Magnalite Uncoated Cookware
Q: My wife is looking to buy a new set of cookware. She saw a 10 piece set of uncoated stainless steel Magnalite at the Chicago Cutlery outlet store, on sale, for $196. It looks nice and appears well made. She agreed to let me solicit the group's opinion before she made the purchase. If only I had done so before I purchased my KitchenAid mixer a month ago. :-) Anyone familiar with this cookware and is it a good buy at $196? The gal at the store said, and the Magnalite brochure says, this cookware should not be put in the dishwasher. She said this is typical of high end cookware. Is this true or is this charming sales lady full of something she likely did not eat? Thanks in advance for any comments. If my mixer will handle it, I better get to baking some X-Mas cookies.
A: Could you clarify one point? What we know as Magnalite is relatively heavy uncoated aluminum, not stainless steel. We used a saucepan as our rice pot for fifteen years or so, and a Dutch oven for many braises and stews and such things for a similar length of time. The quality must have been good, as they held up to our careless handling with no problems whatsoever. So, if the set you're looking at is this heavy aluminum, we'd have nothing negative to say about it. Price sounds good to us, too. But if it is stainless steel, forget everything above, we don't know about itYup, I bought a set of pots and pans from a display shelf 3 years ago. The best part was that it didn't have a price and the sales clerk made up a price for me - $29.99! (a frying pan, stock pot, 1 large and 2 small sauce pots). When I heard his offer (I was ready to pay up to $100), I quickly said yes, grabbed the slip he wrote for the cashier from his hand and run to the register before he realized what he did. Never had any problems with them, they get washed in dishwasher and look as new. Magnalite has a life time warranty on them and my set has their phone number on the bottom of every item. I have had a magnalite set for 15 years. I don't much like it for most things. I vastly prefer a commercial coated saute pan for sauteing ($25-50 each) I vastly prefer LeCreuset for everything else. The magnalite is fine for boiling water, stock, etc, but so is the cheapest stuff around. The Magnalite Saute pan is very prone to sticking, comparable to an unseasoned cast iron pan. If you want an old-world nostalgia project, and not use the dishwasher, you can try to get a season on the Mag, but you're spending a lot more than a better performing iron pan would cost. The little omelette pan is worthless for omelettes. teflon really is far better. I find the big pot to be fine for pasta, but too tall for many other things.
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