November 19, 2014

Deciding On a Set of Cookware to Purchase

Sep7

TastyTuesday200pix Welcome to my new home   Tasty Tuesday

There are many things I am, but one thing I am not is an impulse buyer, especially when it means making decisions about things I deem “investment” type purchases.

For two months now, I have been researching cookware. I know, I know, that’s too long of a time to research, but other life stuff has gotten in the way of making my decision, and there is a lot of varying information to sort though.

There are many factors I am looking at besides just cost, namely health factors, ease of use, clean-up and reputation. I consider this an investment, and it’s an area that I do not want to cut corners just to save a buck. I plan on using this set for a long time, and it’s worth it to me to pay a bit more for quality that will last.

For years now, I’ve head the rumors about the potential risks of using aluminum pans. I have slowly started getting rid of my cheaper non-stick aluminum cookware and switching to stainless steel. I won’t begin to share how I am mourning this decision because there is nothing I love more than flipping my food with out any sticking, but too many studies show cheaper aluminum pans can leach chemicals through cookware into our bodies. Depending on where you research this topic, and what their agenda is, you will get contradicting opinions on this. For me, it’s an easy solution to make sure that aluminum is not coming into contact with my food just to be sure.  My cookware gets a lot of wear and tear, and we do have cuts and scrapes on our non stick surfaces, so that is really something I want my family to avoid. (There have been a lot of improvement in this field, so I am not telling you to never buy aluminum. Some of the newer sets make sure that the aluminum will never come in contact with your food. I am talking about the cheap non-stick pans that we all know and love…myself included, they are now in the garbage.)

The cookware sets I am leaning towards are the water-less stainless steal sets which puts a high emphasis on retaining as many nutrients and vitamins in your foods as possible. This is done by cooking at low temps with virtually no water, thereby sealing in the vitamins that are typically lost through the steam and water that we pour out at the end of the cooking cycle. I am also a huge lover of stoneware, enameled and cast iron cookware, but I typically use those for the oven, not the stove top.

Honestly, in regards to price, if I thought a $1,000 kitchen set would dramatically change the quality of my cooking, decrease hours in the kitchen and revolutionize the way I do things, I would invest in that, BUT…I don’t think it’s necessary. After comparing a lot of different sets, the one I am leaning towards is around $300, but my opinion may vary after reading your comments.

So, please let’s learn from each other. The best purchasing decisions I make are based on referrals from those I trust.

Do have a cookware set that you just LOVE, and would highly recommend?

I can’t wait to read what you are going to share, both in regards to cooking inspiration and your comments about cookware.

Simple Rules for Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods – If you’re joining in with a recipe link, two simple requests. As always,  Please link directly to your recipe post and not your blog URL, so that everyone can find the recipe months from now.

Also, link back here so that everyone can join in the fun. MANY OF YOU ARE NOT linking back, and it’s just common courtesy of blog carnivals.


Comments

  1. Jen, I’ve never bought a set myself and I know I would be overwhelmed if I had to – there are so many choices!! I use Le Creuset that was handed down to me as a collection and love them in the oven and on the cooktop.

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  2. I LOVE my Le Creuset casserole pot. They are expensive, but I got it half price (yay) and it’s just brilliant for the oven or on the stove. I really like my Scanpan baking dish and frypan too.

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  3. You might want to try the green pans that they sell on HSN. They are ceramic—non-stick (Great!) pans that do not require spraying with cooking spray to make them non-stick. They are rated high by Consumer reports. I have them and love, love, love them. I can fry an egg without any butter, and it slides right out of the pan. I have used top pans from Wolfgang Puck, Rachel Ray, Emeril and Paula Deen but, always grab my green pans now. check into them you might like them.

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  4. Hey Jen,
    I do not have a “matched set,” but am very happy with my “gathered set.” The best investment I made was purchasing Alton Brown’s book, “Kitchen Gear.” After reading his critiques of all kinds of cookware, I’ve gathered a mixture of All-Clad and Calphalon One. (I did keep my small non-stick frying pan for eggs.) And all of my cookware pieces came from either T.J.’s or Marshalls.

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    Susan Reply:

    I agree with Cheri. Buy the pieces you need for the purpose you need, not a set. That way you will really use them to their fullest. Have fun shopping!

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  5. I love my All Clad pots and pans.

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  6. Tracy McKinney says:

    My Husband & I felt the same way about 7 years ago about getting rid of the cheap pans & started researching them. We settled on a set that is called LusterCraft, they were not cheap actually quite expensive! However they are the type I will be able to pass down to my children!
    The pots & pans cook wonderfully with little water & also have a nice & very long warranty! We have never regretted are purchase! Good Luck your search!

