Tuesday Tips: Buying Pots and Pans
No matter what kind of cook you are, pots and pans are a necessary investment. Even grilled cheese sandwiches are made on a skillet. But have you seen the prices of pots and pans lately? It's no small investment. So here are a few tips for picking the right cookware:
Tip #1: Keep a diary of what you make for meals each month and what kind of pots and pans you use. Stores are chock full of cookware that a lot of everyday cooks rarely use. Invest in the ones you use on a regular basis.
Tip #2: If you're still stumped about which pots and pans your kitchen absolutely needs, start with a 6-quart sauce pan, a 4-quart sauce pan, a 2-quart sauce pan and a 10-inch sauté pan, says Maria Kopsidas, founder and owner of Cookology, a cooking school and retail store in Sterling. Real Simple magazine, on the other hand, recommends a Dutch oven, a roasting pan, a pasta pot, a frying pan and a sauce pan.
Tip #3: Know what you're buying. Pots and pans are made from different metals, such as anodized aluminum, cast iron, copper and stainless steel. Each type cooks the food differently. Anodized aluminum is good for slow cooking, cast iron is good for searing meat, copper is known for evenly heating up food and stainless steel is good for high-temperature cooking, according to Real Simple.
Tip #4: Kopsidas says cookware should last about 10 years. But if the handle starts to shake and Teflon is coming off, it's time to toss them. Check if your cookware has a lifetime guarantee. If so, you might be able to get free replacements.
Tip #5: Look at reviews of pots and pans. Kopsidas recommends Cook's Illustrated's reviews. Only Cookware, Consumer Reports and Consumer Search also have reviews. And talk to cooking friends. Most have strong opinions on what works and what doesn't.
Tip #6: If you're ordering pots and pans online or through a catalog, make sure you get a deal on shipping. Cookware can be bulky and heavy, so any break on shipping would help.
Tip #7: Once you know what kind of pots and pans you want, shop around. Prices vary widely and most stores such as Macy's have sales on their cookware regularly. Kopsidas says some of the biggest sales on pots and pans are around the holidays.
Where do you buy pots and pans? Which brands do you like? What sizes and types of pots and pans do you recommend?
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