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Setting Up Another Kitchen - Cookware Recommendations


ctay122
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My husband and I are setting up a second home and I am trying to decide what to buy for cookware. I don't want to spend more than $350 and I prefer stainless steel. Any ideas out there? I have been online researching, but I am totally confused at this point. The new stove is one of those awful electric glass cooktop things. Though we plan on eventually changing over to propane (natural gas is not available), it's not going to be a while. I would appreciate any ideas.

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My husband and I are setting up a second home and I am trying to decide what to buy for cookware. I don't want to spend more than $350 and I prefer stainless steel. Any ideas out there? I have been online researching, but I am totally confused at this point. The new stove is one of those awful electric glass cooktop things. Though we plan on eventually changing over to propane (natural gas is not available), it's not going to be a while. I would appreciate any ideas.

I'm not absolutely certain how All Clad does on glass cooktops, but they have heavy flat bottoms. Go for a set of All Clad, is my advice. Here's a link to a place that sells factory seconds--they may have a little tiny scratch, but I've been completely happy with everything I've gotten from them.

http://www.cookwarenmore.com/

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I'm not absolutely certain how All Clad does on glass cooktops, but they have heavy flat bottoms. Go for a set of All Clad, is my advice. Here's a link to a place that sells factory seconds--they may have a little tiny scratch, but I've been completely happy with everything I've gotten from them.

http://www.cookwarenmore.com/

Thanks for the info, I am always looking for new websites with cooking stuff. I don't know anyone who has a glass cook top and I 'm definitely not keen on them. I'll definitely check it out. Thanks.

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Thanks for the info, I am always looking for new websites with cooking stuff. I don't know anyone who has a glass cook top and I 'm definitely not keen on them. I'll definitely check it out. Thanks.

My parents have a glass cooktop and seem to like it alot. It's not as good as gas by any means, but it's better than the electric coil stoves since you have a flat contact surface. I'm not certain what kind of pots/pans they use, but I know they are heavy bottom pans.

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My parents have a glass cooktop and seem to like it alot. It's not as good as gas by any means, but it's better than the electric coil stoves since you have a flat contact surface.

Contact surface is somewhat irrelevant(eta: deprecated in light of Hannah's comment below) with glass-ceramic cooktops, because they transfer heat via infrared...this is why those cheap non-flat stamped pans from the Asian grocery work decently well on them, compared to electric coil. The glass material itself is a poor thermal conductor, which is how it is able to avoid spreading the heat from one burner all over the surface. It still ain't gas though.

Me, I'd try shopping for just a few useful pieces of All-Clad (try the seconds from the Williams-Sonoma outlet in Leesburg, where you can pick 'em over for the least-defective ones), and add one good cast-iron skillet cheaply from a yard sale.

(fwiw: my folks had one for nearly 20 years, and we treated it pretty much like any other stove)

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I have a glass-topped stove, and I like it just fine, but be aware that you can't use standard (ie Lodge) cast iron on it because the bottoms of the pans aren't flat - there's a ridge on them that keeps the bottom of the pan from making full contact with the stove surface. According to the brochure that comes with the stove, if you use non-flat bottomed cookware, it can cause hot spots that will crack the stovetop. This is generally not a good thing. I am not willing to find out the hard way by using pans that don't have a flat bottom.

As far as cookware, I have a mix of Sitram, Cuisinart, Le Creuset (which is OK for the stove, enameled or not, because the pan bottoms are flat) and some ancient Farberware that I've had since college, all of which works perfectly well. All-Clad would also be fine, but I doubt you're going to get more than 2 or 3 pieces, even at outlet prices, for a budget of $350.

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My siblings and I gave my parents the cookware from Costco as an anniversary present a few years ago, to go with their brand new glass top cooktop. My husband and I prefer the All-Clad for ourselves, but the Costco set was definitely in your price range, and it is good cookware. I recommend it if you are not going to be able to go with All-Clad, or the Bill Sonoma outlet route. We've also supplemented our own stock at Bed Bath and Beyond when we get the 20% coupon in the mail. Bloomingdales also has weekend sales, and you can look out for additional percentage off coupons...but like Hannah said, you probably won't get the whole kit for that price, even on sale.

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We have a glass cooktop (gas isn't available in our neighborhood) and we find it works great. All of our saute pans are All-Clad and we have no problems using them on the surface. We also use Le Creuset and a cast iron skillet.