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  7. I don’t have a matched set of stuff either! We just kinda buy what we need when we need it. I WISH I had an awesome set. I’m doing a lot more cooking now so now I NEED it. I spent way too many years eating out so I never collected anything good.

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  8. We love our Pampered Chef stainless steel set!! And if you have a party, you can save A LOT of money! We got ours for basically free after I had a party!

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  9. I use Belgique cookware and absolutely love it. I’ve had it for about 6 years now and it’s still in great shape, and believe me, I put it to the test.

    A couple of features that I really like about it is that it’s obviously stainless steel, but it also has very comfortable handles.

    A quick story, I heard about a woman who left something cooking on the stove and left her house, resulting in a fire. The firefighter later said that if it weren’t for her cookware that contained the heat from the cooking food, the loss would have been much greater….her cookware? Belgique.

    I’m not suggesting that we be careless by doing that, but I thought that story spoke volumes about the quality. It goes on sale frequently at Macy’s.

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  10. I can’t really help you because I am in the same boat. I got rid of my nonstick pans a few years ago and have been making do with a few extra pans. I definitely need to get some better quality stuff! I’ll be reading the comments to get some advice too. :)
    Toni

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  11. I bought some old griswold cast iron frying pans that I reconditioned and just love! they were made in the 30s or 40s and cook beautifully.

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  12. I am in agreement with the ladies who say to buy pieces that you need instead of a set.
    I cannot extol the virtues of cast iron cooking enough – for both the stove and oven. It is the healthiest method (a little iron gets into your foood each time you use it) and probably the least expensive outlay. Once you get a cast iron Dutch oven, you will hardly ever need another piece of cookware again.
    Since you are a garage sale gal like myself, here in the south you can always pick up cast iron pieces for pennies on the dollar – although brand new it costs about as much as those cheap aluminum pans. Win/win!

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    Amy Bayliss Reply:

    @Julie @ Pary Moppins, Ditto!
    Cast iron is the absolute best way to go. I use my cast iron for nearly everything I cook on the stovetop & in the oven. It is very affordable too. For other baking and such I use stones.

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    Kelleigh @ Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs Reply:

    @Amy Bayliss, I can’t get mine to season correctly. I don’t really know what I am doing, though, but when I follow the directions I get a gross gray film. What gives??? I’d love to have a good experience with cast iron!

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    Amy Bayliss Reply:

    @Kelleigh @ Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs, Well, I have no idea how or why this works but my grandma and my mama always taught me to season my cast iron using only bacon or pork grease. Absolutely no cooking oils of any kind. You only need a thin coating of the pork grease after every use the first few times. Then be sure to put it into an oven on about 350 for a couple of hours. It helps too if you fry something in it for one of the first uses. I’ve had the best results that way. We also only use Lodge brand cast iron.

    I hope that helps! :)

  13. I love Caphelon Contemporary Nonstick pans. They have a hard-anodized exterior (not Teflon) that I LOVE. We received a set for our wedding and they have been fabulous for the stovetop! A set goes for around $300 new.

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  14. I replaced my nonstick pans with good old fashioned cast iron. I use Tramontina cookware and love it. I also have an enameled cast iron Dutch oven (Kitchen Aid brand) that was much cheaper than a Le Creuset, but does the job well.

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  15. I love Le Creuset cookware, but it is very heavy, so I just have their casserole dishes and stick to stainless steel for my saucepans. I’m still debating trying a couple of Le Creuset saucepans out just to see if I like them – a friend had them and said they were far too heavy -but then I’ve got quite strong arms so it might not be such an issue :) I do like stainless steel, but have never had a set of stainless steel pans I felt I absolutely loved. I agree though, you do want to stay away from aluminum and the non-stick stuff. I keep a spray dispenser of olive oil beside my stove top for when I am worried about food sticking. It diffuses the oil beautifully and you don’t end up using too much :)

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  16. TOWNCRAFT!!!! Hands down the best cookware out there. It is VERY pricey and when I say an investment, I do mean one. My (ex) husband and i purchased our set during our first year of marriage and I have been using them ever since. My grandmother purchased hers over 55 years ago and is STILL using hers. We even borrow some of her stuff occassionally. You cannot find a deep pot as big as hers any more. The cookware is 100% stainless steel and is very heavy duty. My frying pan alone has to be handled with two hands. Their pieces are lifetime guaranteed, dishwasher safe and you will never be disappointed. I highly recommend having a consultant come out to show you these. You will never look at cookware the same. The difference in the taste of your food is amazing even. No teflan or particles cooking off of the cookware into your food. And best of all, I have yet to ‘ruin’ a pan because of ‘overcooked’ food. It cleans up easily.
    Again – maybe i’m a little biased cause I’ve grown up with these my entire life but if a set of cookware can last over 55 years with no wear or tear to show, then call me convinced.

