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philpom

SS cookware - help me decide which

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FYI, in my opinion, the best way to clean SS cookware is a product called barkeepers friend. It is gritty and mildly acidic. For really tough stains, make a paste with water cover the pan, let it sit for a few hours or overnight. The clean up with soap and water.

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OK, starting to feel like I did last time.  Settled on the Cuisinart but now it sounds like the overall opinion is "no".  Granted, if I was actually going to buy it instead of having a limited selection I would do something else....  The Calphalon set stock pot is just too small.

But you all are correct, the one I am leaning towards is just a tri ply base and not all the way up.  If it is junky I don't want it, if it is great but just not tri ply I think I'm good.  It would replace everything we have except one teflon skillet.

I am unsure again....  I guess I can count out the non-stick set I posted, that's progress.

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Out of the choices listed, I’d go with the Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 13-pc. Cookware Set. Here’s why:

 

The Cuisinart stainless steel set you listed only has the aluminum on the bottom of the pot. For efficiency, it’s better to have a pot or pan where the cladding goes up the sides as well. Water will boil faster, and you’ll avoid the hot spots that develop in the corner of the pot.

 

The other Cuisinart hard anodized set doesn’t have the issue of just having the aluminum at the bottom, but I’d rather have a non-non-stick cooking surface (a stick cooking surface? ^_^ ) than a non-stick one. Non-stick certainly makes clean up easy, but it interferes with the browning process that adds so much flavor to what you cook.

 

It’s easy to manage a pan with a stainless steel interior. The rules are: 

  1. Heat up the pan empty until it’s at the temperature that you want.
  2. Then add your oil/butter, and swirl it around, and wait for it to heat up.
  3. Then add the food. If you’re sautéing, stir the food around fast. If you’re cooking something that needs to sit, like a chicken breast, a piece of fish, or a sunny side up egg, be patient until the underside gets cooked. Once that happens, the food will release. 

Using the above method, I can routinely cook sunny side up eggs without problems, even though I don’t have a non-stick pan.

 

If, after trying the above, your food is still sticking, you probably have your stove burner too high. The good news with quality cookware, you don’t need as much heat as you might think. I typically have my gas stove full blast for steps 1 and 2, but I tend to dial it down to medium as I add the food.

 

If you still really really really want a non-stick pan, use a cast-iron pan instead.

 

The Cuisinart stainless steel set has glass lids. Glass lids are useless. They steam up if there’s food cooking in the pot, and you won’t be able to see a thing, defeating the reason for having glass in the first place. There’s no downside to glass lids, as long as they fit well. I’m just mentioning this so you don’t use the lids as a decision point.

 

One last suggestion: you may want to look into the All-Clad MasterChef 2 line. Unless you're going to be extravagant and get copper, I think All-Clad is the best option out there. One option to think about that isn't really well known is their MasterChef 2 line. It has a stainless steel interior, with an aluminum core and a brushed aluminum exterior (hardened, but non-anodized), which really holds up well over time. Anodized aluminum will show scratches and dings over time, and the brushed aluminum hides it really well. Because there isn't a stainless steel exterior, this line is less expensive. I have the original MasterChef line, and it's held up great, even 20 years later. I probably will wind up having to pass them on after I die.

 

Wilber nailed it. 

 

Al Clad for me too.

 

Buy one piece at a time. Buy what you need. 

 

Btw. All Clad is having a seconds sale on the 26. 4 days from now. They will email me a password. If interested I will post it. You have to act fast though. They sell out fast.

 

Dave

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So based on feature versus utility versus quality I am trying to decide.  For example the Calphalon comes with a 6 quart stock pot, the Cuisinart a 9 quart stock pot.  The Calphalon has glass lids, the Cuisinart SS lids.  The Calphalon set comes with 3 skillets with no cover and a "chefs pan"/skillet  with a cover while the Cuisinart comes with 3 skillets with cover and a 4 quart "saute pan"/skillet with cover... etc...etc...

 

 

OK, starting to feel like I did last time.  Settled on the Cuisinart but now it sounds like the overall opinion is "no".  Granted, if I was actually going to buy it instead of having a limited selection I would do something else....  The Calphalon set stock pot is just too small.

 

If the sticking issue is that the Cuisinart set has a larger stock pot, do you currently have a 8-9 quart stockpot?

 

If the answer is no, then you don’t need one, because if you did, you’d have one by now. ^_^

 

If the answer is yes, then I would get the Calphalon set for all the reasons I mentioned above, and hang on to your old stockpot.

 

I can sympathize here, because one of the pots I have is an 8 quart stock pot, which I don’t use very often, but I’m glad I have one when I do. But for making home made stock, the main/only difference between a 6 quart stock pot and a bigger one is that I can put an entire turkey carcass into a big stock pot by just dropping it in. I’d have to cut the carcass down a little to get it onto a 6 quart stock pot. But that’s all.

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Bah, give me a well seasoned cast iron pan and I'm good to go. We have a porclin coated dutch oven that's pretty good too. Man, i really need to build a potato gun....

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OK, well...  This didn't end like I thought it would but thank you very much for the advice.  I ended up no using my "appreciation" account at all but instead just buying outright a bunch of pots & pans that should do the trick for us.  Y'all really helped me make some conclusions and think hard about what I was doing!

Thank you, it should all arrive on Sat.

 

I grabbed Tramontina:

10" saute pan

12" saute pan
2 Qt sauce pan
3.5 Qt sauce pan
5 Qt dutch oven

5 Qt Chef's pan

8 Qt stock pot

steamer for 5 Qt and 8 Qt pots

 

I have a nice 12" non-stick skillet I'll keep.

 

Thanks again for the conversation, it really helped bring this to an end, I think I'll be happy with the results.

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