A decent nonstick cookpot set.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jay H, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Anybody recommend a decent 10-13 piece cookware set that is nonstick and under $200? Not looking for the Seven Cycles of cookware, more like the Giant of cookware. I've heard that aluminum cookware might not be healthy or something like that, would that be different if it has the non-stick coating on it. I've got one non-stick 2qt saucepan that I got from Macys from a company called "tools for the trade", very inexpensive, glass top, works OK as far as this untrained chef is concerned. I'm interested in this as a mother's day gift. Nobody in our family is a master chef so no $1000 frying pans need apply!

    Jay
     
  2. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    I agree. Also, properly seasoned cast iron cookware becomes non-stick. I use my cast iron everywhere except the microwave...
     
  3. ClintS

    ClintS Stunt Coordinator

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    I third the cast iron recomedation, go for the pre seasoned. Look for the lodge brand preseasoned. The only downside is they are very heavy other than that excellent cooking properties and when properly season extremely nonstick and very durable.

    If you can afford it tri-ply or more aluminum clad cookware is very good, I like allclad mostly because of the no questions asked lifetime warranty.
     
  4. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    While I agree that nonstick is not ideal for most types of sauteing/frying, you will need an 8" nonstick pan for omelets and scrambled eggs (unless you are prepared to use an ungodly amount of oil/butter).

    I have a few Scanpan pieces and like them as a kind of hybrid--they aren't as slick as the traditional coated nonstick pans, but are more forgiving than pure stainless steel or anodized aluminum. The only thing I don't like is the bottom of the pan; it's made up of concentric circles or ridges that tend to scratch my halogen cooktop if I move the pan too vigorously.
     
  5. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    We've had a Circulon set for quite a couple of years now. They work fantastic.

    None of the non-stick stuff has peeled off/stained/whatever. I think the main reason it is holding up so well is because we don't wash them in the dishwasher.

    It can be a little expensive, but is a lot cheaper on EBay.
     
  6. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    I got my sis and bro-in-law a set of Calphalon as one of their wedding gifts last year. They like it. The linked 12 pc. set runs about $250 at Target. Am I getting warm?
     
  7. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    cast iron owns everything, and it's dirt cheap.
    even better than pre seasoned, go to some garage sales or antique shops and buy old old old used cast iron, the older stuff is smoother, and will be better seasoned.
    the newer stuff I have is slightly "grainy" on the surface.

    My only other idea is to haunt the local TJMAXX, they get allclad stuff in one pan here or there, I haven't used it but I imagine their nonstick is pretty OK. But you're looking at $40 a pan or so.
     
  8. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Hey, thanks for the suggestions.. I think cast iron is out. My mom is like 4'10" and probably the pan would crush her to death if she tried to lift one. [​IMG] I like the non-stick stuff for rewarming things (no microwave) as you don't need to add oil or anything so it's a little healthier for them. My father has said he'd like to have some more non-stick pans.

    Jim_F: That would work good, I'll have to check it out.

    My parents (and I too) never wash our pans in the dishwasher, they take up too much space. And we always use plastic utensils on the non-stick pans of which we have only one. We're very good in being consistent with that and our pans, non-stick or otherwise typically last for a long time. We have one aluminum pot (not a non-stick one) that we've had for years, the bottom and outside is pure black with a brown fade as you get to the rim, it has seen numerous thanksgivings and events and is still cooking...

    Jay
     
  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    You might check out T-Fal, which has very good heat distribution for its light weight. Lots of choices. Stay away from the ‘Jamie Oliver Professional Series’ and you can get a 12 piece set for well under $150.

    These should be available at most department stores. If not, here is an online link. I have never done business with these guys, but I can vouch for the cookware.

    Here is a link that has the entire line.
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    no microwave??!
    you realize they're about $30 at walmart? [​IMG]
     
  11. Ken CG

    Ken CG Agent

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    I also recommend cast iron. Some of those non stick pans can be toxic if they are overheated. I refuse to use Non-Stick. When I want to fry something, I use cast iron only. And when they are well seasoned, they are BETTER than "non-stick". I made some corn bread last night in one of the little cast iron pans. I flipped it upside down and it just fell out. What's also cool is that you can use metal utinsels. I also love how much better pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches come out on cast iron. I would love to have one of them cast iron griddles that go over the burners.
     
  12. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    Calphalon is GREAT
     
  13. Jon_Gregory

    Jon_Gregory Stunt Coordinator

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    I have went to Stainless Steel and have never went back. Got a nice 5-ply set at Sams Club and would never own another non-stick piece of cookware again. The heat distribution on SS is great. And once you learn to cook on the stuff, it is a snap to clean up. As long as I pre-heat the frying pans etc... nothing sticks to them.
     
  14. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  15. Leo Hinze

    Leo Hinze Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm with Philip on the non-stick cookware.

    I have stainless pots and pans with copper-clad bottoms (for better heat distribution), and a cast iron skillet and a cast iron 5-quart dutch oven.

