Cookware-what To Get?
Q: I'm thinking about getting new cookware for Christmas. The set we currently have has most of the black non-stick surface scraped off. My wife has the habit of using metal in them, (mashes potatoes in the pot, etc). Does any of the newer cookware have non-stick that doesn't come off, sort of imbeded into the metal? How good is the Calphalon, All Clad & others (other than expensive!) What brand do you prefer & why? Finally, which pot or skillet size can't you do without, & use most of the time.
A: I agree with Patrick, I really enjoy my T-fal pans. I can fry without using any oil!!!!! They clean up with no fuss. I know they are not the top of the line as far as cookwear, and they are not what most chiefs use, but as far as normal people go, They're GRRRRREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I won't begin to recommend sizes because everyones needs are different. One thing you can do is check out your local supplier 'or' get on line with QVC. That's right www.qvc.com. they have a long list of different types of T-fal sets and you can even look at pictures of them as well as compare prices. I just did a very extensive comparison of cookware, in preparation for finally taking the big plunge myself. Here's what I learned: Non-stick: Ruled out because numerous individuals told me that there is not a non-stick made that will withstand heats higher than 375 degrees. Also ruled out because the same porosity that allows it to be non-stick also allows small particles of food/bacteria to escape the cleaning process. Thus I didn't want an entire set of non-stick, but I did however get one non-stick frypan, for those times I really wanted the advantage, knowing it has a somewhat limited "cook life." Copper: Ruled out because I own a small copper double boiler and despite hardly ever getting used, it requires constant cleaning. I'd prefer more cooking time in my life than cleaning time. Cast Iron/Enameled Cast Iron: I absolutely love my cast iron frypan that I've had forever. But it's really, really heavy. When I go to pour things out of the pan, after a short period of time, it gets unwieldy. So I ruled out Le Crueset, et al. Also in my experience, cast iron does take some attention when cleaning, to make sure you've properly oiled/seasoned your pan, even after 20 years of use. Stainless with Aluminum or copper sandwiches: Enter the All-Clad, Piazza, Cuisinart, some Calphalon, one of the Costco brands, and everything in between. Most stainless pans with aluminum/copper sandwiches have the same thickness/gauge of metals. Some have the core sandwiched only on the bottom of the pan, some have the sandwich going up the sides of the pan. Different people had different preferences for bottom-only versus bottom + sides. The differences I found between all the genre of 'sandwich' pans were more along the lines of cosmetic appeal, lid/handle variables, weight/feel, and price. So once I'd settled on this kind of pan, I started comparing the "working" feel. I'd grab a saucepan of similar sizes for each "cooking line" I was investigating, preferably different kind in each hand, and see which felt better in my hand. I ended up going with All-Clad. Much of my decision was personal preference, although the Chef's catalog offering All-Clad at low prices, coupled with their no shipping charges through December, and a handy little 15% off coupon from American Express for anything purchased from the Chef's catalog, finally tipped the scales for me.