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Waterless Cookware Myths or Not

Your set is not "crappy." If you are not a professional cook, it will work just fine until the handles go. They are always the weakest link in this type of cookware. It will eventually lose its mirror-like shine if you use it frequently, especially if you put it in the dishwasher, but this will not hurt the performance. I can't speak for the little gizmo in the handle.

What people are objecting to is the over-blown marketing claims of Muller:

-"Europe's Best Quality Cookware" is a subjective claim that can't be substantiated. Along with the German-sounding trade-style, it conveys the idea that you are purchasing a product manufactured in the EU. It is only an impression, however, because the company never says explicity where it is made. It could be anywhere, but judging from the price, Indonesia or China is a good guess.

-The deep discount, from $600 (even higher on some websites) all the way down to $179, is just an attention-grabber. This cookware can be found all over the internet for $179 because anyone with a website can become an "affiliate" and sell the stuff. The $600 "list" price is hucksterism.

-I have already covered the stainless steel issues: according to their sales literature, it is "about" 10% nickel meaning it probably is the regulatory minimum of 8%, and the term 'surgical' has no legal or technical meaning.

-The cookware has a disc bottom, but nowhere in the marketing materials does it say what this disc is composed of. We assume it is some layers of aluminum alloy with a final layer of some type of stainless (not 304) that can be magnitized for induction cooking because that is what is conventional, but who knows for sure?

-The marketing literature says nothing about a guarantee. 25 years is standard, while premium cookware has a lifetime guarantee. The Muller product is sold by third party internet vendors, so where do you go if the little gizmo in the handle stops working, the handles become wobbly, or a piece develops rust?

To sum up, you are getting basically 5 pots and a pan for an average of $30 each, not a steal for stainless cookware, but not outrageous if you are committed to the whole waterless thing. Many people, me included (see my earlier post) don't like the concept of waterless cookware, but that is not a Kochtophaus Muller cookware issue. If you love 'em and they are exactly the right sizes for what you need, then enjoy them. At this price point you have not made a lifetime investment anyway.

P.S., Thank you for the link. Agree that it is a good resource for those who may be confused about stainless steel terminology.

Jul 23, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Waterless Cookware Myths or Not

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Jul 23, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Waterless Cookware Myths or Not

I found you on another website defending this stuff. I also found out how easy it is to become an affiliate and sell this cookware. Do you by any chance have a financial stake in this beyond that of an informed consumer?

Jul 23, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Waterless Cookware Myths or Not

You are correct: there is nothing wrong with having 10% nickel. It not only improves corrosion resistance, it improves the sheen and color as well.
You are incorrect: 304 stainless steel is permitted to contain as little as 8% and as much as 11% nickel to qualify for the grade. Because nickel is more expensive than steel, most 304 contains 8%, hence the hedge "about 10%" in the marketing literature (see earlier post.)
You are incorrect: 304 stainless steel is not 'surgical.' 'Surgical' is not a technical term. 316 and 403 are the most common stainless steel grades used as surgical tools. You might find a bowl or tabletop made from 304 in an OR and call that surgical as well. In other words, the term is meaningless except as marketing hype.
You are correct: Molybdenum increases resistence to corrosion from acidic foods.
You are incorrect: There is no molybdenum in grade 304 stainless steel.

There are no gray areas. The UNS is for all metals and alloys while the SAE is specific to steel. In either, 304 stainless (SAE) or S30400 (UNS) have the same specifications.

Lastly, I read the website article you reference and it does not appear to be the source for most of your assertions. It is, however, a nice overview of the properties of stainless steel. Thanks.

Jul 23, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Waterless Cookware Myths or Not

P.S. I found Muller's brochure online, and I quote:
"The Surgical Stainless Steel in the Muller cookware contains about 18% chromium and 10% nickel in addition to the iron." Note clever usage of the word 'about.' This is because, as I pointed out in an earlier post, 304 stainless is rarely more than 8% nickel.

Jul 23, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Waterless Cookware Myths or Not

If your cookware is not clad (single ply with a disc-bottom which is what the picture looks like and which is the most likely construction at this price point) and is induction-compatible, then the body is probably 304 (read: 18/8) with a disc made of aluminum alloys under a nickel-less stainless bottom layer. The cookware will probably work fine in the short run. If you treat it well, it will last until the handles become loose, which they will with daily use since they are not riveted. Also, the bit about staying shiny because it is 'surgical' SS is baloney. The next time you are at a hospital look around you.

