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looking to buy first cookware

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello! I am looking to now buy my own cookware, and what i really need right now are simple pots and pans. I already have read that all-clad, berndes and le creuset are among the best. However, since I cant afford that right now, i was looking at wal-mart and target? are there any good brands there? I have been using my moms old pots, and the copper has been peeling of the bottom of them and the enamel inside scratches off!! any pots i can buy that don't have enamel inside and copper on the bottom? Thanks
post #2 of 15
Here's a stainless steel set from Target that seems okay fpr $79.99: http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...Q&frombrowse=1 It's 18/10 gauge, etc.

If you have more money ($199.99), this one has a couple of non-stick pieces, too: http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...S&frombrowse=1

Normally you'll get advice here that you should buy open stock- that is, buy piece by piece. If you do decided to go with a set just be reasonably sure you'll get some use from all the pieces.
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks!! Well as for open stock, i agree i may just buy peices over time since i am a student and dont have much money. But as far as cookware, other than target and wal-mart, any other store where i could go pick up some goo dquality cookware? I live in san francisco bay area and have no clue about shopping here for cookware (though i am sure ther is lots!!)
post #4 of 15
If you have stores like Marshall's, TJ Maxx and so forth you can find some real bargains! I've seen a few All-Clad and even Mauviel copper pieces there. You can also hit it big at Goodwill or the Salvation Army store if you get there on the right day. (I just gave away an old but serviceable food processor with six or eight specialty cutting blades- just as an example). Yard sales are good too- sometimes people don't know what they've got, and you get a steal.

To start out I'd be sure to have a 10" saute/frying pan with a lid; a 3 or 4 quart saucepan with lid; a smaller sauce pan (1 or 2 quart) for heating soup, etc. and a 13X9" baking pan. Ideally you'd have one that's nonstick for cakes and desserts and one that's not non-stick and fairly heavy gauge. You can roast poultry and meat in that, then deglaze the pan with broth or wine or both for a nice sauce.

Aside from that, if you do a lot of stir-frying you might want a wok unless your cook top won't allow it (some flat-top electric ones allow only a flat-bottom wok).

You'll need a couple of baking sheets and cooling racks if you bake. You can so get some smaller racks to put under items for broiling.

Think about what you're likely to make most often and get a few pans for your "go-to" dishes. You don't need a cupboard-full of cooking vessels to start out.

Now, get out there and explore those off-price stores and see what gems you find! Good luck, Crusader.

Mezzaluna
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post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
i will thanks!! but also, in case it makes a difference, where i live we have gas tops not electric!! i will try to check those places, but if not, i guess target it is!!
post #6 of 15
Crusader, I forgot: if you have Tuesday Morning in your area, that's another great place to "score" good deals.
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post #7 of 15
Crusader, don't forget that there are many low-end brands that provide servicable cookware.

When I first started supplementing my cast iron with stainless, for instance, I bought WearEver pans and pots. There is nothing wrong with them, and they are certainly more affordible than the upscale brands you hear us talk about all the time. Maybe not as stylish, and the handles aren't the best design in the world. But they work well, and don't cost all that much.

Give some thought to material. Each has its own use and maintainance requirements, and you want to make sure it fits your cooking style. The major materials currently in use are: cast iron (both raw and porcelain coated), carbon steel, stainless steel, and both plain and coated aluminum. Coated aluminum comes in either anodized finishes or with teflon non-stick coatings.

Although there is some cookware that is pure stainless, it is not very efficient. When we say "stainless" we're really talking about cookware that is stainless clad.

Before buying any cookware, handle it in the store the same way you'd handle it in your kitchen. If you're a toss it, twist it, shake it type cook, then toss, shake, and twist it in the store. If the piece isn't comfortable to work with you won't be happy with it.

Let me reiterate, too, the idea of buying open stock. It is very rare that a set works with anyone's particular cooking style. So you wind up with pieces you never use.

Also, check the service department of the brand you choose. A warranty is only as good as the people behind it. Example: Far as I'm concerned, All-Clad has no customer service worth a da*n. As a result, I'll never own another one of its products.

Good luck.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 15
Check the yellow pages or on line for restaurant supply houses. There are a few in San Francisco, and in Oakland there is East Bay Restaurant Supply - a place in which I've shopped and gotten some good deals and products.

Shel
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks again!! So i guess my final question before buying cookware this week, is whats the most durable and perhaps "most natural" material? In other words, i dont want pots and pans with things that can peel or flake off as i have had happen with teflon, and some stranged coated type pots. And i want to know that the brand I buy doesnt use any bad materials in it...... =)
post #10 of 15
You've just posted contradictory requirements.

The most natural cookware would be unglazed pottery, such as a tagine. But it's not particularly durable.

On the other hand, porcelain-coated cast iron lasts 2-days longer than forever. But there's not much natural about it.

Anodized aluminum is fairly durable, and the coatings do not scratch or peel so long as you use the proper tools.

Really, the determining factors are your personal cooking style, and budget. Were it me, though, I would initially confine my purchases to cast iron, carbon steel, and stainless. Get the minimum you need to work with, then build from there.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 15
I have to agree with KYHeirloomer, cast iron cookware will last forever if you take care of it (season them). So maybe a 10" or 12" cast iron skillet is great for starters, a 1.5 or 2 qt sauce pan, a 5 qt stock pot, a couple of sheet pans, and 12" or 3qt saucier or saute pan. I bet by buying these items "open stock" you can get fairly decent cookware for less than $200. All of my cookware is open stock and I use them all. Also garage sales are a great place to get some nice deals on cookware. The only pans I'd absolutley say should be cast iron are the skillet's, I'm kinda biased towards my skillet's as they are my babies :D
post #12 of 15
If you have a Smart & Final up there they sell commericial quality stuff for cheap.
post #13 of 15
Crusader, one more comment before you buy. Watch handle materials.

Many of today's designs have handles that are made to be comfortable, and are very appealing for that reason. However, they give up being utilitarian in the process. Skillets with "soft-grip" synthetics; cast iron Dutch ovens with bakalite handles, etc.

The problem is, you cannot put many of these synthetics in the oven. So for me they are useless. I often start by sauteing something, for instance, then finish by putting the skillet in the oven. Or the Dutch oven is used to sear something, other ingredients added, and then popped in the oven to complete.

Again, much of the decision-making has to do you personal cooking style. But I thought I'd point this out, because it's something easy to overlook.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
ok, so stainless it is, i will go today and check out what i can find in terms of a saucepan and pot which is waht i really need to suit my needs of cooking right now, thanks again!!
post #15 of 15
If you're going with stainless, be sure to get pots that have a heavy disk of clad aliminum or copper on the bottom which provides better heat distribution compared to straigh stainles steel. Buy the highest quality pot that you canafford. If you can afford good enough quality, you may never need to replace the pot if you use it with care. I've got some pots that are more than 25 years old that are still in great shape.

Don't overlook enalmeled cast iron either, if the weight and type of pot is suitable.

Target has a highly rated, enameled cast iron Dutch oven that might be a good starter piece, especially when compared to a similar-sized Le Creuset.

If, when shopping, you have more questions, and you don't get satisfactory answers from the sales people, keep your money in your wallet and come back here and ask more questions.

Kind regards,

Shel
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