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Best Cookware in General


Fat Guy
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It's hard to break it down to seven - here' my "Your sailing around the world and the galley only will fit 7" List

Bourgeat 11" Saute - I never use it, but it looks great on my rack

Bourgeat 4qt Sauce pan - Ditto

Le Creuset - grill pan

Le Creuset - 4.5 qt Round - For braising

12" Lagorsse Skillet - flea market find - 10.00 !

20 Qt Stainless Stock Pot (don't know the brand)- ditto - 15.00 !

All Clad 12" Non Stick - my egg pan

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Steven,

That square Griswold is rare...I wish it was mine.

My list would include the 10 or so Griswold cast iron skillets of varying sizes that I use every day for almost everything (including a #12, about 12 inches across, that my wife found at a garage sale and had never been used...remarkable for a pan made at least 40 years ago).

I've also got a Cuisinart Everyday Stainless deep saute pan with lid (must be about 8 qt...10 inch diameter, straight sides, copper sandwich bottom) that I got on sale and have come to really like. It heats evenly and cleans up easily. I've got a few Calphalon but mostly use the 5 qt saucepan and 8 qt stockpot. We also have big Revereware stockpot we got for cooking pasta for all the boys. I recently picked up a pair of Calphalon 'tapas' pans, little mini-skillets with handles on both sides, that are perfect for our countertop convection oven.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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A name I haven't seen mentioned is the Belgian manufacturer Demeyere. FG's warning about a single method of construction being unsuitable for all uses is one which they have taken to heart:

Worldwide, they are the only producer to make cookware specifically to suit different cooking methods. The technological requirements are quite different for boiling, frying, stirfrying, casseroling etc. Therefore, the construction of each type needs to have a different technology application.
There is more information about their history and philosophy at: http://www.jwpltd.co.uk/Demeyere.htm .

And an item I haven't seen mentioned is a pressure cooker. I have the largest one made by Demeyere, 8.5 litres. It doubles as a large saucepan/stockpot and has such a heavy base that it's perfect for sauteeing foods before pressure cooking them. Like their saucepans, the bottom inside corners are generously rounded so that they can be easily scraped with a large wooden spoon. I'm so impressed with their quality of construction and absence of hot-spots that I'm about to lash out around two hundred dollars for their 32cm frying pan.

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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That square Griswold is rare...I wish it was mine.

I'm keeping my eye out for a second one. I see the 9" hard-corner square ones and the egg skillets with the handles on the corner all the time, but the one I have with the rounded corners doesn't seem nearly as available. I guess I should find out the official product number so I can shop online.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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It is a very difficult thing to assemble a list on this subject with a beginning and an end, possibly ranged in hierarchy in between. I love all my cookware; the ones I haven't loved have had good homes found for them.

(And I think we should assume the existence in personal batteries of a representative stock/pasta pot--sorta like how salt & pepper are not counted in 5-ingredient-or-less recipe features.)

Sometimes, often, most times, I think that one can cook most anything in a nice 10- or 12-inch diameter straight-sided saute with a lid. Got a few sautes, of varying diameters and materials. My favorite is an old beat-up heavy aluminum one I toted home from Dehillerin in 1986. It always performs for me. Not dishwasherworthy--got one of those curved, cast-iron handles--but I don't mind, there are a few such items, something to accept.

A discussion that would be interesting, to me: Is there a pan in your collection that whatever you cook in it always seems to work?

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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I purchased Chaudier before I knew how to judge quality and performance. Fortunately I was lucky and love my Chaudier.

1. Chaudier 5000 8-inch non-stick fry pan

2. Chaudier 5000 10-inch non-stick fry pan

3. Chaudier 5000 2.2 Qt. Sauce pan

4. Chaudier 5000 3.2 Qt. Sauce pan

5. Chaudier 5000 7.5 Qt. Brazier pan

6. Unknown brand 14-inch heavy aluminum sauté pan

7. Unknown brand 18 Qt. S/S Stock pot

8. Assorted cast iron ware

Still need a couple of non non-stick S/S fry pans (for good fond development)

www.padinox.ca/shop/US/Shopping.nsf/shop_chaudier?OpenPage

--------------

Bob Bowen

aka Huevos del Toro

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Fat Guy - This is difficult. I have lots of cast iron - much from my mother, now no longer with us. Almost all is Griswold - the only cast iron worth having in most cases. But, a year ago or so I got into All-Clad and most of the cast is in the attic. But, nothing browns and sears like cast. I'm trying to figure out how to do it with All-Clad stainless. Don't know if it can be done.

Anyhow, what I'm using right now.