Jul 23, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Waterless Cookware Myths or Not

There has been no country of origin labeling requirement in the EU since 1981, so the absence of a "Made in China" label is no indication that the product is European in origin. Moreover, 'surgical stainless steel' and '18/10' (meaning 18% chromium and 10% nickel) are marketing terms and are not used by metallurgists or steel mills. Chances are your cookware is neither of these. Almost all stainless steel cookware is made from 304 grade austenitic stainless on the inside because the nickel content makes it corrosion resistent. To qualify as 304 grade, the stainless steel must have a nickel content of not less than 8% and not more than 11%. Since nickel is expensive, there is little incentive for producers to boost the nickel content of 304 stainless above the minimum 8% required to qualify for the grade so, practically speaking, it is almost always 18/8 stainless. Nickel, however, is not magnetizable, so if your cookware is induction-compatible, the exterior can't be 18/10 and may not even be 304. As for 'surgical stainless,' most surgical implants such as suture wire, bone pins, skin closure staples etc. are made from grade 316 which has a minimum 10% nickel content (Saladmaster waterless cookware is the only cookware I know of made from 316, and you'll never find it at the price point you mentioned), so if anything were to be considered surgical stainless steel I suppose that would be it. Grade 403 stainless is another type of surgical stainless since surgical instruments like scapels are made from it. It contains no nickel and therefore is less corrosion-resistant (but it holds an edge well!)

Jul 22, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

need new stockpot--go for quality or price?

Apart from cost and weight, is there any reason not to use a tri-ply stock pot? Does it take noticeably longer to heat than a disk bottom? Is soup more prone to burn than a disk bottom?

Jun 14, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

American Kitchen by Regal Ware

You will have hurry if you want to buy AK, although you might be able to get some even better prices now. According to this website, Regal Ware is discontinuing the line aong with all of its other retail cookware: http://kitchenboy.net/blog/news-culin...

Jun 06, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Need advice - American Kitchen vs. All-Clad

I did, and you're right, and the thought process behind incurring the expense of 18/10 without getting some marketing traction from it will have to remain a mystery--see below.

Jun 06, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Need advice - American Kitchen vs. All-Clad

Regal appears to be discontinuing American Kitchen and exiting (again) the retail cookware business to focus on their direct sales lines. Scroll down to the second story: http://kitchenboy.net/blog/news-culin...
You might be able to pick up some at a deep discount.

Jun 06, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

American Kitchen by Regal Ware

Correcting myself: Regal has been making American Kitchen since 2007. It was designed In colllaboration with Chef Marcus Samuelsson and launched in October 2007 as Marcus Cookware. It received excellent reviews everywhere from Amazon to the Wall Street Journal. In 2010 the line was renamed American Kitchen, and on his website Samuelsson endorses other brands such as Cuisinart GreenGourmet and Scanpan. Wonder what happened.

Jun 06, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Waterless Cookware Myths or Not

I grew up on multi-ply waterless cookware and chose it for my first set when I set up my own household. I don't think my mother used the stack feature once. I know I never did. Most of the made-in-USA stuff is guaranteed for life. Except both my Mom's company, Low-Heet, and mine, Ecko-Flint, have disappeared. The Achilles heel of most waterless cookwear is its handles which are almost always some type of high performance plastic that must be attached with screws rather than riveted. The screws eventually get stripped and are of some proprietary design that can't be replaced at the hardware store. Mine finally got so loose that I was worried about having an accident with a full pot of something hot. Not wanting to invest so much money again, I replaced my waterless with one of the "new" (remember, I had spent my life cooking with 1940's technology so it was new to me) tri-ply stainless cookware lines with metal lids & riveted handles. What a revelation! No more hot spots and burned on food! No more scouring! Plus I could sear! I could even put the whole thing in a 500 degree oven! And did I mention that the lids form the same vapor-seal even without the famous stepped lip?

Jun 05, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Cuisinart Tri-Ply French Cookware

Every vendor except BBB sells FCT with metal lids. In fact, the Cuisinart website touts metal lids as an outstanding product feature of its FCT line. My FCT pots, purchased at Home Goods, have metal lids. Moreover, they are completely brushed stainless on the inside, not mirror-finished on the interior walls as described by an earlier poster who checked out FCT at BBB and decided against it. BBB is offering an 11 piece set for $299 while a 10 piece set on both Amazon and Zappo's is $399. Draw your own conclusion, but I wonder if BBB had Cuisinart make a line of FCT especially for them. My two FCT pots are very similar in heft, color and finish to my All-Clad. FCT's tri-ply is marginally thinner than All-Clad's, but the lids fit as tightly, the stainless is as bright and easy to clean, and the finishing is as smooth as my All-Clad pots.

Jun 05, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Additional pieces to Cuisinart French Classic set, feedback needed

Do you have a Home Goods (or Marshalls or TJ Maxx) store in your area? I bought a 2.5 qt. Cuisinart French Classic saucepan with a metal lid at Home Goods last month for $50.

Jun 05, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Looking to buy new Cuisinart cookware - Anybody know about "French Classic"?

Hopefully this link works:

http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-FCT33...

