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Q&A -- Understanding Stovetop Cookware (2009-)


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And I am also a fan of second-hand and yard sales too. Not a great selection often, but it's amazing what we have found over the years...including yesterday. :smile:

(However, I did buy a set of special pots just for my use with chocolate and confections. NO ONE else gets to use them. :raz: )

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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If you have not read through the eG Culinary Institute (eGCI) course and follow up Q&A on selecting cookware, it's worth spending some significant time on. Sets typically have items you will seldom or never use and your dollars are usually better spent matching the cookware and its construction to the task (and to your cook top - gas vs electric).

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Thanks for the info so far. The link was working after I posted (I tested it), but it is product ID 444175 (here is the actual link http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11488027 ). Just in case it still doesnt work, it is the

Mauviel 9-piece Cookware Set Item # 444175

I have spent some time on that thread and the Q&A, but there is a lot of info to digest (and I do plan to spend more time on it, as well ;))

The reason I am looking at a small set is that I can actually see a use for each of the pans, and know that we would definitely use them (at least in this set). I am not looking for the 12 piece sets or anything, but something that has the basics seems like a nice start, and seems to cut some of the cost rather than paying $200 per pan.

Thanks again for the info. The site in general has an overwhelming amount of information for an amateur like myself (I consider myself a pretty good hobbyist baker, and a decent cook, but in general, this is a whole other level that I am excited to learn about), but it is really great to be able to have access to so much knowledge.

Edited by Rick Mogstad (log)
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(and to your cook top - gas vs electric).

It is currently electric, though I prefer cooking with gas, so I will probably convert eventually. I suppose I am hoping to find some cookware that will work well in either situation (if possible), as I probably won't be in the same house as long as good cookware will last.

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Thanks for the info so far. The link was working after I posted (I tested it), but it is product ID 11488027 (here is the actual link http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11488027 ).

Mauviel makes excellent products. This line is induction compatible, if that's important to you. The question is whether you like stainless, and do you want all these pieces in stainless, and is it better than other options for what you like to cook, and might there be another configuration of pieces that works better for you--maybe one less saucepan, but a larger fry pan or an 8 quart stewpot instead of the 6 quart that is included or whatever larger size stewpot has a lid that will also fit your frypan, or maybe a large rondeau.

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I strongly suggest you determine what you want to do before you lay out cash.

Write down your last several dozen home-cooked meals. What did you make? What did you use when you made it? Were there things you couldn't make because of missing equipment?

How often do you saute? braise? deep-fry? boil pasta? broil? roast? stir-fry?

How often do you make sauces? popcorn? crepes? soup? risotto? caramel? fried eggs? stew?

How big? small? what shapes? what surfaces?

You get the idea. Let your use patterns and desires drive the items, not someone's notion of a set.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Really, I am looking not because I was missing anything in particular, but because my old pans are showing their cheapness, and I am going to have to replace them. Perhaps I just need to find a good replacement for each of the pans I use regularly first.

I did just buy a stockpot to make batches of caramel (my first foray into confections, and it went well thanks to this site ;)), and I think it is decent enough for my needs, but all of my other pans are cheap Calphalon or something we got at Target when $200 was a lot to spend on a set of pans. The nonstick coating is flaking off, and they just need replaced, so that is the real motivation at this point.

Edited by Rick Mogstad (log)
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I have a set of cookware from Costco that is very similar to the Mauviel that you show.....I absolutely LOVE this cookware. It is every bit as good as All Clad and a fraction of the price. I've had my set for several years now and every piece is a workhorse. You cannot go wrong with these.

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Against everyone's advice, I too opted for a small starter set. It was a great price (much better than if I'd bought the pieces individually) and I use every single piece in the set (very similar to the one you linked to), so it wasn't a waste of money. If you think you'll use the pieces, I'd say go for it.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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I think that packages aren't necessary a bad idea. Long ago I got an 11-piece Sitram Profiserie set about which I posted here and here. I spent well under $200 and have items I use every day (plus a steamer insert). That's the key, though: this is the stuff I wanted and needed.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Against everyone's advice, I too opted for a small starter set. It was a great price (much better than if I'd bought the pieces individually) and I use every single piece in the set (very similar to the one you linked to), so it wasn't a waste of money. If you think you'll use the pieces, I'd say go for it.

