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Outfitting the home kitchen: cookware

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Milhouse, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. Milhouse

    Milhouse Senior member

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    I thought it would be interesting to discuss what you consider to be necessary for a well stocked home kitchen. Things like materials, places to save money versus spend more, etc are important points to make.

    For this thread, let's discuss cookware choices.

    Here is what I consider important:

    1 large stockpot, Al or stainless, 12 or 16 quart
    1 small stockpot, Al or stainless 8 quart
    1 cast iron dutch oven, 4 quart
    1 cast iron skillet, 12 inch
    1 stainless saute pan, 12 inch or so
    2 or 3 small sauce pans, 2 quart, I usually use Al
    1 braiser pan (real wide but low pot), Al, I use this to roast all kinds of stuff, mine is from a restaurant supplier, and it will hold a normal sized turkey. Also great to roast bones and veggie trimmings to make stock.

    A grill pan can be nice too.

    I'm horrible at baking, so I don't really know what to suggest as far as loaf pans, cake pans, etc. Suggestions would be good.

    Also, is a copper sauce pan worth purchasing?

    Anything else?
     
  2. BrianVarick

    BrianVarick Senior member

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    I am looking into buying some decent stuff. What are some of the nicer brands of the cookware world?
     
  3. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    I am looking into buying some decent stuff. What are some of the nicer brands of the cookware world?

    All-Clad
    Le Creuset
     
  4. Milhouse

    Milhouse Senior member

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    Personally, a lot of the stuff (stockpots, braising pan, some of the sauce pans) are from restaurant supply stores. No idea what brand they are, but they take a beating.

    Lodge makes good cast iron. All Clad makes good sauce pans, saute pans, etc, but, I find their handles to be a bit awkward to hold. I've noticed a lot of consumer brands seem to be competing with All Clad by having better handles.
     
  5. BrianVarick

    BrianVarick Senior member

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    All-Clad
    Le Creuset


    I was hoping for some quality stuff that is less expensive but still a good buy.
     
  6. edmorel

    edmorel Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    All-Clad
    Le Creuset


    these are good, I've had my all clad ltd's for about 15 years. Always thinking about getting Mauviels (very good copper pans) but the all clads do their job fine and it would seem wrong to gte rid of them after so many years.
     
  7. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    I was hoping for some quality stuff that is less expensive but still a good buy.

    I still recommend these, but don't buy the 27 piece set. A big pot, a little pot, and the 2/$50 Calphalon non-stick fry pans from Bed Bath and Beyond will get you quite far.
     
  8. Johnny_5

    Johnny_5 Senior member

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    Yesterday, I saw a 10 piece set of Calphalons at Bed Bath and Beyond for like $199.
     
  9. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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    stuff that i actually use, ALL of the time:

    1. cast-iron griddle (round...flat bottom [non ribbed])
    2. enameled cast-iron dutch oven (~5qt)
    3. cladded stainless steel saucier/chefs pan 3qt. (chefs pan is a curved sauce pan)
    4. cladded stainless steel sauce pan 3qt.
    5. cladded stainless steel 12qt saute pan.

    all have similar material handles so all are safe to go in oven


    no need for aluminum or non-stick anything. i have big stock pots, other dutch ovens, woks, etc, but if i had to re-stock a kitchen from scratch that is how i would start
     
  10. Milhouse

    Milhouse Senior member

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    ^I'd be pretty lost without a stockpot of some sort.
     
  11. syn

    syn Active Member

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    Check out the Saveur Top 100. They've got a bunch of recommendation for cookware and kitchen tools. It's interspersed among various other culinary favorites so you'll have to look through the 4 pages, but there's definitely some great recommendations in there.
     
