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Need some direct advice on knives, cookware, and utensils.


Eyeage
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Yes, as I posted above...Mauviel and Sitram.

Sorry. It seemed to me that the roasting pan you linked to was expensive compared to a set of All-Clad. I see that comparable pots and pans are roughly evenly priced. I'm glad to learn of these brands. Thank you.

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No problem...you're welcome.

The key is to make sure whatever pots and pans and knives you buy feel good in your hands. I find the handles on newer All-Clad stuff to be a giant step down from the handles of a decade or more ago.

Looking more closely at BB&B's web site, I'd actually get this bigger Mauviel roaster for only a few dollars more.

Some of this might only be available on the web. I'm sure that the credit and coupons can be used to order online as well.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Of the pots I have in the drawer (and there are a lot of them) I use the 8 quart All Clad regularly, the 4 quart Lagostina similar to this one, a 3 quart All Clad saute pot and a mid sized heavy teflon frying pan. The 4 quart saucepan has a steamer to go with it.

I could pretty much do 90% of the cooking I do with these pots.

A 6 or 8 quart stainless pressure cooker is nice - it doubles as a regular pot as well.

As far as knives go - I could do most of my cooking with a reasonably decent chef's knife (I have a not very expensive Wusthof Gourmet 20 cm), a nice long bread knife and half a dozen paring knives - I love paring knives! Oh yeah, and a boning knife for any boning I might need to do - again, not an expensive one - just one that holds a decent edge and can be sharpened easily.

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My boning knife is old (at least the one I use for deer), but it's old like 50 years old, and it's a great knife. Old riveted wooden handle and all. I went and held a few knives today, have to say the Wusthof classic felt the best in my hands of the bunch. I liked the way the calphalon katana felt also. There was a limited selection, but I felt the zwillings I held were too large for my hand. A "host" sent me a great article for kitchen basics. Was from CI from a few years ago "Essential kitchen" etc etc. 39 items that are a must have. While I have several, it was a great resource.

Edited by Eyeage (log)
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I regularly use (>weekly)

10" aluminum fryingpan (cheap restaurant supply brand),

12" Lincoln Wearever clad stainless frying pan

2 qt sauce pan (all clad)

4 qt sauce pan (Scan Pan)

Big saute pan (Calphalon)

10" heavy santoku knife

6" paring knife

Breville Smart Oven

I occasionally use: (few times a month)

Cast Iron 10" pan

Baking dishes

Ramekins of various sizes

Teflon 10" calphalon frying pan mostly for eggs

Cuisinart Miniprep

KA mixer

Meat slicing knife (victorinox)

Sous Vide Supreme (tho now I'd buy the Side Kick)

I rarely use: (few times a year)

Pressure Cooker (Fagor)

Food Processor (cuisinart)

So why do I have all this other crap?

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Regular use:

Gyuto/chef's

Paring

Boning

Cutting boards

CI skillet (you need at least two of these, one for scorching things and one you can build a good seasoning on)

Griddle/comal

Stick blender

Small pot w/ lid

Salad spinner

Spyderco Sharpmaker

Casserole dishes w/ lids (more for food storage than actual cooking)

Vast amounts of disposable clear plastic containers (wash and reuse supermarket stuff)

Stainless mixing bowls

Cheese grater

Coffee grinder

Pourover coffee funnel gadget

Electric kettle

Wooden spoon

Metal spatula

Tongs

Egg timer

Occasional:

Meat cleaver

Carving

Bread knife

Colander

Sieves

Masher

Small stockpot w/ steamer inserts

Slow cooker

Dutch oven (doubles as deep fryer)

Baking sheets

Round-sided saucepan

Ramekins (with hermetic plastic lids, these double as storage for single servings of pates, etc.)

