Does anybody have a favourite brand? I use glass ones, but DH hates them with a passion, although they are the easiest things to clean, and I keep telling him he has to use a lower heat setting---anywho, since he does 90% of the cooking, I guess we can get him some stainless steel ones. My Mom has had hers for 40 years. Everytime I buy one the knobs and handles fall off after a few months.
I think a decent set of pots is a worthwhile investment for the kitchen. I use Demeyer Sirocco, which are stainless steel, for regular cooking. For casseroles and stews I use Le Creuset. Both of which are terrible expensive, but I figure I will buy them once and not replace them for at least a dozen years.
I didn't buy the more usual All-Clad or Calphalon because I hate the way the handles are attached with a rivet. I prefer the handles to be welded on which they are on the Demeyeres.
I have a set of Copco stainless steel cookware and enamel ware that I've had for decades.
Look for heavy (thick) bottoms on the stainless to avoid scorching.
We have some Lodge cast iron skillets too. I'm currently looking for an iron/enamel pan or griddle to use for pancakes. The enamel will be practically non-stick if you avoid metal utensils to avoid scratching the surface.
We have a few Visions glass saucepans, but even at the lower heat setting, they haven't performed as well as the stainless or enamelware.
If you can, copper bottomed pans are the best I've found. I've used everything from the "newest" non-stick, aluminum, cast iron, glass, the flexible bakers, stainless steel, "professional" cookware (singly and in sets), the old fashioned heavy duty blue speckled pots, terra cotta pots, clay pots, farberware, pretty much all of it but what I've realized in my quest for the perfect kitchen equipment for cooking: Mom's ancient copper bottomed pots, hands down, are the best for everything. They distribute heat exceedingly well and evenly, and everything I've cooked in them (unless it's my fault :P) has turned out exactly as it should. :) Hope that helps, it's just my humble opinion, but so far, they have been excellent. If you treat them right, the require minimal upkeep/cleaning of the copper bottoms. :)
The old style copper bottomed stainless steel pots were wonderful. Unforturnately, many of the newer ones I've seen do not have the heavy bottoms that my mom's set had in the '60's. I agree that copper bottom cookware is great if it still has the needed weight to it.
For years we have used stainless, its up there. But our favorite is cast iron, from Lodge, then we got an off brand at Sams then we came across a Wolfgang Puck. This year Sams has a store brand for under$39. I started with a French one in 00 for $379. Now I usually pay under $40 for a 5 or 6 qt. Theres nothing like it. They are not for warming up, they are for cooking.
To me, the cast iron is the best of all.. I have pots, fryers, boilers, cake,loaf, waffle iron(non electric) and just about any other kind or shape you can think of..lol Been collecting since I was around 12 years old...With good seasoned cast iron you don't need an extra non-stick..I have thru the years used many others and still have them.. The stainless steel copper bottomed pans are good.
my favorite pot in the whole world is a great big Scanpan i bought new in the box at a thrift store. i was so thrilled with it that i researched on google and found they are big time expensive. amazon has them. i hope to get more of them some day, but i'll have to be content with the one for now.
for all my other pots, i've had a set of Farberware for years. the bottoms are heavy stainless as opposed to the copper and i actually like them better.
amazon has a whole "store" devoted to them. they also have their own website, but i would think amazon to be cheaper and free shipping too. the pot i have is 13" across and 6" high not including handles and lid. i don't even know if they make that size anymore. it sure is great for soups, stews, etc.
10 inch cast iron skillet pan for omelets. 17 inch cast iron skillet for frying chicken. Cast iron skillet for frying onions and sausage. 20 qt stainless stockpots with heavy aluminum clad bottoms for turkey soup and making large batches of tomato sauce. Misc stainless pots for vegies. Stainless skillet for stir frying vegetables. Kuhn Rikon Durotherm cookware for cook and serve in same pot and energy savings and for well regulated simmering/slow cooking on Cadco/Broilking cast iron electric side burner . Crockpots for cook and serve. Electric tea kettle for hot water and energy savings. Stainless tray for making pizza on the grill.
Ahhh! Cast iron with enamelware. Duh! (smacks forehead), now I get it. Yes, I have an enameled cast iron dutch oven from Copco that I inherited from my mom. I didn't realize that Lodge was enameling their pots now. I need an enameled iron skillet. Now I know how to use the bday gift cards I received last month. Thank you for the inspiration.
Sorry, garden mermaid, but yes thats right enamelware on the inside. Ive turned the $350 one a bit brown but the other several are like new. I mean on the inside, the outside on all are like new. The main thing is the ones at Sams for $30 to $40 are the same as the La Crueset, except theyre not from France. Is that Cosco?
Many, many years ago I had a set of enameled cast iron, by Copco. Over the years, all the porcelain inside not only browned, but crazed. Eventually I tossed all of it except one pot I use to male black beans. I do have a limited edition Copco (or could be Le Cruset) piece that's an unusual shaped pot for the oven. The handle is not oven proof so I seldom use it.
I bought the enameled cast iron cookware from Sportsman's Guide, a close-out vendor (similar to Overstock.com). I wanted a single large stewpot and didn't want to pay Le Creuset prices for something I only use occasionally.
SG had a 6-1/2 qt for $69.97 - I'm a member so got a small discount and free shipping. With no tax as well, it was an excellent buy. I've owned it for two years and been very happy with it. Cleans up beautifully and I can't see any difference between mine and my niece's Le Creuset ware which cost much more.
