Author Topic: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank  (Read 2464 times)

Izybat

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Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« on: September 10, 2017, 07:47:54 PM »
I'm looking for some recommendations for good quality pots and pans that don't cost an arm and a leg. For most of the last 10ish years, I've been buying Calphalon pans, but I haven't been having much luck with them. They seem to warp, and most of the ones DH and I got for our wedding 4 years ago have already bit the dust. DH tried to buy a new set last year (also Calphalon, but a different style, this one with ceramic inside), and these are even worse. They started shedding their coating within a few weeks.

Anyone have any suggestions? I'm willing to pay a bit more to have ones that will last a bit longer, but I'm hoping not to have to fork over anything insane.

aperture

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2017, 08:12:33 PM »
Estate sale - Revereware. Your grandmother used it and gave it to your mom who put it in the attic when she got teflon. Still works great.
Able was I, ere I saw Elba.

letired

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2017, 09:12:52 PM »
Estate sale - Revereware. Your grandmother used it and gave it to your mom who put it in the attic when she got teflon. Still works great.

+1. Goodwill is also great for that stuff.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2017, 09:26:12 PM »
My in-laws got us a set of hard anodized aluminum pots and pans at Costco for cheap. I bet you could find some of those at a garage sale or Goodwill. They have held up really well for years now and they are non-stick.

GizmoTX

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2017, 10:12:46 PM »
Cast iron skillet, 12" Lodge. Season it well. (I also have this in 9" & 14".)
Stainless steel saucepans.
Tramontina enameled cast iron Dutch oven, 5 qt., available at Sams Club for much less than LeCreuset.
Non-stick Skillet for eggs. Farberware Millenium is non-stick on stainless steel & works great. You'll have to replace non-stick after 3-5 years so you don't want to spend much on this.
Stainless steel stock pot, for boiling pasta, 8 qt. Restaurant supply stores have good prices.
The only aluminum I buy these days are sheet pans, which resemble cookie sheets with a lip & are so useful. Sams Club sells them 2 for $10.
Instant Pot electric pressure cooker with stainless steel inner pot, from Amazon.

N

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2017, 11:45:51 PM »
I also love my revereware! Ive had mine for 15 years or so, and my parents set is still going at 40$ (maybe not every single of their original set). Those are my basic pots. I also have a few skillets- a nice big 5qt high sided one, from costco, probably a kitchenaid. Some Lodge iron skillets, and that large tramontina brand enamel lined dutch oven. Got mine at walmart 10 years ago. And the instant pot.

Most of my cookware is over a decade old and still great.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2017, 03:37:51 AM »
Depends on your definition of "won't break the bank", but I'm a big believer it Buy It Once/Buy It For Life when it comes to pans.

I have Renaware that I bought on eBay nine years ago.

My mum bought her set when she was 17. She's 60 and they're still going strong.

nereo

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 06:38:14 AM »
Personally, I avoid any pans that are 'coated' in teflon, ceramic or anything else. If you take care* of your pans, most kinds will last years if not decades.
What kinds of pans to get depends slightly on your cooking style, but here are three suggestions
i) self-seasons cast iron (Lodge is a great brand.  For $20 these should last generations and improve with use.)
ii) carbon skillets.  The workhorses of commercial kitchens, plus they are cheap!  you must season them.
iii) aluminum with stainless cladding (aka try-lam or try-ply).  Good for people who don't want to season their pans. These should be shiny on the inside (no coatings!!) There are decent sets available at places like CostCo, and deal-of-the-day sites like Woot! frequently offer sets for half off. 


* how to take care of pots/pans (a primer)
1) never, ever, ever use a knife or metal utensils.  Wood, plastic and silicone ONLY. If there are scratches inside someone is violated rule #1.
2) never wash in the dishwasher.  Dishwashing soap is extremely caustic
3) season well and clean immediately. Stuck food? Put pan on burner with a little water and some baking soda and voila!
4) season the pan (if its cast-iron or carbon).  Learn how to do a 10-second seasoning with cooking spray and a paper towel.
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CupcakeGuru

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2017, 07:49:01 AM »
I also believe in the buy it for life for pots and pans. I have had my all clad for almost 18 years and still going strong. Also my DH had a couple of reverware which are fantastic!. I did get rid of the All Clad that had teflon, they wore out too soon.

Goldielocks

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2017, 09:11:13 AM »
Frypans.