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  17. I’ve used stainless for six years, my set is still holding up and covered by a lifetime warranty. Slowly I’m adding in enameled cast iron, some Le Crueset, some other pieces. If you buy an offbrand you may need to replace the knob to ensure it is oven safe. I love cast iron for its heat retention, but with a flat top stove plain cast iron won’t work.
    Le Creuset is beautiful and I love the pieces I have, but I don’t think I’ll ever buy it at retail.
    That said, Le Creuset’s silicone whisks and spatulas are superior to the offbrands I have tried.

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  18. Jen, if you’ve found a good kind stainless steel that will only cost you about $300, that sounds like a winner. I use mostly LeCreuset–my husband gave me a set some time ago, and we occasionally buy a new piece during their special sales. I really like LeCreuset, but to be honest I still have some stainless steel pans that I’ve had for years, and I use those almost daily.

    Good luck! Hope you find just what you need! :)

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  19. I have a set of Cuisinart stainless steel pans that were given as a wedding gift. Now granted, that was only a year and a half ago, so I don’t know how they’ll do over time, but right now I LOVE them! And instead of a nonstick pan for pancakes and eggs I use a well seasoned cast iron skillet. It’s Lodge brand, I think, and came preseasoned (my husband bought it when he was baching it). Since then I’ve accidentally burned all the seasoning off, so I rubbed shortening on it, stuck it in the oven while my bread baked, and it’s good as new. (This is the only reason I keep shortening in the house, too. :) ) So not sure why some previous commenters say they don’t like cast iron for the stovetop…I love it!!!

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  20. Jen,
    I have been struggling with this for over a year now. Part of my problem is that I also want a good quality set of inexpensive pots and pans that are made in USA or Europe. I have been trying to lean toward not buying stuff made in China if I can help it, esp. anything that touches food or goes in your mouth.

    That said, currently I have a bunch of mismatched pots and pans that desp. need to be replaced. I have two fry pans -a stainless steel one that is a pain to clean because of the non-stick. I also have an awesome cast iron pan but can’t use it on my current stove now because it is a glass cooktop. So I save that for the grill. My pots are a mix of cheap China-made stainless steel and a non-stick red NordicWare pot (made in USA).

    I’m very interested to see what people say.

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  21. Great blog today! And, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to research something for that long. It’s not only a large investment, but your choice will affect the heath of your family. What could be more important than that?

    Thanks for hosting.

    Jane

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  22. Hi, I am new to your blog and love it so much. When it comes to cookware I have tried various, from German stainless steel (which now my mom has because she loved it so much) to copper. But I have to say that my favorite is the Le Creuset. It is expensive but it is such a great line of cookware. I really love it!

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  23. Good subject! I went down the same road a few years ago and got rid of any aluminum or non-stick cookwear I had because I believe that there are health risks with this type of cookwear. After much research, I bought a set of all-clad stainless and I really love it! The only downside is I’m manic about making sure that no metal cooking utensils are used in them because it will scratch the laser polished surface that makes them pretty non-stick. THEN….I discovered cast iron. Good, old fashioned cast iron! They are the best pans I’ve EVER cooked in. The heat up quickly and evenly and, properly seasoned, are completely non-stick. Best still, is you can find the excellent cast iron at garage sales and thrift stores for little money. If I was buying new again, I would consider building a set of Le Crueset because it cast iron wrapped in porcelain. The trick to plain cast iron tho, is to buy older or American made cast iron (wagner, loge) which will be marked on cast iron. Cheaper, chinese made cast iron is out there, but people are reporting that they don’t heat evenly so the make poor cooking surfaces. There are even reported health benefits to cooking on cast iron as you will be added iron to your diet….the material in the pans is actually good for you! Buy one, make sure it’s properly seasoned, and give it a try…I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

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    Jens Reply:

    Celeste – I have one of those new flat top surfaces. I thought I would have to be careful using cast iron, but do you think it’s ok? Do you have a flat top by chance?

