cookware quality

Fort Collins, CO

Currently have a top of the line Caphalon non-stick fry pan. The surfaced has failed. This is the second time. While they are willing to replace it for free (less shipping and hassle to return it) I am wondering if there is something better. Any help would be appreciated.


Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

I use only stainless steel. Well, I take that back, I have one non stick 8 inch fry pan, but as a rule I don't like it. Stainless Steel is easy to clean and easier to take care of. I don't have much problem with sticking if I use butter or canola oil/spray.

Hope this helps,

Ramona, CA(Zone 9b)

I had an All-Clad non-stick and the same thing happened. The coating started to peal off. About 6 months ago, I bought a Caphalon to replace it. I just checked and the Calphalon is starting to get worn out too. We really try to be careful with them, but pricy or cheap it seems to be a just matter of time. It would be really good to know if there is any such thing as a decent non-stick pan.

Orofino, ID(Zone 6a)

I've had my Pampered Chef glass covered skillet for at least 4yrs and use it constantly especially during tomato season for cooking down sauces, I fry, saute, brown meat + I bake in it, run it thru the dishwasher on the bottom shelf and the cooking surface is as sound as the day I got it....I use metal in it frequently to break up meats but mostly wood utensils for stirring, etc....I believe it is the Caphalon technology....I couldn't be without it....Deb

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Disintegrating non-stick coatings are toxic and I now only keep one small skillet for eggs. The rest of my cookware is stainless steel with heavy copper bottoms and a few pieces of early Caphalon before their non-stick. I also use the well-seasoned iron skillets I inherited. It pays to invest in excellent cookware, and excellent knives. With care they will last more than one lifetime.

Get some cast iron. Shop around, you can get a set of three fry pans for less than $15, and other pieces for around $10 each. Season them properly and they will be non-stick in little time.

Orofino, ID(Zone 6a)

My Gosh, there was a point to my list earlier....mine doesn't seem to have a coating and nothing has peeled on my Pampered Chef frying pan......and yes, I would also not be without my cast iron pans. I use the cast iron dutch oven for cooking down jellies, etc when canning......Deb

Nebo, KY

I sell waterless/greasless cookware. (less expensive than Calphalon). The absolute best cookware you can buy is SURGICAL stainless steel. T304 or 316. Stainless steel you buy in the stores is a very low grade of stainless steel and it will STICK. When I mention Surgical stainless steel (waterless/greaseless) it doesn't have to be the brand I sell. There are several brands out there....but not in stores. Not only is Surgical better to cook with, but is MUCH healthier! Iron is one the most unhealthiest to cook with. Yes, people like it because it cooks evenly. That is what surigical stainless steeel does....heat evenly. Glass cookware is loaded with LEAD!!!, and dangerous (unless it is baked porcelain). Aluminum in ANY fashion or form IS OUT!!! (Illegal in most countries)..................Russ

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

I don't like iron cookware; it is too heavy and I don't like the way it makes the food taste, too metalic. My cookware is WestBend MicroCore and I've had it for 20 years. It will last longer than a lifetime and is heavy. You cannot buy it in a store and I had to buy it from a salesman. 20 years ago it cost me $800. I believe it is surgical stainless steel. It is easy to clean and I can cook anything in it. IT is the waterless with the steam valves on top, although I've always used water in mine...some things are hard to change. I do not use aluminum, bad for you!

Orofino, ID(Zone 6a)

OHOH....Russ, you make me really wonder now....I use Wearever pots & pans that are easily from the 1960's if not earlier...they are aluminum I believe...I've never heard this before regarding the you know where to investigate this. My husband has sarcoidosis & I have colitis, both autoimmune diseases, my gosh, wonder if our cookware might have something to do with that????? Deb

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Deb, As an organic farmer, I've had many customers who come and buy our meats, eggs, and veggies because they have aluminum poisoning...from many sources. I would definitely look up hazards of aluminum.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

I just googled "aluminum cookware hazards". From the many sites that appeared, I can find something to support everything said above (good and bad) except the comment from ast117 stating:" Iron is one the most unhealthiest to cook with." I also find no indication that aluminum cookware is illegal, so Russ, can you please explain?

Everyone needs to decide what they are comfortable using, and act accordingly. I use Calphalon anodized aluminum (uncoated) and they are really pretty much non-stick now that they've seasoned. I just bought a Wolfgang Puck three-ply stainless omelet pan, and I haven't used it yet, but will comment when I have. Both of these choices are heavy, but not unmanageable for me. I may need to work out to start flipping in the Puck pan, but we'll see.