2 - 7 1/2" All-Clad fry pans (cooking for one)

10" All-Clad fry pan

3 Qt. All-Clad Saute Pan (Also 1 and 2 Qt.)

Aeturnum pressure cooker (4 Qt.?) (Mostly dry beans)

4 Qt. All-Clad with steamer insert (corn, brocolli, and brussell sprouts)

Wagner 9" square cast iron with weight - originally a bacon pan with press. Use it for toasting and making sandwiches of various types. Think starting with grilled cheese and go from there.

There's seven. Got to say I just got a Le Creuset 3 1/2 Qt. and I'm going to try that for braises, stews, chili, etc.

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  • 1 year later...

#1 10" Wearever aluminum nonstick fry pan w/removable silicon grip. Can't live without it, and it's my wifes favorite as well. Bought a bunch of restaurant quality Wearever pans at Ross, it was quite the deal, but my wife wasn't too enthused.

#2 1-Qt All-Clad stainless sauce pan. I use this all of the time for sauces and a variety of other things. Since I'm usually just cooking for two, this really works out well. When I bought this I really didn't think I would be using it as much as I do!

#3 12" lodge cast iron skillet. Use for everything.

#4 Fagor 6Qt pressure cooker. (I actually use the pot more for cooking pasta, and boiling things than pressure cooking)

#5 2Qt All-Clad stainless sauce pan.

#6 Old cast iron lodge dutch oven (around 4qts?).

#7 10" Stainless, All-clad fry pan.

These are the tools I use most of all. A couple other I use often are the 7" stainless, all-clad fry pan, and the 10" stainless all-clad oriental fry pan (I really like this one when I'm doing stirfry noodle dishes).

I have a ton of stock pots, but I think I use the Fagor pressure cooker pot out of convience of storage location more than anything else and I use a 4qt belgique more for sentimental reasons.

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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Geez, I don't have even that many, I tend to exfoliate stuff I never use.

1) vintage 12" cast iron skillet. Exfoliated the lodge wok because this was so much more versitile, and worked just as well for stir fry. The wok was better for bacon though. C'est la vie.

2) Innova 6 qt. pressure cooker.

3) generic 1 1/2 qt. stainless saucepan with thick aluminum clad bottom and cover.

4) my gramma's wedding present Wagner #1402 (Tip: similar went for about 24 bucks on that auction site recently w/ the cover/skillet, lucky buyer!). The really cool thing about this is the deep pan is gently concave on the interior so the oil pools in the center, even if your burner is non level.

5) pyrex 9x13 dish.

Edited by Samhill (log)
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Sometimes, often, most times, I think that one can cook most anything in a nice 10- or 12-inch diameter straight-sided saute with a lid.  Got a few sautes, of varying diameters and materials.  My favorite is an old beat-up heavy aluminum one I toted home from Dehillerin in 1986.  It always performs for me.  Not dishwasherworthy--got one of those curved, cast-iron handles--but I don't mind, there are a few such items, something to accept.

I'm happy to see Dehillerin mentioned here, my favourite from them (and my only tinned pan) is their 2.9l "splayed saute" aka fait toute. And it does. Great compromise between heat transfer and heat retention.

I find Dehillerin prices very reasonable, especially compared to, say Bourgeat. Even with delivery charges from France to North America!

Only problem with this pan is it is remarkably heavy. It is challenging to lift even when empty; when it is full of liquid it is definitely a two-handed operation.

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I think it's basically idiotic to get a set of cookware in one style from one manufacturer. It's a forgivable error for a novice or newlywed, but no serious cook should make the mistake of thinking the same style of utensil is best for all tasks.

We have a 5-piece All-Clad set that we indeed received as a wedding gift at our first wedding. It may be less than ideal, and I figure that someday I'll get different pans...when these wear out.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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O.K.,

3qt magnalite

3 1/2qt caphalon windsor pot

Le Creuset grill pan

10 in magnalite saute pan

12 by 6 magnalite saute (I love this pan and have used it so much!)

7Qt Le Creuset French oven

20qt caphalon stock pot with strainer insert (on permanent loan from my loves to shop- but can't cook- loves to make Karen happy- and eat what she cooks- pilot friend)

!0qt magnalite stock pot

8qt magnalite stock pot

I know, more then seven...

I would like to add that I use my brown French gratin (ceramic) to make roast chicken in a lot

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I have been considering this since I saw the thread yesterday morning and began reading through the posts.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no way I could select just 7 from my battery of cooking vessels. It would be like asking me to choose between my children (if I had that many).

