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Beginner's Cookware

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello, I'm a beginner cook, I don't really have a lot of pots and pans, I'm about to go and buy some new pots and pans to replace my cheap old ones. I just wanna have an idea of what basic pieces I should buy. Thank you in advance.
post #2 of 17
This might be a good place to start ...

Understanding Stovetop Cookware

post #3 of 17
Shel, what a great link, I have my stuff, but for a new cook, that is great!!
Was going to suggest, stay away from sets, silly to buy an expensive one quart sauce pan that you use every three months. If the one you have now works, keep it.
Watch Amazon.com for deals, and they have free shipping on orders over $25 A few years ago,I ordered some pieces of cast iron and though for sure--free shipping to Alaska, sure nuff it was!
But I use a 6 qt. dutch oven often (can't say it's AlClad, KY will find out where I live, hehehe) a two quart sauce pan, same brand. Lots of cast iron, 6 and 8" skillets, a 12" grill pan (use under the broiler like a Forman grill. a 13" chicken fry pan.
A good roasting pan is worth the money.
post #4 of 17
Hey has anyone heard reports that are supposedly out just now that cooking in aluminum does not pose an altzheimer's risk?

If so, boy do I wish I had my mom's Club Aluminum cookware still! I still have the 2 quart saucepan :D. I use it rebelliously each time I cook with it :D
post #5 of 17
Blue, there has never been a study that said aluminum did cause it.

All the studies have revealed the same thing. That there is a definate link between altheimers and aluminum concentration in parts of the brain. However, there is no clear-cut causal relationship. That is, nobody is sure whether aluminum is one of the causes of the disease, or whether people with the disease are prone to the aluminum build-up.

Those are, obviously, not the same things. If a cause, you obviously want to avoid cooking in aluminum. If a result, then it doesn't matter much whether you do or don't.

For my part, so long as the jury is out, I'll avoid aluminum. An easy decision, seeing how's I don't like cooking in it in the first place.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #6 of 17
KYHeirloomer - this pains me greatly. I thought there was definitive links at one point for using aluminum and aluminum buildup and that being causal for altzheimer's...and I read on another board that there was a new study that came out showing no relationship.

I've given up many things in my life for safety. I got rid of all the teflon among many other things. I love my saucepan. I love my large chef's saute. It builds fond great and then easily releases it. Much easier and better than my stainless steel. I can't afford to wonderful pans such as the le creuset or the caphalon...so until then, I guess I'm gonna have to take my chances.

All in all it is the least of my worries. I'm undergoing tests to find out if I have abdominal tumors right now and if I do, aluminum buildup is gonna be pretty low on my worry list...so I guess for each person, they have to make their own mind up.

Just out of curiousity, why do you hate cooking with it? And what do you prefer to cook with?
post #7 of 17
I'm with you in this regard. Each piece of cookware that I bought was chosen on its own merits. Over the years I've bough Calphalon, Magnalite, All Clad, Simply Calphalon Stainless, Farberware, Wearever, and so on, each piece for a certain need or needs.

If you choose each pot for the tasks intended, you may end up with a better "set" of cookware, and perhaps save some $$$ as well. The other suggestion I'd make is to take your time making a decision. Ask questions, read reviews carefully, actually handle the cookware (rather than just buying sight unseen via the 'net), and see if you can get some kind of return priviledge if the item is not suitable or if you're dissatisfied.

Kind regards,


post #8 of 17
>Just out of curiousity, why do you hate cooking with it? And what do you prefer to cook with?<

Ever have something, Blue, that you just liked? Or just disliked? For no reason you could articulate? That mostly describes my feelings about aluminum.

More objectively, aluminum heats unevenly, tends to overheat quickly, cools down too rapidly. Etc. Does it do these things worse than other materials? Depondent sayeth not.

As to my preferences: Day in and day out, for most things, I reach for a cast iron pot or pan. Cast iron's benefits are legion, and should need no reiteration.

Second choice goes to stainless

There are, however, specialty items. My tagine, for instance, is ceramic, hand thrown in North Africa. And the wok is carbon steel.

Dkua: Let me join the others who have recommended not buying a kit. Choose each piece based on how it fits your cooking style and needs. And be sure to handle it, in the store, the same way you would on the stove at home. If it's not comfortable to use in the former it most assuredly won't be in the latter.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #9 of 17
all clad and some others are pretty lenient on their seconds, mostly because they are snatched right up and don't have to be recycled. A blemish on a stainless steel or aluminum handle does not bother me. A large percentage of my all clad, creuset, came from Marshalls or other resellers at less then half price.
Aluminum may not be attributed to altzheimer's, but using the aluminum pans transfer aluminum internally which is not natural.
post #10 of 17
You probably are better off assembling your own "collection" rather than buying a set. Like Shel my cookware is a mishmash of brands, acquired here and there.
As far as the aluminum/alzheimers thing goes, I guess I'm doomed. Some of my cookware contains aluminum, my favorite bakery bakes its cookies (among other items) on aluminum sheet pans (I use them, too), I drink beverages out of aluminum cans, etc...
post #11 of 17
Funny thing about that - when I was looking for a 1-qt sauce pan, it seemed that the handle on one would be uncomfortable. I bought that pot anyway knowing I could return it should it be unsatisfactory. Even though the handle felt uncomfortable in the store, in acual use it proved to be much better. Go figure <shrug>

BTW, KY, that Simply Calphalon pot you recommended has turned out to be a pleasure to use. For it's purpose it turned out to be just about perfect, especially considering the price.

post #12 of 17
Glad the saucepan worked out for you, Shel. I've used mine a lot, and wouldn't hesitate to buy similar, larger pots, if needed.