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Go for a set of All Clad, is my advice. Here's a link to a place that sells factory seconds http://www.cookwarenmore.com/
The next All-Clad Seconds Sale at the Washington County Fairgrounds is Friday & Saturday, June 8 & 9, 2007. Their hours are are Friday 9am - 7pm and Saturday 9am - 4pm. Arriving early is best. Their tagline is: "First Come. Seconds Served."

The postcard I received from All-Clad notes only CRATE as a participating retailer in this sale, perhaps worth checking out - www.cratecook.com

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I think that for a lot of everyday tasks--boiling potatoes, boiling green beans, boiling eggs, making soup, reheating stew, poaching eggs, etc., expensive pots and pans like All-Clad are a huge waste of money. You can get a set of Revereware or Farberware, with good solid construction and heavy aluminum-disk bottoms, for well under $100. For frying, which this stuff is no good for, you can get a couple of cast-iron frying pans; if the modern Lodge don't work on your stovetop, buy an old Griswold without "fire ring"; they have perfectly flat bottoms and you can find them cheap (or ridiculously expensive if they're collectible). Buy a 10- or 12-inch non-stick skillet. I bought a perfectly nice Cuisinart for about $30 at Linens 'n' Things. I write from the perspective of recently setting up a second kitchen, and then out of the blue a third. (Yes, I had three homes, although the third was not my idea.) I've contracted to two, and now have way too much stuff. Anyway, there, you've spent less than $200 so far, and can use the rest of the budget on knives and such.

Edit: Oops, I think the non-stick skillet is KitchenAid, not Cuisinart.

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Mark Bittman had an article in the NYTimes on setting up a kitchen inexpensively last month. Unfortunately you have to pay for it now for online access, but I am sure that your local library will have the May 9, 2007 NYTimes.

He suggests going to a kitchen supply store, and finding the following:

* An 8-inch chef’s knife ($10)

* An instant-read thermometer ($5)

* Sturdy tongs ($3.50)

* Sturdy sheet pan ($6) — Bittman likes things “sturdy”

* A plastic cutting board ($6)

* A paring knife ($3)

* Japanese mandoline ($25)

* Can opener ($4)

* U-shaped vegetable peeler ($3)

* Colander ($7)

* Pots and pans:

o Small, medium, and large cast-aluminum saucepans ($30 total)

o 10-inch nonstick cast aluminum pan ($13)

o 14-inch steel-sided heavy-duty steel pan ($25)

o One lid ($5)

* Coffee/spice grinder ($10)

* Food processor ($60)

Both my kids are setting up apartments this August. Fortunately, I qualified to join Restaurant Depot as a business owner. They don't require your business to be food-related (I'm a lawyer). You can also qualify if you represent a non-profit.

Target is also an excellent resource for inexpensive quality cookware. Better quality than Wal-Mart, but not more expensive.

Or you could do what I did when I was just starting out, just buy what you need as you need it. I started out 35 years ago with one cast iron skillet and one Old Hickory carbon steel butcher knife that I still use.

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I think that for a lot of everyday tasks--boiling potatoes, boiling green beans, boiling eggs, making soup, reheating stew, poaching eggs, etc., expensive pots and pans like All-Clad are a huge waste of money.

I use my All-Clad saucier for just about everything you've listed. It is BY FAR the most used and most versatile piece of cooking equipment I own.

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The next All-Clad Seconds Sale at the Washington County Fairgrounds is Friday & Saturday, June 8 & 9, 2007. Their hours are are Friday 9am - 7pm and Saturday 9am - 4pm. Arriving early is best. Their tagline is: "First Come. Seconds Served."

The postcard I received from All-Clad notes only CRATE as a participating retailer in this sale, perhaps worth checking out - www.cratecook.com

Where is the Washington County Fairgrounds? I just got off the phone with Crate and they said their sale is in Pittsburgh, PA

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I use my All-Clad saucier for just about everything you've listed. It is BY FAR the most used and most versatile piece of cooking equipment I own.
But Revereware stainless-steel with aluminum disk bottom works perfectly well for all these tasks. You don't say which line or which size your All Clad saucier is, but if you make soup in it it has to be fairly large. Which means that your one pan cost a lot more than a whole set of Revereware. Do you cook spaghetti in it?
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But Revereware stainless-steel with aluminum disk bottom works perfectly well for all these tasks. You don't say which line or which size your All Clad saucier is, but if you make soup in it it has to be fairly large. Which means that your one pan cost a lot more than a whole set of Revereware. Do you cook spaghetti in it?

