Hey guys! I originally started to answer this question in yesterday’s Q&A post, but my answer got so long, I thought it should have its own post. If you’re like me and you tend to put kitchen stuff on your Christmas list, maybe this will give you some ideas.
I know that you often times give reviews about products that you use in the kitchen, so I was wondering what kind of cookware you use?? I know that you believe strongly in buying heirloom quality products and try to live a more green lifestyle. Our family has been moving over to these practices as well and cookware is an item I am struggling with. I would like to switch over to a stainless steel set, but am nervous because non-stick is what I have been using. I can see where it will save me money in the long run, not having to buy new plastic cooking utensils often or replacing the cookware itself because it always seems to get scratched with young kids helping to cook.
Yep, I do prefer to avoid nonstick cookware whenever possible. I’ve read enough to make me nervous about cooking on high heat with nonstick pans, and I also hate the way that nonstick cookware doesn’t last. I know some companies will replace the cookware, so that solves the money-wasting issue, but even if I get a free replacement, that worn-out pot is no good to anyone and will end up in the trash.
(I do have a Calphalon Nonstick 2-1/2-Quart Saucepanthat I use when I’m going to be cooking something REALLY sticky, but most times I get by just fine with my other cookware. It’s worth mentioning that with gentle use and careful washing, my Calphalon pot is hanging in there pretty well. I don’t use it every day or anything, but I’ve had it for several years now and the finish is still looking good.)
Mainly, I cook with cast-iron and stainless steel.
I’ve got a really small cast-iron skillet (Lodge brand) that I use for things like frying a single egg or sauteeing a few onions, and I think I bought it from Walmart years ago before I started to sour on the whole Walmart scene.
I’ve also got a large 12-inch cast-iron skillet that I got from Aldi (which I love so much more than Walmart!)
By now it’s pretty well-seasoned and is non-stick enough for making crepes, which is quite impressive. I was worried about sticking issues when I moved away from non-stick cookware, so I’m really pleased to have discovered how well cast-iron pans work in that department.
I know I’ve seen the cast-iron pans in Aldi’s special-buy section recently, so if you’re in the market, take a peek at your Aldi store to see if they still have any. When they’re gone, they’re gone until next year, so don’t miss the opportunity!
My last piece of cast-iron is a Tramontina Dutch oven. It’s got an enameled finish on the inside, which has worn some over the years, but not terribly.
It’s my first enameled piece, so I’m not sure what to make of this. (Readers, is this normal, even if you use expensive Le Creuset pots?)
Oh! I should add that I have a flat-top glass stove, and for the longest time, I thought I couldn’t use cast-iron on it. But I’m pleased to have found out that as long as I’m careful (I lift the pans instead of sliding them, and I set them down gently), cast-iron works just fine on my stove.
I own three RevereWare pots-a large stockpot, a medium pot, and a smallish pot. I wouldn’t say I’m over the moon about the Revereware items, mostly because they’re not made as well as they used to be (my mom’s Revereware is SO much heavier) and so the bottoms of the pots have warped over time. If I’d known better back when I got married, I’d have registered for pots that would last a lifetime.
One day, I may upgrade to pots with non-warped bottoms, and of course, I’ll check Cook’s Illustrated for recommendations. Thus far, they’ve consistently been recommending All Clad Saucepans, though they usually have a less expensive runner-up suggestion as well. I’m probably just going to save my money and spring for the All-Clad pots, though, because I feel more confident that they will resist warping.
I do have a lovely All-Clad 12-inch stainless steel lidded skillet, which I got for Christmas a few years ago. It came highly recommended by Cook’s Illustrated, and I do love it. It’s not as heavy as my cast-iron skillet and it has a lid, which I frequently use (though you can save some money by skipping the lid). It’s not nearly as non-stick as my cast-iron skillet, though, so I use the All-Clad skillet for things that don’t tend to cling to the pan.
I think my All-Clad pan and my cast-iron pans will indeed last me for the rest of my life. So, yes, in the long run, they’ll be the more frugal choice.
Hmm. I feel like that was kind of rambly. Here it is in bullet points:
- Buy some cast-iron so that you have some non-stick surface options (seasoned cast-iron works remarkably well!) Cast-iron is not expensive, and you can even buy it Aldi or at big box stores.
- Invest in quality stainless steel cookware. All-Clad is expensive but has consistently ranked well in Cook’s Illustrated’s reviews.
If you do Swagbucks, you could save up your Amazon gift cards to help bring the cost of the All-Clad down. And maybe someone could bring you some All-Clad for Christmas.
Joshua’s 365 post: Moon