    Women who are 4'10" have been using cast iron skillets since cast iron skillets were invented. None of the women in my mom's family are over 5'1", and they swear by cast iron. And as far as I know, none of them has been crushed in an unfortunate kitchen accident[​IMG]

    As mentioned above, properly seasoned and maintained cast iron cookware is pretty much non-stick.

    With regard to having to add oil when using 'stick' cookware, fat isn't bad for you, especially fat from oils like olive oil. The proper types of fat are good for you and essential to proper health. So toss out the butter and vegetable oil, switch to olive and canola oil, and be happy with 'stick' cookware.

    For me, the potential dangers of too much teflon and such from non-stick cookware aren't worth the convenience. Plus, non-stick cookware requires too much care to properly maintain the non-stick surface. Even if you're really careful, the life of a non-stick pan is only a few years. Plastic utensils don't destroy the non-stick surface as quick as metal, but they do cause the surface to deteriorate. Both my mom and I are still using cast iron cookware that was used by my grandmother when my mom was young.
     
  16. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    We got a set of the Calphalon Professional hard anondized cookware for our wedding last year. It's fantastic. We've bought a few more pieces (most notably a wok) that were reasonably priced. They're really great to cook on.

    I also recommend a good set of kitchen utensils. I used to use a generic spatula, and was always frustrated with it. Someone gave me a gift certificate to Williams Sonoma last year for Christmas, and I bought new spatulas. They were expensive ($10-ish each!), but man, it's like night and day.
     
  17. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    I know there has to a UHF joke in there somewhere. [​IMG]

    Well, as usually, I should have down some research on the HTF before I recently bought my teflon cook set. Had I read Philip Hamms link earlier, it would have changed my mind on getting teflon.
     
  18. Ken CG

    Ken CG Agent

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    I definently hate using plastic utinsels. I try to throw them away. But somehow, they end up right back in the drawer. [​IMG] I have bought one non-stick pan a while back because I saw the commercial of the guy, "Steve Kettle", cooking an egg with no butter and then he swings the egg around and around and around in the pan. I just had to get a "similar" pan and try it myself. Heh, didn't quite work. But we still have that pan. I no longer use it because I'm now hooked on the cast iron. But my dad uses it for his eggs. I guess it's still working pretty good.

    When you cook with cast iron, you also get a little more "iron" in your diet from what I hear. I also like to leave the pans in the oven when I bake something. Their excellent heat retention keeps the oven at a more constant temperature so that it'll have to turn on and off less often. I'm thinking this idea might save a little energy.

    I got 2 8 inch skillets that also make great cake pans. [​IMG]
     
  19. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    Teflon (or Silverstone) is indispensible for certain dishes like eggs, crepes, etc. That's why every good professional chef keeps a few teflon skillets on hand. I use mostly All-Clad stainless and some copper saucier's, but I couldn't be without my 8", 10", and 12" teflon coated All-Clad skillets. I've worked in different spendy hotel restaurant kitchens and they're used there as well.

    I have had some of these for over 10 years and they're still perfect. The thing is, to keep teflon in good shape it can never go in the dishwasher, or be abused with metal spatulas. Plastic only for teflon. Of course it has to be quality stuff to start with.

    The gas release from teflon is a real concern, but not if you are mindful of it's limitations. The gases will only release when the skillet is heated to well over 500 degrees F., so you can't throw a teflon pan on a high burner and leave the kitchen, nor can you use it to blacken steaks or seafood. It's for fragile dishes cooked over low to medium heat only. Respect it's limits, and you'll never have a problem. Same thing with knifes. Poor technique with either will lead to difficulties.

    I started collecting All-Clad stainless cookware a long time ago when it was about the only multi-ply stainless game in town, but now there are numerous knock-off brands sold at Costco, Sam's, etc. that are just as good IMO. I have augmented my set with some of these brands and cannot tell one bit of difference in quality or performance.

    If I were starting over I'd start with something like this: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...404148-8617656

    or this:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...&n=286168&no=*
    and then I'd add a small and medium teflon coated skillet to the collection later.

    Cast iron if fine for some things, like frying chicken in oil and other limited uses, but it's not commonly used by the pros for most other tasks due to it's uneven heating properties, slow temperature changes, and it's cumbersome nature doesn't allow for easy sauteing, tossing, and flipping ingredients around. It's nice to have a big cast iron dutch oven with a glass lid for frying, but I wouldn't go much beyond that with it.

    Restaurants generally use Lincoln/Wear-Ever pots and pans in their kitchens : http://www.dvorsons.com/WearEver/WearEverCookware.html

    However when the chef is at home, you'll generally see multi-ply stainless. (Like on the Food Network shows.) If he's crapping money, then you'll see French Copper like Mauviel in their own kitchens. I figure I can't afford an entire set of copper until I can afford the guy to come and polish it once a month.

    You might want to take a quick look at the forums at http://forums.chef2chef.net This is where the people who cook for a living hang out, and there's a good database of cookware questions and answers. See the "Ask A Chef, Get An Answer" section.
     
  20. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    If she cooks over gas I'd recommend glass/teflon combo. Easy to wash (just spray with pam if you over soak the teflon),easy to cook (can see thru the glass), and reheat microwave.
     

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