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    Anna Reply:

    @Jens, My parents and sister both have glass top stoves and use their cast iron, probably daily. They just made sure they have a smooth bottomed pan, some have lines on them. My dad even took a few out to the garage and just sanded them down just to be sure they were smooth :)

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  24. Americas Test Kitchen on PBS did reviews of stainless ALL CLAD cookware and recommended a set for $799 BUT also found a comparable 12 piece set they recommended for only $149 that is sold at Walmart no less. The name of the cookware is Tramontina. I noticed another commenter suggested that also. I really want that 12 inch fry pan! good luck

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  25. My cookware is a set of Revereware , which was a Christmas gift from my mom. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. I’d probably buy it again, because I think it’s affordable. But if I had more money I might choose something different.

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    Jens Reply:

    I’m with you. I have some of those pieces and they have held up for many years, but I don’t love them because things still stick. :)

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  26. I was given a set of Farberware when we got married 20 yrs ago, and I’m still using it. It has really worked well, though it wasn’t a really expensive choice. I’ve thought about getting a really special set someday, but I think I’ve been afraid the extra cost wouldn’t be worth the bucks. Have I missed out?

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  27. I found my Calphalon stainless large saute pan on clearance at tj maxx years ago and it is my most used pan. I agree about buying individual pieces and not a set. What it the pan you use the most? And build your own set around that piece. All of the pieces don’t have to be the same brand.

    Thanks for the carnival.

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  28. I don’t have a set, but I’ve been remarkably happy with all of the stainless IKEA 365+ pieces that I’ve bought. I wish they had a big old frying pan without the non-stick, but the saute pan does pretty well for most things I cook in a frying pan anyways. I still use a small non-stick frying pan for eggs though!

    I’d really love to get a nice heavy dutch oven type pot next but since I don’t really “need” it, it’s been hard to justify the expense!

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    gnee Reply:

    @mub, I just got a beautiful enamel on cast-iron 6-1/2 quart pot at Sam’s Club for $39.99. I’m loving it…in my blog header! A splurge we can justify if you know a Sam’s member…

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  29. I have never bought my own set of pans, and I can only imagine how crazy I would get with research. I received a set of Cuisanart stainless steel pots and pans as a college graduation present. I think they are middle of the road on price, and 11 years later they are still going strong. We got a Le Creuset as a wedding present, and while it is amazing for roasting chickens, roasts, veggies and stove top cooking, I would never have been able to bear to spend that much money. I’m sure you will love whatever you end up getting.

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  30. Hi! I just recently found your blog, and wanted to share about our pans. We have a set from Titanware, which has a lifetime warranty, and the pans are non-stick, but not Teflon, so they can be scratched without problems. The lifetime guarantee covers any kind of dissatisfaction with no questions asked. I promise that I am not a spammer rep! :-) I’m looking forward to reading about more of your fashion posts!

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    Jens Reply:

    haha….don’t worry, I didn’t think for a moment you were a spammy rep. I asked for opinions and this is awesome. I sure am getting them :)

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  31. My mom has been using her set of Lifetime stainless steel cookware for 25 years and it has held up really well. The sets are not cheap but they last a long time. I am hoping I can get a set someday as well. I’ve only been married a year so I haven’t really needed to much cookware so far. :)

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  32. I am in the same boat! I have a stainless steel FW set, but I need more pots, as I”m tired of cooking something, putting it in a dish, washing the pot to cook something else, etc…

    I was excited about trying the “green” pots, and just recently read an article on how they may be greener for the environment, but negative effects on our bodies. Stainless steel is the way to go for sure.
    I’ll be reading your comments and see what you end up getting….with all your research, I may just buy what you get! LOL

    We have also started replacing all of our plastic cups/tupperware for glass.

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  33. Hello!

    Love my Calphalon, bought piece by piece, at considerable savings at TJMaxx. Also, Sam’s Club has a new 6-1/2 quart enamel over cast iron pot that is beautiful and affordable, (I think 39.99) that is amazing in the oven and stove top. Thanks for the cooking party…going on hunt for fun ideas. Good luck with your search too!

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  34. Okay, so I must admit… I knew NONE of this information. My family just made the switch to organic, and I somehow feel as if I have been living in a box! Needless to say, I will be researching these products and statistics and hitting my local TJ MAXX, thrift stores and yard sales to see what I can find. Thanks for the heads-up ladies!

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  35. I have the Pampered Chef Non-stick Cookware (Executive Cookware 5 & 7 Piece Sets). They are AWESOME!! They are double-dipped in the nonstick coating rather than just sprayed like most cheaper alternatives. Of course you need to use plastic utensils with them and hand-wash to protect them, but they are truly wonderful. I’m loving not wasting time scrubbing & scrubbing all that stuck-on food.