Same experience here. Buying individual pieces would be a much better idea than getting a set, if it wasn't for the fact that sets are often much less expensive than their component parts.

Got this when upgrading from no-name nonstick:

http://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-Commercial-9-Piece-Hard-Anodized-Cookware/dp/B0007KQZ3O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1265924079&sr=8-1

I'm very satisfied with it. It doesn't have everything you need but everything that's there you need, I think.

(Off-topic, I'd love to get my hands on that Sitram stuff Chris posted but my location makes Internet purchasing a necessity, and I can't find an online retailer. Oh well.)

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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I don't think you can still find the deal that Cris got anywhere, but Sitram is on Amazon. I have not been following it closely for a few years, but in the past it appeared that the prices for Sitram on Amazon varied hugely during the course of any month. For anyone that's interested in picking up some pieces of sitram, it may be worth your time to monitor Amazon closely. Great stuff. I have a number of pieces in both the Profiserie line and the Catering line.

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Sitram is available from Dvorson's and J. B. Prince online. Availability has been a bit sketchy in the past year or two, I gather because the management has changed.

Also beware of really cheap deals on Sitram which may be on lower-end consumer-oriented lines. I've seen some of this among the Costco Sitram offerings.

The desirable lines are Pro 1 (formerly "Profiserie") with aluminum disk bottoms, Pro 2 (formerly "Catering") with copper bottoms, and the new Pro 3, which is copper plus a magnetic layer for induction. Info at their virtually unnavigable website at http://www.sitramgroup.fr . I have two Catering line frypans and I've been very pleased with them. I think it's the best stainless steel cookware out there.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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I was a diehard All-Clad fan who has recently started picking up a few Sitram Profiserie pieces. And I really like them. I've had All-Clad for over 25 years and it does hold up. But one day when I was making soup, I got so annoyed by All-Clad's lack of a pouring lip on a saucepan that I ordered a Sitram one from JB Prince (where I've been finding the best prices). Love it! Pours great, heats quickly, plus the handle is more comfortable and I didn't even think I minded the handle.

Anyway, regarding the sizes of the pieces in your set at Costco. I think the saucepans are pretty good, although the largest may be a little small for some things (like a big batch of pasta). And I don't think you'd need all four of those. Maybe just the 2.7 quart and another one around 7 quart (that would give you 6 quarts of boiling water for pasta). I think that the fry pan is too small and you'd do better with a 11" one. I have that 9.5" fry pan in All-Clad and it always seems a bit too small so I end using the 11" all the time. I do use a non-stick 9.5" for eggs. I also think you'd find a saute pan very handy.

I second everyone else's advice to think about what you cook and just get the pieces you need.

The pans I use all the time are:

11" fry pan

9.5" non-stick fry pan( just for eggs)

3 quart saute pan (one of my favorite pans it's 11" in diameter)

7 quart 1/2 stock pot

2.4 quart sauce pan

11" rondeau saute pan (it's taller than the other one and I use it to make chili, bolognese, curry, etc.)

2 very large stock pots (I make my own veal demi-glace)

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... I got so annoyed by All-Clad's lack of a pouring lip on a saucepan that I ordered a Sitram one from JB Prince (where I've been finding the best prices). Love it! Pours great, heats quickly, plus the handle is more comfortable and I didn't even think I minded the handle.

I curse my one piece of All-Clad's lipless wonder every time I grab it instead of the Sitram....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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The pans I use all the time are:

11" fry pan

9.5" non-stick fry pan( just for eggs)

3 quart saute pan (one of my favorite pans it's 11" in diameter)

7 quart 1/2 stock pot

2.4 quart sauce pan

11" rondeau saute pan (it's taller than the other one and I use it to make chili, bolognese, curry, etc.)

2 very large stock pots (I make my own veal demi-glace)

It would take me a while to duplicate your 'pans I use all the time' list, but I found it very interesting. I make confections, ganaches, etc, and couldn't do without my 1/2, 1 and 2 litre sauce pans.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Sitram is a very good value, especially if you watch for TJ Maxx/Tuesday Morning/HomeGoods/etc. specials, which include Sitram often enough to keep me checking. But for my money, the absolute best stainless-clad cookware are the Demeyere Apollo and Sirocco lines (I don't know much about the newish Resto, and the handles on the John Pawson stuff are inexcusable).

