The high-quality cookware makes a difference when cooking. They last longer but more importantly they will cook better because they distribute heat more efficiently.
A set provides the basic pots and pans that you need on a daily basis. You will add specialized pots as you need them.
Although a superior cookware set can cost a lot, it is money well spent. Cookware in large retail chains go on sale at 50% off a few times a year. So check the store flyers to spot your favorite cookware.
Finishes and base compositions
Copper pots and pans work incredibly well. I like their charming look. But they require too much work to keep their beautiful shine. This is why, stainless steel rules on my house. The only exception is my enameled cast iron Dutch oven by Le Creuset.
My basic cookware set has a copper inlay base. Some higher-end sets have a copper core with a stainless steel finishes. This is the case of the Copper-Core collection by All-Clad. I just added to my wish list.
Stay away from non-stick
I know that non stick cookware is really popular. Believe me, I do not enjoy cleaning and modern stainless steel cookware is a lot easier to clean. Except for the average size frying pan to cook your eggs, stay away from non-stick cookware. I am sorry but you cannot cook properly in those.
I used the stainless steel cookware all my life. In the worst case, I do a couple turns with a light duty scour pad. I let my pots and pans soak in hot water and dish liquid (I used Sunlight or Dawn) for a few minutes after they cooled down. As clean as new!
What to look for when buying a cookware set
Bring this checklist when you go shopping for your next cookware.
- Extra-thick base. A superior cookware is heavy because of its 3 to 5-ply construction.
- Double-rivet handles are more robust and durable.
- For safety reasons, go for long, stay cool handles. But also select a handle that feels comfortable in your hands. Hold the pots and pans in your hands before buying a set. Like I said, you will use it for a long time. So take the time
- Heavy lids stay in place. Look for a shape that promotes water circulation.
- Oven safe cookware is a must; broiler safe is the ultimate solution. Make sure the lids are also oven safe.
- A 12″ (30-32 cm) everyday pan with loop handles and a lid is practical to move the pan from the stove top to the oven to the table. Buy it separately from the set. I own two such pans and use them several times a week.
- All metal handles, because they support higher oven temperature. I bought my second everyday pan with loop handles because the handles of the first one are not all in metal. I was preparing a delicious recipe that was calling for an oven temperature higher than 350 °F. Luckily, I bought my Jamie Oliver Italian Series Ragout pan at 50% off at The Bay two years ago.
- Buy a set that supports all stove top types. If you buy a gas, glass, ceramic and induction stoves all have their requirements. The finest cookware sets are typically built for all stove top types.
- Here is a quick test if you are tempted by the new Electrolux Induction Hybrid cooktops, do the magnet test. You can use a decorative kitchen magnet. If the magnet sticks to the base, the cookware is induction cooking ready.
- Dishwasher safe is a matter of a personal choice; some people do not like to put their cookware in the dishwasher. I am lazy when it comes to cleaning; therefore dishware safe cookware is a must for me.
I selected 5 high-quality cookware sets for you or to give as a wedding gift. See Sourcing for details.
Buy online: Lagostina Pro-Clad 10-Piece Cookware Set [sears.ca] – price: $899.99 CAD
Buy online: Tri-ply Copper 10-pc. Cookware Set by Calphalon [cooking.com] – price: $449.99 USD
Buy online: Copper-Core 10-pc. Cookware Set by All-Clad [cooking.com] – price: $1,199.99 USD
Buy online: J.A. Henckels 7-Pc. Classic Clad Cookware Set [sears.ca] – price: $599.99 CAD
Buy online: MC2 Master Chef 2 7-pc. Cookware Set by All-Clad [cooking.com] – price: $339.99 USD