for when you pay for it. After that you'll thank me. They're a life time investment.

Good luck. I hope that made sense.

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 12-27-2012, 08:33 PM
#9
  • Blue line
  • Active Member
  • East Central Alabama
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We are ditching ALL our non-stick and have transitioned to cast iron. I'm not feeling warm and fuzzy about the new data coming in about non-stick and human health. We are going with SS for non frying and sautéing duties.

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 12-28-2012, 01:07 PM
#10
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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We just bought a set of Rachel Ray anodized. Which is proving to be a great set heats very evenly.

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 11-19-2013, 08:41 PM
#11
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Thanks to the information in this thread (which the wife read), the wife ended up going with (Amazon links just to show what she bought): The wife is very happy with them and says "thank you" for the information provided in this thread Cheers

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 11-20-2013, 04:11 AM
#12
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Great Amazon price on that, Mike, and good reviews to boot! I like they're oven and dishwasher safe.
I cannot cook an egg in anything but a non-stick though, maybe I don't know how.

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 11-20-2013, 05:09 AM
#13
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Johnny,
Lots of good advice already posted.
What type of cook top do you have?
Gas will take any type of cookware and electric coils as well.
The new magnetic induction cook surfaces need magnetic cookware ie no straight aluminum.
Also anodized aluminum tends to warp or bow. This becomes a problem if you have a flat surface cooktop. Most of my Calphalon hard anodized sees little use due to this.

I am a big fan of allclad. But I have a set of the Tramontina tri-ply at my camp and that is great cookware at a great price. Also Caphalon makes very nice tri-ply that is comparable to Allclad at lower prices. My 8 qt stock pot is Caphalon tr-ply. works great when we make huge batches of tomato sauce or jams for canning.

Do not spend big money on teflon non-stick. The coating WILL eventually wear off. Cooks Illustrated recently said that the manufacturers think 3 years of useful life is acceptable. Hard for me to accept when dealing with a $149 single pan.

I acquired a Zwilling Henckels fry pan with ceramic non-stick at the beginning of the year. It is tr-ply so has good heat spread and heat retention.
http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/2875...y-pan.aspx

I love this pan. Good food release and clean up is a breeze. And it is supposed to last forever.

I will acquire more of this. in fact I have order some for my daughter and a cooking friend. Great stuff.

Phil

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 11-20-2013, 06:38 AM
#14
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My favorite cooking vessel is an enameled cast iron dutch oven. I think its 7 quart capacity. In traditional French country cooking, they would just leave the dutch oven on the stove all the time.

Theoretically you could use it for just about everything, from sauteing to boiling pasta. Also, the Le Creuset is nice, but I'm a cheap bastard and found that the ones they sell at TJ Maxx or HomeGoods is just as fine, but about 1/3rd the price.

We have some anodized aluminum cookware set that we got as a wedding gift, but I think if I was to do it all again, I'd outfit with cast iron. Heavy as a mother, but really versatile. Stainless steel seems like such a pain to clean up.

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 11-20-2013, 07:49 AM
#15
  • Rufus
  • Senior Member
  • Greater Toronto Area
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SWMBO and I both like the look and performance of the ceramic covered cast iron, but we find it too heavy. We like the stainless steel covered aluminium, but the more expensive stuff where the aluminium core is up the sides of the cookware and not just in the bottom. The set we have is Lagostina Commercial Clad and a 12 piece set retails for +$1,000 in Canada when it's not on sale.

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 11-20-2013, 08:39 AM
#16
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(11-20-2013, 04:11 AM)Bowhnter Wrote: Great Amazon price on that, Mike, and good reviews to boot! I like they're oven and dishwasher safe.
I cannot cook an egg in anything but a non-stick though, maybe I don't know how.

Hi Mike

We've only had them for a couple of months so can't comment on their longevity, but so far we're really happy with them, they appear to be well made, heat evenly, no problem cleaning them after use...

The wife has said there is a slightly learning curve to use them properly for cooking, they cook differently (better) compared to our previous "cheap" set...

We did keep one non-stick frying pan, I still use it for cooking eggs.

Take care, Mike

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 11-22-2013, 04:27 PM
#17
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Johnny, if you're after a good pot I would recommend Staub. They're made from cast iron with a black enamel interior. They cook food very evenly while retaining an incredible amount of heat. Most important point is they're very easy to clean.
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/cook...are-staub/?

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 11-24-2013, 04:37 PM
#18
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I have always fried with cast iron. And all of my dutch ovens are cast iron but I prefer Stainless for stock pots. Calphalon in my case. But then I use extremely heavy aluminum stock pots for Gumbo and Jumbalaya. and Enamelled iron roasters for baking birds.

Oh well ! I'm no helpBiggrin I like some things for some things and others for others Wink

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 11-24-2013, 05:25 PM
#19
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well johnny - what did you do? you found the cookware?

i am certainly no expert of anything - but i can highly recommend cookware from belgian demeyere:

http://www.demeyere.be

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