Wanted: Recommendations On Calphalon And All Clad Cookware
Q: I'm interested in purchasing high quality cookware and have narrowed my selection down to Calphalon and All Clad. As such I've yet to decide on stainless steel, stick resistant, or non-stick, regardless of the supplier. With respect to suppliers, I'm leaning toward the All Clad realtive to overall quality, performance, and reliability but have a strong dislike for the All Clad handles - they are poorly designed relative to ergonomics (I'm 6'3", 200lbs and the All Clad handles hurt my hands when picking up the larger saute pans, etc.). A friend of mine owns the Calphalon stainless and swears by it (he likes classics becasue they are classics and I wonder if he really did any comparison shopping). I'd like opinions and comments (relative but not exclusive) to the following, ideally from those who own Calphalon or All Clad ... * Why did you purhcase the brand you own? * What do you like most and least about what you're using now? * What would you do if you had to throw out what you have and buy new? * Whats better - stainless (stick?), stick-resistant, or non-stick? - do you have trouble cleaning stainless? - should one use stainless for the pans not likely to need scouring i.e. its only the saute/fry pans that would likely require scrubbing - what about reactions of the food with the non-stainless pans? - is there any problem with the non-stick coatings contaminating humans i.e. does this stuff stay on the pan and if it comes off over time will consuming it cause me any harm? * Do the handles really make the All Clad less desireable from a users' perspective (I only "test drove" the pans in the store ... what happens when one really uses them to cook)? Also, is this stuff all fair trade pricing? I never saw any of it on sale and never heard of a place to buy it at discount. Thanks, in advance,
A: I enjoy cooking with all of it, but I personally prefer stainless to anodized aluminum. I think stainless is easier to clean. I also prefer the regular cookware instead of non-stick. I can't quite put my feelings into words, but I can tell you that when selling the cookware in WS, we had *much* more non-stick left in stock after Christmas than regular. I also watch cooking shows almost constantly and have never seen a professional chef cook on non-stick cookware. My theory (and it's just a theory) is that professionals always use some sort of oil or butter when cooking, and the theory behind non-stick is that those things aren't needed. So why buy non-stick when you're going to use oil/butter anyway? And besides, good cookware allows food to cook evenly and sticking shouldn't (theoretically) be a problem. I really don't know about non-stick coatings hurting you. I don't think All Clad and Calphalon are fair trade. I bought my All Clad on sale at Bloomies. Large department stores always have different pieces on sale...WS almost never does. I think Crate & Barrel does sometimes. (Having worked at both WS and Crate & Barrel, I'm going to say this and I hope my boss at WS doesn't read it, but Crate & Barrel has better prices than WS. But don't tell anyone I said it). So, I hope I've helped you somewhat. Basically, I think people decide whether they like cooking on stainless or aluminum (anodized), then make selections based on their decision. My only definite advice is don't go out and buy a whole set of one or the other...mix and match for best results.
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