I need help choosing the best affordable cookware for my needs. I have two lodge cast iron skillets and a fryer with a skillet lid. I use these a lot. I also have a large stockpot for pastas. i have two small stainless saucepans i rarely use and a smaller stainless dutch oven i use sometimes. i also have a stainless saute pan i haven't used in years. all of the stainless except the stockpot were given to us when we moved and have sufficed for now. but with a larger family and a love for cooking that my equipment cannot keep up with i am slowly trying to replace some of them. however, i have two strikes against me space is very limited so everything has to be multipurpose and budget is not very big either. i am a vegetarian so do not have to worry about omelet pans or any specialty things like that. have been considering a lodge dutch oven and a cuisinart saute pan 3.5 or 5 quart also a cuisinart everyday pan. i do a lot of cooking most of large amounts for freezing. can anyone give me a nudge in the right direction because i am feeling lost in cookware land right now. Thanks
need help choosing mutliuse cook ware for small kitchen
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Given your criteria, I'd recommend a 4-quart, clad stainless, saucier. That's as multi-purpose as you can get, IMO. Only thing better is a cast-iron chicken fryer, but they aren't made large enough for your purposes.
How large is your pasta pot? And does it have inserts? They, too, are great multi-purpose pots, particularly when cooking in quantity. But I'd want something larger than 8 quarts myself; a 12 or 16 quart pot at a minimum, so you can not only prepare large quantities but make veggie stock as well.
I'd be the last person to knock anything made of cast iron. But you might find a Dutch oven, large enough to meet your needs on the heavy side. For the ultimate in flexibility, I would opt for a large, coated oval one.
Thank you again for the advice. I ordered an enamel coated dutch oven. And decided to go with a larger pan as well. By the way what is the difference between a saucier and a saute pan with a lid? When i looked at them online it was hard to tell. I think my stockpot is 12 quarts and no it has no inserts. i also have a larger one that i may be getting out of storage as my children get older and therefore eat more.
Yeah, the names of these things can be confusing. Best I can describe the difference is that a saute pan is more like a skillet, whereas a saucier is more pot-like. Imagine a metal bowl with a handle. When looking at sauciers in the 4-, 5- and larger quart capacity you might want to consider models with helper handles.
But you can see why the saucier is more multi-purpose. You can use it as a saute pan, as a deep fryer, as a container for one-pot meals, etc. etc.
I wouldn't worry too much about what things are called, though. Look at the products and decide based on size and configuration whether that's the item you need. If possible, visit a housewares store so you can physically examine the various pieces. Bed Bath & Beyond usually has a good selection, if there's one near you, as does Williams-Sonoma (but, given their price points and lack of customer service, I certainly wouldn't buy anything at W-S).
On further thought, given what and how you cook, if you don't already have them I would suggest a wok and a set of bamboo steamers. The latter is especially flexible, because the trays stack, so you can expand or contract the total size as needed. And, IMO, bamboo steamers just work better than metal ones.
Do not get a cast-iron wok. While they look appealing, you're really better off with one made of carbon steel.