Author Topic: Mustachian Cookware purchases?  (Read 26591 times)

jeromedawg

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Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« on: August 10, 2015, 04:54:48 PM »
Hey guys,

What are your opinions on cookware, etc? Obviously there's a TON of cheapo cookware and cutlery out there that does work for many. But for those who are really into cooking and serious about, is it absolutely worth it for you to put the money down on the [sometime outrageously] more expensive cookware & cutlery?

I think a very Mustachian cookware purchase is the classic cast iron skillet. Pretty cheap and can be had from anywhere between $10-30 or less at garage sales etc.

But what if I don't want to deal with lugging around a heavy piece of metal and want something a bit lighter?

Is it worth putting a lot more money down for something higher quality that will last a long time? What say you? It just seems to me that with cookware and cutlery, you get what you pay for in most cases and it probably doesn't pay-off to skimp up front. I got a deal for cheapo cookware from Kohls a couple years ago where it probably cost between $20-40 total for an 18-pc set (including lids and utensils). The pots and pans really suck and it would be nice to get something much better but I'm not quite sure where to even start. I already have a few cast iron skillets/griddles but was considering some SS cookware.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 04:57:42 PM by jplee3 »

KittyCat

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2015, 05:17:38 PM »
For stainless steel, I've had my eyes on the 12-piece set Emeril by All-Clad which, on occasion, can be had for around $115-$155 (Woot) to $167-$200 on Amazon. I have no first-hand experience with them so my impressions are purely based on reviews on tech blogs and Amazon.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2015, 05:19:21 PM »
Thrift stores often have great items available - just remember to stay away from the aluminum teflon(tm) coated stuff. 
Cast-iron skillets, steel woks, even SS cookware sets are often available.  By being patient, and visiting often to check the inventory, you can save $80-$100 bucks.

lbmustache

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2015, 05:29:24 PM »
I have All-Clad and it will easily last my entire lifetime. No regrets, totally worth it.

zsmith

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2015, 06:30:09 PM »
Yes, good cookware is worth the expense and you can probably find a lot of things on Craigslist that people received as wedding gifts and never used. For most things you really only need one awesome chef's knife and a serrated knife. The chef's knife will cut everything and you can sharpen in yourself. Go to the fancy pants kitchen store and try a few out to see what feels good in your hand.

I received a very expensive knife for a wedding gift (approx. $300) and it is one of the most used items in my household. Most people probably don't require a knife of this cost, but I cook daily and as a hobby often entertaining people so for me it makes total sense. 

firewalker

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2015, 06:50:40 PM »
Quality is worth it. The error some make is quantity. A chef will usually recommend just a few essentials. Costly kitchens often have a bunch of unused clutter in the back of the upper cabinets.

Fodder

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2015, 08:27:10 PM »
I think the biggest thing is to buy what you actually NEED.  You probably don't need a 10-piece pot set.  But you probably do need a nice big pot (6qt+ with a heavy bottom), and a smaller pot.  You'll also need a skillet or some sort.  I do like cast iron, but personally prefer a nice non-stick because I'm lazy.

I *did* buy a pot set when I graduated university (12 years ago).  It's not a high end brand (Meyer), but it was their highest-end pot set.  I paid $150 Canadian for it and it is still absolutely perfect and I have no reason to believe that it won't last me at least another 12 years.  The bottoms are nice and thick, and flat.  No complaints whatsoever.  That said, I don't really need four pots, because I don't often cook four things on the stove at once --> I'm much more a one/two pot meal kind of person.

My most used and most loved kitchen item is my le Creuset braiser, but unless you found one at a garage sale (seriously, who would ever sell it?????), I don't think it could qualify as mustachian.

Cressida

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2015, 08:33:18 PM »
The only recommendation that pops to mind is, don't spend a lot of money on a nonstick skillet. With regular use, they last barely a year. Just get a cheap one and replace as necessary.

Some people can make cast iron work as a nonstick surface. More power to them, but I am not one of those people. :) Sounds like it's not your first choice either.

littlebird

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2015, 09:10:08 PM »
I got a nice stainless steel set of Kirkland pots and pans at Costco a few years ago and I love them. Mostly use cast iron for my skillet needs but I've found the stainless skillets work fine as long as you grease the pan. Of course at Costco you have to buy the big set, not individual pans but they were a good price and really good quality. I'm on a mission to remove all non-stick from my life since it's so disposable and bad for you when it starts to break down. Cast iron and stainless steel is pretty much bifl.

Jakejake

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2015, 09:22:25 PM »
One cheap gadget I'd recommend is a heat diffuser: http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-144-Heat-Diffuser/dp/B0000X6ESO/ref=pd_bxgy_79_img_y

I use it when I make rice, oatmeal, or heat milk on the stove - basically anything where scorching on the bottom could be an issue. *this wouldn't be a good style for a flat stove top but for my gas stove it's perfect.

lhamo

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2015, 09:32:20 PM »
My mom gave me a set of Greenpan ceramic coated cookware -- she kept a couple of pieces for herself, as she doesn't cook much.  I have been LOVING it!  Totally nonstick, and as long as you only use softer cooking tools on it (wooden stuff seems fine) it is scratch resistant.

