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Besides All Clad- any amazing less expensive cookware?

+2

I have looked at this set a number of times, and as a set, I believe the quality of the pieces and the pieces included are top notch.

I'm giving serious thought to purchasing this set for my daughter who has gone through a cheap set of "Celeberty Chef" cookware in a very short period of time.

about 3 hours ago
mikie in Cookware

Cooking Thermometer

I was going to edit, but I got involved in something else and didn't get back in time. This is what I use for smoking and the turkey. http://www.thermoworks.com/products/a... Granted there are other brands, but none that I've seen have the same build quality, the probe and wire are far better than what I had before.

1 day ago
mikie in Cookware

Cooking Thermometer

The Therompop from Thermoworks the company that makes Thermopen, is only $30 and is almost as fast as the $96 Thermopen. The other option, if you want to monitor temperature is the Thermoworks Chef Alarm, it's a timmer, and thermometer all in one, with an alarm when your bird reaches temperature. That's what I use for smoking, and it's very versatile, for about $60.

1 day ago
mikie in Cookware
1

Candy Thermometer

Currently in use for this very purpose. 'Tis the season ... Candy making season that is!

Nov 22, 2014
mikie in Cookware

COMMERCIAL COOKWARE -- Which is best for home use?

Hi Kaleo,

I agree with your points, they are vaild and well made. I only ask is it fair to compare used vs new when one is weighing the value proposition? You and I and a number of others will agree, the LC is not worth $85 more than a copper sauté of good quality, a Mauviel for example. However, is it worth $148 less. My answer in this case would be probably to some and probably not to others. But given the same level of depreciation, is the "experienced" copper going to provide measurable better results than the "experienced" Atlantis, and with the delta in cost now being smaller the answer may very well be, heck yes, I'm not at the grade level to make that determination. Now were not talking $170 delta but a $55 delta in the cost of the pans so the equation changes dramatically.

My rational for my attatude on deminishing returns is that $55 on the low end makes a huge difference in the quality of product you can by and how it performs, but $55 at the high end of the cookware foodchain will make at best a marginal difference, (say the difference between a Mauviel and a Falk). On the other hand $55 more than the $60 you would pay for a Farberware sauté will just about get you an All-Clad D5 sauté, and will get you the AC triply.

And I would never engourage anyone to purchase cheap, poor performing cookware, as you say, nothing discourages one from doing something like poor tools. However, there is plenty of mid-priced cookware that performs well enough that you don't have to break the bank to get a level of satisfaction from cooking. (some Calphalon products, the Cuisinart French Collection, Dymeyere Industry 5, Chantel, etc.)

Nov 20, 2014
mikie in Cookware

COMMERCIAL COOKWARE -- Which is best for home use?

Ahhh, if we all new what we know now 12 years ago. I've never been a big fan of buying cheap, but I've never been a big fan of buying the most expensive item either. But I think starting out cooking, when one is climbing up the learning curve, one should not spend too much on cookware. Then, when one has at least a modicum of experience, one can make a much more informed and intellectually sound choice in cookware and spend what you deem appropriate. There's a lot of space in the top tiers of cookware.

I've always been a believer in the laws of deminishing returns, so there is a tremendous difference between really inexpensive poor quality cookware and moderate quality cookware, and a fair amount of difference between moderate quality cookware and fine cookware, but not as much difference between fine cookware and exceptional cookware. As an example, does a $550 2mm Mauviel Copper sauté perform that much better than a $380 Demeyere Atlantis sauté? I'm not talking just the thermal properties, I'm talking about end results and likelyhood of achieving those results. On the other hand, a $39 Revere sauté is going to have a hard time competing with a $220 Viking sauté.

Nov 20, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Cleaning yellow "tar" off stainless steel saute pan.

Bar Keepers Friend and a lot of elbow grease. That is very typical of what happens when a SS pan is used as you discribe. Make a paste with the BKF and rub it on the burned oil in the pan and let it set for a few minutes, then rub the daylights out of it, repeat as necessary, and it will be necessary.

Copper cookware vs All Clad Copper Core Cookware

Well, the term gets loosely used, so any time someone wants a measurement they say "... Go mike that..." with total disregard for the tool being used. Often, people refer to a slide caliper as a mike, but it isn't. There are all kinds of calipers, so that too can be confusing. If you go to the Starrett web site and search micrometer, all will look similar to what was posted, if you search for caliper, you see different tools, and the same for dial indicator.