I use so many of them so often that I wouldn't be able to cook with only 7. I have been preparing various ingredients to go into sambals and mustards plus more preserves and yesterday and today I had every burner on my cooktop going as well as my small oven and a microwave. The turkey fryer out on the deck has been pressed into service cooking corn.

I have too many favorites. Mea Culpa...

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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"First, from the way I asked the question, it should be evident that I think it's basically idiotic to get a set of cookware in one style from one manufacturer. It's a forgivable error for a novice or newlywed, but no serious cook should make the mistake of thinking the same style of utensil is best for all tasks. The ideal stockpot and the ideal skillet have very different properties."

Old topic but I haven't replied and reading the first post made me want to reply.

As a Nuclear Engineer, I probably don't possess the tact to ask a question and then categorize anyone that would have a different reply, but here goes.

I threw EVERYTHING out and purchased an almost complete set of Falk Culinair after purchasing a few pans from them. Copper at 2.5mm thickness is so faster to heat and conducts so evenly, that nothing compares. Non Stick, well the Falk comes closer than anything I have used. I thought about this and formed the following conclusion. When aluminum was first used for cooking, it stuck. Coatings and anodization are techniques used to make aluminum pans that are cheaper than SS pr copper. They were not developed to provide low fat cooking or anything else. Cook with the Falk and you will instantly realize what we have been fed for all these years. The brushed Falk finish means that you don't have to worry about polishing the copper exterior.

I also believe that a uniform performance from pan to pot provides the cook/chef with yardstick that allows he/she to cook without having to remember which pan is being used and what are its cooking Characteristics. -Dick

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I threw EVERYTHING out and purchased an almost complete set of Falk Culinair after purchasing a few pans from them. Copper at 2.5mm thickness is so faster to heat and conducts so evenly, that nothing compares.

I guess I would have to somewhat agree with Dick about copper - I think it's pretty great at most cooking tasks (I'm a convert!). But there are a few pieces that I would definitely not want copper exterior-SS interior:

- Stockpot - gawd...copper is heavy enough as it is....and full copper in a stockpot is serious overkill. I think the copper stockpots on the market are copper-Tin interior anyways.

- Nonstick omelet pan - I guess copper exterior/NS interior would be nice, but I'm not rich enough to be able to throw away my copper pan after the NS coating wears off!

- Wok - SS is way too sticky for stir-frying meat and rice. Plus, I like a nice light metal (like carbon steel) to toss around, and you can't get the "wok chi" from SS.

- Indoor grill - I don't think it's even available in copper...besides, I would choose cast iron for this one

Edited: changed can to can't!

Edited by lorea (log)
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Most of the bases have been covered here.I'm a bit of a collector

when it comes to pots and pans but I don't think anyone mention

any steel fry pans......I have ones just for crepes another just for eggs

and I couldn't saute mushrooms in anything else.

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Frypans...

I left my cast iron in NZ. It's just too heavy, once you've messed up your wrists with a lot of computer work. So...

Heavy stainless steel frypan with lid. Expensive, still spotless after 10 years (not spotless on the bottom, since I cook on gas, but the cooking surface is immaculate). Worth every yen.

Small, light, no-brand steel (not stainless) mini-frypan, used daily for making lunches, now seasoned to a good finish. I've had it with Teflon for everyday frypans.

Rectangular Japanese omelet pan, Teflon-coated (my tinned copper one has lost its tin, don't know where to get it re-tinned...). This is good, but I think the Teflon prevents you from gettting a really thin coating of egg.

2 Scandina copper-bottom (a separate disk of copper welded to bottom of pan) pans, medium with steamer and double boiler, large. I've used these every day, on gas and electricity, for over 25 years - my grandmother gave them to me when I left high school. I even use the steamer frequently. Great pans.

Large stainless steel pot with insulated outer jacket, for slow-cooking (made by Tiger and also Zojirushi). The inner pot, which goes on the fire, could do with a thicker bottom. However, pot is narrower at the top, a shape which I found very successful in the large, expensive, French stockpot which I left behind in NZ (regrets, regrets).

Wok, definitely.

Yet-to-find-what-I-want...large, shallow pan for rapid evaporation or cooking things which I want to maintain at high temperature (greens). Pasta pot.

Ovenware...most western ovenware doesn't fit my Japanese oven! I therefore use Pyrex. Grump, grump.

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slightly off topic, but after reading this thread (and even my own earlier post for that matter) the first thing that comes to mind is:

My mother cooked the best food for her entire life. She and her best friend used to cook together all of the time, then her friends daughter opened a well respected Japanese restaurant in Seattle which utilizes some of the same recipes.