    Tip: Host a Pampered Chef show during a month where that is the “Hostess Special” because you can get it 60% off – that’s what I did! Even if it’s not during a special month, you can choose one of the sets as your half-price item. (And no I’m not a PC Lady, but I do LOVE their products!!)

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  36. I’ve got an Analon Advanced set and I just love it!

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  37. Jackie Brown says:

    I love my emeril ware set which is the same weight 18/10 stainless steel as cusinart. I paid $200 for my set years ago and found it for $100 at Dillards on New Years Day this past year. Our Dillards in Asheville, NC marks some kitchen appliances and cookware 75% off so I wait until this holiday to see what they have. I did not buy another set of emeril ware, but thought about it b/c it was such a great price. It’s always beneficial to use the 20% coupon at bed bath and beyond if you choose a nice set there. Also, lowes and Dillards runs special rebates and extra bonus items (strainers are great or an extra pot) during the holiday months. Need it now w/o a coupon would be Amazon. I know cast iron adds iron to your food, but I don’t know how much.

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  38. My husband bought me the Pampered Chef non-stick cookware set for our first anniversary. I will never use anything else! It’s nonstick both on the inside & outside,(super easy clean up!) & lifetime guaranteed! It’s more than $300. but definately worth the investment.

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  39. I’m in the market as well. An interesting discussion!

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  40. I love my stainless steel, and even though food sometimes sticks, I find that it’s not at all hard to clean up. I have an electric nonstick skillet that just sits on the counter and plugs in – I use this when I really need that nonstick surface (like when I’m flipping pancakes). I can’t tell you how much I love it. It’s my only nonstick piece. I also have a nice deep cast iron skillet with a glass lid from Lodge Logic – LOVE IT. The only drawback is that it’s too heavy for me to easily carry. That’s why my stainless steel is what I use most.

    I encourage you to really do research on consumer reviews of that waterless cookware. We were considering it and quickly changed our minds based on consumer reports. None of the cooking methods that you know and love work with that type of cookware – it’s a completely different ballgame. I’ve not yet met a person who tried it and loved it, so I’ll be interested to hear your review if you end up getting it.

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  41. Cast iron is great — I bought most of mine used at antique stores and flea markets. But boy, you wouldn’t want to drop one of those bad boys on a glass cooktop. They are heavy!

    I have a friend who has mostly all “Tools of the Trade” stainless steel, which is Macy’s store brand. It is really nice and heavy and affordable. You can buy it in open stock and choose the pieces you like. I’ve also got a couple of copper pans which I love, and bought at yard sales. I have a high tolerance for expense when it comes to kitchen gear, and even I think new good copper pans are crazy expensive.

    BTW, the (heated) nonstick coating on nonstick cookware is toxic to pet birds. That’s why we got rid of ours.

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  42. Thanks for hosting! what delicious ideas!!

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  43. Great topic…I’m researching new pans as well. We are looking at the Stainless Steel set by Kirkland Signature at Costco. Anybody have any comments on it?

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  44. My set is from Sam’s Wolfgang Pucks Stainless Steel. It was a pretty large set for around $100. I got it because I hated my Calphalon Hard Anodized pots and pans. They were heavy and could not go into the dishwasher. I am really happy with them and have no issues cleaning them at all. I do have a nonstick electric skillet for eggs and pancakes because I had trouble cooking those in the stainless pans. I love them, and after 3 years they still look great!

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  45. I have Calphalon Greenware and I love it. It’s fairly economical, cooks well, and cleans well. I never have to turn my burners up over a medium/low heat and everything cooks evenly.

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  46. I love, love, love my Kirkland Signature stainless steel cookware set from Costco. I’ve had it for at least 5 years now and it’s been awesome. It’s very heavy duty, which is what I need since I’m in the kitchen all the time. They currently carry a 13-pc set for $179…it’s a great deal for the quality! Good luck!

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  47. I went through the same considerations and then my husband surprised me with a Pampered Chef set for our first wedding anniversary. I absolutely love it…and him! :-) The best part? In addition to the stainless steel and excellent cooking is that the pans have a lifetime guarantee. It’s a purchase that we plan on using for the rest of our married life. We’re praying for 50 plus more years!

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    SnoWhite Reply:

    @Kristen @ JoyfullyThriving, With the stainless steal — do the handles get really hot? I have their non-stick pans, but haven’t been happy with how they hold up and am thinking of upgrading to the stainless…. my only concern is that I’ll need to use a hot pad all the time because the handles will get hot!