I bought a large one of these "Heritage Rock", and am amazed.  Usually the 14"+ pans warp for me, too, but not this sucker.   The non-stick is very aggressive and very nonstick, too.  Cast aluminum with non-stick, I think.

https://www.starfrit.com/en/heritage-the-rock-12-34-30cm-deep-fry-pan-with-lid

Pots.  Well, I bought a kitchen aid pot to replace one of mine after 20 years (honestly, I still use the first three pots my mom ever bought for me when I moved into residence 26 years ago, so this was a nice addition)...  I would buy more than just one, but the pots just don't wear out.  To save money, get the super sales, buy open stock for only what you need.


-5635608/KC2TS10ST/]https://www.kitchenaid.com/shop/-[KC2TS10ST]-5635608/KC2TS10ST/

Of note, I use an electric stove top, so the "wrap around tri layer" high cost pot design that works with gas ranges really does not help me at all.  I just need a heavy disc base, and robust design,  that can be used with the electric stove top, and go into the oven. 

After 26 years, family of 4 I use:

Various frypans and large frypans (one with lid) for cooking (warping all except for the cast iron frypan and the heritage rock version).  I think I own 3-4, various sizes, now... from 2 eggs, to pancakes size, to large strify.

One small saucepan with lid.
Two medium saucepans approx 2Qt (aka pots) with lids (plus one steamer insert)
One large heavy based Dutch oven (part of the pot set)  with lid (also used for soup / stock, pasta).
** all but one sauce pan is the original set from my university days**

Other (not used as much)
Roasting pan(s) in two sizes, broiler pan from oven purchase, Canning kettle / pot.  flat baking sheets / pizza pan / covered casseroles

« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 09:14:43 AM by Goldielocks »

pesos

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2017, 06:22:32 AM »
Personally, I avoid any pans that are 'coated' in teflon, ceramic or anything else. If you take care* of your pans, most kinds will last years if not decades.

Agree with nereo here. Teflon will always wear out. I have a stainless steel Caphalon saute pan that has lasted me 8 or so years, and recently got a stainless All Clad that is heavy as shit but should last forever. Cast iron is a good choice too but there's a learning curve to cooking and taking care of it, that said I have a $5 cast iron pan from Craigslist that's lasted 8 years.

Shinplaster

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2017, 10:00:24 AM »
I have Lagostina pots that are almost 40 years old.  They still look like new.  You can find them at places like Winners (Canada) and Homegoods and TJ Maxx in the States for reasonable prices.  Second the recommendation for Revereware - my Mom has pots that are at least 60 years old, and they still work and look great.

We gave our son and DIL All Clad that we bought at an outlet store (65% off retail).  They love them.
When life shuts a door, open it again. It's a door.  That's how they work.

CU Tiger

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2017, 07:19:38 AM »
Personally, I avoid any pans that are 'coated' in teflon, ceramic or anything else. If you take care* of your pans, most kinds will last years if not decades.

Agree with nereo here. Teflon will always wear out. I have a stainless steel Caphalon saute pan that has lasted me 8 or so years, and recently got a stainless All Clad that is heavy as shit but should last forever. Cast iron is a good choice too but there's a learning curve to cooking and taking care of it, that said I have a $5 cast iron pan from Craigslist that's lasted 8 years.

Your cast iron pan will last much longer than you do. I know some cast iron pans that are older than I am! Spend a few minutes learning how to season it, care for it properly, and it will give a lifetime of service - and go on to do the same for other people.
There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. - G.K. Chesterton

lizzzi

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2017, 08:31:10 AM »
Not sure I have anything to add, but can confirm that the OP is getting some good advice here. I still have some old Revereware that works fine. I never polish the copper bottoms--who cares. I have a couple AllClad saucepans with lids that I bought from Amazon (i.e. not in a pricey set at BBB). I really like AllClad. There are different lines, so do your research. I have a 10-inch cast iron skillet that is a basic for me. I have a Lodge enameled cast iron 6-quart Dutch oven--again, a basic that I use a lot. I have just given up on anything Teflon or "non-stick." It never holds up, and who wants that stuff flaking off into the food. If you keep your cast iron skillet seasoned and up to speed, you don't need a non-stick frying pan. So in terms of price, the AllClad is expensive of course, but get the pieces you'll use a lot and just consider it BIFL. None of my other stuff was expensive. FWIW, I tried buying some really cheap stuff at a restaurant outlet--perfectly usable, but the pans were aluminum and I was worried about ingesting that stuff--so got rid of them and spent some money on the AllClad. (but as I said above, I did not buy a whole $600 or $700 set. No way.)

