Matchmaking cookware

The cookware I bought when I first got married is on its last legs. I'm okay with this, as I did not purchase the sort of cookware one keeps forever; it's actually kind of a miracle some of the pieces lasted this long. My plan is to gradually replace pieces as they fail with quality cookware that I can enjoy for years to come. It does not all have to match. I just want the best pieces for the job. For budgeting purposes, I feel like I'd really have to be able to justify anything over $100. Like, it needs to be able to do the work of two pieces, or I need to be able to pass it down to the kid, or it makes all my food taste like I didn't even make it or something.

I have some specialty pieces that I break out for certain dishes, but what I'm really looking at replacing is the stuff I use every day. It has to be dishwasher safe because it makes Matt crazy to not be able to put things in the dishwasher. I am most comfortable with non-stick surfaces but am willing to consider alternatives. I know these two items are not those of high brow serious chefs, but I just want to be able to prepare meals every day in a way that's comfortable for me and for Matt (who does a fair amount of the cooking and cleaning).

I replaced my chicken frier with a Calphalon Unison pan a couple of years ago. It's held up well and I use it often. My only regret is that this pan does not have a helper handle on the other side and it's fucking heavy.

I just melted/fused/destroyed my 3 1/4 quart pot, so it's next. I am thinking about Le Creuset or something along those lines. I use this sized pot for small noodles/rice, soups (but not making stock), stews, small roasts/cuts of meat, large amounts of sauce, veggies, mashed potatoes (I don't use a hand mixer in the pot now and don't really intend to in the future), and...lots of other stuff. I cannot put my current pot in the oven so I'm not in the habit, but I suppose it might be nice.

After that, I'll need a new dutch oven that can double as a stock pot. I'm not sure if I want to invest in the Le Creuset now, for the 3 1/4 quart pot, or hold out and spend the money for the dutch oven. I use the dutch oven often and for many different things, so I need a good one.

Eventually, I'll need a smaller pan, about nine inches. I could probably get away with replacing two pans I have now with one good one, if it were the appropriate size. I don't think I've ever used my littlest pan and my next biggest pan at the same time. Something a little lighter weight would be nice. I'm considering All Clad but don't know if their dishwasher safe line is the level of quality I'm wanting.

I have a 1 quart and a 2 1/4 quart pot, both of which probably have another year or two in them - mostly because they do not get used all that often. The littlest one is used mostly for rice because we don't make much at once, and rice isn't particularly hard on the pot. The next size up is good for reheating things and sauces. I think I could get away with having one pot replace these two.

Anyway! Any suggestions?

Laschae 11 years ago
Erik got me a Le Creuset dutch oven last year and I really like it but some one (ERIK) screwed up and the enamel chipped. I've heard they have a lifetime warranty with proper use (no metal tools) so I am eventually going to see if they won't replace it. We have a lot of crappy pans that we got from Walmart when we first moved here so I'm in the same boat. I've used the dutch oven a lot I mean it's nice that you can plop stuff in put it in the over and a few hours later with little work take out something amazing and tender. I haven't used it for boiling noodles or things like that ( have a regular stainless steel pot). I hope to at some point get a few good skillets that are not really heavy. We have 2 cast iron ones that I can barely lift if there's anything heavy in them.
Lessa 11 years ago
I love Calphalon for pots and pans. It lasts years longer than anything teflon, and while its kinda pricey its well worth it. My last Calphalon skillet lasted me four years before it started getting less nonstick to where I couldn't flip an omelet in it. And this is with everyday use since it was my favorite pan.

I prefer Kitchenaid for things like Can openers or cooking utensils. The year before last I went through three can openers in the time span of three months, til I bought the Kitchen aid one, and it still works as good as new. ( as do all of my other Kitchenaid utencils.

I have a porcelain enameled cast Iron dutch oven that is huge and I use for cooking things like chili or today using for Tamales. I really like it though its not Le Creuset, it works very well.

When David went back to Mo to bring back our things, he didn't bring any of my pots or pans, except for the dutch oven,, and only ahandful of my utensils, So for christmas I got a set of Calphalon pots and pans, another 12 inch Pan as well and I hope to slowly accumulate some of the other things one at a time as I see them.

You can get some of the nicer things at places like Ross for a lot less, just have to search all over since the store is usually a mess and they might have only one of something. Otherwise Target has good prices for them.