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Location: Planet Earth
Registered: 17 February 2005
Posts: 2020
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There are some disagreements in the family about my newly purchased cookware. Are there any expert opinion or credible references on whether cookware should be stainless steel, copper, hard anodized, or what? Thanks.
Location: NYC
Registered: 06 January 2006
Posts: 47
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The safest cookware is glass but it's a terrible conductor of heat. The next safest is enamel coated cast iron as it's totally nonreactive. The next is stainless. It does contain nickel though, and tiny amounts can leach into acid food both as it's cooked and stored in the stainless. Copper cookware is generally lined with tin or stainless and the copper is not used on the interior of pots. Hard anodized is harder than stainless, but acidic food can dissolve tiny particles of the aluminum into food. Also any scratches or nicks will cause the food to be in contact with the non anodized core aluminum, and small amounts of aluminum can leach into the food.

The safest and best cooking would be enameled cast iron cookware like Le Creuset, but it's heavy and cumbersome for general cooking. The second safest, and the most popular, would be 18/10 stainless steel which I think is the best all around cooking choice.
Location: Planet Earth
Registered: 17 February 2005
Posts: 2020
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Thanks Blondelle. I read different things about aluminum. I may have to return the Hard Anodized set I bought. I burned quite a few of my 18/10 SS pots. Thinking too deeply on the forum sometimes Typing Big Grin

I also couldn't remember if I could or couldn't do any browning in SS pans and pots (all destroyed for a while). Could you confirm one way or another?
Location: NYC
Registered: 06 January 2006
Posts: 47
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You're very welcome JW!. There are two types of stainless pots. One is impact bonded with a disk on the bottom. The disk is usally made from copper or aluminum. The second and the better choce is fully clad up the sides too, usually with a layer of aluminum sandwiched between the stainless layers. That cookware is best for even heat distribrution, and is less likely to burn your food. The top of the line in that type of cookware is All-Clad, with Cuisinart Multiclad which is less, but also excellent, a close second. Other lower priced brands have this configuration too, like Gourmet Standard, which is only $129 for a set and comparable to All-Clad.

These pans are excellent for browning, and can go into the oven for finishing after you sear your meat. No one type of cookware is perfect for all things. Many people have one nonstick for eggs and fish, most in stainless, and a few pieces of enamelled cast iron for braising, and soups and stews. Also good to have a seasoned cast iron skillet for high heat searing, that can go into the oven easily, and is cheap!
Location: Planet Earth
Registered: 17 February 2005
Posts: 2020
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How do you get to know pots and pan so well?

I think I'll invest in a few good All-Clad or Multiclad pans since I already have a well seasoned cast iron skillet, a multi-purpose wok (iron?), and a pressure cooker, so I can splurge on a few good pans.

Thanks for saving me time and for your help. Thumbs UP!
Location: NYC
Registered: 06 January 2006
Posts: 47
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JW, you're very welcome. Some women collect jewelry, and some shoes, but I love to cook and love great cookware! There is a place online you can order seconds of All-Clad from. They usually just have tiny flaws. It's called cookwarenmore.com. You just missed their 20% off sale on top of the already discounted prices. They have them twice a year. If you buy 4 pieces or more, you will still get the 20% discount though. It's pricey, but they will last you your whole life!

Also check Ebay for the Multiclad sets. Multiclad Pro is the latest version. They just changed the handles though, so get whatever is the better buy. Bestbuy.com has the 8 qt. stockpot on sale for only $39.99! Calphalon's Tri-ply stainless and their copper line are also comparable, but the copper is a pain to keep up, unless you don't mind the tarnished look ;-).
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