Darius, I'm researching knives now, what would you recommend? Price is a factor, but I'm willing to pay (gulp) for something that will last. My Mom has a carbon steel chef's knife she got in France in the 50's, and while years of sharpening have left it much narrower than it used to be, still can hold a great edge. It's hard to read all the websites and get really good info.

Any suggestions welcome.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I have 2 carbon steel knives remaining but must hide them as my sis NEVER washes and dries them right away. Most of my good knives are Henckels although I also have an 8" chef's knife touted by Alton Brown on his web site. My serrated slicer that I use only for bread and biscotti is Henckels and was around $20-25. That knife is made for buffet carving of roast beef. I also have a couple unknowns that are tomato slicers. BTW, I never buy 'sets' because there's usually 1-2 that i never use,

Orofino, ID(Zone 6a)

Kathy, thank you for the guidance....I guess I'm a cynical person...I've learned over the years to check everything out thoroughly first (plus I'm married to a retired cop who trusts nothing or noone) so I did check on line about the aluminum....I wasn't necessairly alarmed by what I read of the immediate ones that popped up but it did send up a flag....I plan on pursuing the meantime, the aluminum has been put to the back of the cabinet....Luckily I have stainless steel, also....I remember a caution earlier that using cast iron or maybe it was aluminum was somehow connected to Alzhiemers Disease and at the time we were caretaking my mother-in-law who was in the middle stages of the illness....seems I talked to her neurologist and he pooh-poohed's good to know, tho, and we are not always told the truth by the powers that be......Deb

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

deb, there has been a LOT of controversy in the medical community about whether aluminum found in the brain tissue of some Alzheimer's patients was due to cooking with aluminum, drinking pop from aluminum cans, or even if it is a cause of Alzheimer's.

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

I just read an article t hat said that they haven't proven a link between aluminum and alzheimer's. Also, someone said that iron pans are bad for you. I'm not sure that has been proven either. I've heard they are good because they put needed iron into your system, but I can't get past the "tinny" taste.

I haven't had soda in over a year because of the MSG and the aspartame. I was at Wild Oats and saw totally organic soda without MSG and made with raw cane sugar, so I bought a 4 pack. IT was a mango lime or something and I had had it in a bottle a few weeks earlier and loved it. Well, the one in the can was so tinny that I could not drink it. So perhaps my body is used to not having that in my body now and that's why I could taste it. It was just more than I could handle.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Yeah, my stomach gets more touchy about some things as I continue to improve the foods and beverages I now consume.

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Darius, I find I am "sensitive" to so many foods now and my tastes have gotten rather bland. Since I started insulin a few weeks ago, I find that sweets are not as appealing to me either (not that I had a lot of them before), but my appetite is changing. That's's all good. How are you feeling anyhow...? I leave next week for Honduras for 12 days...I've been taking so many shots and medications, I feel like a human pharmacy...ha, ha.

:) Kathy

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

Hi, Darious and everyone else.

Ah, a subject dear to my heart: pots & pans. I represent no commercial interest. Cooking pots have the same attraction on me that electric tools and sport cars have on most other men. I cannot resist cookware displays and I am quick to determine which pot is good and which one is a poor product.

I have been cooking with nothing but Lagostina pots (18/10 stainless steel) since 1980. All in all, I think I own 3 sets of pots and pans plus a couple large pasta/soup pots. The bottom is about 3/4 inches thick. I do not so much as own a non-stick cooking pan.

In my own opinion and contrary to popular belief, stainless pots and pans or frying pans DO NOT stick. People who don't use them properly make them stick.

When cooking with a stainless steel implement, never use more than 3/4 of the maximum setting on your burner, a bit less for gas stoves. Use a thin layer of cooking spray before you put the pan on the fire and away you go. Use full strength heat on those poor babies and you'll be sure to have sticking. I find I can make a paella in them and not have one grain of rice stick. They are truly amazing.

It is absolutely impossible to make a good fond when sautťing in a non-stick frying pan so what are you going to deglaze when the time comes? Nothing, that's what.

Another thing: do not wash pots and pans in your leftover dishwater. Empty the sink and clean them with an SOS pad, rinse well and dry it immediately. I tell you, that Lagostina set still looks brand new after more than 25 years of intensive use.

Once in a while (3 or 4 times a year), you should take your clean pan and use some of that specialized cleaner on them to keep them sparkling. You'll be amazed at the beautiful finish that is restored on your stainless steel pots with that powder. The best stainless steel is sold under the name of Cameo and Publix stocks it.

