Expensive Cookware? (calphalon Etc)
Q: Does anyone have any comments on the "expensive" cookware I keep seeing in stores? You know, the $50-$100 a piece stuff? I recently got a $60 calphalon frying pan as an xmas gift, and am wondering if it's really worth holding on to (and the idea is that I'd buy a few more pieces to match it) or if there is another brand (or something altogether cheaper) that would be a better buy? I don't cook THAT much, and I don't need THAT many pots and pans, so I may as well go ahead and buy the best I can, since I'll probably never need more than 5 or 6 pieces of cookware. And if they last forever and look nice, all the better - I hate buying junk and then throwing it away after two years... But is this stuff really better?
A: This is just my humble opinion, but I don't need it. Mind you--I'm usually only cooking for my family of five, or us and a few friends. But I LOVE to cook and we all love to eat good, flavorful food. I experiment a lot and, to be honest., we eat really creative and delicious meals. Our cookware? A cast iron skillet and Dutch oven ($10 for the set, bought about 10 years ago, along with a little skillet that's too small for us to use), the electric skillet we got as a shower gift 20 years ago, and a set of Visions pots, which are at the very least 15 years old. For oven baking, we have the Corningware we got as shower gifts, plus newer pizza stones and a 13x9" stoneware casserole. There isn't anything we couldn't or don't cook. It didn't cost a bundle, and it lasts. The fancy cookware does look nice, and I know it must have its advantages, but we have really wonderful dinners every night--which I truly enjoy making--and our simple cookware has lasted and lasted. We own a few pieces of Calphalon, I find their non-stick cookware really IS non-stick as opposed to some others advertised as non-stick. They clean up easily and DO look nice as well. However, I also like our cast iron stuff. If it is seasoned properly, it is just as non-stick as the calphalon, but doesn't clean up as easily. I would never think of using the calphalon for some things, like frying chicken though. We fry chicken in the same cast iron skillet over and over again adn it seems to add to the flavor of the chicken. We got the skillet from my wifes mom when she passed and it was the one SHE fried chicken in for LOTS of years. Maybe just my imagination, but it really does seem to enhance the flavor, which calphalon and other non-stick brands never do. I really like my Calphalon hard anodized and commercial hard anodized products, much more than the stainless steel full aluminum core type cookware that I have, which isn't bad.. I get mad at the stainless when cooking Italians Sausages, for instance, and the pan requires several rounds of cleaning with Barkeeper's Friend. On the other hand, the stainless stuff IS a little more convenient when only light cleaning is required. I don't have any experience with Calphalon non-stick, aside from a 7" omellet pan which I rarely use. The experts say that non-stick is the pan of choice for omellets, but I like using a tblsp of butter, anyway, so the advantage of low fat frying is not high on my list.
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