Thursday, May 16, 2024

My Kitchen Pots and Pans And Romeo

Boy, have we been hoo-dood into thinking we need to spend a lot of money on pans to make good meals at home.  Many, many years ago, Bev & I were considering what pans to buy for the kitchen in our new home and we had the opportunity to attend a cooking demonstration put on by the restaurant chef where we were staying on vacation.  After the demonstration we asked him what kind of pans he uses and his answer surprised me – “whatever the restaurant furnishes”. 

This is a set of All-Clad and note the copper disk in the bottom to insure even heat distribution - $1299 on Amazon.

I love to watch Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives to get meal ideas and they always show the chefs cooking in their kitchens and using some of the worst looking pans you can imagine and they mostly appear to be heavyweight aluminum.  You can watch a couple of episodes to see what I mean - I’d probably throw many of them away.  

So following are my thoughts, experiences, and opinions on pans.  

We ended up buying some Scanpan (non-stick) and some Faberware copper bottomed stainless steel (SST) cookware.  We liked the Scanpan but the coating eventually began flaking off and all but two of them are gone.  Several years ago, I was all set to discard the stainless skillets because of food sticking until I learned how to preheat them properly such that the food does not stick – watch the video here (click on "tik tok video") if you don’t know how to do the water-behaving-like-a-bead-of-mercury test - be sure to use cold tap water and I use a 1/8 tsp.  

With the copper bottoms on ours, the heat is distributed very evenly with little to no hotspot right above the burners.

Our SST pan collection now consists of a 12” saute pan and a 12” fry pan along with two sauce pans, an 8 qt and 16 qt SST pot and a pressure cooker.  

Then, we have three recently added GreenPan, ceramic non-stick in 8,” 10,” and 12” sizes. 

We have cast iron skillets is the 6”, 10”, and 12” sizes that are used on the cooktop for a few things but mostly in the oven and mainly for corn bread.  

Since iron and steel do not conduct heat that well and the cast iron doesn’t have a copper bottom or aluminum disk like most good SST pans, it will nearly always have a hot spot right above the gas flame.  Here is an example where I was rendering some bacon over my lowest heat setting in an enameled cast iron Dutch oven and the bacon was evenly distributed across the pan bottom but note how it had developed a fond in the center above the burner where it was cooking harder then later while making the beef stew I had to frequently scrap the sticking meat from the same area.

I sure wish I had the old, highly seasoned cast iron skillets that my mom and grandma used which were semi non-stick.  I think they only used cast iron skillets when I was growing up.

We also have some miscellaneous pots and pans in various materials, such as a Calphalon wok, 10” & 12” enameled cast iron Le Creuset Dutch ovens (I thought I needed the expensive ones when we bought these), a rarely used large SST pasta pan, a 12” cast iron Dutch oven (our deep fryer), etc.

One thing I am sure of, especially after watching the professional cooks on TV, is that I don’t need expensive cookware to make good food.  Any fairly heavy SST pan with a copper bottom or imbedded aluminum disk (called 3-ply) will make as good a food as the much more expensive All-Clad, etc.  We were all set to buy All-Clad before the restaurant chef’s comments and I’m sure I wouldn’t cook any better with them than our 30+ year old Faberware, which still look as good as new on the inside (has a little baked on grease on the outside) and should last for several generations just like cast iron pans - I occasionally clean the inside with Bar Keepers Friend.  My ex still uses the SST (Lifetime) pans that we bought from one of those cooking parties almost 60 years ago while still in college and they still replace the handles and knobs for free.

So far, I have been well pleased with the GreenPan non-stick pans, especially now that I’ve learned how to properly take care of them, and at $25/ pan, I won’t feel bad if they require replacement every year or so – it’s about the same cost as replacing the car windshield wipers twice a year.

Here is an article about kitchen pan materials that I believe you will find interesting.

In summary, for skillets, I use SST when I want some fond to develop, non-stick when I don't, and cast iron for some semi deep-frying but mostly in the oven where they get even heat from all sides.

I hope you found this post interesting and informative.

I love it when Romeo lays like this and looks at us upside down.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.



  1. I have many different cooking vessels but I love my cast iron skillets, Dutch ovens, and heavy bottom stock pots the most.

  2. Hi Larry, We have a plethora of pans but we only use about 6 of them on a regular basis. I need at least one or two new frying pans as the ones I have seem to have bowed upward a little. So when I fry eggs I drop the eggs in the middle and they immediately slide off to one of the sides. The other issue for us is that we're stuck with electric burners. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  3. We have a verity of pots and pans similar to what you have. I also have quite a few pots of gigantic size that are only used once every few years when entertaining. One thing we got rid of during our last move was pot lids. We only needed about 6 that would fit the different size pots and pans. Karen (Back Road Journal)

  4. I'm back, after a six month blogging hiatus. A few years ago, I finally invested in All-Clad. That is only because there was a sweetheart deal for ONE DAY. I got a beautiful set for $400.00 that includes skillets, pots and a steamer. One skillet, alone, retails for under $200. That deal is long gone, and I'm glad I jumped on it. I admit, that I love it. Do I cook better food? Not really. I just enjoy them, and Bar keepers friend has kept them looking pristine. I also love my few Le Creuset braiser and Dutch ovens. My cast iron skillets are, very much, my go to for searing. I'll catch up on your past posts. In a couple of weeks, I'll resume publishing as well. Glad you are doing okay. Debby


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