Mortar & pestle

Molcajete

Microwave oven

Toaster

Microplane

Oven thermometer

Meat thermometer

Spider

Ladle

Rare:

Tea ball

Food processor

Stand mixer (would trade this for a purpose-built meat grinder in an instant)

Conventional blender

Dehydrator

Toaster oven

EdgePro and freestanding stones

Things I'll probably get when I get around to it:

Purpose-built meat grinder

Spice grinder (there's one that's basically a motorized mortar... yeah)

Sausage stuffer

Ventless pressure cooker/canner

Edited by Dakki (log)

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Stand mixer (would trade this for a purpose-built meat grinder in an instant)

I have a purpose-built meat grind, pretty good one (as I process my bounty), and how I'd love to have a stand up mixer for making pizza dough. Alas, can't do without the grinder, and can't justify $300 for stand up mixer (or $700 for the one I'd actually buy). handheld does the job, albeit not real well, but it suffices. Now, if you have the DLX, I'm interested in trading!

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A little off-topic:

I have visited a few historic kitchens, i.e. Vanderbilt Mansion, Jefferson’s Monticello Estate, Hearst mansion, etc.

It is amazing that great dinners fit for heads of states could be coming out from those tiny kitchens with no appliances and gadgets whatsoever.

dcarch

Edited by dcarch (log)
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Today I got a great deal. On craigslist I found a bosch universal plus with the stainless bowl (and plastic) and the blender attachment for $350! I can't begin to say how thrilled I am with this find. It's brand new (wedding gift perhaps?). I'll be happy to not have to primarily hand knead anymore. Heading to the dentist then to pick up my new mixer. I think I'll buy the processor attachment for it and call it a day.

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Out of:

8-in. Omelette Pan

10-in. Omelette Pan

12-in. Omelette Pan

1.5-qt. Covered Sauce Pan

2.5-qt. Covered Sauce Pan

3-qt. Covered Saute Pan

3-qt. Covered Chef's Pan

6-qt. Covered Stockpot Feature

12-in Covered Everyday pan

I'd use all of those, weekly, often several sizes of the same on the stove at once.

For example, french toast calls for the two biggest frying pans (omelette pan? Saute pan? I have no idea) at the same time so I can get it cooked and served quickly.

Love my stock pot aka pasta pot aka popcorn pot aka rice cooker. Use the smaller saucepans less than I did, but wouldnt be without them because they are required for Thanksgiving, Christmas etc, and are perfect for soup and boiling eggs.

Almost never use the loaf pans but refuse to give them up. When I want to use one, I have it.

On the other hand, I have no use for the 200 cookie cutters my child has been given over the years.

It really does boil down to what do you cook? And will someone buy the other bits off you if you dont want them?

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Honestly, this is what I did. I used the "Cooks illustrated kitchen essentials list". On this list, it lists two pans that are "essential". They're in the 13 piece calphalon tri-ply stainless set. The ones they recommend are all-clad, but my research shows the tri-ply is along the same quality line. That said, I bought the 13 piece set and got a large non-stick "every day" pan (which will serve as the 12" non-stick with a lid on the list) for less than those two pans cost (Paid $320, and really they were free). So I got 9 extra pieces for less than the three would've cost separately. Seems to make logical and financial sense to me. I'm quite sure I'll use them all at one time or another.

I do have a question though. Looking at cast iron skillets, I only find the enameled ones that are completely enameled. Seems to me I'd rather have one that wasn't enameled on the inside of the skillet. Does anyone know if/where I can find one made that way? Or is it all or nothing. I guess I could always file/sand the bottom of a non-enameled one down if it comes to that. I'd think the enamel on the inside defeats some of the purpose/function of the cast iron. Obviously, I could be wrong.

