What Cookware Is the Best?

 

Spilling over from Susan’s post on Kamala’s recent cookware purchases is a minor debate on what cookware works the best, for what purpose, and at what price. @doctorrobert, @kedavis, and @jimmcconnell have already commented. But what do you think? I suppose I started the digression with this comment:

I confess to you, I have one of these. I’ve only used it once to fry a single egg. I told my wife before l’affaire Kamala that she might as well start using it — we’re not getting any younger.

Mauviel Copper M'200 CI Fry Pan

Mauviel Copper M’200 CI Fry Pan

Select : 12″

$435  (It was much cheaper when I bought it.)

Williams-Sonoma many years ago. Up ’til now it’s just been too special to use.

What is your favorite skillet, chicken fryer, or saucepan?

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  1. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Most of our cookware is Thermo Core stainless steel that Mrs. Tabby bought before she even met me. So it has been in daily use for more than forty years on both gas and electric (glass top) ranges. It’s heavy enough for even heat distribution, and the bottom stays flat, which we find important on our current glass top electric range. We did replace the plastic handles on some of the pans about five years ago. 

    • #31
  2. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Percival (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Yer all a buncha feebs.

    Right. All you need is a cast iron Dutch oven, it’s do anything that’s worth doing, including great cornbread.

    Toss in a cast iron skillet, and you are pretty much done.

    Luddite.

    What do you make your crêpes in?  You know, as with other things collectible, one finds oneself always looking for the best of a type for a certain use.  For me perhaps it became a small mania.  The best pistol for bear.  The best boots for everyday wear.  The best violin, or scythe, or skillet.  I know I can’t drive a really good sports car to its performance limits, but on the other hand I can drive a good car better than I can drive a poor one.

    Long ago a friend told me of the story when he was racing for pink slips.  I forget what he drove but it was a big family car like an Impala or something.  He did have double four-barrel carburetion under the hood, at the very least, but he had a stock hood.  One night he pulled up to the Dairy Queen in his old Impala and got once again ribbed for his family car with its skinny tires.  He got mad and he raced, and I think shifting into fourth his driver’s seat ripped out of the floor and he had to finish the race reclining on his back.  But he still won.  So the story went.  And I’ve never forgotten the moral of the story.  It’s not what you drive but how well you know it.

    I have cookware that out perform my talents, and that I can never make full use of.  But still, I can cook better in them than in a thin stainless steel skillet.  And they’re shiny.

    • #32
  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Oooh, shiny!

    • #33
  4. Norm McDonald Bought The Farm Inactive
    Norm McDonald Bought The Farm
    @Pseudodionysius

    Flicker (View Comment):

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    EHerring (View Comment):

    I love to cook single eggs in a small cast iron skillet I inherited from my great aunts.

    Cast iron has stood the test of centuries. And it’s not uncommon to find a used cast iron skillet that is a hundred years old. About your eggs: Scrambled or fried?

    And do you wash it with soap? Just curious.

    Noooooo!

    I like your passion.

    Feed the fork, Luke.

    • #34
  5. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Norm McDonald Bought The Farm (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    EHerring (View Comment):

    I love to cook single eggs in a small cast iron skillet I inherited from my great aunts.

    Cast iron has stood the test of centuries. And it’s not uncommon to find a used cast iron skillet that is a hundred years old. About your eggs: Scrambled or fried?

    And do you wash it with soap? Just curious.

    Noooooo!

    I like your passion.

    Feed the fork, Luke.

    I believe that a good skillet, properly handled, will protect you from any pistol bullet under .50.

    • #35
  6. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Not cookware, but prompted by “we’re not getting any younger, ” so we might as well use it is our Wedgwood China. Since realizing that neither of our kids had any interest in inheriting it, we decided we might as well use it, and not save it for special occasions. We even (horrors!) Put it in the dishwasher.

    Wedgewood?  I’m not familiar with Wedgewood.  Is it that snowy white china with matte colored reliefs?  If it’s what I think it is, you’re living high daily.  One of the benefits of old age.  I like simple white Corel plates, but every month my wife or I say, we really should be using the china inherited from my grandmother, marked Heinrich & Co. SELB Bavaria Germany U.S. ZONE.  But it’s not dishwasher or microwave safe.

    • #36
  7. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Most of our cookware is Thermo Core stainless steel that Mrs. Tabby bought before she even met me. So it has been in daily use for more than forty years on both gas and electric (glass top) ranges. It’s heavy enough for even heat distribution, and the bottom stays flat, which we find important on our current glass top electric range. We did replace the plastic handles on some of the pans about five years ago.

    I like long-lived anything.

