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I Need Some Pots And Pans To Cook In Ė What Should I Buy?
If youíve shopped for cookware recently, you may have gotten a headache from looking at all the choices and brands available. And all of them seem to be telling you the same things Ė Iím the best; Iím a great value; buy me.
What should you buy? Before you start considering your cookware options consider the following five questions.
1) Do you cook for a few people or a lot of people? This will determine how many pots and pans you need and also how big you need them to be.
2) What kind of cooking do you most often do? I like to make homemade soup so a large stockpot is essential for me. On the other hand, I never steam anything on the stovetop (I use an electric steamer) so a stovetop steamer is useless to me. Think about what you cook or what you want to learn how to cook so you can determine what pieces of cookware youíll need.
3) How important is ease of cleanup to you? If you hate cleanup you should probably buy non-stick cookware. If you want to be able to put your cookware in the dishwasher youíll need to look at the sets youíre considering to see if itís advisable. For example, hard-anodized aluminum cookware (http://www.acooksdelight.com/cookware/anodizedaluminumcookware) is a very popular type of cookware but the outside of the pots will change color and darken if you wash them in your dishwasher. I own this type of cookware and I love it. But there are days when I donít love having to take the time to hand-wash it, but I do because I donít want it to get discolored in my dishwasher. Most professional cooks prefer stainless steel cookware. Itís nice to cook with but clean-up can be fairly time-consuming.
4) What type of stove do you have? Do you have a smooth-top electric stovetop? If you do, you need flat-bottom pots and pans. I didnít think about this when I purchased my smooth-top stove. I quickly discovered my pots and pans werenít flat bottomed and that they didnít work well on my new stove. As a result I had to go buy new cookware that had flat bottoms. If you have an induction cooktop you needs pots and pans with ferrite in them, which means they need to be magnetic.
5) What is your budget? I highly recommend buying the best quality cookware you can afford. The best quality is not always the most expensive cookware available, but itís never the cheapest. If you buy a $49.99 set of cookware, youíll be getting a bargain but you wonít be getting a good set of cookware.
Now that youíve thought about your needs and know how much you can afford to spend, itís time to go look at cookware. Youíll likely be using your cookware every day so you want something that youíre comfortable working with. But the number one thing to look for in cookware is weight and heft. Heavier weight cookware wonít warp over time which causes you to lose the flat, even cooking surface on the bottom of your pan; and you can control the heat better in heavier weight cookware. Iím not saying you have to buy cookware that you need to join the gym to be able to lift out of the cupboard but donít buy cheap flimsy pots and pans.
If a pan feels like you could bend it, donít buy it. Iím not suggesting you walk into a store, pick up every pot and pan and try to bend it, but look at one of the saucepans. If you push a little on the sides and that saucepan has some ďgiveĒ to it, itís not going to hold up well on your stove.
To get a good quality cookware set youíll probably need to spend a minimum of $200 (. If you donít have that much to spend consider buying only the essential pieces you need to get you started such as a 2-quart saucepan, a sautť pan and a stockpot. Add pieces as you can afford them. Although youíll typically get the best value for your money if you buy a cookware set versus buying the individual pieces donít buy a poor quality set just so you have an entire set of cookware. Youíll end up spending more money in the long run replacing those pots and pans when they get warped and ruined (which wonít take long).
If you take the time to consider your needs, do some shopping around, and purchase the best quality set of cookware you can afford, youíre likely to be happy with your purchase for a long time.
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