Goldielocks

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2017, 02:58:27 PM »
All clad is very nice (used my sister's kitchen)...  but a waste if you don't have a gas range -- the All clad design is intended to be efficient at using the heat up the sides of the pot, but electric-based stoves and induction are bottom heat only.

lizzzi

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2017, 06:17:52 PM »
All clad is very nice (used my sister's kitchen)...  but a waste if you don't have a gas range -- the All clad design is intended to be efficient at using the heat up the sides of the pot, but electric-based stoves and induction are bottom heat only.

I think it may depend on what line of All Clad you're using. But it's probably possible to over-think this. And if you're buying pans that you will be using for years and years--who knows what kind of stove or cooktop you will be using in the future? I suggest just buying some practical, good-quality pans that work for you--are sized well, have comfortable handles--that you can afford--and not drive yourself crazy. We're talking kitchenware here--not world peace.

facepalm

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2017, 09:30:29 PM »
I buy commercial grade pots and pans. Lincoln Wearever, mostly. The stuff is not expensive (compared to consumer stuff) and lasts forever. Has to be bought either online of from a commercial kitchen supply. I have a few pieces of All Clad, but it hardly gets used

Same goes for my knives. I buy the Dexter-Russel sofgrip knives. Stamped steel. Cheap. They last forever and sharpen easier than those fancy Henkels. I also have old Sabatier and commercial Forschners. I like the Dexters better.

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« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 09:35:59 PM by facepalm »

boarder42

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2017, 12:38:15 PM »
https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-77-10-Stainless-10-Piece-Cookware/dp/B00008CM68/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507055797&sr=8-3&keywords=cuisinart+chef+classic+set

i've had this for 8 years with no issues.  If you're breaking or ruining your pots and pans you're probably doing something wrong esp. if you're buying calaphalon already. 

Coated pans come on now.  Just buy stainless and learn how to cook and heat the pan and put oil in at the correct time. 
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Linda_Norway

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2017, 04:43:52 AM »
We do need a new frying pan from time to time, because I sometimes let them become too hot and they get ruined. Although my most used frying pan has lasted for over 10 years now.

Last time we needed a new large frying pan, we bought one at Ikea, the most expensive frying pan at that shop. It was still very cheap compared to frying pans in normal kitchen shops. It works very well and our next pan will probably also be bought there.
Another alternative is to wait for sales and buy a good pan then.

runbikerun

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2017, 05:11:48 AM »
Ikea's high-end pots and pans have done the job for me for the last three years. That said, we received a Le Creuset casserole dish as a housewarming gift from a group of friends, and it's an absolute pleasure to use. If and when the IKEA stuff gives up the ghost, I'll be replacing each one in its turn with a Le Creuset one and never buying another pot or pan.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2017, 08:58:40 AM »
Ooooo, really depends on what you're going for.

Here's what you should have:
-Instantpot or whatever those things are called. I need one of these.
-Enameled cast iron dutch oven. I have two Le Creusets (wedding gifts). I can't speak to the quality of any brand besides these ones. You can probably buy cheaper ones that still do the job just fine.
-Cast Iron skillets. These are great work horses. By far the best value for your dollar. If you can get older ones at estate or garage sales, do it. Modern Lodge skillets are great for most things.
-A stainless steel saute pan, and I'd aim for 5 qt. Basically for particularly good fond and anything you don't want in your cast iron skillets (like highly acidic reductions, IE pasta sauce or wine reductions). THIS NEEDS A LID. You don't need to USE the lid for everything, but you need it as an option.
-2 stainless steel saucepans of different sizes. I have a 2 qt and 4 qt and they are busted out for different things.
-8 qt stock pot. Or more. It's great for pasta, and for making stock, and for making large batches of soup.
-2 non-stick skillets, cheap as you can get. These are ideal for pancakes and eggs. They are not good for anything else. You can make pancakes and eggs on your cast iron (and I often do), but the clean-up will generally be much messier.
-Casserole dishes are necessary, but I don't have any good advice on those.
-A baking sheet and a rack for roasts. You can go cheap here, too.