Nov 20, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Copper cookware vs All Clad Copper Core Cookware

I'm so glad my mouth was empty when I read this ;)

Yes, Starrett is the best "brush" you can put your hands on, this is an inespensive one. The digital readout model is over $1,000, many of us don't have that much invested in all of our cookware. Some don't even have the $230 invested. But, if you want the most accurate measurement of wall thickness, this would be my tool of choice. I had a class in statistical quality control in graduate school and as part of my first job I worked in the quality department of a molder who made parts for the Minuteman Rocket among other high tech things, and we took a lot of measurements of some very odd shapped and difficult to measure parts.

Nov 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Copper cookware vs All Clad Copper Core Cookware

Hi Jeremy,

The Starrett I referenced above has a round anvil, which when placed on the inside curve of the pan, only touches where the arc of the pan is tangent to the arc of the anvil, thus there is no gap due to the curvature of the pan walls. Too many years working with the QC department I guess. Very specialized tool for a very specialized job. Read the fine print in the Starrett website as to the use of this particular micrometer.

Well, if it's a dial indicator, which it is based on the dial and working mechinism, then it is a dial indicator not a micrometer, which has no dial but either a vernier scale as my example above or is electronic but still uses a spindle. The dial indicator uses a rotating dial that can be set to "0" and a spring loaded rod that moves the needle on the dial to indicate thickness. I would work if it were on a better bracket so they could get past the curve of the pan lip. It's a heck of a lot less expensive than a micrometer and if it has a ball end on the shaft and is lined up correctly, could provide an accurate enough reading for what we're talking about here.

Nov 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

Hi Kaleo, I'm a firm believer in buy better and buy less frequently. My SIL went through this with smokers, bought three pieces of junk and spent just as much as if he had bought one Weber Smokey Mountain, which in the end he finally bought at my insistance. Only to tell me latter he couldn't figure out why he didn't buy the WSM when I told him the first time.

Nov 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware

What's safe to use to finish butcher block?

As you stated some woods stain blotchy, cherry for one is exceptionally bad. Edge grain maple should be better, but I make no warenties as to the quality of the wood, tea, or final product appearance. My advice is to test on a scrap and see if you like what you get. I wouldn't use any commercial stain that comes to mind at the moment on a butcher block counter top that wasn't sealed, which brings up the other issue of solid finishes on a working countertop.

Nov 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware

What's safe to use to finish butcher block?

Tea. Tea was used in colonial times to impart a brown color to maple, a common wood of furnature construction during the period. This too was for the impatient folk of the time that just couldn't wait for the furnature to darken. There are two other factors that will help it darken faster, sun light and no finish, so if you want to darken the wood naturally, put it in the sun before you put a finish of any kind on it. But tea works faster and what the heck, you drink it, so how bad can it be. Once the water evaporates you should be able to oil it without issue.

Nov 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware

What's safe to use to finish butcher block?

Hi Bada Bing;

"But I strongly suspect (I'm a woodworker, too) that any solid finish would be the last thing you'd want to work on with a knife. Even if one accepts that the finish is safe after curing, it will look horrible if you cut on it. And refinishing would be a PITA. Imagine using your coffee table as a cutting board"

You are absolutely correct, any wood finish should be safe after the solvents have evaporated and more correct on what a PITA it would be to deal with the knife marks and any water that got under the finish.

Nov 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Copper cookware vs All Clad Copper Core Cookware

The reality is that's not even a caliper or a micrometer, it's a dial indicator, essentially a go no-go guage and they don't have it positioned in such a way that you can accurately measure the thickness of the pan. What one really needs is this: http://www.starrett.com/metrology/pro... as it is made specifically for this purpose and has a deep enough throat to go beyond the curvature of the rim section.

Nov 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

Hi Kaleo, Well my Grandgather was a true Scottsman and you just didn't spend more than was necessary. He, along with my Grandmother and father lived in a tent during the depression, so I suppose he had good reason to be thrifty. The F.Dick steel with the staghorn handle may have been the one extravagance he allowed himself in the butcher shop after the depression.

I think his philosophy was that you buy tools equal to your ability to use them, and as your skills improve you have used up the old tool and you purchase better ones. I have my Grandmothers Griswold iron skillet, he must have thought her to be a very good cook :)

Nov 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware
1

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

Hi Duffy,

"Good tools took a lot of uncertainty out of the equation." I have to tell a funny story here. When we moved into our current home about a quarter of a century ago (that sounds so much longer than 25 years), Mrs. mikie decided she would sew new curtains. I was mortafied, I never liked it when Mrs. mikie decided to sew. It always put her in the most foul moods imaginable. There was really nothing wrong with her ability to sew, it was the ability of the sewing machine to follow instrustions. It was painful to watch actually, as she would sew 2" and rip out 1", over and over. Before this project started I MADE her buy a new sewing machine, one of the smartest things I have ever done. If my saw would have been as bad as her sewing machine, my projects would have become fireplace kindling long ago.