    • #37
  8. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in Seattle
    @SusaninSeattle

    I wouldn’t make the claim that it’s ‘the best’ but I have an entire set of nickel-lined copper cookware (9 pieces) that I bought in France in 1983.  I use it daily and wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

    • #38
  9. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Susan in Seattle (View Comment):

    I wouldn’t make the claim that it’s ‘the best’ but I have an entire set of nickel-lined copper cookware (9 pieces) that I bought in France in 1983. I use it daily and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Wow, and it’s never needed replating?

    Which one do you use most?  And for what?

    • #39
  10. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Do I have to be the one who asks what brand it is?

    • #40
  11. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Do I have to be the one who asks what brand it is?

    Yes.

    • #41
  12. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in Seattle
    @SusaninSeattle

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Susan in Seattle (View Comment):

    I wouldn’t make the claim that it’s ‘the best’ but I have an entire set of nickel-lined copper cookware (9 pieces) that I bought in France in 1983. I use it daily and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Wow, and it’s never needed replating?

    Which one do you use most? And for what?

    It’s never needed replating.  It may help that I’m a professionally trained cook and worked in hospitality (i.e., cooking and catering) for 20 years.  The one that gets the most use is a 7 cup (or thereabouts) sauce pot – lots of uses, including the prosaic boiling of water for hard-cooked eggs.  Its brand is Mauviel’s Cupronil.  Here’s a sampling:

    • #42
  13. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Susan in Seattle (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Susan in Seattle (View Comment):

    I wouldn’t make the claim that it’s ‘the best’ but I have an entire set of nickel-lined copper cookware (9 pieces) that I bought in France in 1983. I use it daily and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Wow, and it’s never needed replating?

    Which one do you use most? And for what?

    It’s never needed replating. It may help that I’m a professionally trained cook and worked in hospitality (i.e., cooking and catering) for 20 years. The one that gets the most use is a 7 cup (or thereabouts) sauce pot – lots of uses, including the prosaic boiling of water for hard-cooked eggs. Its brand is Mauviel’s Cupronil. Here’s a sampling:

    Yesss.  Nearly forty years old and as good as they were on day one.

    • #43
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Julia Child’s kitchen has been re-created at the Smithsonian. Her pots and pans:

     

    Another way she had them arranged–she used mostly copper pots:

     

     

    • #44
  15. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I received a full set 16+ pieces of circa 1960’s Stainless Saladmaster pots and pans, from a great Aunt through my aunt.

    Super high quality that you cannot get today. Bases are all about 1/4″ thick stainless with 16 Guage walls. Even the lids are 20 Guage stainless.

    I don’t think I’ll ever need to buy another pot or pan in my life.

    • #45
  16. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Yet I still prefer my cast iron pan.

    • #46
  17. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Z in MT (View Comment):

    Yet I still prefer my cast iron pan.

    Is your cast iron pan new?  Or does it have a history, too?

    • #47
  18. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Z in MT (View Comment):

    Yet I still prefer my cast iron pan.

    Is your cast iron pan new? Or does it have a history, too?

    Nope it is the cheap Lodge brand. You have to use them for about a year before they start to actually to smooth out and get a proper seasoning on them. That is the best thing about cast iron, the more you use it the better it gets. 

    • #48
  19. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Z in MT (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Z in MT (View Comment):

    Yet I still prefer my cast iron pan.

    Is your cast iron pan new? Or does it have a history, too?

    Nope it is the cheap Lodge brand. You have to use them for about a year before they start to actually to smooth out and get a proper seasoning on them. That is the best thing about cast iron, the more you use it the better it gets.

    A buddy of mine learned a few years ago that if you take an angle grinder to them you can smooth the surface immediately. Alaskan dudes can cook a salmon on a piece of slate. 

    • #49
  20. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    Flicker:

    What is your favorite skillet, chicken fryer or sauce pan?

    Anything light weight, non-stick and dishwasher safe. All my expensive name brand heavy pans from years ago sit unused in a cabinet.

    • #50
  21. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Calcephon stainless steel and Lodge cast iron.

    We also have several non-stick skillets of various brands, still trying to find one that keeps its coating . . .

    • #51
  22. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in Seattle
    @SusaninSeattle

    Stad (View Comment):

    Calcephon stainless steel and Lodge cast iron.

    We also have several non-stick skillets of various brands, still trying to find one that keeps its coating . . .

    Have you tried  All-Clad non-stick?   They’re not too expensive and seem to hold up pretty well.

    • #52
  23. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I got pissed off at the never ending failure of low quality non-stick pans and bought the D5 allclad set from william sonoma.

    One of my core requirements was stainless steel so that it could be washed in the dishwasher.

