Anyone have any experience with Calphalon One Anodized cookware? Durability, heat distribution, ease of cleaning?
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by John Cole| 98 Comments
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Anyone have any experience with Calphalon One Anodized cookware? Durability, heat distribution, ease of cleaning?
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But I can’t emphasize the practicality of an enameled dutch oven enough.
I have the set, and I love it. If it is the same set I am thinking about, then some of handles (the one on the big frying pan/skillet) is rather awkward and could be more substantial. Overall I love, it, it also goes in the oven and under the broiler. I bought the set on sale at Amazon, it was a great deal!
Um, yeah, more on the cleanup side since Mrs. P is the cook. She loves her dutch oven and would like more pieces.
I’ve found it difficult to get absolutely clean – ie free of any discoloration. We’ve also found that that doesn’t seem to make any difference health- or taste-wise. No doubt someone will be along shortly to tell me that that’s a ticking time-bomb.
ETA – Never mind. I’m thinking of Le Creuset.
I’ll go away now.
We got a set when we got married five years ago. Everything’s holding up well, and cleaning is never a problem as long as you take care not to burn the food and make sure the pan is greased properly. Even if things do get burned on, you just have to give it a soak and do some extra scrubbing and the scorch comes off without a major hassle. Heat distribution seems okay to me, at least I’ve never really noticed it as an issue. They’re not great for searing as they won’t hold heat like a cast-iron skillet, but for regular cooking they’ve been fine.
I don’t have personal experience, but I have a friend who swears by it. I believe her position would be, “You can pry the Calphalon One Anodized Cookware from my cold, dead oven mitts.”
I got a Bialetti Cookware set as a housewarming gift last time I moved. I lurve these pans to death.
OTOH, anodized aluminum wok was a bad idea.
Years ago, I actually worked for the company that makes Calphalon (it was known as Commercial Aluminum Cookware at that time, and only sold to restaurants, hotels and hospitals, etc. at the time). I used to help prepare some of the cookware prior to it being sent out for the “black anodizing”… which I believe is done in house now.
It’s quite the standard in the cooking industry, and I loved using it when I owned it, acquiring it by way of the “seconds” crate.
Yep, Mrs. Legalize and I got a set earlier this year. Heat distributes nicely. Easy to clean. My only complaint is that the handles get hotter than I would expect. But for the price, that’s a very minimal drawback.
I wouldn’t buy any expensive cookware that isn’t induction capable. Induction cook tops are going to take over eventually, and next time you upgrade your cook top you will want one. Might as well get cookware that is compatible.
I have Revere ware for pots and pans. It lasts for life. It is easy to clean and it does heat evenly. Cast iron skillets.
Don’t know about Dutch ovens.
Put the cover on and you won’t see any discoloration.
A vacation break from the blog, I do not think it means what you think it means. /Inígo Moñtóya
I’ve been adding the Calphalon Unison piece by piece. My Anolon Advanced is still good but as I replace I’m going with the Unison.
Yes… the one thing I always hated about them was the handles.
@kindness: Isn’ the unison nonstick, though? Every time I buy non-stick, it looks like I took steel wool to the surface in 6 months.
(Smacks forehead) So obvious!
@ChrisS: Meh. Standard cast iron. About 20% the cost, 100% of the functionality.
I don’t bother with the expensive cookware. It always seems to go to shit, but my cast iron skillet is now over 50 years old, and if it were to somehow get ruined, $20 has me back in business.
Dump your cash into the food. You don’t eat the pan.
I have a set of the Calaphon One. I like it. Easy to clean, seems to cook the food well, good and heavy. You have to take the warnings about metal utensils seriously though, unless you don’t mind the nicks in the nonstick.
I had teflon a long time ago. Was supposed to use plastic utensils. I hated it.
@Martin: Agreed. Cast iron pans and hefty-gauge stainless steel pots work well, last forever, clean up nicely, and cost much less than fancyware, leaving more money for
@John Cole: That’s been my experience with non-stick, and this after using only non-metallic utensils.