Good tools not only make the end result better, but make getting there easier, and to some extent, that's the point, to make the experience enjoyable.

Nov 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware
1

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

Hi Chem, I think you summed it up very well. Yes, in most aspects of life, the professional demands the very best and the amature can get by with substancially less expensive products. This would apply to cars, guns, golf clubs, construction tools, etc. And as Kaleo has pointed out there are some professional kitchens where copper is definately hanging around, most professional kitchens jsut have stacks of aluminum.

I'm not a bad recreational tennis player, but I'd go out on the limb and say John McEnroe could beat me if he were using any tennis racket with strings in it.

Nov 19, 2014
mikie in Cookware

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

Hi Chem,

This goes back to what my Grandfather used to say, "don't buy a better brush than you are a painter". In other words, even the best equipment in the hands of a less experienced person will not produce better results on it's own. Although I can tell the difference in the finished product between a thin frying pan and a heavy multi ply frying pan, it's mostly because the heavy pan is easier for me to use. That is, the heat is more even and I don't burn as much. Now a really good cook, could probably do just as well with that cheap old pan as I can with a really good one. I think most of us hope that better cookware will make us cook better or make it easier to achieve better results.

Nov 18, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Copper cookware vs All Clad Copper Core Cookware

Hi Kaleo,

For accuracy, one needs a micrometer with a blade type anvel, this allows you to get past the rim and into the side of the pan, the blade anvel eliminates the inaccuracy of the curve in the side as they can be as thin as 0.03 inches. I don't have an anvel to fit mine or I would gladly loan it to you.

Nov 18, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Copper cookware vs All Clad Copper Core Cookware

I hear what you're saying, but I don't agree that you can compare different modes of construction, it's like comparing a unibody with a full frame and looking at towing capacity. I really liked the 4.2 L Demeyere Atlantis Sauté Pan, but I found it to be exceptionally heavy and not something Mrs. mikie would be able to use. That weight also eliminated 2.5 mm copper from any supplier. Therefore the construction of choice was a multi-ply cookware. In my case, Viking, made in Belgum (Demeyere?), but I wouldn't compare it to the Atlantis because they are different construction. No doubt the heavy disc base has an advantage in even heat in such a large vessel, but I don't think that's what is being questioned here.

I don't have All-Clad, my son does, so I've had plenty of opportunity to use it. I have Demeyere Atlantis and Viking, the pieces I have are multi ply not disc bottoms. I think both are better than All-Clad, however, I would not just dismiss AC as a vendor of clad cookware. I've looked at the Mauviel M-Cook clad and the Demeyere Industry 5 / Zwilling Sensation cookware and from what I can see, they are not much different than the AC and they are in the same price range, which can't be said for the Atlantis.

I do think it's a fair comparison of AC CC to copper, because they are of similar construction, a layer of copper and an unreactive linner, typically SS in the newer lines. For the cost difference, you might as well buy the copper, unless you are concerned about maintaince and having the "new" look all the time. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the thermal properties of copper vs other materials.

To me, the only down side to copper is the weight and the cost. I can overcome the cost, but it's still heavy in large pieces such as the sauté. A 6 qt. AC CC sauté is 8,0 eight pounds, zero ounces. The Demeyer Alantis 4.2 qt is 10,8; while a similar size Mauviel copper at 2mm is 9,7; an AC D5 in 6 qt. is only 6,10; and my Viking 6 qt. is 7,0. These are published weights and may lack in accuracy.

Nov 18, 2014
mikie in Cookware

COMMERCIAL COOKWARE -- Which is best for home use?

Commercial lines can be robust, but they can, as is available in my local restaurant supply, be thin made in China semi-disposable cookware. Perhaps if I were in a large metro area there would be more selecton, but here, they don't have much if you want to hold it in your hand first. I've shopped wasserstrom in the past, but it's mail order and you can't really inspect the cookware before you buy.

Part of my surprise at Kaleo's aluminum 0.25" thick sauce pan reccomendation, is that I've never seen anything like that in my local restaurant supply. If your only experience had been in this outlet, you wouldn't be in a position to praise restaurant supply cookware.

Nov 17, 2014
mikie in Cookware

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

Hi Randy,
We have the 2L conical sauteuse (saucier). We bought it most specifically for roux for gumbo, however, it seems to see a lot of general purpose use as well as sauces. We also have a 2 qt Viking sauce pan, which is also well made (suposidly by Demeyere), but Mrs. mikie likes the handle on the Atlantis better. I like not cleaning around rivets.