    I recommend them highly.

    For frying an egg, the greenpan from william sonoma is great.

     

    Allclad got started by invented patented technology to for jacketing artillary rounds.

    • #53
  24. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    I got pissed off at the never ending failure of low quality non-stick pans and bought the D5 allclad set from william sonoma.

    One of my core requirements was stainless steel so that it could be washed in the dishwasher.

    I recommend them highly.

    For frying an egg, the greenpan from william sonoma is great.

    Allclad got started by invented patented technology to for jacketing artillary rounds.

    You may be right about jacketing on military rounds.  I’m not saying you’re wrong at all.  From All-Clad, I believe, I once saw a video of the history of bonding and the process by which they bond the layers together.

    All-Clad got it’s inspiration from metal-to-metal bonding which was first notice in WWI (I’m sketchy on this) when steel anti-tank rounds fused by force to the steel tanks that were shot at.  In All-Clad’s old process.  They would take sheets of metal of a greater thickness than the desired result, lay one on top of another, sprinkle or slather very evenly explosive powder on top of the top sheet, hook up detonators everywhere for simultaneous explosions, and take a bunch of these things into a cave and blow them up all at once.  The blast out the mouth of the cave was pretty impressive for a manufacturing activity.

    I understand they bond the metals together differently nowadays.

    • #54
  25. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Julia Child’s kitchen has been re-created at the Smithsonian. Her pots and pans:

    Another way she had them arranged–she used mostly copper pots:

    Oooo!  Like!  I just don’t have enough wall space for that.

    Which is why my breakfast skillet (10″ cast iron) stays on the stove.  For pork products and eggs most mornings.

    FWIW, the rule is no moisture ever left behind.  Light grease left on it is fine (ideal, really).  Never washed, just wiped.  (Grease cooked into the iron pores is the basis of seasoning.)

    • #55
  26. Limestone Cowboy Coolidge
    Limestone Cowboy
    @LimestoneCowboy

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    EHerring (View Comment):

    I love to cook single eggs in a small cast iron skillet I inherited from my great aunts.

    Cast iron has stood the test of centuries. And it’s not uncommon to find a used cast iron skillet that is a hundred years old. About your eggs: Scrambled or fried?

    And do you wash it with soap? Just curious.

    Noooooo!

    @eherring actually, the reason people used to avoid washing cast iron cookware with soap was that the old lye-based soaps would remove the seasoning layer. NO modern dishwashing liquids are lye-based and are safe to use. I use them all the time on my cast iron. I just don’t soak them. Apply soapy water, clean, rinse, then dry. No problemo! 

    As an aside I have a Wagner skillet that I bought used at a Toronto thrift store around 1970 for as I recall, about a dollar (poor grad student). The particular  makers mark style was discontinued around 1920…  so about 100 years old. In those days Wagner milled the cooking surface ultra smooth, and its now got a 100 year layer of seasoning.  In  my 50 year share of its cooking lifetime it’s been easily nonstick enough for eggs any style. Whenever I use it (which is frequently) I think appreciatively of those craftsmen of a century ago who made it and the previous  owners who used it and cared for it.

    Best dollar I’ve ever spent.

     

    • #56
  27. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    I still cook with the same Lithware™ set my family has been using for aeons. 

    • #57
  28. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    TBA (View Comment):

    I still cook with the same Lithware™ set my family has been using for aeons.

    You mean like this?  This is nice.

    Antique Copper Hearthware LARGE Pan w/ Riveted twist Wrought image 1

    • #58
  29. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    I have a cheap Lodge cast iron, which I keep trying to season with avocado oil (highest smoke point).  I am seduced by my sub $100 Target set of Farberware, which has two great points in its favor:

    • It never hoses my bacon and eggs
    • I once left the saucepan going for an hour with all of the instant soup already consumed.  NO DAMAGE, no fumes.  This treatment has destroyed pans in my family.  Somehow, the $19 Target pan held up and still makes Knorr’s instant onion soup just fine.

    Do you have a moment to talk about Hatch green chile?

    • #59
  30. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    BDB (View Comment):

    I have a cheap Lodge cast iron, which I keep trying to season with avocado oil (highest smoke point). I am seduced by my sub $100 Target set of Farberware, which has two great points in its favor:

    • It never hoses my bacon and eggs
    • I once left the saucepan going for an hour with all of the instant soup already consumed. NO DAMAGE, no fumes. This treatment has destroyed pans in my family. Somehow, the $19 Target pan held up and still makes Knorr’s instant onion soup just fine.

    Do you have a moment to talk about Hatch green chile?

    Sure.  What’s Hatch green chile?

    • #60
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