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Buying the right product. Will we ever really know?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I really think it could drive you crazy wondering if you've really and truly bought the right brand! In my case its cake pans.

I got into cakes after an early retirement to keep myself busy.. Of course I needed better pans for this..
So I did tons of research, ask lots of questions, and finally purchase what I thought was the best.
Except for two I already had, all my newer ones are Magic Line brand except for a few Wilton. Lots of bucks put out for these things... They do work okay, get nice square edges or rounds.. I don't get much browning out of them, my vanilla is quite pale but I was not that concerned since its gonna be covered in frosting or whatever..

So today I get this Cook's Illustrated rating on cake pans and such in my email..

http://www.cooksillustrated.com/test...d=216&bdc=2592

Geez, I'm in the not recommended section!!
post #2 of 12
Joyfull, I always have mixed feelings about those reviews. I used to be involved in them, and know some of the ins and outs. There are all sorts of reasons why many of them are not reliable.

But that aside, the test of any product is this: Is it comfortable to work with? Does it do the job it's supposed to do? Was the price you paid acceptible?

If you answer "yes" to all three of those questions then, whatever it is, it's the right brand.
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 #3 of 12
I completely agree, KYHeirloomer. Personally, I don't take CI as "gospel." It's just an opinion, to be taken under advisement.
Joyfull--Enjoy your pans and happy baking! :)
post #4 of 12
I agree. having read their tests for cookware, pastas, sauces, and what-all-else, it's clear that they do not - and cannot - test everything that's out there. When they tested vanilla ice cream a while back I didn't recognize half the brands they tested, and there are some wonderful brands out here that never even got a mention, good, bad, or otherwise.

Theyfailed to mention some great brands - or certainly well-known brands, when they did some cookware tests.

No need to agonize over something that CI publishes. They are not the final arbitor in such matters - you are.

Kind regards,

Shel
post #5 of 12
Another reason to take equipment reviews with the proverbial grain of salt: the testers weren't using YOUR oven, YOUR stove, YOUR ingredients. All those factors affect the performance of everything else.

I read equipment reviews the same way I read restaurant reviews: I look for the information that matters to me, and ignore the ratings. If I know, say, that a heavy pan that promotes browning works best in my oven, that's what I read for. So what if it came in dead last? If it's what I know will work for me, that's all I care about.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
KYHeirloomer, crema, shel, and Suzanne.,
Thank you for your encouraging replies.

I am of course quite satisfied with the pans I have and would not think of switching to another brand.. (dear lord who could afford to do that!)

It just ticked me off when I read that rating and had to do a bit of venting about it..
Hmm, I'm sure if I looked up my pots and pans that have done me quite well thank you, that they would be at the bottom of the list also!!! :lol:
post #7 of 12
For years I used an inexpensive Wearever non-stick skillet until I ended up with an All-Clad Ltd pan. "Boy, now I'm in the big leagues," I thought. Imagine my surprise to find that a lot of professional chefs - and even Alton Brown - use the inexpensive Wearever pans for a lot of their cooking needs. I believe that CI put those pans towards or at the bottom of their list.

Shel
post #8 of 12
Congrats on your early retirement (I did that to, last February). But, back to the topic at hand. You know, the best is what works best for you and what makes most sense for your application. There's no debate that some products are made better than others, but IMHO, how the item was made is not as important as the results. Cuz not even the most expensive items on the market come with result guarantees.

Even more frustrating is when I respond to the craze of the day and buy a special pot/pan/tool, whatever, that I thought I couldn't live without and than it gathers dust after the initial enthusiasm wears off :eek: so now buy the best I can afford on the basics and upgrade as needed - - unless it's on another cookbook, or knives, or... :roll:
post #9 of 12
"I believe that CI put those pans towards or at the bottom of their list."

Ever notice that "low end" (which translates as "affordible") stuff never makes the cut.

One thing to keep in mind. There are standard testing protocols for virtually every manufactured item. When a magazine chooses to ignore those protocols and come up with it's own testing parameters instead, you can bet good money there is a private agenda involved.


Once you move outside the official test box, your results are totally subjective, no matter what sort of measuring you do. Your results will not compare to industry and governmental standards, and, quite often, they are not repeatable by another testing group.

So, if you want to use magazine tests and ratings as a comparison guide, go to it. But please, don't take them very serious.

Shel: Well, waddayaknow. I'm running with the big dogs now. I have several WearEver pots (have had them for years), and, other than the handle designs, will stack them up against any of the high-end brands.
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 #10 of 12
As a buddy of mine in GB so often says, "Horses for courses." <LOL>

I love my All-Clad, but for some things the Wearever, or perhaps even a "Cap'n Willie's Fish Fry Pan" is definitely a better choice, especially in the Day-Glo colors.:D

Shel
post #11 of 12
I cannot say I have ever owned a teflon pan that I thought was any better than average, and I've spent a bundle on them. Recently while visiting my parents I was cooking for the family when I started using a 10" Meyer teflon skillet that they've had for quite some time. It's the best teflon pan I've ever used, it was one of those pans you use even when maybe something else would be more appropriate for what you're doing but you just want to use this one anyway. Well that's what happened. It was mostly a bacon, eggs and pancake kind of menu but that's pretty much all I'd use a teflon pan for anyway.

It says on the bottom that it was made in France, from the look of it my local grocery store used to carry them, it had a red dot thingy in the middle to tell you when they are up to temperature, and I bet it didn't cost anymore than $10.00 and I've been looking for one just like it but the styles may have changed by now. I looked them up on the internet but there are so many different models that I cannot be sure which is the same or most similar and just getting it by brand name I've learned usually doesn't guarantee anything, especially if I'm trying to match a pan that was purchased more than probably five years ago.

At home I have teflon pans but hardly use them anymore, preferring a stainless lined copper pan instead but if I find one of these Meyer pans I will for sure give it a try.
Jannie
post #12 of 12
Me too. I want to just shriek when I think of how much $ I've wasted on expensive nonstick pans that didn't hold up any better than the inexpensive WearEvers I got at Costco...
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