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I do have a question though. Looking at cast iron skillets, I only find the enameled ones that are completely enameled. Seems to me I'd rather have one that wasn't enameled on the inside of the skillet. Does anyone know if/where I can find one made that way? Or is it all or nothing. I guess I could always file/sand the bottom of a non-enameled one down if it comes to that. I'd think the enamel on the inside defeats some of the purpose/function of the cast iron. Obviously, I could be wrong.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ! Stop now. Now. Full on, dead stop. In your Dutch oven, you want a fully-enamaled cast iron (i.e., LeCrueset or its ilk.....). For the cast iron skillet, you want a Lodge UNENAMELED at all ! You will have to season it. it will be a bit of a pain in the butt (but not a big one) to do that. You will have to treat it carefully once its seasoned, but its not onerous. You want it ALL CAST IRON, NO ENAMEL. No grinding. No buffing. None of that. Lodge. Look for Lodge. Or Wagner is a good second choice.

Note, you do not have to season the exterior, just the insides.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I got my Lodge cast iron skillet on Amazon for cheap! Cast iron fully enameled dutch oven at Sam's club for about $39 (made by Tramontina). Now they come with stainless knob so it's good in the oven to high temps.

Edited by mgaretz (log)

Mark

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I do have a question though. Looking at cast iron skillets, I only find the enameled ones that are completely enameled. Seems to me I'd rather have one that wasn't enameled on the inside of the skillet. Does anyone know if/where I can find one made that way? Or is it all or nothing. I guess I could always file/sand the bottom of a non-enameled one down if it comes to that. I'd think the enamel on the inside defeats some of the purpose/function of the cast iron. Obviously, I could be wrong.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ! Stop now. Now. Full on, dead stop. In your Dutch oven, you want a fully-enamaled cast iron (i.e., LeCrueset or its ilk.....). For the cast iron skillet, you want a Lodge UNENAMELED at all ! You will have to season it. it will be a bit of a pain in the butt (but not a big one) to do that. You will have to treat it carefully once its seasoned, but its not onerous. You want it ALL CAST IRON, NO ENAMEL. No grinding. No buffing. None of that. Lodge. Look for Lodge. Or Wagner is a good second choice.

Note, you do not have to season the exterior, just the insides.

What Pierogi said!

Keeping the pan in good condition isn't huge deal, either; don't try to soak out gummed on food by leaving it full with water, reseason it occasionally, and you're good. There are lots of different ways to reseason a pan, some much more complicated than others. CI experimented with the various methods, and this was the winner:

Heat pan over medium-high heat until drop of water evaporates on contact. Wipe inside with wad of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil (hold towels with tongs to protect yourself). Wipe out excess oil and repeat as needed until pan is slick.

(Cook's Illustrated, September/October 2008; part of a larger article on cast iron, so worth getting hold of).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Le Creuset does a cast iron skillet enamelled on the outside only. I've had mine for around 25 years and it's still going strong. That said you can get much cheaper versions with no enamel at all.

The thing I wanted to suggest, probably sacrilege here, but never mind... Ceramic knives have become indispensable for us in recent years. The price has dropped considerably since they were introduced and you will never need to spend time sharpening again if these suit you. I buy them from a chef supplier in England, I was advised some chefs don't like them because they are much lighter than a steel knife of equivalent size. Others swear by them.

Amazon has a selection of kyocera ceramic knives, you can also find much cheaper makes that are just as good.

Happy shopping!

Diana

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For those saying "nooooooooo STOP" etc. I have a glass cooktop. So I either have to get enameled or sand the bottom down. I'm not going to risk scratching the stove. Thanks for the Le Creuset nod, as I was looking at lodge and no-names mostly.

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For those saying "nooooooooo STOP" etc. I have a glass cooktop. So I either have to get enameled or sand the bottom down. I'm not going to risk scratching the stove. Thanks for the Le Creuset nod, as I was looking at lodge and no-names mostly.

Regarding cast iron on a glass cooktop, I promise you that unless you drag the skillet around on the surface, you won't scratch it. I use a cast iron pan on a glass cooktop all the time, and it's just fine. What really scratches the top is loose salt between the pan and the cooktop + dragging.