Until I got this set my favorite type of pan was stainless steel, though.  Also pretty easy to clean up.  I have a huge stainless wok back in China that I use for tons of stuff. 

I also find an enameled dutch oven to be worth the money.  I got a Lodge from Target and it has held up pretty well.

I have not had good luck with cast iron, personally -- can't seem to get the pans seasoned right.

I like glass bakeware for oven needs, except I have a big stainless roasting pan with a rack from Ikea that I use for roasting chicken, etc.  Ikea has a pretty good selection of stainless pots (we have their stock pot and a couple of small pots back in China).  Oh, if you do want one small non-stick pan and don't want to spring for the ceramic stuff ikea's are not bad - we used one for pancakes, quesadillas, etc. for years and the finish is still good.  Do need to be careful what tools you use on it, though.

Migs

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2015, 05:45:38 PM »
When I put together my cookware set, I did a lot of research and I tried to buy quality pieces at discount stores like TJ Maxx and Homegoods and I only bought pieces I knew I'd use consistently. I pretty much avoided sets since they usually had extra pots that I didn't really need and would just take up space (I have a small kitchen).

I tried to find tri-ply clad stainless steel (aluminum sandwiched between stainless steel) because they're more consistent on keeping the heat distributed evenly. You can occasinally find All-Clad second hand at the stores I mentioned (which is what I did) usually 50% off retail or more. I also like the Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro and you can usually find some good deals on these online. Wal-Mart also has the Tramontina tri-ply clad stainless steel cookware which I heard was really good as well - I believe they did well when America's Test Kitchen wrote their article on top frying pans.

For cutlery, I think all you really need is a good 8" chef knife and keep it well maintained. I noticed that I don't really use any of the other knives in the knife block - they pretty much just take up space.

All in all, I still don't think I was very mustachian with cookware, even if I spent significantly less than the general public because I would've saved money just by learning proper cooking technique. Some of the best cooks I know get pots and pans from restaurant supply stores for cheap. They just have really good technique and know the limitations of the equipment they use.

FLA

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2015, 08:19:56 PM »
I like Caphalon, etc, all my friends had but I love my dishwasher more so I got a set of these at Macy's when they had a sale, gift with purchase and I had a coupon:

http://www1.macys.com/shop/kitchen/circulon/Cookware_care/Dishwasher%20Safe?id=7559

They are dishwasher safe while most of the others are not.  I love them and they look new years later.  I combined households recently and they are in a box in my basement, I miss them! 

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2015, 08:41:19 PM »
My recommended pans:

1. 10" cast-iron skillet. Cast iron is literally the laziest cooking pan ever. Keep adding fat to the pan whenever it looks "dry", wipe clean with a paper towel. Boom. Can't use them for super high heat applications or very acidic things but all else gets done in this. (Need to eventually get a 12"). It's heavy but it gets used multiple times a day so it lives on the stove.

2. A good wok. Exact style depends on whether you have gas or electric. I'd strongly recommend a traditional carbon steel one, but a tri-ply stainless is just fine. All-Clad is overrated and overpriced. I have assorted Calphalon and Tramontina pans in addition to Al-Clad, and the cheaper ones are just as good. I use this for stir fries but also almost all sautee duty.

3. 5 or 6 qt enameled Dutch oven. Tramontina makes a really good and cheap one though the Le Creuset ones are works of art.

4. A 2-3 qt sauce pan. Enamel cast iron, stainless...whatever. As long as it's reasonably thick/heavy bottomed it will do. This is the least picky application for me, though I'd lean towards the enamel here.

With those 4 pans you can cook almost anything. And all should last generations with care.

An optional 5th pan would be a very tall stockpot, here SS, for doing soups, reductions, and steaming large things (like corn on cob, etc). You'd want at least a 10qt to make it "big enough" relative to the Dutch oven to be actually useful.

Those that recommend non-stick need to A) learn to cook and B) read the Madrid statement about PFOAs.

Edit: to directly answer the OP's question, pans useful to have in SS (my minimalist list aside) are a large 12" skillet or sautee pan for acidic reductions, skillet pasta dishes, etc. A SS stockpot is nice. A SS wok/fry pan is nice but the carbon steel (with care) is superior for super high heat stir fries and sauteeing IMO. I personally like my Calphalon tri-ply the best, followed by the All-Clad, then the Tramontina, but they're all really similar in performance. FWIW while pricey the base level All-Clad is the lightest set, but I don't think they're worth the huge price premium.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 08:46:06 PM by Thegoblinchief »

pk_aeryn

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2015, 09:06:48 PM »
A minimalist, mid-range in price item that is amazing is an electric pressure cooker.  Instapot has a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, sauté function all in one.

Keeps your house cool in the summer while you make dinner, doesn't use much electricity from what I understand.  You can make beans in 15 minutes versus cooking them on the stove for 2 hours-- so it also promotes Mustachianism because if you forgot to plan your oatmeal or beans ahead of time, you still have no excuses to do take out.  A whole pot roast is done in 45 mins as opposed to 4-6 hours oven braising.

The very cheap version is a simple no frills crockpot (I'm sure there are tons of these at yard sales or thrift). But honestly once you pressure cook you won't go back.