Nov 14, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Bottom-heavy pan recommendations, please.

Excusez mon Chem M., je parle un peu Français. Signé chat de mikie.

Just for the record, my cat was extremely insulted by the idea he was not bilingual. Now if I could just teach him English ;)

Just too tempting and the mood needed to be lightened a bit.

Nov 14, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Bottom-heavy pan recommendations, please.

HI Ray, Here's where we agree, there are certian meals one can prepare where a Dutch Oven is if not the best, certianly one of the better choices. I have 4 Staub pieces, 3 DOs and a braiser. I can honestly say that CI or ECI is not the best at evenly browning the chicken breasts I prepare in the briaser, however, I like the way it finishes off the dish in the oven, and I don't have another piece of cooking equipment that I believe is more suited to the task.

I've stated before, I think Mrs. mikie's pot roast has improved since the Staub DO appeared in the kitchen. It's better suited to that job than any other vessel we have available. I'm not claiming it's the best for the job, just the best we have and we are pleased with the results. I'm way too old to start replacing cookware I bought 4 or 5 years ago and is still in new condition, just to see if there is smoething better. I already know there is something worse, I just got rid of it. I just think some dishes work out verry well in ECI and some are better in some other construction.

Dear old Dad taught me to use tools for what they're made for and to use the best tool available for the job. That's what I try to do, ECI is made to do a little stovetop work and go into the oven, if that's what I'm cooking, that's waht I use. I'm not buying an ECI sauce pan, it's the wrong tool for the job.

Nov 14, 2014
mikie in Cookware

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

Hi Duffy, So do you think vanity is why the Demeyere Saucier spends so much time on the range top, regardless if the gas is on or not?

I like your idea of just how serious you are about cooking, damn the looks, this it no garage queen, it's made for performance. Ladies and gentelmen, start your burners!

Nov 12, 2014
mikie in Cookware

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

"I'll defer to you on saw blades, but I guess I was correct that the hobbyist and the pro have different needs."

Hi Kaleo, I have first hand experience with saw blades, probably to the extent you have experience with cookware. I have 3 exceptionally high quality thick plate full kerf blades that I will likely never use again. This was after trying a thin kerf blade on my underpowered saw. It's a good made in USA Delta saw, just not over 3 hp where the heavy blades perform best.

We have a good quality range top, 6 hobs two are duel rings, I've forgotten the BTUs but it's fairly high, but not the same as a pro unit. What are your thoughts on the reactivity of the aluminum? If I wanted to simmer tomato sauce, would that be too acidic. Also, what do you think about candy making in aluminum, I know it's not reactive, but will there be taste issues or some other adverse effect that I'm not aware of? I think copper would be better, but Mrs. mikie is not a fan for some reason, probably my fault somehow.

Nov 12, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Bottom-heavy pan recommendations, please.

Does it too have a hole in the middle?

Nov 11, 2014
mikie in Cookware

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

Hi Kaleo,

My first reply was lost, so you get the abrievated version.

You have saw blades backwards, guys like me can't use the heavy full kerf blades, not enough HP, the thin kerf blades work much better on a saw that's under 3 HP. The production guys use the full kerf blades because they have 5 HP and up, run 8 hours a day and the blades need to be thick plate so they don't warp from the heat, and they can be resharpened many times at a cost of less than the less expensive thin kerf blades.

Back to cooking, are we all so vain that we have to have the best (most expensive) cookware avaialabe or that we can afford, to feel like we can cook. Or is it that my gas fired hobs don't have enough BTU to handle the ¼ inch thick Alegacy Eagleware Point Two Five line, just like my table saw can't handle a 10" full kerf blade in 8/4 white oak. Is it simply the fact that we're cooking one meal at a time and the chefs in a restaurant are cooking all night. I understand that the aluminum is giving them a big bang for the buck. Typically in a business you use the best (highest preformance / lowest cost) tool for the job. If that's aluminum, and you get good results, then why are the wrest of us chasing the goblet of fire? Could it be that profesionals can outcook the amatures no matter what the cookware or are we just vain and need that shinny SS or copper bot on the stove for when company comes over. Is it that restaurants don't need the aray of cookware we have at home because of the way they prep and what's on the menu. Staub advertises that the best chefs in France use their cocottes, really?

The closest I've ever been to a professional kitchen is sitting at the table or booth next to the kitchen door, and frankly I'd like to keep it that way.

Nov 11, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Meat Grinder - What hp should I be looking at?

I believe it's head size, so you know what blades and plates you can use with each grinder. Not sure what numbering system it's based on.

Nov 11, 2014
mikie in Cookware