I can only find this , and it's enameled inside and out like the lodge. Looks like I need some sand paper

Does it have to be purchased on amazon (another gift certificate or something)? You can get a 10 1/4 cast iron skillet from Lodge for way, way less than that: https://secure.lodge...&idProduct=3924 (Or is this still about getting an enamelled pan?) If you do get an enamelled pan, just live with the interior enamel, since you'd almost certainly need a sandblaster to get enamel off anything that is even halfway decent quality.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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The thing I wanted to suggest, probably sacrilege here, but never mind... Ceramic knives have become indispensable for us in recent years. The price has dropped considerably since they were introduced and you will never need to spend time sharpening again if these suit you. I buy them from a chef supplier in England, I was advised some chefs don't like them because they are much lighter than a steel knife of equivalent size. Others swear by them.

Amazon has a selection of kyocera ceramic knives, you can also find much cheaper makes that are just as good.

Until you drop them.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I can only find this , and it's enameled inside and out like the lodge. Looks like I need some sand paper

You know, the cast iron isn't that important. But the enameled pieces you want and you'll be fine. That Tramontina stuff mentioned above is a great bargain and works just fine.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Here goes for a second attempt at a reply. Number 1, via my iPad, seems to have disappeared as if by magic... My apologies if I have misunderstood something and you end up with two very similar entries.

It seems that perhaps Le Creuset has adapted its finishes in the 27 or so years since our collection began with our own wedding presents. Certainly my skillet has a cast iron interior, it rusts from time to time but this is easily put right with cleaning and refinishing with light oil.

One of the many positive features about all Le Creuset cookware is the lifetime guarantee they give. I've checked and this still applies to all cast iron and toughened non-stick. We have only once called on a Le Creuset guarantee. We were given a Le Creuset 'fait-tout' as a wedding present. This comprised a medium sized saucepan base with a lid that when inverted became a small omelette pan or skillet. Both parts of our model had a non-stick interior. In time (after some 5 years) the non-stick around the rim of the saucepan, where the inverted frying pan would rest, became damaged. As this was a gift we had no receipt and no idea where the product has been purchased, the box was long gone. We took it to our nearest supplier, a smallish department store in a rural market town. Staff at the shop accepted the pan, advising that it would be sent to Le Creuset for a decision at their cost. After a week or so we received a telephone call telling us that we could collect our pan.

At the store we were presented with a brand new version of the 'fait-tout' (I think that sadly this model is discontinued as i couldn't find one anywhere on the Le Creuset website this morning). The inside of the saucepan was now enamelled while the omelette pan interior was still non-stick. No doubt Le Creuset had changed the design due to numerous people experiencing the same problem we had. This second version of our wedding present is going strong, without any damage, to this day. It is so useful when cooking for two that it gets used almost every day.

The Le Creuset website states that the cooking pots and pans are fine for ceramic hobs, vitroceramic glass and induction. There is still a lifetime guarantee on cast iron, enamelling and non-stick surfacing.

I've used my Le Creuset pots and pans more or less exclusively since we were married 27 years ago and the incident with the lining of the 'fait-tout' is the only damage I have incurred during that time. In general I wash them by hand just because our dishwasher is small but once is a while I've put them through the machine to give them a thorough clean. We use only liquid detergent in the dishwasher on the advice of the Wedgewood china people who recommend that as causing less damage to bone china and porcelain than powders.

As I lived in France for a few years I also discovered cheaper, often unbranded, forms of cast iron cookware. Some of the supermarkets sell these by weight and as a result I managed to accrue a good selection of different sized gratin dishes. The most useful of these unbranded pieces is similar to this by Le Creuset:

http://www.lecreuset.co.uk/cast-iron-shallow-casseroles.aspx

Except that ours has a glass lid and it cost only 20 euros! It is marketed under the name Paul Bocuse. I'm not sure how well Paul Bocuse is known in the USA, He is one of the best French chefs currently working and his books provide recipes for simple, unpretentious, traditional French style cooking. I bought his latest book when I was in France last month, I see that Amazon are selling a version of the same in English from October: Here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Bocuse-Complete-Recipes/dp/208020095X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346152256&sr=1-1&keywords=paul+bocuse