I know this thread is supposed to be about setting up a kitchen with a certain budget in mind and I'm sure that this one pan (the 2-quart runs $115 at WS) can't compete with sets of inferior cookware in price, but I would put this one piece of equipment up against more than half of what those other sets include. I don't need to mention that an 8-piece set includes 3 or 4 lids. But as far as the utilities that this one pan performs, I don't think the others can compete. Because of the sloped and the outward frayed sides (which allows for better evaporation), this pan is far superior for making sauces, stocks and reductions. I can boil veggies, then strain them and return them to the pot to saute them in butter, wine, garlic, lemon juice, etc without using another pan. I can cook pasta (not spaghetti), then return it to the pan and toss it with chicken (that I've sauteed in the pan) and a sauce. Because it's all clad (meaning, the aluminum core runs from the bottom of the pan and up the sides; not just on the bottom as the "heavy bottom" pans do) the bottom and the sides of the pan heat almost evenly to provide a better cooking environment. It retains heat better and provides a more accurate heating environment.

I could probably go on for hours listing all the tasks that I perform with this pot. All I can say is that it is the epitome of multifunctional, it's very heavy and durable, and even though it might cost 3 times what an inferior pan costs, it will last a 10 times as long as an inferior pan will.

Cook's Illustrated did a test of pans a few years ago and came to this conclusion:

JF02RatingSaucepans.pdf

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Please don't get me wrong. All-Clad pots are wonderfully high quality, and I don't mean to disparage them in any way. And Revereware and Farberware are decidedly inferior. But when someone's looking to furnish a kitchen with cookware for $350, All-Clad isn't a very practical suggestion. And no matter how versatile you find your saucier, there are going to be times when you need to do two or three things at once, and you can't do them all in one pan. As to durability: Back in 1993, I divested myself of practically everything I owned as part of an irrelevant story. Six months later, I needed to equip a kitchen from scratch, and didn't have a lot of money to do it with. Mercifully, my dear mother bought me a set of Revereware stainless, and I've been using the stuff ever since, and I see no reason to think it won't be going strong in another 15 years. I don't remember what it cost back then, but it was certainly under $100 (these sets are under that now). It includes a large pot (6 quart, I think), three successively smaller saucepans, and a skillet-shaped pan that's no good for frying but is perfectly fine for sauteeing vegetables, and is also my go-to poached-egg pan. Each pan has its own lid, except the big pot and the skillet share one. Over the years, I've added many other cooking vessels, including one All-Clad saucepan, and things have gotten shipped around to various kitchens. But that set of Revereware was almost certainly the most useful gift I ever received.

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I ended up buying a 14 pc set of Calphalon One Anodized on EBay for $400. More than I planned on spending but it is a 14 pc set and I think I got a good deal.

At home I have a set of Faberware Millenium that I've been using for the last 7 years. It was inexpensive, but I have been pretty happy with it. I also have several pieces of Mauviel copper, mainly a few different size skillets and some oval pans. I have purchased these pieces individually on Ebay as I see a good deal. I also have the egg white bowl, the tarte tatin pan and the bain marie. They are a pain to keep clean, but I use the heck out of the fry pans and I love the bain marie since I bake alot and its great for melting chocolate. I have a gas cooktop at home.

I have an online subscription to Cooks Illustrated and to be honest after reading all the reviews on saucepans, saute pans, fry pans, stainless, non stick etc etc I had a headache.

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I ended up buying a 14 pc set of Calphalon One Anodized on EBay for $400. More than I planned on spending but it is a 14 pc set and I think I got a good deal.

The best thing about buying Calphalon is that they really do guarantee them for life. I had a couple of Calphalon anodized saucepans that I used for ten or twelve years, and the anodized coating on the inside wore off to reveal the aluminum. On the advice of a Calphalon distributor I bumped into in a kitchen shop, I sent them to the company headquarters, and they sent me brand new pans to replace them, for free. I did the same thing with a dutch oven that got a little worn after being used for about ten years. Brand new one, no charge. I have since acquired All-Clads which I much prefer and use every day, but I still have a bunch of the Calphalon anodized, which I use when I've got a lot of things going at once.

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Where is the Washington County Fairgrounds? I just got off the phone with Crate and they said their sale is in Pittsburgh, PA
The fairgrounds are in Pennsylvania near the HQ of All-Clad in Canonsburg (map). It's southwest of Pittsburgh. All-Clad can be reached at 1-800-255-2523 if you need more info.
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