Take care and happy cooking.

Nebo, KY

OK!! So now I've heard from some of's my turn again. LOURSPOLAIRE...your 18/10 stainless steel is a much higher grade than what you find in stores. What everyone should know is.....The higher the numbers - the lower the grade of stainless steel. After 18/10 (not sold in stores) came T304. The higher grade of stainless steel is waterlesss/greaseless (and easy to clean) because it is virtually non-porous.

MISTY MEADOWS....the iron in "iron cookware" is not what your body is a different type of iron. There are some people that cannot use iron cookware because of allergies, etc.

CATMAD....think about it....iron cookware is EXTREMELY porous...that is why you have to ...use oils or your food sticks...cure it. the "scaly" stuff that builds up on iron cookware is your food cooking back & forth through the iron. If you have your Grandma's iron skillet for cornbread, so yours will taste like grandma' probably is Grandma's cornbread that has cooked back & forth (lol)! Try this test.....Spray only one side of your iron cookware with oven cleaner and see how fast it gets to the non-spray side. Also, you may want to check overseas websites for illegal aluminum cookware (because of the health hazards). Start with South Africa. I will try to find link for you about aluminum cookware overseas.


MISTY MEADOWS...your West Bend cookware is one of the original waterless/greasless cookware. What you paid $800 for back then is now approximately $2400! You made a great purchase and it is still under lifetime warranty. If you use water in it, you are still cooking healthier than store bought cookware.

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Russ, I really don't know all that much about iron cookware, just what I've been told. I've never owned an iron skillet and never intend to, I just don't like my food tasting like iron!

I love my cookware and how nice to know what it is worth now. They told us when we bought it that we could actually will it to someone because it would virtually last forever. The pans when spiffed up look brand new after 20 years. Now the handles, well they aren't anything to write home about and probably not warrantied...I've lost one and they are quite heavy pans. I can barely hold the largest pan now with my old lady hands...ha, ha. But I do love the way they cook and clean and I don't think I've ever burnt anything in them.

:) Kathy

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

ast117 wrote;"Also, you may want to check overseas websites for illegal aluminum cookware (because of the health hazards). Start with South Africa. I will try to find link for you about aluminum cookware overseas."

Okay, I've looked, and can't find anything (other than indications that aluminum cookware is manufactured in SA), so I'd appreciate more info. What you actually wrote was;

" Aluminum in ANY fashion or form IS OUT!!! (Illegal in most countries)...Russ"

I'm quite fond of my anodized aluminum Calphalon, so I really am interested.

I'm not sure what your point is about the porosity of cast iron (which I will concede), could you clarify the dangers?

Okay, Stainless Steel cookware. Williams-Sonoma has this in it's listing for All-Clad

"All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware

An aluminum core ensures fast, efficient heat conduction. Exteriors crafted of magnetic 18/0 stainless steel (essential for induction cooktops). Interiors are polished 18/10 stainless steel."

I could put in the 18/10 listings for Macy's and even WalMart, and the different high-end brands that claim it, but I guess there's something different about the 18/10 you a refering to? Again, can you help me understand?

I really would like to know. Like Sylvain, I am very "into" cookware, and now that I have a HUGE kitchen and tons of storage, I'd really like to understand what's what before I put out money.
BTW, All-Clad isn't in the budget :)

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Cat, If you could find this West Bend Micro Cook Stainless Steel cookware that I have, you would probably be very satisfied. I don't even know how to get in touch with a rep anymore, but perhaps contacting West Bend. It is called waterless cookware in that you put your food in without water and food cooks itself through steam. Each of these pans are vented on the top. You cook for 15 minutes with the valve open and then turn the heat off, close the valve, and it finishes cooking. I've not been good about doing it that way, but the cookware is awesome.

:) Kathy

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Hi Kathy :)

I'm looking, but nothing so far. I'm interested, so I'll pursue the search, one never knows where it'll pop up.....

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

How about this? The pictures didn't come thru, but the bottom is marked T 304 surgical stainless 9 element in a circle, inside the circle it says waterless greaseless and there are 9 stars, 5 in top row 4 in bottom. No manufacturer is listed.

