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The W - Random - Kitchen supply help
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Doc_whiskey
Frankfurter








Since: 6.8.02
From: St. Louis

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.00
I have recently decided to upgrade the equipment I use in my kitchen (i.e. pots, pans, etc.) from the cheap stuff I bought in college to some halfway decent items. However, I am finding cost to be a slight problem. I need 2 things answered.
1) What are some brands I should look for that would be of good quality, but not huge price (in other words, are there things people consider to be a good buy for cost)?

2) Are there any places online people can recommend aside from the standard amazon or department store webpages?





Lisa: Poor predicatble Bart, always picks rock
Bart: Good ole rock, nothing beats that
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tarnish
Frankfurter








Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.43

Go here and click "Online Membership". It'll give you a free 14-day trial. Surf the equipment reviews section.

The most recent issue of the magazine also contains an article on "essential kitchen equipment" that pretty much culls the best reviewed stuff of the last several years. Cook's always includes a "best buy" in their review. So, fr'instance, their preferred dutch oven is a Le Creuset at something like $350. But they'll also point you at the Tramontina at $50.

Can't go wrong with the recipes, either. A given recipe probably won't give you the best X you've ever tasted. But chances are as long as you're not useless in the kitchen, it'll be as good or better than you thought you were capable of making.
Lise
Mrs. Guru








Since: 11.12.01

Since last post: 450 days
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.60
Once you have a good idea of some things you're looking for (the type of stove you like to use does affect the type of pan a little) I strongly suggest taking a look at the home department of Ross, Mervyns, Tuesday Morning, and all of those places that get seconds and discontinued items from department stores. You will find some really awesome deals on really nice kitchen stuff including nice pans, knives, etc. Also check the clearance pages of department store websites.

The cheapest way is to pick up things here and there, and to just keep a general eye out. I absolutely suggest getting a good 14-16" frying pan, a sauce pan big enough to boil pasta in, and a couple of really good knives. Once you get nice versions of these things, you can just pick up the others as you see them on super sale.
Mike Zeidler
Pepperoni








Since: 27.6.02

Since last post: 102 days
Last activity: 62 days
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.79
For non pots & pans stuff (like spatulas, can openers, whisks, scales, etc.) I've learned from experience (and whatching Cooks Illustrated shows on PBS) that you should always buy the oXo version of whatever you need, as they generally rank the highest on the equipment tests.



"Tattoos are the mullets of the aughts." - Mike Naimark
samoflange
Lap cheong








Since: 22.2.04
From: Cambridge, MA

Since last post: 402 days
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.32
My cookware is almost exclusively from Le Creuset. It's a bit more expensive than others, but there are lifetime guarantees on everything, so it's also a longterm investment.



Lloyd: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her.
Harry: That's a special feeling.
emma
Cherries > Peaches








Since: 1.8.02
From: Phoenix-ish

Since last post: 5 days
Last activity: 3 hours
#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.38
    Originally posted by Lise
    Once you have a good idea of some things you're looking for (the type of stove you like to use does affect the type of pan a little) I strongly suggest taking a look at the home department of Ross, Mervyns, Tuesday Morning, and all of those places that get seconds and discontinued items from department stores. You will find some really awesome deals on really nice kitchen stuff including nice pans, knives, etc. Also check the clearance pages of department store websites.

    The cheapest way is to pick up things here and there, and to just keep a general eye out. I absolutely suggest getting a good 14-16" frying pan, a sauce pan big enough to boil pasta in, and a couple of really good knives. Once you get nice versions of these things, you can just pick up the others as you see them on super sale.
What she said! Absolutely-exactly.

In my experience, most of the "mid-range" stuff is poor value for money. I'm a serious cook, & use very little that's "mid-range". Of my 2 favourite saute pans, one was $10 at the supermarket 10+ years ago, with the teflon wearing through. The other is a $150+ All-Clad that I found at 30% off. And which requires hand washing. The cheap one is fast on an electric cooktop, gets tossed in the dishwasher, & theoretically could get replaced yearly & still be cost effective. The good one can build up & hold a lot of heat & produces really nice finishes on the food, & looks & performs exactly as well today as the day I bought it.

Same kind of thing for pots. I have one that was $30 at Ikea & gets tossed in the dishwasher. The big stock pot is in a size that you only see in "good" lines. And I'm not sure it would fit in the dishwasher. But that one is the kind of thing that your grandchildren will be fighting over.

Same thing with knives. I have some little cheap paring knives, that again go in the dishwasher. I've also got a number of Wusthof, which need professional sharpening, & I wouldn't dream of putting in a dishwasher. And a couple of fabulous Japanese ones -- a french chef's & a santoku. They are definitely worth the money. One thing I'm really lucky about is that we have a killer-good knife shop in Scottsdale, called The Phoenix Knife House (phoenixknifehouse.com). The owner is a serious chef, & does hand-sharpening & repairs. I don't know if your city would have such a place, but if you can find anything close, go shop!

