Sunday, August 30, 2009

V: The Great Cookware Debate

So, time to pick out pots & pans. Do not be afraid! Though the options are endless, a little bit of research and forethought can light a clear path.
Tip #1: F the set. Even though it's such a 'deal', it's not customized to what's best for you; likely a variety of cookware types and sizes. 

Start by checking out this ridiculously thorough guide to the science behind the shapes and materials of cookware.

Then decide if non-stick is important to you. In all honesty, I was a massive fan of non-stick and assumed that was a requirement. But after trying out my bff's premium stuff, it's just not necessary in all cases. However, by all means, do get one non-stick fry pan for scrambled eggs.

But what brand? Serious cooks on Chow's forums make it clear that All-Clad really is way over-priced versus comparable, nay better!, lines like the professional Sitram, Mauviel or Demeyere brands. 

But being European brands, they just don't sell them in stores where people like us shop.

And if you're really after heirloom pans, seriously consider that in 20 years we will all be using induction cooktops. This safer, more efficient cooktop uses magnetic energy to heat your pan, requiring a magnetic metal. This means no anodized aluminum or copper, and only certain kinds of stainless steel. 

The final verdict: All-Clad Stainless [so is Samantha L by coincidence], plus enameled cast iron Dutch over, and an All-Clad non-stick fry pan. [Interestingly, the more expensive All-Clad Copper Core is NOT compatible with induction]

Don't spend a fortune on a stock-pot or roaster. When boiling or slow roasting in the oven, it's simply not necessary to have a high-grade material that responds quickly and evenly to temperature, as it is in saute pans. These can be simple stainless, no name-brand or aluminum/copper core necessary.


  1. Super helpful! I knew some of this stuff but hadn't heard about the new-fangled futuristic shit yet, so that's good to keep in mind ;) This is pretty much what my friend who works at Williams-Sonoma told us as well. It also reminds me I need to go back into my registry and actually put some pots and pans on the list!

  2. I'm so clueless when it comes to cookware! Thanks for posting this. I feel a little less intimidated.

  3. This post has been ultra-helpful for me! We are in desperate need of a new set, but I am so intimidated by the number of brands/choices. Great tips!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.