If you CHOOSE to splurge (and it's a CHOICE), splurge on your saute pans and saucepans. You will want to get a tri-ply product. Wal-Mart has the tramontina brand. Cuisinart has Multi-Clad pro. Most spendy-pants prefer All-Clad, but you can get SOME All-Clad products at a pretty good sale at least some of the time. Honestly, I am not going to spend $300-350 on a pan if I can get something from Wal-Mart or Cuisinart that does 80% of what I need for, like, 80-90. You can get an 8" Tramontina skillet for $25, and I think the All-Clad equivelant is like $70.

All-Clad is a superior product, no doubt, but definitely spendy-pants.

These products essentially heat up more evenly so you have fewer hot spots on your pan, while still holding heat well (so your sizzling 400 degree pan doesn't drop to a useless 300 when you drop in food), and transferring it well (though not as good as a cast iron, so you still want to sear your steaks on a cast iron).

A few nice extras, but not necessary:
-A Saucier. These are sort of like sauce pans, but they are curved on the side like a wok. They are easier to clean and it is easier to make sauces in them. Less stuff gets caught in the corners and it's easier to stir them.
-A Wok. It's great for stir-fry. You can quickly sear pieces of meat or veggies in the bottom, you can do some limited shallow deep-frying, and there's lots of space for rice and veggies and all sorts of deliciousness. Much like a saucier, it has curved sides which makes for easy stirring and easy clean-up.
-Huge ass covered roasting pan. This gets hauled out when I make a 25 pound turkey.


For smaller spaces, drop the non-stick skillets, drop the larger of the two sauce pans, drop the stock pot (use the dutch oven instead).

Laserjet3051

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2017, 08:48:17 AM »
Cast iron all the way. We got a set of cast iron pots and pans in 1995 and all of them have lasted in PERFECT condition over the 22 years of heavy use. Theyre even better than their brand new condition as decades of seasoning have added tremendously to their character. And lets not forget the added value of imparting bioavailable iron to the food that is cooked in cast iron.

At this rate, I will pass these pots/pans to my children upon death. They could hold up across multiple generations if treated properly.

Tuskalusa

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2017, 10:17:11 AM »
All-Clad. Iíve had the same set of pans for 20 years. They are still great and will easily go another 20.

jane x

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2017, 10:29:45 AM »
I've found cast iron to be too heavy for everyday use.  I'm a very short female so that has something to do with it.  Ditto with those expensive Le Creuset/Staub pots.  So I've been using the non-stick but am interested in getting away from that. 

For those of you who use pans that are NOT non-stick but light (is that stainless steel?), how do you make sure that your food doesn't stick?  I seem to always have trouble with that.  I have an electric smooth top stove, if that makes any difference.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2017, 11:46:33 AM »
I also find cast iron too heavy, as I like to be able to lift and shake a frying pan using one hand.

I just use the Tefal nonstick pans. Sometimes they have other nonstick alternatives. Many pans, like the one from Ikea, are not heavy.

nereo

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2017, 02:48:41 PM »
I've found cast iron to be too heavy for everyday use.  I'm a very short female so that has something to do with it.  Ditto with those expensive Le Creuset/Staub pots.  So I've been using the non-stick but am interested in getting away from that. 

For those of you who use pans that are NOT non-stick but light (is that stainless steel?), how do you make sure that your food doesn't stick?  I seem to always have trouble with that.  I have an electric smooth top stove, if that makes any difference.

Two things:
For light pans look into carbon skillets.  THey are cheap, light, and incredibly durable - and are used in just about every restaurant kitchen in the western hemisphere.  You'll have to season them but once properly seasoned they are very non-stick.  Leading to...

How to keep non-coated pans from sticking:  There's a few pitfalls that can cause food to stick. First - make sure the pan has been heated before adding oil or butter. Second, make sure the oil/butter is shimmering (near it's 'smoke point') before putting the food in. If its butter it should be fully melted and the foaming stopped.  Third, avoid the temptation to constantly poke your food.  Meat in particular will stick when it first goes in, but if you leave it alone for 60 seconds it will sear (a very good thing) and release from the pan.