To me, that dishwasher consideration is a big point. If you're going to put them in the dishwasher, look carefully for pieces that specify "dishwasher safe" in their guarantee.

I'm typing too much again, but the one other thing I'll say is that, unless you're starting from total scratch, I'm not a particular fan of buying either pots/pans or knives in the pre-packaged sets. It seems like "wow, that's a better deal!", but for doing anything serious, it's never really the right shape or size ... And I don't usually want the same brand for everything. (I end up house-sitting for friends of mine all the time, & a number of them have just a set of something that was a wedding gift. I take my own "travel knives" & even a small saute pan with me, just so I know I'll have something good to work with. :-) )
Lise
Mrs. Guru








Since: 11.12.01

Since last post: 450 days
Last activity: 5 days
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.60
I will second having some pans that go in the dishwasher.
Never underestimate how much more you'll cook if clean up is easier. Keep a few favorite "ratty" pans just for this.

I recommend against a teflon coated wok if you're looking for a wok, yes you can use less oil, but you can't use high heat safely. Go for a good steel one and season it properly.

You can also save a lot of money if you're willing to season your own cast iron, or this is also one type of item that does show up regularly at thrift stores in very good shape.

I also second the oXo recommendation for utility items. I haven't owned an oXo item that hasn't performed well if not the best.
Zeruel
Thirty Millionth Hit
Moderator








Since: 2.1.02
From: The Silver Spring in the Land of Mary.

Since last post: 3 days
Last activity: 16 hours
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
    Originally posted by Lise


    I recommend against a teflon coated wok if you're looking for a wok, yes you can use less oil, but you can't use high heat safely. Go for a good steel one and season it properly.


Having an Asian background and growing up on alot of food cooked only in a wok, a teflon coated one just seems...wrong. Chinese food is meant to be cooked very fast in a HOT wok. You're right, teflon just get's in the way.


    You can also save a lot of money if you're willing to season your own cast iron, or this is also one type of item that does show up regularly at thrift stores in very good shape.


Don't scrub it or throw it in the dishwasher like my mom did years ago to my dad's grandmother's cast iron skillet. She couldn't understand why it started to rust. *facepalm*

I went to the Gourmet Chef and got a seasoned one 10 years ago and if you treat them right, they will treat you right.



-- 2006 Time magazine Person of the Year --

-- July 2009 Ordained Reverend --
babetsavant
Polska kielbasa








Since: 17.8.06
From: Calgary, AB Canada

Since last post: 1508 days
Last activity: 1318 days
#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.64
I would also look at either Circulon or Anolon pots. They are anodized steel and are great for non-stick cooking (no Teflon to flake off) and higher heat. Pretty reasonably priced and usually come in sets.

I second the stainless steel frying or sauce pan... spend a little money and get All-Clad and it'll last you a life-time!



But, my daddy's in a coma!
redsoxnation
Scrapple








Since: 24.7.02

Since last post: 510 days
Last activity: 510 days
#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.75
If you want to go the Department store route, look at a place like Kohls, go looking for their 30% off coupon code and try to parlay that with free shipping.
Mr Heel II
Lap cheong








Since: 25.2.02

Since last post: 11 days
Last activity: 9 hours
#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.26
If you have a factory outlet mall near you, check out the Corning-Revere or Farberware stores. You can find some great deals there.

Farberware tends to have the nicer stuff.
The Thrill
Banger








Since: 16.4.02
From: Green Bay, WI

Since last post: 220 days
Last activity: 66 days
#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.25
Godspeed, men of the 2nd Bn, 127th Infantry, 32d "Red Arrow" Brigade, Wisconsin Army National Guard! Victory in Iraq!

Online, I'll recommend a local (well, for me) place: Cook's Corner. (The Nation's Largest Kitchen Store...or so they say.)

Very good folks, and some really sweet gear.






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StaggerLee
Scrapple








Since: 3.10.02
From: Right side of the tracks

Since last post: 5 days
Last activity: 15 hours
#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.08
Best bet is to go to a resteraunt supply store. Pick exactly what you want, and don't worry about the brand name. Usually they are more sturdy than what you'll get in a store, and at a BIG savings.
Doc_whiskey
Frankfurter








Since: 6.8.02
From: St. Louis

Since last post: 38 days
Last activity: 38 days
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.00
Thanks for all of the help so far! I saw in a weekly ad this week (I think Kmart) for a 9 piece Farberware cookware set for $50 and it comes with a 3 piece skillet set for free. Is Farberware a good brand and would you jump on this deal? (If you want to check it out, look at the weekly ad at kmart.com for the St. Louis area.