I'll side with those who find All-Clad not to be all that, and add a data point: not only is all-the-way-up-the-sides cladding a waste of material (and therefore money) on saute pans, it can actually be deleterious if you do much shallow frying. Since the pan sides get almost but not quite as hot as the bottom, they become a great surface for polymerizing fats -- the kind of deposits that take serious elbow grease or chemical means to remove.

However, when All-Clad offers that 1-quart saucier for 19 bucks, it's a decent deal. The pan is tippy if there's nothing in it, but it's a nice piece for making small amounts of sauce or heating things up -- it can't get heavy enough fro the handle to be irritating, and since I'm usually spooning out it rather than pouring, the stupid non-lip isn't an issue. (No lid, though.)

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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It would take me a while to duplicate your 'pans I use all the time' list, but I found it very interesting. I make confections, ganaches, etc, and couldn't do without my 1/2, 1 and 2 litre sauce pans.

One area I don't dabble much in is confections so the small ones are not so helpful to me. It is really interesting ... only took me 30 years to figure out what I needed.

Oh, I also have a 1.5 quart saucepan that is basically only used by my husband to make his oatmeal in the morning. :rolleyes: He says it's perfect!

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Although I have many, many pots and pans I use the following most often:

2 qt saucepan

3 qt saucepan and lid

10" non-stick skillet

10 X 14 inch roasting pan

12" SS skillet

Fwiw I cook for 2 to 4 people depending on which night of the week it is.

Beyond the cookware issue I could not exist with a colander for draining pasta. I use my 6 qt SS mixing bowl a lot. A Plastic cutting board is a must for me (goes into the dishwasher). A chef's knife is essential.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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  • 8 months later...

24 pages on the iPad. I didn't read every post in depth but I did scan through all pages and couldn't see a reply to my specific question, so I apologize if I missed a possible answer.

I'm in the market for new cookware. I'm 90% committed on All-Clad. This is what I need: 2 quart saute pan, 2 and 3 quart sauce pan, 10" and 12" fry pan and the steamer and double boiler inserts. I'm looking to spend between one and two thousand dollars but I'd like a little reassurance that this cookware will last more than a decade. My main concern is the finish: I've read a few online reviews that say the matte finish MC2 pans will stain after a while and I've not read any compliants about the plain stainless. Do you or does anyone have any comments about keeping the long-term finish for either of these two types of All-Clad? Personally, I like the aesthetics of the stainless but I've read that the MC2 is better for daily use. Are there any experienced opinions on this?

Thanks,

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I've got a bunch of All Clad Stainless pieces and couldn't be happier. I've had them 10+ years now and have no complaints. My next stove will be induction, so I'm happy that I won't need to update my cookware! All Clad Stainless were designed from the beginning to be induction-ready.

Regarding the finish -- they have held up very well. I really use mine, so they have the usual assortment of light scratches, etc. But they still look great and when friends come over to cook they often comment on how nice it is to use high-quality cookware. One essential item: Bar Keepers Friend. This is the absolutely best cleaning powder in the world for removing residue from high-heat cooking on the 12" saute pan. What would take a good 20 minutes with normal soap and a scour pad will come off in 1-2 minutes with BKF, a few drops of water and a light scrub. Magical stuff!

One observation is with nonstick fry pans: they wear out eventually--even All Clad. After my All Clad nonstick pan wore out I just started getting cheaper pans from a restaurant supply store. A good quality 8" or 10" pan costs in the $20-$30 range, so it's not so bad replacing them every few years.

Edited by Borgstrom (log)
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Ah, thank you much!

Just to make sure, the food stains do come off with a little elbow grease and BKF? If so, I'll buy both at the same time.

Can I ask which kind of All-Clad you bought? I look at the pics and I'm torn between the MC2 and the Stainless. Decisions. . . . I want to get this done this week.

Cheers,

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Food stains come off easily with BKF and minimal elbow grease. Make sure you get the powder version of BKF (liquid version doesn't work as well), and use minimal water. I usually just rinse the pan out quickly and use the residual water with BKF. Fantastic stuff.

All of the All Clad I have is Stainless; I don't have any experience with MC2 or their other lines.

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