And like others mentioned, GOOD knives are essential.  Spend a lot on one 8" chef knife, take care of it (hone it before each use and hand wash it) and it'll last your lifetime most likely.  Cutting with a sharp, good knife is a time and money saver-- no excuses for pre-cut veg packs from the grocery store.

sol

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2015, 09:48:42 PM »
Ah, as the world turns.  This was one of the very first lengthy discussions I had when I first joined this forum.  Now as then, I'll recommend the Tramontina triple clad set from Walmart.  Was positively reviewed by everyone back then, just as good as the All-Clad brand name stuff, at about 1/3 the price.

Mr. OTT

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2015, 10:28:54 PM »
My wife and I cook a lot and we always use non-stick pans.  T-Fal has a series of non-stick pans that are safe for use with metal utensils.  We're sticking to using plastic utensils with them, but I'm hoping they will last longer than the typical non-stick pans.  We've had them for about 6 months and they look good as new.  So far, I've been really impressed.  They sell for about $30 each on Amazon.

jeromedawg

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2015, 10:38:27 PM »
My wife and I cook a lot and we always use non-stick pans.  T-Fal has a series of non-stick pans that are safe for use with metal utensils.  We're sticking to using plastic utensils with them, but I'm hoping they will last longer than the typical non-stick pans.  We've had them for about 6 months and they look good as new.  So far, I've been really impressed.  They sell for about $30 each on Amazon.


Thanks all! Wow, so many options haha. The set we got from Kohls is actually by T-Fal but it's obviously the lower end teflon-coated pans. My parents used metal utensils on several occasions when visiting, despite us telling them not to, so there's already scraping all over them but not *too* bad. We'll probably hold out on a set for a while. It's true that we don't use half the stuff in the set. The things we use most are the sauce pans really. The frying pans/skillets are too small to be useful. Will have to look into getting the Tramotinas that Sol recommends. Either that or hunting for bargains on the high-end brands.

Trudie

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2015, 08:49:48 AM »
Le Crueset is an up front investment, but if I'd done it early in my life they would have been the only pans I need.

I have a dutch oven and a "saucerie" pan.  These two pans serve most uses.  You can watch for good deals at one of their outlet stores, online, or occasionally at TJ Maxx.

Costco carries a line of similar enameled cast iron and I'm wondering if it's just as good.

Some other observations:
You need far fewer pans than you think.  I've whittled my collection down, but will do so more when we finally move.  I think 3-4 pahs is sufficient.

Other "non-pan" items I like:
(1)  An electric skillet.  I like keeping greasy messes off my stove, and I can even cook outside with it.
(2)  A great crock pot.

mrshudson

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2015, 10:14:59 AM »
Cast iron pans from Lodge, at $25, two of them in two sizes, 8 and 10 inches, along with an enameled cast iron dutch oven at around $40, also from Lodge. Couple of stainless steel pots from Ikea for under $15 each, a rice cooker at $15, and may be a couple of pressure cookers at $30 each. All in all, I can make some really fancy meals using these buy it for once cookware. Cost me under $200, mostly paid for with credit card reward points hacking.

Cast iron is not hard to maintain. Clean it after every use, dry it, put a drop of oil and it's fine. Seriously, I have managed to actually bake crud in my cast iron pans (I can be very absent minded). It came right off when I boiled water on them, let the water dry, and then reseasoned. 

MsPeacock

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2015, 10:20:36 AM »
I have All Clad (set and misc pieces) that I purchased at a significant discount (I was working in a kitchen store) in 1987. Absolutely no problems w/ it ever.  Aside from that I have a large nonstick pan from Ikea and a smaller nonstick pan from Ikea. I consider nonstick to basically be disposable (they wear out eventually).

All Clad is aluminum w/ stainless interior - and variety of exteriors (anodized aluminum, stainless, etc.). Whatever pans you purchase you want heavy thick pans w/ materials that have good conduction of heat. Stainless by itself is not a particularly good heat conductor and will result in hot spots and burning in the pan. Most department store type cookware (e.g. at Kohl's) will have stainless sides and a sandwich of materials at the bottom that includes aluminum or copper. More expensive cookware often has metal handles that are designed to stay cool (v.s. plastic) so that it can be put in the oven or under the broiler. The mor expensive cookware will have better rivets between the pan and handle. 

A large stock pot is a good 'cheap pan" purchase (e.g. plain stainless or w/a  sandwich of materials on the base) because they are typically used to cook large quantities over mediumish heat and the food will eventually be evenly heated. A fry pan or sauce pan might be an area to look for slightly better quality. Non-stick, if you use it, IMHO, should be inexpensive because it always wears out.

I do see Calphalon and other good quality pans at the thrift store pretty often. Calphalon is anodized aluminum and will be "sticky" until it is adequately seasoned, just like a cast iron pan. It is also possible to scrub the anodized layer off (which really doesn't effect the function of the pan all that much). My All Clad that has anodized exteriors are all basically back to being silver at this point (started black like Calphalon). Also, almost all of the high end cookware companies offer starter pieces during the year - sometimes it is something sort of useless like a 6" fry pan, but other times it can be an awesome useful pan at 1/3 or less of the usual cost. Department stores almost always have these pieces during the holidays, as well as other times during the year.