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    Kristen Reply:

    @SnoWhite, I haven’t experienced hot handles. I think the handles are insulated well. If you aren’t pleased with your non-stick PC pots though, I’d talk to your representative. I hope this helps!

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  48. I have an Anolon Advanced 12 piece cookware set. I received it as a gift from my aunt about a year ago and once I threw away my cheap nonstick pans and starting using this set, I’ve never looked back!
    It is AMAZING cookware and I know I will be able to use it for years to come. They are made of hard-anodized aluminum for even heating and nonstick cooking. They are so easy to clean and almost a year later they still look like new.

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  49. My m-i-l worked at Le Creuset for over 25 yrs, so all my cookware is LC. I have bought 2 Tramontina stainless steel saucepans (large ones), and I LOVE them. I’d never give up my LC though!!

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  50. I made the switch to all stainless about 2 years ago & bought the Pampered Chef 7 piece stainless for 60% off the list price, by hosting a show when they had a host special on the cookware. I have sooo enjoyed using this cookware & plan to add more pieces. It’s easy to clean, still looks new & is backed by a “real” lifetime guarantee. My previous set was Calphalon & their guarantee means “nothing” – they make it quite impossible to return / replace defective pieces.

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  51. I’m on a very tight budget with hubby’s forced retirement date advancing on us quickly. Due to health concerns, I’ve also been getting rid of my non-stick. I’ve researched and found several good quality pieces at Ross or TJ. I really didn’t want a set since many of those sizes I wouldn’t use. This way I buy exactly the pieces I want. I’ve been very plkeased. I keep an old Parmesan cheese container full of baking soda under the kitchen sink. I just sprinkle some on any tough spots, and it does a beautiful job of cleaning it, and I don’t have to worry about chemicals since my “cleaner” is a food.

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  52. I am HUGELY biased since I am a consultant but I love the Pampered Chef cookware. I have some of each collection and all of it is wonderful. Plus, you have got to love a LIFETIME guarantee!

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    Joy Reply:

    @Tabitha (A Penny Saved), Is the Pampered Chef made in USA or China?

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  53. Jennifer M says:

    If I won the lotto, I’d get some All-Clad

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  54. My Aunt and cousin gave me 3 different pieces of Calphalon cookware when I got married and I have never gone back. I just keep buying the pieces I need in that brand and Love love love them all.

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  55. Lots of great information here! My d-i-l bought a Cuisinart set about 8-10 yrs ago and it’s wonderful…yes, I’ve used it. :-) All Clad is fabulous as is LeCreuset. I worked at Williams-Sonoma for awhile and there were great reviews on both. I do suggest buying the pieces you need rather than a set of whatever. I LOVE my cast iron pieces too ~ nothing like the food cooked in them.

    Good luck!

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  56. Annie-Michele says:

    had Wolfgang Puck Stainless and did not like it at all and then we purchased Rachel Ray and in 2 years the set was chipping already and that is when I start some serious research with my husband.
    I just finished my research in January and we found Swiss Diamond and just love them and the set is exactly what I use almost daily (10pcs) $500. Their pieces are guaranteed, dishwasher safe (I always hand wash them), highest degree of thermal conductivity, heat transfer perfectly (like cast iron), oven safe (500F), non-stick (made with diamond crystals)- you can use metal utensils if you want. We cook with out adding anything even eggs oh wait better… I made a Cheese fondue and I cleaned it with a paper towel! My friend did damage is pan one day (he’s a prof. chef and pretty hard sometimes) and they are sending him another one at no cost.
    I have Le Creuset D.Oven and love it as well for different cooking. Hope this hel and good luck : )

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  57. I love All-Clad, stainless steel. I only have a few pieces because it is so expensive. I also use my iron skillets, which one is mine, and the others my Mom passed on to me. I have a piece of Calphalon, but do not like it as much as the All-Clad.

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  58. we just switched from non-stick to stainless steel. we heard the health risks and decided to change. we really love the stainless steel!! it really isnt that hard to cook with. we use spray pam or oil and it works fine. there is also a cleaner called bar keepers friend which will make them sparkle brand new. we only use that when needed. we always wash them in dishwasher. the great thing is they have these sets of pots and pans at sams club for $100. so if you dont like it you didnt spend a fortune. the set at sams is by wolfgang puck and they even have clear lids with strainer holes in the lid for easy draining.

