Need help building a cookware arsenal. My kitchen doesn't even have silverware! Help!
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I only buy cookware with metal handles and knobs. I want to be able to use it in the oven at high temps or over an open flame and not worry about the handle material. Each pot or pan needs to have a lid that fits,even the 12" skillet.
stainless clad skillets 10 and 12 inch sizes. Many would add an 8" but not me. Northing wrong with it if you'll use, but I don't find that size useful.
stainless 12 quart stock pot. Clad is nice, but in a stockpot, not as important. A heavy disk bottom would be sufficient.
stainless saucepans, 2 and 4 quart. Disk bottom is Ok, but I'd go clad if my budget allows. There are reasons for other sizes like the 1, 1.5 and 3 quarts. If you routinely cook in those volumes, then go for it. For my cooking, 2 and 4 quart would be more useful.
12" non-stick skillet. Some recommend against any non-stick. I think they're useful for fish and eggs and so on. I'd also get a 10" but that's because I use this size in the oven a fair amount. Remember they must have metal handles. Finding these with the metal handles takes some searching. Most of them have a plastic handle. Usually this is teflon coated aluminum. With the rise of induction cooktops, and I love induction, you might need to seek out a different and more expensive pan for this purpose. I do have an 8" nonstick skillet I use for smaller omelets and such. A 3 egg omelet is getting to be more than I want and an 8" does a 2 egg omelet just right.
6 quart dutch oven. Could be stainless clad, enameled cast iron.
12" cast iron or carbon steel skillet--Lodge recommended.
carbon steel wok
Where you're in the US, I would seriously consider ordering this set from walmart online. Good quality and a good price. I'm not normally a fan of sets, but that fits my desires very closely.
I generally prefer to cook with wood utensils. Protects the cookware and does a good job generally speaking. Still, a steel spatula/turner is a must have, plenty of rubber spatulas/scrapers, whisks.
Plates and tableware are personal preference things. My tastes run to heavy silverware. Have fun picking out new for your new home.
Sorry about the loss! This can't be easy.
My main suggestion would be to visit a good restaurant supply store -- most of them let the general public in. I've bought almost all my cookware at those for the last decade and a half. On the whole, quality and usability are better, pricing is good, and the BS level is lower than at stores aimed at consumers.
You also find stuff that is highly practical but apparently too mundane to grace the shelves of cookware emporia e.g. nice stainless steel serving spoons for $3, or clear plastic storage containers with tight lids.
Some cities also have restaurant supply stores aimed at Asian restaurants, which are lots of fun and amazingly inexpensive.
Aside from the good advice that's already been given don't over look Costco if you are a member or have membership access through your work or a family member. They have had some excellent deals on Tramontia and individual pieces in the past. I could go a very long ways on the following;
1 8qt stock pot
1 2-3 qt sauce pot
1 8-9" SS or aluminum saute pan
1 12" non stick pan
8" Chef's knife
micro plane or box grater