My mother is known for her cooking and expertise in the kitchen. I have to admit, some of the best food has come from her kitchen and these are her seven items:

10" cast iron skillet

7" cast iron skillet

10 cup rice cooker (she used to use her Revereware for this for a long time)

12" Revere Ware skillet

4qt? Revere Ware Sauce pan

2qt Revere Ware Sauce Pan

Roasting pan and rack

Her favorite knife was an VERY inexpensive vegetable knife with a rotten handle.

I look back at my list of cookware (which probably cost at least 20X more) and look at the quality of food I create. I'm not a bad cook by all means but my mother and her "questionable quality" cookware can create the most amazingly high quality dishes that will literally (no lie) put restaurants to shame!

Yes, quality cookware is important, but really... to what degree?

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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quality cookware is important, but really... to what degree?

Hmmm....I think it's more a case of really poor cookware being a handicap than really great cookware offering a significant advantage over "serviceable quality".

Saucepans with thin or bumpy bottoms, glass lids with thin metal bands that warp so that the lid doesn't fit, plastic handles that exude nasty smells when even slightly hot, and then melt...metal handles that come off pans full of boiling water...I met them all when I first tried to buy cookware in Japan. In the past FEW years, quality here has improved a lot, but paying to ship my Scandina pans from NZ was money well spent.

(I think Scandina no longer make cookware, though?)

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I agree with you whole heartedly. I just wonder how my mother did what she did with what she had for soooo many years?

I'm spoiled with the tools I have, so it makes it that much more mind boggling how she did it! I think parent's almost always do things better than their children (at least I think that is what most of us want to believe deep down).

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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I threw EVERYTHING out and purchased an almost complete set of Falk Culinair after purchasing a few pans from them. Copper at 2.5mm thickness is so faster to heat and conducts so evenly, that nothing compares.

I guess I would have to somewhat agree with Dick about copper - I think it's pretty great at most cooking tasks (I'm a convert!). But there are a few pieces that I would definitely not want copper exterior-SS interior:

- Stockpot - gawd...copper is heavy enough as it is....and full copper in a stockpot is serious overkill. I think the copper stockpots on the market are copper-Tin interior anyways.

- Nonstick omelet pan - I guess copper exterior/NS interior would be nice, but I'm not rich enough to be able to throw away my copper pan after the NS coating wears off!

- Wok - SS is way too sticky for stir-frying meat and rice. Plus, I like a nice light metal (like carbon steel) to toss around, and you can't get the "wok chi" from SS.

- Indoor grill - I don't think it's even available in copper...besides, I would choose cast iron for this one

Edited: changed can to can't!

An attempt to answer your questions:

1. My copper stockpots are stainless steel lined and they are 8 and 11 qts. Yes, they are heavy.

2. The Falk culinair pots and pans are stainless steel lined. I guess i did not adequately convey that the SS lining is as good as any non-stick coated pan I have ever used, hence my conclusion as to the real function of non stick coatings for aluminum pans.

3. We use a traditional wok and the largest evasee that Falk makes as a wok at times. Works great and frankly I can't tell the difference other than the weight.

4. We grill outside only. -Dick

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An attempt to answer your questions:

1. My copper stockpots are stainless steel lined and they are 8 and 11 qts. Yes, they are heavy.

2. The Falk culinair pots and pans are stainless steel lined. I guess i did not adequately convey that the SS lining is as good as any non-stick coated pan I have ever used, hence my conclusion as to the real function of non stick coatings for aluminum pans.

3. We use a traditional wok and the largest evasee that Falk makes as a wok at times. Works great and frankly I can't tell the difference other than the weight.

4. We grill outside only. -Dick

Oops, I didn't mean to offend - just wanted to relate my experiences. :shock:

So I guess I was trying to describe some of my favorite pans, but I wasn't very successful! So here's my list:

1) 14in Carbon Steel wok

2) 3Qt Mauviel 2.0mm copper saute pan w/ stainless steel handles (the 2.5mm version was waaayyyy too heavy without a helper handle, plus I really like these stay-cool, non-metallic-smelling, non-rusting handles)

3) 2 1/2Qt Calphalon Copper Tri-Ply Shallow "saucepan" (I use this for a saute pan too) - I think this is probably my favorite, most versatile pan that actually makes me really really happy every time I use it.

4) 2Qt Falk copper evasee

5) 3Qt cheapo saucepan

6) 7Qt Le Creuset doufeu

7) 16Qt Chefmate SS-Aluminum disk bottom stockpot (recently replaced my honking 24qt one - toooo big for me to manuver)

I'm not the egg maker or the potsticker fryer in my household, so there's no non-stick on my list. :wink: I should definitely try out Dick's recommendation for using my copper as a non-stick though.

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