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  59. Sue Barnes says:

    For years my DH & I purchased sets of pans, ultimately there would be the tiny little ones that never got used – just moved around the cupboard to get to the bigger ones. Finally after much discussion we bought for the size of our family, my oldest was eating us out of house & home & we knew we had to go big – sets just didn’t do it. We bought a huge 10 Quart Farberware stainless steel stock pot, that is by far the most used pot in our cupboard. I also have a set of cast iron that I have added to from finds at garage sales – Wagner, Lodge brands are wonderful. Good Luck!

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  60. I don’t have anything to add except for a big “Thank you!” for asking about this. I have put some thought into investing in a really good set of cookware in the near future, but it’s so overwhelming to research. I’m eager to read the comments.

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  61. The hubs and I have been married for 21 years. For the first 10 years we had a stainless steal waterless cookware set. It was nice until pan by pan and lid by lid they all started to fall apart. I only have four pieces out of that set left. I now own a Calphalon cookware set and love it! I can say from my personal experience that having a good set of cookware does make a difference in your cooking. The only drawback about the cookware is that they reccomend not putting it in the dishwasher. So, I wash them by hand. Which is okay by my if it means they will wear longer.

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  62. So…I have had my eye on a set of stainless at Costco…and after reading a review of it in the Costco magazine (probably a little biased, yes) I think that is what I will go with for the next time around. I have been using Farberware for about 10 years and have loved that set, but for the price and what you get with the Costco Kirkland Signature Stainless set (also comes in hard anodized as well), I think they would be worth trying out…my 2 cents! (p.s. I do not, nor does anyone in my family, work for Costco : ) )

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    Kelleigh @ Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs Reply:

    @Erin, My MIL has that set, and it is really awesome. Great price, and wonderful quality. She is a big-time cook, and she loves it! Wise investment.

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  63. Hi, I’m wondering if someone could help me out on what is the best way to cook in a stainless steel frying pan??? I got rid of all of my teflon coated kettles and use stainless steel. But I still have my teflon covered frying pan because I don’t know how to cook in my stainless steel frying pan. Everything sticks in it so bad! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    Are the alluminum bread/cake pans suppose to be bad too??

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    Anna Reply:

    @Lori, I don’t fry very much in my stainless steel pans I just use my cast iron pans which are a pretty cheap investment. But my mother in law fries eggs and bacon in hers all the time and just scrubs up after each use I guess. I do fry things like hamburger and saute veggies in stainless steel. Maybe you need to turn down the temp a little and be sure to cook with the lid on most of the time. It won’t be as crispy brown but you will retain more of your vitamins. Maybe a little more oil will help as well.

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  64. JUST bought the Costco (Kirkland) brand stainless steel set with the copper layer on the bottom last week. I LOVE them! $169.99 plus tax and I was able to give my other pots and pans to my son and his wife – they had cheap ones – the teflon was wearing off. I only use butter or oil in the pan (no PAM) so I bought an oil mister the other day and filled it with olive oil.

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  65. I love my Rachael Ray hard-anodized pans, but I see from her website they are aluminum. Frankly I’ve never heard anything about aluminum being dangerous, and I’m interested in exactly where that information is located?! I love these pans, they cook evenly, don’t stick, are oven-safe … best of all I got them at Costco so they were significantly cheaper than the advertised price. Rachael Ray also has a stainless steel set, which if I were concerned about the hard-anodized pans, that’s what I would go for.

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  66. I have stainless steel and cast iron that was passed down to me by my grandmother. I believe the stainless steel is by Salad Master or something like that. She had them forever and I have had them for more than 20 years and they are still in great condition. Love them. I also love my cast iron as well.

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  67. Mmmm…everyone’s photos look so scrumptious!

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  68. I was on that journey last year, and literally took forever to make a decision. I didn’t get a “set”, but mixed and matched so I got exactly what I wanted. I went with stainless steel and then 3 non-stick pans I got from costco. I still want one cast iron pan, and a few other baking ones, but love my stainless steel pans.

    Here’s the post about it.
    http://troyerslovinglife.blogspot.com/2010/01/mission-accomplished.html

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  69. I gave up on sets a LONG time ago. Now I invest in individual pieces that are the best for what they do.

    I have a Le Creuset dutch oven, a large Berndes Tradition saute pan (along with an Xtrema one I recently won), my grandma’s cast iron skillet, a couple of stainless steel saucepots that I’ve had since college (I think they’re All-Clad, but they’ve held up beautifully over the years), a few odd specialty pans (crepe pan, cast-iron griddle).

    No, my cookware doesn’t match but every piece does it’s job extremely well, and I won’t have to buy another pan, ever.