BTW, price is the least important factor in whether or not I choose a particular piece of cookware. Don't get me wrong, I'm not rolling in money. But I learned long ago that if you buy the best you'll never be disappointed.

Now, if two pieces were appealing in all respects, price could be the tie-breaker. But other than that I really don't pay much attention to cost.

Example: I'm in the market, now, for a deep fryer. Got it narrowed down to two: one for 80 bucks, the other for $120. While I could make-do with the 80 dollar unit, the more expensive one has additional features I find appealing. So that's the one I'll likely go with.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #13 of 17
As a dissenting voice, I would not entirely avoid pre-packaged sets.

We purchased a 13 piece Calphalon Tri-Ply set (and a few additional pieces of open stock), and have found each piece to have its own merits.

If we were to have purchased each of the pieces as "open stock", the cost would have been over $120 more than what we paid.

Plus, if you happen to use a place like Bed Bath and Beyond, they have coupons which entitle you to deduct 20% from the price of one item. On that set, we saved an additional $80.

One of the benefits of the set is that the lids are used for more than one pan. This makes five lids work for eight pots/pans, taking up less space in the cupboard.

All of the pieces get used at some time during the week, and we've been quite pleased with the purchase.

While the set does not have the pleasantly "eclectic" look of a mish mash of various different manufacturers, the visual symetry of all one brand is pleasing in its own right.
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
I heard some good reviews about Kirkland SS Cookware, I'm thinking about buying a set of those and replacing pieces with better quality cookware like All-Clad or something in the future when I have more money. Do you guys think that's a good idea?
post #15 of 17
I, for one, most emphatically do not think it's a good idea.

You should have, by now, some idea of what you consider a basic set of cookware. You need X skillets, in such & such sizes. You need Y saucepans, in thus and so sizes. Maybe a stockpot with built-in steamer? Etc.

The thing to do is hold on to your cheap stuff while you slowly build your new cookware collection. What I'm saying is to start with good stuff to begin with (howevery you define "good." Personally I don't include All-Clad in that category).

If all you can afford, right now, is one or two pieces than that's what you buy; choosing the quaility design and size you are most happy with. Prioritize your purchases. What is your most used or needed piece? If it's a 10" skillet, than find a quality 10" skillet that meets your cooking style and comfort level. Buy it. Etc.

Eventually you will have amassed exactly the collection you want, with no superflouous pieces.

DMT: I'm really happy that everything in the set meets your needs. But I betcha there aren't 10% of cookware purchasors for whom that works out.

Typical is the 11-piece set my yonger son got as a wedding gift. They've been married a year and a half, now, and have yet to use more than half the set. The pieces from it that they do use, however, get used all the time.

Personally, I'm not particularly interested in the aesthetics of my cookware. These are working tools, not something I put on display for visitors. So I only buy what works for me. And if it happens to be ugly as homemade sin, so be it.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #16 of 17
While KY and I disagree somewhat wrt All Clad, the premise put forth is, IMO, absolutely correct. I've got various pieces that are 25 or more years old that still perform flawlessly, and that don't look like they'll need replacing or upgrading for another 25 years.

I think my first piece of "good" cookware as an All Clad MC 3-qt. sauté pan, and, along with a couple of All Clad pots, is probably my must frequently used piece of gear.

Most every time I cut corners or try to buy something less expensive or of lower quality, I end up dissatisfied. There's an old adage that say "The thrifty man pays the most."

Is the Kirkland stuff any good? Who really knows - it's not been around very long. What I've been able to find out is that it's possibly made in Italy. The comments I read about it, made by supposedly knowledgeable users and reviewers, were filled with errors - one reviewer even said that copper is an insulator and doesn't transfer heat well. Based on such reviews, I'd be hesitant to run out and buy the product.

If you want the Kirkland product, investigate its quality carefully. You may also want to investigate places that sell cookware of known quality at a discount. One place is, I believe, chefsresource.com (or something like that), where they sell "seconds" at good prices.

Good luck in your search,

post #17 of 17

Open stock cookware

I have to agree with buying pots & pans as you can afford and need them, IMHO that way you can get the best quality. I have a mismash including Le Creuset, All Clad, Gormet Standard, Cuisinart, Emerilware, Lodge, no name 14" Wok and cast iron ware, etc. All of them have their uses and all get used depending on the cooking style and quantity required. All together this has taken 30+ years to collect. In other words get what your cooking style/preferences are at the moment and move on from there. This way you get real good/proficient at certain style and you move on to different foods and skills at your own pace as your needs, budget, and skills grow. :lips:
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