  12. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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    ^I'd be pretty lost without a stockpot of some sort.

    depends on your household size i suppose.

    i only use stockpot (5 gal) for making stock... which is 1/month; and beer... which is 1/2*month

    i get away with using the sauce pan or saucier for soups and boiling up to triple servings of pasta. all stews and such the enameled dutch oven handles
     
  13. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    because of my job, i have probably "de-accessioned" more stuff than most cooks have bought. i think your initial list is spot-on, though i'd add a couple of restaurant-supply nonstick skillets, a gratin dish and a roasting pan. one thing i have learned is that quality lasts and it's always a good idea to buy the best you can find. This stuff isn't that expensive (in the bespoke clothing line of things) and it will, literally, last a lifetime. I've tried lots of pots and pans and nothing comes close to all-clad. my saute pan is 25 years old with almost daily use and will easily last another 25. that said, buying all-clad stockpots is a waste ... plain aluminum from the restaurant supply is fine. be sure the smaller one comes with colander and steamer. shop carefully and pick them up a piece or two at a time (NEVER buy a full set of pans or knives ... you' just end up storing half of them). i've found good buys on all-clad on ebay (the stainless steel is plenty good enough ... brushed stainless if you can find it is even cheaper, though i believe it's been discontinued). Le Creuset i've found at Marshalls, and also at Tuesday Morning, if they have those wehre you live. haven't priced them on ebay. i imagine shipping would be a ton.
     
  14. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    FWIW, Williams-Sonoma has a big All-Clad stockpot with pasta and steamer inserts for $149. The outside walls aren't the thick 3-layer deal, just the bottom. Hence the major price difference.
     
  15. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    uhm, at the risk of wearing out my welcome here (and i do hope someone will pm me if this is inappropriate), i just happened to do a piece last week on gifts of kitchen equipment for beginning, moderate and advanced cooks. i intended it as the start of a conversation (argument?), so feel free to ridicule. just nobody make fun of my One Shoe.
     
  16. Milhouse

    Milhouse Senior member

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    uhm, at the risk of wearing out my welcome here (and i do hope someone will pm me if this is inappropriate), i just happened to do a piece last week on gifts of kitchen equipment for beginning, moderate and advanced cooks. i intended it as the start of a conversation (argument?), so feel free to ridicule. just nobody make fun of my One Shoe.

    Good piece. A lot of interesting points. Simple things like the mortar and pestle can make such a huge improvement to food because they prompt the use of fresh spices rather than pre-ground.

    Again, I'm really bad at baking, so I've resisted a scale for quite some time now. I should probably get one and see if that doesn't help make my baking better. It is so strange that I'm bad at baking since I always rocked in the bio/chem lab. Maybe it comes down to having the right tools.
     
  17. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    i'm bad at baking, too. i think it's a matter of personality. i hate mixing something and then having to wait a half-hour to see if it turned out. i like to taste and adjust along the way.
     
  18. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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    FWIW, Williams-Sonoma has a big All-Clad stockpot with pasta and steamer inserts for $149. The outside walls aren't the thick 3-layer deal, just the bottom. Hence the major price difference.
    With the cooking that's done in stock pots (BOILING) full clad really is not necessary FYI equipment used in restaurants that serves 10-200$ meals look like these aluminum dudes: [​IMG] I prefer stainless steel for my at-home "top 5" equipment because of increased mass (heat retention), relatively lower conductivity (more forgiving of quick temp changes), and shiny looks... but if I need anything else I would just pick one up from local commercial kitchen supply store
     
  19. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    With the cooking that's done in stock pots (BOILING) full clad really is not necessary





    FYI equipment used in restaurants that serves 10-200$ meals look like these aluminum dudes:
    [​IMG]


    just be sure that they are not unlined aluminum. those are fine for lots of things, but if you're going to be cooking with acidic ingredients (tomatoes, wine, etc.), not a good idea. they'll add a weird color to the food.
     
  20. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    uhm, at the risk of wearing out my welcome here (and i do hope someone will pm me if this is inappropriate), i just happened to do a piece last week on gifts of kitchen equipment for beginning, moderate and advanced cooks. i intended it as the start of a conversation (argument?), so feel free to ridicule. just nobody make fun of my One Shoe.

    great articles so far. Keep poasting.
     

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