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  70. I have cast iron (4 pieces) and for non-stick i have one large Green Pan skillet.
    For pots…the copper bottom distributes heat evenly. i don’t have a matched set.

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  71. cast iron, the Green Pan, copper bottom pots

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  72. We have several types that we use in our kitchen. My favorite is an old cast iron skillet that was handed down from my mother from hers. black as an old cook stove back side and nothing sticks to it.

    I have posted several dutch oven cookware articles also, & tons of recipes on my blog your readers might enjoy. my latest Dutch oven cookware article is
    at this link.
    http://wildernessoutdoors.net/2010/09/04/dutch-oven-recipes-dutch-oven-cookware

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  73. The biggest invest my husband and I made when we were first married (14 years) was a set of Stainless Steel pots and pans. The brand we chose more because we were familiar with it than anything was Salad Master. I LOVE them. They will last the rest of my years I am quite sure. The one thing we have had break is the feet/handles of the electric skillet. But it was fixed fine. I do use cast iron for all the eggs and bacon type frying. My mom has had hers for 40 some years as well as my mother in law has had hers for a similar amount of time. Well, yep, I am pretty much sold on them.

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  74. How do you season cast iron? It seems like a lot of trouble.

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  75. I’m sure you’ve looked into them and they ARE crazy expensive, but I ADORE my All-Clad pans. I lusted after them for years, but always said they were too expensive and not that different. I was wrong! I have the regular stainless steel set (so they are a little less pricey) and they are holding up so well, in addition to cooking my food faster and more evenly. To clean them, they can go in the dishwasher or just a little soap and water. If they get gunk on them, Barkeeper’s Friend always does the trick. I am considering them a lifetime investment and slowly adding to my collection of basics. Good luck on your decision!

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  76. Wow! Lot’s of responses so far! Here’s my 2 cents:

    LOVE my enameled cast iron dutch oven from Lodge… GREAT pot! I look for any excuse to use it. I have a couple of their plain skillets, too, but they are in need of reseasoning and I’m being lazy right now.

    I tried the Kirkland set after some recs and reading reviews… I went through 2 sets in a year. I do NOT recommend them.

    My MIL and her mom both have townecraft (maybe kitchen craft??). One set is 55+ years old, the other is 30+ years old and still going strong. I choked at the price tag, and after some research decided to try one of the cheaper brands. I went with Chef’s Ware (I think?? Oddly enough, it’s not printed on the bottom). It’s made in China, which I was disappointed about, but I decided to give it a try anyway. So far so good!

    I do keep 2 nonstick skillets on hand specifically for eggs. I just found some pretty affordable ones at Bed Bath & Beyond (Cuisinart maybe? I’m a lot of help with brands, huh?). The label says they are safe to use with metal utensils, but I don’t know if I will ever muster the courage to try.

    I really like how forgiving SS is. If something sticks, there’s no having to be gentle with it. A good scrub from a scouring pad and you’re good to go! I hated having to baby my non stick stuff, and even then the finish lasted just a couple of years. Booo! Good luck! I was the same way, I researched the heck out of cookware before finally taking the plunge.

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  77. I have the Todd English Greenpans. I bought them from HSN. I have been using them fro many months now. I love , love, love, love them!!!!!!!! They are the best cookware I’ve ever purchased ( i’ve had at least 3 or 4 sets because I always end up hating what I get or the teflon comes off the pans). Which of course when that happens you shouldn’t use those pans anymore. Anyway, the Greenpans, OMG the bestt cooking and clean -up EVER!!!! and no black teflon to worry about coming off. You can simply wipe the pan out when you’re done and …..TA-DA….clean up is a breeze! I loved mine so much, my MIL bought a set…she agrees..best set ever!

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  78. We were blessed to receive several all-clad cookware pieces for wedding gifts. We have been using them for just under two years and love them. We have also been able to find more pieces at Marshall’s, the Crate and Barrel outlet (they were the floor models) and Dillards on significant clearance from time to time. Kelly

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  79. Is ceramic good to cook with? Does it bake evenly? last a long time?

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  80. Hello! Well I see that is has been a while since anyone posted but I’m currently researching cookware and came across this page. One of my grandmothers has been using Townecraft since the late 70′s and loves it, on the other hand my other grandmother swears by cast iron pots and pans. I just recently had a Townecraft demo party and I must say I was absolutely astounded. I need something that will last and will be healthier for my family but after seeing the price of the Townecraft I just don’t know if it is worth it? Have really enjoyed reading all of y’alls posts and will also be looking into this much more before deciding.

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