Waterless Cookware

Family "sized" Set

Set Includes:

2 qt. Saucepan with Cover

4 qt. Saucepan with Cover

8 qt. Dutch Oven with Pasta Insert/Steamer, Colander & Cover

9 1/2" Skillet with Cover

11" Skillet with Cover

13 3/8" Skillet with Cover

All Items are Surgical Stainless Steel and features a Mirror Finish on the outside & a Satin Finish on the Inside! All Items come with a limited Lifetime Warranty!

When You Buy From Me You are Buying From an experienced Cookware Salesperson. I started Selling Very Similar Cookware at Home Demonstration Parties over 20 years ago. Iíve also sold Waterless Cookware at State Fairs! What this means is, I can answer practically any question you may have about waterless cooking, unlike most! Well, all thatís behind me now & I simply sell the Best Cookware on the internet market Today! Where Else Can You Find this quality at such low prices? This Set includes a very highly Demanded Thermometer on each Cover to Help Regulate Cooking Temperature! If Youíre looking for the Best & you donít want to pay those State Fair & Home Demonstration Prices youíve come to the right place! I ship only to PayPal verified addresses unless paying with a Postal Money Order. Your new Cookware will ship within three business days via UPS or USPS. As soon as the funds are in my PayPal Account.


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So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Anodized aluminum like the caphalon has a molecular coating in the anodizing that prevents the 'normal' reaction to the aluminum. I have a few pieces of it and like it a lot.

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Wish I could see the picture. My camera is not charged up right now or I would send you a picture. IF I can soon, I will. Sounds like it could be the same thing. I have a 4 qt, 2 qt, 1 qt, 12 inch skillet, 10 inch skillet, 4 qt dutch oven, a pizza pan, and griddle. I didn't get the pasta cooker that was available at the time because I thought I'd never use it, but I've bought a stainless steel one since.

:) Kathy

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Similar, but mine has a multicore system on the bottom of each pan. It is an enclosed core that helps to evenly heat the food. I have black handles and mine looks heavier than this set. I don't have the colander pan :( and my handles are different.

Just got back from the farmers market so will try to get a pic tomorrow and send it.

:) K
Edited to say this is very similar to mine.

This message was edited Oct 9, 2007 11:08 PM

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

MistyMeadows wrote;"mine has a multicore system on the bottom of each pan"

Yeah, this says it has 9 layers of stuff in the base :).
Don't worry about the pictures, I was just curious if it was the same kind of thing. I'm seriously considering it....


Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

It appears to be the same, but in 20 years, they've changed the style a bit..;) I'd go for it because we really love ours and it really is easy to clean. When I had my demo, they came and made dinner for us in the cookware and we got to keep the ones they used (brand new)..

:) Kathy

Nebo, KY

There are several brands of waterless/greasless cookware on the market (BUT NOT IN STORES!!) The only place you can buy this VERY high grade of surgical stainless steel (T304) is at a Home/Garden Show or have someone come into your home. IT MUST BE DEMONSTRATED. Even though I sell this high grade, it does not mean that I have the best! I can tell you that you cannot go wrong with any of the brands.....Healthcraft, KitchenCraft, Royal Prestige, Saladmaster, Cookworld, Platinum, Pro-Health.......just to name a few. THEY ARE ALL VERY HIGH QUALITY COOKWARE. Yes, the initail cost is expensive, but you have a lifetime guarantee that makes up for it. Plus the savings on grocery costs AND IS EXTREMELY EASY TO CLEAN. If anyone is interested in seeing the presentation (NO OBLIGATION) let me know what area you are in and I will locate someone for you.

Oakland, CA(Zone 9b)

FYI - My SmartMoney magazine has a quickie "snapshot" column each month comparing various consumer items in a "Best Buy vs Worst Buy" comparison. They listed the 10pc Williams-Sonoma 18/10 cookware at $700 as a best buy vs the Calphalon 1 nonstick 10pc for $600 as the worst buy.

Their explanation was that the Calphalon nonstick didn't last more than five years, so wasn't worth the money.

If you do like non-stick - and yes, there are some that do - Meyer is one of the best yet least expensive. It's also made in the US. Non-stick cookware won't last forever, so when it starts to get scratched up, toss it out and buy another.

The point about the waterless cookware needing to be used on moderate heat - Le Creuset also says the same thing, BTW - is something that has escaped many people's notice on the "other" kitchen forum as they relentlessly chase the Stove With The Highest BTU Count. Truth is, most cooking is done at moderate or low heat. A stove that has a good simmer is more important than chasing a couple thousand extra BTU's.

Missouri City, TX

Isn't that the truth! I remember the stoves of the '50's that had a deep well - the burner could be turned to VERY low - much lower than most of today's rangetops. A stew or soup or stockpot could stay warm all day.

