What Cooking Pans Are Best?
Second-Hand Secret: Cast Iron Pans
Repairing Non-Stick Cookware and Alternative Choices
We are in the market for new pots & pans. We are not able to afford the $1000 sets that are recommended by some people. We are currently looking at an 11-piece set by Regal. It is stainless steel with tri-ply copper bottom. We would like something that will last for a while and pans that will not lose the non-stick surface into our food. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
A recommendation for stainless/copper bottom cookware is Revere Ware. We received a set as a wedding gift in 1972 and are still using it. It is as good as new. No Teflon or non-stick surfaces to wear off. Keep the bottoms polished with copper cleanser and they stay shiny and bright.
We purchased a set of heavy-bottomed pans with rubber-padded grips at Wal-Mart a couple of years ago. They are Wearever brand and we have been very pleased. One of the skillets had a small split in the rubber on the handle. We called the 800 number and a new skillet was delivered in about 10 days. Great service so far and these are great pans.
The Pampered Chef offers a lifetime warranty on their professional line cookware. The set costs $440 for a 10-piece set with two utensils at regular price. It can be purchased for half price as a hostess/host when a 'show' of any type is held.
The Cook's Essential line on www.QVC.com is excellent and very reasonable. You can get a 10 to 15-piece set for under $150. They have hardcoated enamel or stainless steel and are metal utensil safe. They offer a lifetime warranty and have honored the warranty on one item that I was having problems with. I have gotten rid of my other sets of Tfal and Circulon. This stuff is superior. Nothing sticks, it just wipes right out. This has included baked macaroni & cheese, homemade caramel, or brown sugar glazed sweet potatoes. I own three sets and I have given them as Christmas presents as well.
I would not buy the copper-bottomed Regal set. After having a set of copper-bottomed Revere Ware for 15 years, I splurged on Calphalon stick-resistant. It was $200 for a nice set of five pieces + lids, on special four years ago. It is by far the best money I have ever spent. I am confident that I will use these the rest of my life and pass them to my children. Department stores often run specials on them like buying one and getting another pan with it. I have bought pieces for gifts in the $20 - $30 range.
My advice is take the money you would buy on a big set of less expensive things, buy a good old-fashioned cast iron frying pan, and add two Calphalon pans in the 1 to 2 quart range and a big stock pot. If you need to spread out expenses, buy the larger pan first, then the smaller and then the stockpot. Ask for the pieces of the set for birthdays and Christmas. Most people love to add to a set they know you want. I would rather have one heavy Calphalon or similar pan than 50 lighter weight ones. The difference in cooking is unbelievable, as the temperature is evenly spread. I have probably saved enough in non-burned food to pay for them!
I have used a set of non-stick Farberware for the past ten years. I have come to the realization that except for a frying pan I will never buy non-stick-coated pans again. Even if you are careful to only use plastic utensils, the coating scratches. Also if you ever let a pot boil dry or have something burn in a pan, the coating is permanently damaged. By replacing these pans with new ones without coating, I can use whatever utensil I want and clean them however I want. My recommendation is Farberware Millennium without non-stick coating. I have seen an 8 or 10-piece set on sale at Amazon for $99. I have bought individual pieces at discount stores like Ross and Marshalls for $20.
We recently bought at 27-piece set of Wolfgang Puck cookware and we love it! While doing our research, we found lots of places that sell different combinations for reasonable prices. Sam's Club has a set for $99.
The best pans in the world are cast iron. Once they are seasoned, they are virtually nonstick. They are extremely durable, cheap to buy, and a little of the iron leaches into the food that is cooked in them. The iron is especially good for women who need a little more iron in their diet than men do. I have bought several sets of regular pans, but always go back to the cast iron. However, don't buy the ones with wooden handles. The handles break off and the pans are virtually useless then.
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