Right now they have some stewpots, skillet sets, and mixed sets available, although some are only in blue. Descriptions are first, then prices and availability are shown at the bottom of the screen, so keep scrolling down!
My main cookware is always non-stick, and I prefer the new Circulon. I know Scanpan and Anolon also get pretty good marks from what folks have posted on the Gardenweb Kitchen and Cooking forums.
The Copco enameled cast iron dutch oven that I have is about 50 years old and is used weekly. There was another larger one in the set, but the cook (at our family business) would insist on pouring cold water into a hot pan, so needless to say it cracked the enamel and the pot had to be tossed. My mom put the rest of the pans aside for family use only. My stainless steel cookware is Copco, as is the enameled fondue pot. All of my Copco pieces were made in Denmark. When I searched for the Copco website, I only found tea kettles and storage, or heavy duty equipement (atlas copco). So I guess they have discontinued marketing their own enameled cookware. I did see a note that Mario Battali's enamelware is made by Copco.
Great suggestions. I would love to use cast iron, I have every size of cast iron frying pans. DH is a good cook, but a rough one...the reason he has such a hard time with my glass pots is that he has this need to cook everything on high! He's even hard on my cast iron frying pans.
Which one takes longer to cook for you, the smooth or the rough?
I use a 14 inch uncoated (but seasoned) Lodge cast iron skillet to carmelize the onions when I am making onion soup. If I used high heat, it would burn everything to a crisp. I wonder if the type of stove or manufacturer of the pan makes the difference? Are you using gas or electric?
I think the smoothness is just a difference in the quality of the castings. I don't think there is any difference in the time to cook. I rarely cook on high but there are times that I do. I was stirring the onions constantly. I wouldn't leave it on high and walk away.
I use the cast iron on propane. I use my stainless on propane or the electric side burner.
I love my cast iron. Seems I'm the only one in my family who did, so my grandma gave me all of hers. NOW everyone wants my cast iron (seasoned beautifully, I might add). My MIL bought the entire set of Rachel Ray enameled cast iron in a very pretty blue to match her Fiestaware. I'm the only one who has used it. Apparently, it's been willed to me, lol.
I have good, old, plain cast iron frying pans, stoneware baking dishes and stainless steel, heavy copper bottomed sauce pots/pasta pots.
They don't seem to have the same one now. The 50 qrt pot they have now has a stainless trivet for steaming which is a nice option. Mine has none.
50 qrt is on the large size. I don't use it very often. It stays on the floor and stores papper bags when not in use. My 20 qrt stainless pot gets a lot of use, They have a couple of 24 qrt pots, one for $60 which looks like a nice pot.
Their twelve quart pot has a 101/4 inch diameter. The round stainless 11 quart stainless steam table inserts fit nicely in my twleve quart pot making a nice double boiler (without handles on the insert). http://www.surfasonline.com/productlines/152.cfm
Thanks for those links zeuspaul. I've been looking for some larger stainless stockpots as I cook for ~20 people every few weeks and need something larger than the standard home size but smaller than the huge pots I've been borrowing from the conference center kitchen, without needing a mortgage to pay for the pot.
Cast iron for gumbos, stews, and certain other things. Scanpans are great except for the frying pan you'd use to cook eggs - it burned everything. The best pots you can get are from Lustre Craft/ Kitchen Craft. You can put vegetables in the pot with no water or anything, heat it up until you close the vent, then take it off the fire and it'll keep cooking another 15 minutes. None of your vitamins are lost in this cooking process - also, none of the FLAVOR is lost. There isn't a lifetime gaurantee, there's a forever gaurantee - if you great-grandchildren bring a distributor one damaged 100 years from now, they will give you a brand new one free. And they've been around almost 100 years. You'd think it's crazy, but what people actually cook or bake their food in is usually what they pay the LEAST attention to in their whole kitchen. $3,000 stove - $3 pot! What you think actually cooks the food???
I trained to give the demonstrations in 2005 & went all around the country with them & heard not one complaint. But I literally heard hundreds of people that had their pots 10, 25, even over 50 years praise them as still cooking better than anything you could buy today. Besides that, the little time I worked there - I dealt with the nicest, most helpful, encouraging, and respectful people I have ever been associated with. I was also a culinary & dietetics major, before I left college to run my gourmet produce business on my farm, sine I've got #4 on the way.
By the way, they are definitely not cheap. You can find them at home shows, RV shows, health shows,etc. The demonstration is designed to be an interesting show to watch & to get you to hopefully buy (but what they're saying is really true & not some shtick). But, I really swear - they are more than worth every penny. This is cookwear that you leave your favorite grandchild thatloves to cook in your will - along with that 100 year old gumbo or jambalaya pot...
I have a soapstone pot that I love. It's very heavy; full of food it weighs about 25 lbs. But it heats up quickly and also retains heat well; it's great for slow cooking, either in the oven or on the stovetop and is wonderful for things like stews and soups and cassoulets. I always forget how much it holds - probably about five to eight quarts. I keep it out on my stove so it's handy and easy to use. One of the things that tickles me about it is that we have a carved handle to a soapstone pot that we found when digging in the garden - a souvenir of the people who lived on the knoll by our river thousands of years ago. The Indians used soapstone (steatite) before they developed a pottery technology, although we find lots of clay potsherds, too. I like the fact that we are using the same material that was employed so long ago on the same site!