Q: I'm looking to purchase a new set of cookware. I currently have a set of T-Fal non-stick cookware where the coating is coming off. I'm not interested in spending alot of money. Something from Wal-Mart for example would be fine. I'm looking for something that is non-stick, can be put in the oven and can use metal utensils (I have 2 kids that don't always remember to use the plastic utensils). I was looking at a Wearever Anodized set at Wal-Mart today that had high ratings on epinions. Does anyone have any other recommendations.
A: I don't know from Martha's pots, unfortunately. I will say I'd never buy anything with her name on it unless it was exactly what I needed, but that's simply because I have an innate distrust of anything celebrity-labeled (but especially because it's Martha F*cking Stewart). That said, whatever name is on the product isn't always going to reflect on the quality of the product. Emerilware, for example, seems to be pretty decent, if overpriced for a Calphalon nonstick clone. Looking back at my post, I notice I neglected to mention cast iron. Consider it a necessity to equip yourself with a good-sized Lodge frying pan; their basic pans are dirt cheap, and they have a few interesting sideline ideas (not quite so cheap, but pretty cool -- I'm currently considering their wok as a possibility). You should have at least one of those; according to their catalog (which I have in front of me) you can get a 10.25 in skillet for just over US$10 (and cheaper at a place like Kitchen Etc). Other factors: Heat resistant handles. Generally, go for metal handles which can be placed in the oven. They will require either a removable grip or some sort of pot holder, but they can be placed in the oven without the ridiculous 350? F limitation, which will either cause you to rarely, if ever, use the cookware in the oven or to ruin some of your cookware. Some good brands: Martha Stewart's stainless steel with full aluminum core, Martha Stewart's stainless steel with conductive disc, Kirkland (Costco) stainless steel with full aluminum core, Calphalon Stainless Steel (with full aluminum core), Calphalon hard anodized aluminum (the expensive commercial hard anodized has better handles, like their stainless steel line), some cookware occasionally seen at Macy's, Robinson's-May, maybe Sears, Bloomingdales, and Williams-Sonoma (Macy's, Robinson's-May, Williams-Sonoma, and Bloomingdales all carry some of the Calphalon and All-Clad stuff), and at such outlets as Linen's N Things and Bed Bath and Beyond, among others. Other factors: A good Dutch oven of enameled cast iron and a casserole or two of enameled cast iron as well as the non-enameled cast iron mentioned in the "Good Overall Choices" comments.
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