Last point - you don't need 10 pans (as some of the sets would lead you to think), or the special $200 double boiler insert, roasting pan,  or the vegetable steamer and such from high end companies - just get the pans you will use the most often and make-do.

mrshudson

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2015, 10:24:51 AM »
One cheap gadget I'd recommend is a heat diffuser: http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-144-Heat-Diffuser/dp/B0000X6ESO/ref=pd_bxgy_79_img_y

I use it when I make rice, oatmeal, or heat milk on the stove - basically anything where scorching on the bottom could be an issue. *this wouldn't be a good style for a flat stove top but for my gas stove it's perfect.

Awesome - just what I needed. My stove (stupid electric one) has a lot of hot spots due to very poor heat spreading. Thanks so much.

MishMash

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2015, 10:38:15 AM »
Good quality cookware is ALWAYS worth it.  One little known fact is that you can go to yearly warehouse sales in some states and get the shit DIRT cheap.  I ended up with 2k (resale value) of Spring cookware for 150 bucks (the Swiss stuff not the cheaper US make)...total by going to a Waterford sale in NJ  7 or so years ago.  Those pans weigh like 5 lbs plus each, and are 5-7 ply depending on purpose.  I've never had uneven heating, spot burning, etc and I've used them on some pretty crappy stoves over the years.  I also walked out with teachers gifts etc for the year.  They literally mean clear the warehouse out if anyone lives near one of those warehouses.  My La Cruesse I also got at a warehouse sale for 75 and it's awesome, I use it almost daily.

I do a TON of cooking and have been known to do a bit of catering for friends/family/husbands promotions/Christmas parties etc so I need a larger collection of pots.  My knives were a 5 year anniversary gift from my office, a set of Henkels, not their top of the line but still very good. My other two can't live withouts...a good immersion blender and my Ninja.

mskyle

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2015, 10:57:05 AM »
Only buy/keep what you're going to use! We have a nice-ish cast-iron pan but we don't use it much because we don't like cleaning it. So the nonstick pan gets a lot more use.

Get things that work for your everyday cooking style. And wherever you get them, make sure all your pots and pans have thick bottoms unless you're literally only using them for boiling water/steaming. If you need more pans for some special occasion you can probably borrow some from friends/neighbors/relatives or "rent" them from the thrift store (i.e. buy them cheap and re-donate them).

lhamo

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2015, 12:08:59 PM »
Costco carries a line of similar enameled cast iron and I'm wondering if it's just as good.

Not in my experience.  I lugged a Costco enameled dutch oven over to China.  Within a few months of use it had developed cracks in the enamel on the bottom. So I lugged it back to the US.  Good thing about Costco is that they will refund just about any purchase.  So I got my money back and used it to buy a Lodge at Target.  That one is still going strong, though I haven't used it a whole lot.

acroy

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2015, 12:23:49 PM »
Wow some of ya'll are... Dedicated.
We've been through cheap sets, expensive sets...
Work gave me a set of La Creuset goodies, like $800 set. Crazy. Sold them on Ebay.

Settled on:
- one 6qt SS stock pot (Wolfgang Puck iirc, $15 thrift store purchase)
- rice cooker
- crock pot
- large electric skillet (these are awesome, do almost anything in them)
- Webber kettle charcoal grill

that's about it. Fam of 8, DW is an excellent cook.

Oh and we use wood spoons. Sanded, seasoned, and they are wonderful; 3 for $5 from Amazon.

FIRE Artist

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2015, 12:28:14 PM »
I have 365 cookware from Ikea, it is 18 years old and still looks great.

cdochow

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2015, 03:20:23 PM »
I bought scratch-n-dent All Clad pots/pans about 5 years ago and absolutely love them and will never go back to lower quality cookware.  I use them multiple times per day and they will easily outlive me. 

If you don't have a local cookware store that sells the All Clad seconds check out Cookware-N-More (http://www.cookwarenmore.com/).  As far as I know they are the 'official' dealer of All Clad seconds and get them directly from the manufacturer.  Twice a year they have a sale and items are discounted even more than normal (usually 40-50% off).  Even though you are buying seconds All Clad still provides the full lifetime warranty.

CmFtns

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2015, 04:07:27 PM »
I've been looking around a bit and ran across these. Seems to be made by Tramontina which was mentioned above.
http://www.samsclub.com/sams/mm-12pc-cookware-set-stainless-steel/prod16330046.ip?navAction=

It seems like a quality but cheap set with a very useful variety without the random stuff you'd never use.

galliver

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2015, 07:05:28 PM »
We got an Al-clad SS set by Cuisinart from woot for I think $120 when we moved in together last year (This one: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CLCS-11-11-Piece-Stainless-Cookware/dp/B00BB19BH0 It's held up just fine so far but I have no basis for comparison. Nice even heat.) My experience was different from others', in that I do I use everything in it. Even if I didn't, it would have been more expensive to buy all but one or two separately (don't think I've seen SS pans in thrift shops here.) We also have a wok, a cast iron pan, a small teflon pan for eggs, and a small bunch of bakeware (glass: 2 9x13, 1 8x8, 1 7x11, 1 pie, 1 loaf; metal: 2 cookie sheets, 1 small cookie sheet, 1 muffin tin). OH and one cast iron stovetop grill/griddle, Lodge, $30 WORTH EVERY PENNY if you don't have an actual grill, or can't use it half the year. *thumbs up*

Things we don't use: giant stockpot (not as practical in SoCal as in IL: nowhere to put it to keep a giant batch of soup cold!), round 2 qt glass casserole dish (should give to my mom...), InstantPot (should use more, really).

