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Cookware is the next topic in the stocking series.  This post provides a guide and looks at cookware for your stage on your cooking journey.   I am using the same tier structure as from my Pantry Stocking post.  Refer here for a reminder on how I define the different tiers.  Next, we will tackle bakeware! 

Many years ago, I purchased a set of pots from Fingerhut, which Cuisinart made.  Those pans had a non-stick interior, which lasted a good while considering the abuse they took.  In 2017, I decided it was time for a new set of cookware.  Between my first purchase and this impending one, I learned quite a bit about cookware.

Buying Cookware

No matter how you slice it, I am not a cookware snob.  If they hold and distribute heat evenly and have solid construction, they are helpful in my book.  I knew I needed something slightly heftier than expected when lifted.  Furthermore, holding and distributing heat requires a material such as aluminum.  However, that metal is reactive; therefore, the cooking surface needs to be covered by stainless steel.  On the bottom, inductive stainless steel will heat my cookware quickly.  In other words, it is non-reactive, heats evenly, gets hot fast, and stays hot.

Of course, there are safety features to consider, such as stay-cool handles, assist handles, and pour spouts.  Look at the handle fastening and the thickness of any glass lids.  Regarding usage and cleaning, ensure they are oven and dishwasher-safe.

My Current Cookware

Coming from non-stick, I decided to give stainless steel cookware a shot.  I wanted to caramelize and deglaze food, don’t judge me, please.  Whereas when working with non-stick, the caramelization is not satisfactory since food cannot stick to the pan or pot.  Once again, I purchased Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless-steel.  I ordered this 17-piece set from  Amazon.  The only thing missing is a 6-quart pot, which I keep forgetting to buy.  Of course, I remember when I require it.  

Since the best pieces do not always find themselves in the collection, I do not favor cookware sets.  With that in mind, I have been lucky with Cuisinart cookware.  If you are thinking about getting a cookware set, head to your local kitchen store to take a comprehensive look at the individual pieces in the collection. 

One of my favorite books about gearing up the kitchen is my signed copy of Alton Brown’s Gear For Your KitchenMr. Brown goes in-depth with each piece of equipment and doesn’t stop with cookware!

Cookware Favorites' Tiers

Tier 1: Casual or New Cook

  • Cast-Iron Skillet 10 to 12 inches (in)
  • Roasting Pan
  • Stainless-Steel Skillet 10 to 12 in
  • Saucepan 3 to 4 quart (qt)
  • Stockpot 8 to 10 qt
  • Nonstick Skillet 10 to 12 in

Tier 2: Confident Cook Expanding Food Horizons.

  • 6-qt enamel cast iron Dutch oven
  • Griddle
  • Stovetop grill
  • 6-qt stockpot
  • 2-qt saucepot
  • Steamer
  • 12-in sauté pan

Tier 3: Well-seasoned Culinary Adventurer

  • 8-in stainless-steel skillet
  • Wok
  • Double Boiler
  • Saucier
  • Braiser
  • Duplicates of saucepans, skillets, sauté pans, Dutch ovens, and cast iron skillets in the most used sizes.
  • Ethnic cookware such as tagine, bamboo steamer, paella pan, and so on

I hope you enjoyed this cookware favorites list! What are some of your favorite pieces of cookware? Take a look at the gallery below!  Drop me a line on social media if you are enjoying this stocking series.  Make sure you sign up for post notifications via email so that you won’t miss a single bite! 

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Tay M.

I’m the Tay behind Tay’s Bi-Polar Kitchen. I started this blog to share my kitchen and mental health wellness journey. I want to show people they are not alone in their struggles, combat the stigma associated with mental disorders, and be open and honest about their mental health. In my opinion, these three issues stand as barriers to seeking treatment. If this website inspires someone to move closer to mental health wellness for themselves or another, my work has been done.

Welcome to my table; I hope you say a while.

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." - Kahlil Gibran

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