Lisa: Poor predicatble Bart, always picks rock
Bart: Good ole rock, nothing beats that
DrDirt
Banger








Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

Since last post: 31 days
Last activity: 15 hours
#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.42
    Originally posted by Doc_whiskey
    Thanks for all of the help so far! I saw in a weekly ad this week (I think Kmart) for a 9 piece Farberware cookware set for $50 and it comes with a 3 piece skillet set for free. Is Farberware a good brand and would you jump on this deal? (If you want to check it out, look at the weekly ad at kmart.com for the St. Louis area.


It is serviceable. For what you pay for it is is fine. On pots nd pans you get what you pay for but for that cheap a price, if it inly lasts a couple of years, so what. The key to a lot of cheaper cookware is to treat it gently.

StaggerLee is right. For durability, supply stores are great.



Perception is reality
emma
Cherries > Peaches








Since: 1.8.02
From: Phoenix-ish

Since last post: 5 days
Last activity: 3 hours
#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.38
    Originally posted by DrDirt
      Originally posted by Doc_whiskey
      Thanks for all of the help so far! I saw in a weekly ad this week (I think Kmart) for a 9 piece Farberware cookware set for $50 and it comes with a 3 piece skillet set for free. Is Farberware a good brand and would you jump on this deal? (If you want to check it out, look at the weekly ad at kmart.com for the St. Louis area.


    It is serviceable. For what you pay for it is is fine. On pots nd pans you get what you pay for but for that cheap a price, if it inly lasts a couple of years, so what. The key to a lot of cheaper cookware is to treat it gently.
IMO it falls into the "mid-range" category that's generally bad value for money. But if you really want a starter set of cheap stuff *now* that you can build on & replace out, that price is OK.
Doc_whiskey
Frankfurter








Since: 6.8.02
From: St. Louis

Since last post: 38 days
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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.00
OK I think I am going to go the supply store route, Stagger you are listed as from the St. Louis area, do you have any you would recommend?



Lisa: Poor predicatble Bart, always picks rock
Bart: Good ole rock, nothing beats that
Guru Zim
SQL Dejection
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 13 days
Last activity: 12 hours
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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.18
    Originally posted by Doc_whiskey
    Thanks for all of the help so far! I saw in a weekly ad this week (I think Kmart) for a 9 piece Farberware cookware set for $50 and it comes with a 3 piece skillet set for free. Is Farberware a good brand and would you jump on this deal? (If you want to check it out, look at the weekly ad at kmart.com for the St. Louis area.


12 pans/skillets for $50 is not a bad deal. It does not solve your problem, though. It's just another 2-3 year investment in pots/pans.

This is basically another set of cheap stuff you bought in college.




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emma
Cherries > Peaches








Since: 1.8.02
From: Phoenix-ish

Since last post: 5 days
Last activity: 3 hours
#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.38
I don't know St Louis, but from a quick web search ...

-- Have you shopped "Bertarelli Cutlery" (bertarellicutlery.com)? That looks promising for knives & lower-markup stuff. And if you get chatting with them about knives, they might point you toward resources for anything they don't carry ...

-- Any place in your google search (google.com) for restaurant supply. You might want to call ahead & ask if they "sell to the public", & verify that they do carry cookware pieces. (Some restaurant supply places are only large appliances, etc.)

Don't expect proper restaurant supply places to be in the best parts of town -- ours aren't. :-) But that's what lower markup is all about. Same thing with websites -- unless they also sell major professional-quality appliances, they may not bother with a web site. That's not necessarily a problem.

Remember, shop around.
DrDirt
Banger








Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

Since last post: 31 days
Last activity: 15 hours
#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.41
    Originally posted by emma
    I don't know St Louis, but from a quick web search ...

    -- Have you shopped "Bertarelli Cutlery" (bertarellicutlery.com)? That looks promising for knives & lower-markup stuff. And if you get chatting with them about knives, they might point you toward resources for anything they don't carry ...

    -- Any place in your google search (google.com) for restaurant supply. You might want to call ahead & ask if they "sell to the public", & verify that they do carry cookware pieces. (Some restaurant supply places are only large appliances, etc.)

    Don't expect proper restaurant supply places to be in the best parts of town -- ours aren't. :-) But that's what lower markup is all about. Same thing with websites -- unless they also sell major professional-quality appliances, they may not bother with a web site. That's not necessarily a problem.

    Remember, shop around.


Emma is correct. But they aren't usually in the worst either. Usually best to go before 5 pm. We have 5 or 6 in wichita and they are a lot of fun to look around in.

Also for some neat old time kitchen gadgets, try the local thrift stores and antique shops.



Perception is reality
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