The web page contains a detailed and thoughtful comparison of French Classic & MultiClad Pro in an Amazon review. I bought an FCT 2.5 qt saucepan because I didn't like the shape (too tall & narrow) of the All-Clad 2 qt. It compares so favorably with my All-Clad that when I recently found an FCT 8 qt stockpot at Home Goods for $70, I bought it. I also bought a companion pasta insert although I'm guessing that the insert is made in China--at least it didn't say France on it like the other pieces in this line.

Jun 05, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Calphalon Tri Ply vs Cuisinart MultiClad Pro

Calphalon tri-ply is now induction capable. Turn the piece over. If it is induction capable it will have a symbol on the bottom. Mine do, but some stores may have old inventory.

May 20, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Stainless Steel or Cast Iron dutch oven?

I read on another website that if you cover the phenolic knobs with a 3-4 layers of aluminum foil they will not crack at 450. Anyone know if this works?

May 19, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Need advice - American Kitchen vs. All-Clad

Missed that time line at the bottom of the page, but it's another reason for me to feel more comfortable with All-Clad -- I hate it when key facts are not disclosed.

Further on the full disclosure issue, it irritates me that Cuisinart quietly removed the 18/10 designation from their multi-clad product even though many retail websites still tout it as 18/10. Calaphon, on the other hand, discloses in their website's FAQ section that their tri-ply cookware is no longer made from 18/10 but that they closely monitor the quality of the stainless used. Both lines are made in China, and I don't think I've seen any 18/10 SS cookware of Chinese origin, so perhaps 18/10 isn't available there. That still doesn't explain why American-made Regal AK stopped using it. Since 18/10 is the least reactive and most corrosion and rust resistant, a fact touted by Regal's high-end direct sales lines, it is a good thing to use on the surface that is in most contact with food.

May 18, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

WS All-Clad D5 SS 10 piece set....good deal?

Is that true, that the exterior SS degrades the distribution of heat around the pan? I noticed in the prepared foods section of my local Whole Foods the All-Clad wok-shaped pans holding some of the warm stuff is aluminum on the outside. Is that for performance rather than economics?

May 16, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

American Kitchen by Regal Ware

Would just like to point out that the logo on the back of this fry pan mirrors All-Clad's 40th anniversary commemorative line seen here:

http://www.amazon.com/5110-40-GEN-Sta...

However, All-Clad has actually been making All-Clad since 1971. Regal has been making American Kitchen since 2010. Regal, founded in 1945, acquired West Bend (est. 1902) in 2002 which entitles it to commemorate 100 years of American manufacturing, but outside of some very nice lines of waterless cookware sold through direct sales, both West Bend and Regal's cookware expertise is mainly aluminum mass market.

May 16, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware

Need advice - American Kitchen vs. All-Clad

I recently went through the same decision process and decided to give All-Clad a limited try by investing in one fry pan and one pot. If I like them I'll buy more. I thought long and hard about American Kitchen, though. Here are the reasons I decided to give it a pass.

First, Regal has only been making AK Tri-Ply since around 2010. It's a small part of their overall business. All-Clad only makes All-Clad and has been doing so since 1971. Regal got its start at the end of WWII making aluminum cookware for the mass market. Through acquisitions (including the 100 year old West Bend Corp) they ended up with a number of premium cookware brands, such as Royal Queen and Saladmaster, that you probably never heard of because they are marketed by direct sales like Tupperware. In fact, in 1999 Regal exited the entry-level retail cookware market to focus on direct sales cookware. This lasted until 2010 when it introduced AK Tri-Ply and two lesser lines. This is all on their website.

The second reason I did not go with AK Tri-Ply is because the warranty is for only 25 years while all Regal's direct sales brands have lifetime limited warranties, as does All-Clad. It makes me feel as if Regal's commitment to AK is on par with my commitment to All-Clad, i.e., they're just giving it a try. I am replacing 25 year old cookware that I was happy with, except the handles started to go and the company is out of business. So I value a lifetime warranty for a product that has been around for 40 years like All-Clad.

Third, While Regal is very explicit about the materials used in their direct sales brands, specifying the exact type of stainless, the product information for AK Tri-Ply says, simply, "stainless steel." I know the description on Amazon specifies 18/10 stainless, but you won't find this in the AK Tri-Ply product information on the Regal website or in Regal's AK Tri-Ply promotional video on YouTube. All-Clad, in contrast, explicitly states that their tri-ply cookware is lined with 18/10 stainless. (The outer layer needs to be magnetic to be induction compatible, so it needs a lower nickel content.) As someone wrote in another post, if it's 18/10, the company will publicize it, and if they are silent, it's not an oversight.

Speaking of oversights, one thing I could not find on the Regal and All-Clad websites is anything that might suggest that either of them is anything but independent. They both were acquired about 6-8 years ago by Groupe SEB (yes, both All-Clad and Regal are owned by the same company), a publicly traded French company that owns a variety of cookware and small appliance manufacturers.

Hope this helps!

May 16, 2012
Nutmegger1 in Cookware