Things we don't own: dutch oven, enameled cast iron pots (what do you use those for?)

Ultimately, what cookware you need mostly depends on what and how you cook. I couldn't imagine not having a frying pan or a paring knife, but if you're a minimalist and fine eating every meal out of a crock pot, more power to ya! I just like to cook a variety of things with a variety of tools. *shrug*

Mr. OTT

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2015, 10:53:23 PM »
Wow some of ya'll are... Dedicated.
We've been through cheap sets, expensive sets...
Work gave me a set of La Creuset goodies, like $800 set. Crazy. Sold them on Ebay.

Settled on:
- one 6qt SS stock pot (Wolfgang Puck iirc, $15 thrift store purchase)
- rice cooker
- crock pot
- large electric skillet (these are awesome, do almost anything in them)
- Webber kettle charcoal grill

that's about it. Fam of 8, DW is an excellent cook.

Oh and we use wood spoons. Sanded, seasoned, and they are wonderful; 3 for $5 from Amazon.

Yes!  Rice cooker and crock pot are two of my must have kitchen appliances.  We bulk cook on the weekend for lunches during the week and the crockpot is perfect for that.  We usually throw something simple in the crockpot and then cook something a little more elaborate in the stove/oven.

Cressida

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2015, 11:11:27 PM »
Those that recommend non-stick need to A) learn to cook and B) read the Madrid statement about PFOAs.

Someone who's using a nonstick pan is, by definition, cooking at home. Shouldn't we be encouraging them and not belittling them?

jeromedawg

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2015, 11:37:11 PM »
We got an Al-clad SS set by Cuisinart from woot for I think $120 when we moved in together last year (This one: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CLCS-11-11-Piece-Stainless-Cookware/dp/B00BB19BH0 It's held up just fine so far but I have no basis for comparison. Nice even heat.) My experience was different from others', in that I do I use everything in it. Even if I didn't, it would have been more expensive to buy all but one or two separately (don't think I've seen SS pans in thrift shops here.) We also have a wok, a cast iron pan, a small teflon pan for eggs, and a small bunch of bakeware (glass: 2 9x13, 1 8x8, 1 7x11, 1 pie, 1 loaf; metal: 2 cookie sheets, 1 small cookie sheet, 1 muffin tin). OH and one cast iron stovetop grill/griddle, Lodge, $30 WORTH EVERY PENNY if you don't have an actual grill, or can't use it half the year. *thumbs up*

Things we don't use: giant stockpot (not as practical in SoCal as in IL: nowhere to put it to keep a giant batch of soup cold!), round 2 qt glass casserole dish (should give to my mom...), InstantPot (should use more, really).

Things we don't own: dutch oven, enameled cast iron pots (what do you use those for?)

Ultimately, what cookware you need mostly depends on what and how you cook. I couldn't imagine not having a frying pan or a paring knife, but if you're a minimalist and fine eating every meal out of a crock pot, more power to ya! I just like to cook a variety of things with a variety of tools. *shrug*

We actually have one of those stovetop Lodge grills that cover two burners. It's very useful for making larger batches of stuff (esp Philly cheesesteaks! Yeahh!) except it's such a PITA to clean up :(

As far as cookware, we have the following:
- big rice cooker (we're Asian, so....)
- crockpot
- T-Fal 20pc Inspirations Nonstick Aluminum (http://www.amazon.com/T-fal-Inspirations-Nonstick-Aluminum-Cookware/dp/B004DPHD4E).. this was the cheapo set we got from Kohls probably for around $30 or so after rebates. Not worth it IMHO - one review on Amazon says scratching coating and needs to tighten handles after every use; this almost describes our experience. But we do use the sauce pans pretty regularly
- *huge* Cuisinart 14" SS pan (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NBWRU2/ref=pe_175190_21431760_cs_sce_dp_i1): we don't really ever use this. It's way bigger than I expected and when we've tried cooking on it, food seems to stick really bad. Not sure why this is the case when I thought SS was supposed to be much better to cook on.
- 12" non-stick chicken fryer type skillet w/ glass cover: my wife loves using this to cook potstickers
- Food Network 5qt Dutch Oven: we've used this for making stews and slow-cooking/braising a few things
- Le Cruiset Oval Doufeu: bought this from the Le Creuset outlet early in our marriage. We've made a number of things in it and are pretty happy with it overall
- Several cast iron skillets: 8", 10" & 12" skillets, 10" griddle, and long 2-burner stovetop griddle: love using all of these and probably use the 10" and 12" skillets the most.