Reminicent of the old wood stoves. Always a pot of water or well ready to go.

Oh, I know, that's why they make crockpots and slowcookers, now.
Something else to clean and store, eh?

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

Oh, Jkom51 has hit upon one of my pet peeves: Le Creuset cookware, enameled cast iron! Those pots weigh a ton (empty) and much more when full. I used to have a full set of those and I gave them away when I moved from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale, only keeping the italian 18/10 stainless steel.

The person who got them couldn't beleive her luck: a free Le Creuset set. I couldn't believe it either: a golden occasion to get rid of those awful pots. Talk about weight lifting! Plus, the handles are built into the pot so whenever you want to lift a cover of carry a pot, you need your oven mits. That's an accident waiting to happen.

Little known fact here: once a Le Creuset starts sticking after being exposed to too much heat, it will stick for life, meaning it will stick forever. Also, the glaze will crackle on the inside and look awful. My friend who got the Le Creuset has since given them away to another unsuspecting person.


San Tan Valley, AZ(Zone 9b)

Does anyone know anything about or ever heard of Swiss Diamond cookware? My wife heard something about it and thought it might be worth a little reasearch. This thread seems like the right place to start.

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

Dann_L, I ran a very quick Google search on Swiss Diamond cookware. Follow this link to see a consumer fraud alert concerning that Swiss Diamonds line of products:

Please take the time to read the whole article and make up your own mind.

I will add that diamonds, the hardest substance known to man, are not indestructible. You can destroy a diamond in a matter of seconds with an open flame from say, a candle. It's crystalline carbon: it is very easily set on fire. As it burns, it turns into extremely expensive carbon dioxyde. So much for indestructibility. Similar claims of unsinkability were made about the Titanic. You know the rest.

I hope this helps you in your quest for the perfect cookware.


San Tan Valley, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks Sylvain.
I ran across that same site last night. The evidence presented would be hard to dispute. Swiss Diamond is not coming to my house!

New York, NY

Random responses based on 25 years as a professional chef:

Aluminum-I have yet to see a definite answer to the health hazards of aluminum cookware. I can tell you that my rough estimate is that 90% of all cookware in restaurants is aluminum. Why? Cheap. Tough. LIGHTWEIGHT. You spend six hours hoisting some Allclad saute pans. The best compromise I ever found was aluminum saute pans with a stainless lining. I forget who made them, probably Wearever, but they were great.

Le Creuset- If you are cracking the enamel on these babies, you are abusing them. I have seen Le Creuset cookware that has been in daily service for decades. Dont get an empty one blazing hot. Heat it slowly and then add your ingredients. They are, without any question, the very best things for making stews, pot roasts, etc.

Stainless- stainless without a conductive sandwich on the bottom is going to scorch. Stainless steel is, along with cast iron, among the very worst conductors of heat. Ask any chef. Better yet, ask any physicist.

The Best: Nothing is as good as the heavy copper sauce pans lined with stainless that I bought twenty-five years ago at the auction of the old Roosevelt Hotel. Cook like a dream, nothing sticks, look gorgeous. Only downside: my 1.5 qt. saucepan weighs (and I just put it on my digital pastry scale) more than 3 lbs. Empty. So full youre looking at 5 lbs. How did they ever move the big pots around? Simple. There were rails hung from the ceiling. Chain hoists clamped on the handles and away they went.

The Answer: Go to Costco. They sell a 14 or maybe 18 piece set of cookware that works perfectly. Stainless steamers and lids. I believe they are anodized aluminum. I have used them for five years, and only now is the saute pan, which has seen very hard use, starting to stick. But they show no signs of any Teflon flaking off.

Closing, somewhat nasty, remark: When I was a boy, the best carpenter I ever saw told me that a good craftsman never blames his tools. Learn to use what you have properly. Of course, if what you have is absolute garbage from the hardware store, punch holes in the bottoms and use them for planters.

PS: Last time I looked, the ENTIRE SET at Costco was under $200.
PPS: Before I decided to make an honest living, I owned a catering company. We bought one of those sets when we opened, and used it till we closed the doors, and never had one problem. And we beat the stuffing out of them.

Orofino, ID(Zone 6a)

ScallionBoy, This is exactly why DG's members are the very best. We all have similiar interests but different experiences. Thank you very much for your input. I have looked longingly at those pots & pans at Costco...think I will break down and purchase them.......thank you again.....Deb

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