Cookware - Can't Make Up My Mind
Q: My newly remodeled kitchen needs all new cookware and I can't make up my mind: All-Clad Stainless, 10 pc set for around $600. Calphalon One Hard Anodized, 10 pc set for around $550. Emerilware (made by All-Clad), 10 pc set for around $200. You can see all of these at http://www.chefsresource.com/cookware.html There are advantages to each. For instance, the All-Clad stainless set comes with steel lids, not glass, which I prefer (because glass breaks too easily) and appears to be the professional choice. The Calphalon anodized seems to be better for non-stick cooking. And the Emerilware has a much better price than the All-Clad although it's essentially the same stuff (but with glass lids and flared edges). Can there really be that much of a quality difference between the $600 and the $200 All-Clad pots? I'm hoping one or more of you has experience with each of these and can give me your impressions (in addition to the reviews I've already read online). The nearest dealer for any of these is a two-hour drive from me so it's difficult to actually see them and hold them in person.
A: All-Clad - vanity brand, looks good, will impress your guests, you will have $600 less to spend on things that might get you into trouble Calphalon One - Looks almost as good, will keep your hands busy washing it because it can't go in the dishwasher, you will always have an excuse for not being able to make a good pan sauce because of the non-stick coating Emerilware - See "Calphalon One" plus if you have Tourette's Syndrome, you will be able to pass off yelling things like "BAMMMM" and people will find it charming (for a while) By the way, why do you think that glass lids break easily? That is at odds with the findings at Cook's Illustrated and my own experience. If you are buying a fashion accessory for your kitchen and money is no object, I would get the All-Clad. If you are simply buying new cookware, then I would widen the search to include stainless cookware with encapsulated disk bottoms such as Wolfgang Puck, Martha Stewart, and Cuisinart among others. I wouldn't be without my cast iron skillet and a porcelain coated cast iron Dutch oven or two. Since money is no object, then I would get the All-Clad given only the choices you offered. Personally, I think there is better looking tri-ply cookware than All-Clad. I like Kitchen Aid and Viking better than All-Clad. If you really want to dazzle people, then consider Mauviel Classic Copper. Most any fully clad cookware is going to do a very good job. In most cases I believe that cladding on the sides of a pan are unnecessary but if you want to pay the price there is nothing wrong with buying it. I don't care for anodized aluminum because it isn't dishwasher safe. I don't like non-stick because it doesn't develop a fond and is lousy for browning meat. Stainless is almost non-stick by nature, will develop a fond, is non-reactive, and is dishwasher safe. You can use oven cleaner on it to remove that stubborn varnish-like buildup and it will look like new. Anodized aluminum eventually discolors and there is no way to restore it to like-new condition. Therefore, you will lose the display quality that you desire. In the event that you will consider another brand and can find a good charity for the excess money you will save, you might consider this cookware. I have been very pleased and I am probably as old and clumsy as you and have had no problems with breakage: http://tinyurl.com/4shn2
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