As far as knives:
- Several Victorinox knives: 8" chefs knife (love this), small paring knife, 4" rabbit knife (great for chicken), 6" filet/boning knife (great for fish) 
- Fujimaru set: 8", 6" and 4" I believe (these are super sharp)
- Junky knifes: some Pure Komatchi knives and JCPenney "Cooks" knives which are actually relatively decent (santoku and a cleaver)


*sigh* - obviously lots of cheapo stuff and probably lots of overlap and unnecessary stuff. got all this *prior* to mustachianism of course. I need to declutter a lot of it after listing everything out :T

jeromedawg

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2015, 11:06:18 AM »
We got an Al-clad SS set by Cuisinart from woot for I think $120 when we moved in together last year (This one: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CLCS-11-11-Piece-Stainless-Cookware/dp/B00BB19BH0 It's held up just fine so far but I have no basis for comparison. Nice even heat.) My experience was different from others', in that I do I use everything in it. Even if I didn't, it would have been more expensive to buy all but one or two separately (don't think I've seen SS pans in thrift shops here.) We also have a wok, a cast iron pan, a small teflon pan for eggs, and a small bunch of bakeware (glass: 2 9x13, 1 8x8, 1 7x11, 1 pie, 1 loaf; metal: 2 cookie sheets, 1 small cookie sheet, 1 muffin tin). OH and one cast iron stovetop grill/griddle, Lodge, $30 WORTH EVERY PENNY if you don't have an actual grill, or can't use it half the year. *thumbs up*

Things we don't use: giant stockpot (not as practical in SoCal as in IL: nowhere to put it to keep a giant batch of soup cold!), round 2 qt glass casserole dish (should give to my mom...), InstantPot (should use more, really).

Things we don't own: dutch oven, enameled cast iron pots (what do you use those for?)

Ultimately, what cookware you need mostly depends on what and how you cook. I couldn't imagine not having a frying pan or a paring knife, but if you're a minimalist and fine eating every meal out of a crock pot, more power to ya! I just like to cook a variety of things with a variety of tools. *shrug*

- big rice cooker (we're Asian, so....)


Funny you should mention this. Mr. Tooth is Chinese, and when he tells other Asians he dislikes rice, they ask him why he didn't starve as a child.

My rice cooker is sadly underused owing to Mr. Tooth's distaste for rice. Must inculcate the baby with rice-eating habits.

Haha that's interesting. I've always liked noodles more than rice. But if you put a bowl of mashed potatoes in front of me, that's going to override everything...!

FLA

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2015, 11:16:56 AM »
Le Crueset is an up front investment, but if I'd done it early in my life they would have been the only pans I need.

Le Creuset has outlet stores, old styles are least expensive but retired colors are low, as well

affordablehousing

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2015, 11:48:37 AM »
For those in urban areas cookware is one of the easiest items to find free on the street. When in doubt look around garbage around universities in the spring and winter. Parents love to think their children will cook in college, and students never do. I've found it unbelievable, at least here in New York, the amount of pots, pans, dishes, glasses, cutlery, knife sets, appliances etc. you can find just by keeping your eyes open.

jeromedawg

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2015, 11:49:48 AM »
Le Crueset is an up front investment, but if I'd done it early in my life they would have been the only pans I need.

Le Creuset has outlet stores, old styles are least expensive but retired colors are low, as well

Yep, we got our 6qt doufeu from an outlet store. To my recollection, it was sub-$150...
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 12:00:10 PM by jplee3 »

jeromedawg

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2015, 11:52:09 AM »
For those in urban areas cookware is one of the easiest items to find free on the street. When in doubt look around garbage around universities in the spring and winter. Parents love to think their children will cook in college, and students never do. I've found it unbelievable, at least here in New York, the amount of pots, pans, dishes, glasses, cutlery, knife sets, appliances etc. you can find just by keeping your eyes open.

LOL that is pretty unbelievable! One time I found a perfectly functional DVR on top of a garbage pile in a dumpster in my old apt complex. I took it back, set to factory defaults, and flipped it on ebay for about $100 or so. I didn't realize people would toss perfectly functional (and even higher-end) cookware though! That'd be crazy if someone fished some nice All-Clads out of the dumpster!

galliver

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #38 on: August 13, 2015, 11:53:41 AM »
We actually have one of those stovetop Lodge grills that cover two burners. It's very useful for making larger batches of stuff (esp Philly cheesesteaks! Yeahh!) except it's such a PITA to clean up :(
It is, rather. I scrub it with a brush and/or a steel scrubby pad (not steel wool), no soap.

- *huge* Cuisinart 14" SS pan (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NBWRU2/ref=pe_175190_21431760_cs_sce_dp_i1): we don't really ever use this. It's way bigger than I expected and when we've tried cooking on it, food seems to stick really bad. Not sure why this is the case when I thought SS was supposed to be much better to cook on.

SS is...different. It absolutely *has* to be preheated fairly high, which is why it doesn't work for me for eggs (I like sunny-side-up eggs made on low heat). If cooking meat, it also helps to season it: heat up, wipe with oil, quench in cold water, repeat 2-3 times. That said, if something does burn, I like that I can scrub the daylights out of the pan with baking soda without worrying I'm taking something off. Also no concerns about eating teflon.

jeromedawg

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #39 on: August 13, 2015, 12:02:40 PM »
We actually have one of those stovetop Lodge grills that cover two burners. It's very useful for making larger batches of stuff (esp Philly cheesesteaks! Yeahh!) except it's such a PITA to clean up :(
It is, rather. I scrub it with a brush and/or a steel scrubby pad (not steel wool), no soap.

- *huge* Cuisinart 14" SS pan (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NBWRU2/ref=pe_175190_21431760_cs_sce_dp_i1): we don't really ever use this. It's way bigger than I expected and when we've tried cooking on it, food seems to stick really bad. Not sure why this is the case when I thought SS was supposed to be much better to cook on.