Other notes - keep your pans clean and never, ever use forks or knives on them.  If you see scratches you're doing something wrong.  you can remove scratches from non-coated pans by using steel wool - coarser if its really scratched up, #00 (or finer) to polish them and make them shiny again (if you care about such things).  If its a carbon or cast-iron pan you'll need to re-season if you ever scour it back down, but that's easy enough to do.
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Hotstreak

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2017, 04:10:40 PM »
To stop things from sticking, you should change your impression of what is "stuck".  If you're pushing lightly with a limp wrist, you have a very low threshold of what you consider stuck.  Put your spatula at a strong angle, and use some muscle to press it down in to the pan.  It will cut underneath the vast majority of "stuck" food which is actually just "cooked" food.  I see my sister do this every time she visits and it's horribly frustrating.  Her scrambled eggs "stick" to the pan while she gently pushes the uncooked portions around.  After the whole cooking cycle it's now burnt and seriously stuck on, which wastes food and is a pain in the ass to clean.  Put some muscle in to it!


To OP I actually came to recommend Calphalon.  I have a 10 year old set that I use almost daily and it performs very well.  2.5qt pan 6qt pot and some smaller pots I never use.  They are stainless and the bottoms are the multi layer type.  I threw away the non-stick when it got scratched and haven't missed it.  If you're hard enough on quality pans to actually break them in a few years, what are you doing exactly?  If you can break a good set of pans you're doing something very, very wrong.  Look at all the people on this thread with decades old sets.


Here's a similar set to the ones I have, at $300 right now.  Very cheap considering these are used daily for 10+ years (and this is Macy's, so take off another 20% for whatever coupon you have): https://www.macys.com/shop/product/calphalon-tri-ply-stainless-steel-10-pc.-cookware-set?ID=869476&pla_country=US&CAGPSPN=pla&CAWELAID=120156340000049864&CAAGID=39134022370&CATCI=pla-59723389971&CATARGETID=120156340015180986&cadevice=c&cm_mmc=Google_Home_Cookware_PLA-_-Cookware-Cookware+Sets_calphalon-_-201694207886-_-pg160661_c_kclickid_b6ff1a81-8190-451d-b446-21e5ed6ea9a9&trackingid=439x160661&gclid=Cj0KCQjw9uHOBRDtARIsALtCa97RMzYC2-06dw2_rpXw2ShzJ_dki37HJ8IhvSQx3H58oGCeaJuIixcaAv31EALw_wcB

doggyfizzle

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2017, 04:30:39 PM »
All-Clad. Iíve had the same set of pans for 20 years. They are still great and will easily go another 20.

My wife and I returned a ton of duplicate items from our wedding registry to Williams-Sonoma and got a really nice All-Clad stainless steel pot/pan set seven years ago and still look new despite heavy use.  I can't foresee how these won't be available for my son to use too some day.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2017, 02:27:49 PM »
I've found cast iron to be too heavy for everyday use.  I'm a very short female so that has something to do with it.  Ditto with those expensive Le Creuset/Staub pots.  So I've been using the non-stick but am interested in getting away from that. 

For those of you who use pans that are NOT non-stick but light (is that stainless steel?), how do you make sure that your food doesn't stick?  I seem to always have trouble with that.  I have an electric smooth top stove, if that makes any difference.
Heh, well, nothing will ever match the performance of a new non-stick pan. To some extent this is a "you'll have to work a bit harder to clean your dishes" kind of thing.

In addition to the other suggestions, you can add some wine or vinegar to the pan, which will break up some of the cooked-on bits, and make it easier to clean. IDEALLY, you would use wine, and actually use the bits of food you pick up in the dish you are making, but this may not be practical.

Part of the reason why you shouldn't use non-stick is precisely BECAUSE you want some of that "cooked-on" goodness. That's fond. It is flavor. https://www.thespruce.com/all-about-fond-995681

Also, you might want to consider working through the agony on the dutch ovens. They are heavy, even for me, but they are fantastic for simmering, braising, etc. Anything you put into a crockpot will be better if you put it into a dutch oven in an oven instead.

NinaGood

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2017, 02:21:13 AM »
I love Berghoff products ..

Acastus

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Re: Good quality pots and pans that won't break the bank
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2017, 08:32:17 AM »
Cast iron - Grandma gave me one from a yard sale when I left for college. I am still using it 30 years later. Now that is value for the money. Not recommended for glass top stoves.

2nd the Revere ware. It lasted my mom a lifetime.

I am slowly switching to Calphalon or similar anodized. Not cheap, but they will be the last pans I buy, and I cook a lot.