Your question has made me reflect on the wedding gifts we received that were associated with food and cooking, identifying which have stayed the course and which are long since disappeared. Certainly I use the Le Creuset pots every day. The stick blender that we were given remained in its box for some years before I started to use if for making soups, although it isn't the original I still have a stick blender which gets regular use. We were given good quality and expensive knives and in fact we have spent a small fortune on knives and knife sharpening devices during our marriage. As I noted before the need for a sharp knife has recently been met by our discovery of ceramic blades; now that these are available in a range of sizes and at modest prices. We keep a very old carbon steel knife that is easily sharpened as the only addition, together with poultry shears.

We seem to have disposed of any number of specialist devices for cutting various fruits and vegetables into certain shapes. A mandoline and a peeler suffice, both can be found with ceramic blades now.

Another recent buy, I think as a result of a recommendation somewhere on this Forum, is a digital probe thermometer. I can now prepare roast joints or meat that will be exactly as I want them thanks to knowledge of the internal temperature of the meat. The first I bought was the cheapest possible and this worked well until a week or so ago. I've now bought a slightly more expensive version which again has a 'lifetime' guarantee - as does everything sold by this company. They do sell to customers outside the UK.

http://www.lakeland.co.uk/12333/Digital-Thermometer

I hope that you are enjoying your research as to what your kitchen and cooking styles demand of your funds. It can be as rewarding as shopping if you are able to create an informed list, knowing that your purchases are being made with purpose.

Thanks for sharing the development of your list!

Diana

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another place to look is IKEA if there is one near you. there are some good 'finds' in their cookware section. some of the top of the line knives are good if you can keep them sharp, and they have two cast iron casseroles w lids that are a bargain

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In the line of others who have posted what they use daily, what's rarely used, and what's almost never used, here's my list (and I think that's a great idea - if you can get enough of us to do it, you'll find the "average" kitchen set in the stuff we use daily).

Daily/almost daily use

12" cast iron (no enamel) skillet, with or without its lid

Small stainless steel saucepan (about 2 L)

Medium stainless steel saucepan (about 4 L)

Large stainless steel saucepan (about 8 L)

Stainless steel purpose-built vegetable steamer

Ceramic casserole dishes with lids, various sizes

Corelleware clear tempered glass casserole dishes, various sizes

Nakiri

Paring knives

Steel

Bread knife

Cake knife

Chicken shears

Silicone spatulas

16" steel-bearing turntable

Bamboo cutting boards

Medium and large stainless steel mixing bowls

Kitchenaid KW450 stand mixer (despite which I prefer to make all of my bread by hand. The KA is for cakes and icings.)

Kitchen scale

Blender (standing model)

Measuring cups in 1, 2, and 4 cup sizes (Anchorware and graduated cylinders) and 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup sizes (collapsible silicone)

Measuring spoons in every gradation between 1 mL and 15 mL.

Stainless steel kettle

Various sizes of mesh strainers, sieves, and colanders

Bread pans, in tin, iron, non-stick, and tempered glass

Cake pans, in springform tin, straight tin, non-stick, and various shapes of silicone

Silpats and Exopats (there is a difference!)

Mortar and pestle (various sizes, shapes, and materials. I have 4 sets at the moment.)

Rice cooker (I have a very simple, very small one, that makes just enough rice for dinner for 4)

Double Boiler

Oven Thermometer

Stovetop Thermometer (to 100 C)

Candy Thermometer

Occasional use

Large chicken/turkey roasting pan, enameled iron

10" drop-forged iron round-bottomed frypan

10 L and 12 L cast-iron stockpots

Stick/Immersion Blender

Masher

Large glazed earthenware crocks of various shapes

Heat sealer

Rare use

Dutch oven (why do I keep this thing in the cupboard? It's only taking up space....)

Boning knife

Tomato knife (but when they're in season, this moves up to daily use)

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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