SS is...different. It absolutely *has* to be preheated fairly high, which is why it doesn't work for me for eggs (I like sunny-side-up eggs made on low heat). If cooking meat, it also helps to season it: heat up, wipe with oil, quench in cold water, repeat 2-3 times. That said, if something does burn, I like that I can scrub the daylights out of the pan with baking soda without worrying I'm taking something off. Also no concerns about eating teflon.

Yea I need to pickup more of those scrubbing pads. Brushes don't work all that well when I've really burnt stuff on. I find I have to run it under super-hot water to get all the soot off if it's really bad. Then it's a paid having to re-season the thing.

That makes sense for the high heats. The pan is so huge and the burners on our stove aren't all that big, so not all areas of the pan get hot. Not sure how to remedy this other than by getting a larger stove (LOL). Maybe I should just sell the pan or something... it's pretty impractical if it requires such high heat yet there's no way to evenly distribute the high heat across such a huge surface (unless that heat dispersion tool someone linked earlier would do the trick?)

Migs

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #40 on: August 13, 2015, 02:26:46 PM »
Barkeeper's Friend is awesome for cleaning stainless steel cookware, but I use it rarely. Usually we just deglaze the pans when food sticks.

Lis

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #41 on: August 13, 2015, 03:04:25 PM »

- big rice cooker (we're Asian, so....)


Funny you should mention this. Mr. Tooth is Chinese, and when he tells other Asians he dislikes rice, they ask him why he didn't starve as a child.

My rice cooker is sadly underused owing to Mr. Tooth's distaste for rice. Must inculcate the baby with rice-eating habits.

Haha my dad's Italian and hates pasta. That was what was for dinner nearly every night when he was growing up (my grandmother was not a very adventurous cook).

I think the what goes hand in hand with buying good quality items is taking care of them correctly. I bought myself a mini 3cup Cuisinart food processor and ran that through my (terrible, hardly working) dishwasher too many times. The lid is now bent and the blades are not quite as sharp as they once were. Now that I have a big Cuisinart monster (11 cup), that baby gets hand washed gently.

jeromedawg

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #42 on: August 13, 2015, 03:11:06 PM »

- big rice cooker (we're Asian, so....)


Funny you should mention this. Mr. Tooth is Chinese, and when he tells other Asians he dislikes rice, they ask him why he didn't starve as a child.

My rice cooker is sadly underused owing to Mr. Tooth's distaste for rice. Must inculcate the baby with rice-eating habits.

Haha my dad's Italian and hates pasta. That was what was for dinner nearly every night when he was growing up (my grandmother was not a very adventurous cook).

I think the what goes hand in hand with buying good quality items is taking care of them correctly. I bought myself a mini 3cup Cuisinart food processor and ran that through my (terrible, hardly working) dishwasher too many times. The lid is now bent and the blades are not quite as sharp as they once were. Now that I have a big Cuisinart monster (11 cup), that baby gets hand washed gently.

Mr. Tooth adores Italian food. I don't bother buying pasta less than 12 boxes at a time. I'm seriously investigating a home pasta maker at this point.

Yea, I studied abroad in Italy for a few months and love pasta. All I have to say is "BUCATINI!" - I got a fancy Kitchenaid mixer from Kohls at a crazy price (actually bought two more and flipped them locally, which pretty much paid for the one I have) and it came with a mail-in rebate to get a free pasta maker attachment set (roller and fettuccine cutter). i think we've only used it once though, since our kitchen is small and we don't have much counter space. my wife prefers using the electric hand mixer if she needs to mix stuff.

Rosy

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #43 on: August 13, 2015, 06:20:11 PM »
Outlet stores, discontinued cookware and store closings are your best bet for quality cookware at a great price.

Fine tools that are a joy to work with are a good thing:)
Cheap cookware is a nuisance at best, it doesn't last, it is impossible to cook evenly or avoid burning your food or your fingers. If you cook every day it makes sense to have quality tools.

Since you already have a set of cookware you probably know which pot sizes you use the most - let that be your guide. While an entire set is always the cheaper option - I do hate to go that route when I know I only really "need" certain sizes and pieces. So the last time I hunted down only the specific pieces I wanted - which cost so much time and effort I question the validity of that move.

Dutch oven

One red Cuisinart 7+? quart oval cast iron dutch oven with enamel interior. Used for roasts, whole chicken, stews, stovetop casseroles and lasagne (instead of the oven) and any time I don't want to use the crockpot, because I am at home.
Skillets
One 11" skillet - Cuisnart (but a cheap version) with non-stick interior - to be replaced soon with a "green" version. I have two smaller stainless steel skillets - one 8in and a 10in deep skillet which I rarely use.
Pots:

Stainless: at least 12 gauge - some are hybrids and have copper infused bottoms
3 different size pots - 1 really small, 1 sm/med and 1 large - I use all 3 - all the time.
Steamer
What we also use all the time is a steamer - for ears of corn - potatoes and heads of cauliflower and cabbage.... It's heavy duty stainless steel and I found it on sale at the military base one day. $35 bucks - the best deal I ever made.
Mixer
Hands down my favorite, the one thing I couldn't live without and always wanted is my heavy duty Kitchen Aid mixer - I love looking at it, it's red:) and a must have for baking.
Crockpot
Only gets used a couple of times a month and sometimes for parties.
Mandolin
For slicing, dicing and shredding - potatoes, turnips for sauteeing and shredded raw veggies like carrots and sliced cucumbers and sweet potato fries:) I love the even slices, clean up is a snap and the blades have stayed sharp. The shredded carrots look impressive on a salad plate:)
Blender
The least used item at present is my Cuisinart blender - sometimes I use it daily for smoothies or hot soups, it has a thick glass jug - other times I forget about it for a while until summer - makes quick work of chopping veggies from the garden. It is the one gadget that is totally frivolous and not really necessary, because you could do without:)
I went through 5, yes five blenders to find one that had the settings, motor and power I wanted at the price I wanted to pay (60% off at Tuesday Morning) - incl. a Black and Decker blender which literally exploded all over my kitchen, I was lucky I didn't get seriously injured. 

Quality knifes
and a couple of good cutting boards are essential. My preference is two diff size paring knives - one curved, 1 small/med butcher knife, a filet knife, a big all round knife plus a bread knife, a cheese knife and good quality scissors - the kind you use for fowl.
We are overstocked in that department and yes they are all high end, (long story) but what good is a knife unless it lasts a lifetime.

I'm an old lady now, but I wish I had allowed myself the joy of that red Kitchen Aid mixer when I was in my thirties. Back then I considered it more of a wishlist-status item- one I could do without. Well, one can do without a lot of things, but it was stupid to deny myself that pleasure - we were always foodies and those do last a lifetime.
It was on my Christmas list about 8 yrs ago and still does get a fair amount of use - I have the one with a stainless steel bowl, a dough hook and a regular whisk/beater. Love.

Well, that's it from this foodie ... I hope you find some great deals, go for quality kitchen tools and you will not regret your purchase.

Spork

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #44 on: August 13, 2015, 06:28:44 PM »
I already have a few cast iron skillets/griddles but was considering some SS cookware.

Just a side note:  If you want something lighter than cast iron, get OLD cast iron.  Yes, there is a difference.  Old cast iron is much lighter and has been tooled super smooth inside (unlike the modern cast iron that is pebbly).  It is much easier to cook on and sticks less as well.  It can often be picked up at garage/estate sales for $5 or less.  That's where all of ours came from.  (That doesn't mean you won't still need a saucepan or two).

robartsd

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #45 on: August 14, 2015, 04:57:31 PM »
I'm an old lady now, but I wish I had allowed myself the joy of that red Kitchen Aid mixer when I was in my thirties. Back then I considered it more of a wishlist-status item- one I could do without. Well, one can do without a lot of things, but it was stupid to deny myself that pleasure - we were always foodies and those do last a lifetime.
Older model Kitchen Aid mixers are actually better than the latest ones. At some point they cut costs changing the gearbox to plastic (the gears are still metal). Most people will be fine with the latest stuff, but they can't take as much daily abuse kneading large batches of bread that the old Kitchen Aid mixers can.

Spork

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #46 on: August 14, 2015, 05:16:54 PM »
I'm an old lady now, but I wish I had allowed myself the joy of that red Kitchen Aid mixer when I was in my thirties. Back then I considered it more of a wishlist-status item- one I could do without. Well, one can do without a lot of things, but it was stupid to deny myself that pleasure - we were always foodies and those do last a lifetime.
Older model Kitchen Aid mixers are actually better than the latest ones. At some point they cut costs changing the gearbox to plastic (the gears are still metal). Most people will be fine with the latest stuff, but they can't take as much daily abuse kneading large batches of bread that the old Kitchen Aid mixers can.

And the motors were made by Hobart.

Rosy

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #47 on: August 14, 2015, 05:53:04 PM »
@ spork and robertsd
Well, there you go guys - two - more reasons to buy the best:) and forget the rest.

All I can tell you is that baby works fine, even though the parts and motor have changed, but in all honesty it does not get a heavy workout. I've used one of the old models before and I tend to agree with you that it will probably not be as long lasting and durable.

...and thanks for reading my long post:) - whew

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #48 on: August 15, 2015, 12:28:50 AM »
+1 for investing in quality for the stuff you use a lot. So to me that would mean:
- a good chef's knife + serrated knife
- quality pot set. I cook on stainless steel, I bought mine as a small set, because that was cheaper than buying what I actually needed loose. Outlet stores and stock sales can save you lots of money here. My SS pots were not outrageously expensive (mid-range quality i'd say, but nice and fat-bottomed) and have made me happy for going on 8 years now. they still look as new.
- a good wok / something to stir fry in
- griddle, but you already have that.

To me, all the rest is optional and hence of lesser quality as it gets much less use.

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Re: Mustachian Cookware purchases?
« Reply #49 on: August 15, 2015, 01:34:13 AM »
Ikea also has some good basic cookware. They have cast iron with 25 year warranty for less than half the price of Le Creuset, lots of good quality stainless steel as well.

I want to change from ceramic to induction cooking in the next couple of years, fortunately I bought good quality stainless steel 20 years ago which can also be used on induction. If you are looking for a buy it for life set you should have a look at what type of stove you will use 10, 20 years from now.