Not a big fan of anodized aluminum. FWIW, you can’t put it in the dishwasher.
I would also advise against spending big bucks on nonstick cookware. It doesn’t matter how “good” it is, the teflon will ALWAYS wear away. Get a couple inexpensive nonstick pans with a heavy aluminum base. Replace them every couple years.
Otherwise, Calphalon has a stainless/aluminum/stainless clad series that I really like.
@Maude: Jah. Teflon lousy, plastic utensils worse.
I have a Calphalon One 12″ fry pan and a 5 quart dutch oven for the times when non-stick is the way to go… and my girlfriend generally prefers non-stick to cook on, so they’ve seen a fair bit of use. Way better than the T-Fal drek I got before I knew how to cook, but being that one Calphalon pan costs as much as an entire set of T-Fal that’s not saying a lot. It’s hard to compare them to my more expensive clad pans, since I use them for different things, but I think they stack up pretty favorably… and are certainly easier to maintain.
One thing I notice is that that particular line looks like it might be discontinued (stuff I purchased on Amazon is not available, and the Caphalon website shows the same). Not a problem if you are getting a great deal on a set, but potentially annoying if you want to build up pans over time.
With three pots I have, the anodizing has come off on the inside. The large pot this happened when I made wassel for Christmas a few years back. Wassel is acidic and cooks for hours. Needless to say, i wasn’t to psyched about the fact that I ingested whatever the hell anodizing is. A similar thing happened slowly over time with two other pots. I know only use the small ones to boil eggs, and I don’t use the large one at all. My $.02 …
From the website:
I find them functionally the same as non-stick.
@John Cole: The wife is a Chef, and she swears by Scanpan for non-stick cookware. I back that up too…..stuff is non stick and quality and doesn’t come off and isn’t toxic. A bit on the expensive side…
Get yourself a good stainless steel sauce pan and 1-2 big Le Cruesets and you’re set.
Yeah, and I’m not fond of eating Teflon(TM).
Mrs. P is not a fan of cooking on the stuff and, as I said, I do the cleanup anyway. And frankly, it’s easier to clean raw metal because you can do whatever you need to do, instead of babying a non-stick finish.
@Hippie Killer: The stuff I have is not non-stick, it is dishwasher safe. I thought it was called Calphalon One.
*goes to check*
Not sure if our calphalon annodized cookware is the same. If it is, I wouldn’t buy it again. It wears off, eventually. (I never use anything but a sponge & a washcloth to clean it.)
From now on, I will buy a) cast iron, b) stainless clad or c) enameled cast iron cookware. Anything else is not made, as far as I can tell, for people who are going to use it every day.
I’ve been considering getting a few pieces because:
– We have an electric stove
– We have power outages
– We have a large kitchen fireplace with a wide and deep brick hearth.
Maybe it’d be nice to have a few CI pieces and experiment with fireplace cooking….
I bought 9 various pieces of commerical grade aluminum cookware at an estate sale in Stonington Ct almost 20 years ago, they were at least 20 years old at the time. Ugly as hell, but they cook like a dream, you can’t hurt them, easy to clean. If anything burns or sticks to the bottom, just pour in some water and boil the gunk loose! Best 60 bucks I ever spent, new, I’d guess they’d cost way over a thousand bucks. I saw a 21/2 gallon pasta/soup pot like mine and with the strainer insert it was 300 plus.
Yes and I do like mine. But for getting a good brown I still use either my stainless steel or cast iron skillet!
I love this pan.
i like my calphalon one pans, but now i don’t use them as much as the ceramic greenpan ones. those are nonstick pans that hold up much better than teflon. still avoid metal utensils but i can still use them from time to time. also, about a year later they still are non-stick and clean just as easily as the day i got em.
I’ve got a couple of cast iron pans that I can fry anything in, including eggs over easy, (scrambled eggs do require non-stick, though), plus some stainless steel pans that I can use as mirrors after applying some oven cleaner to the worst bits of 20 years of less-than-ideal cleaning.
I also have a Le Creuset, which I love for curries and stews, but it does have a grey stain in the bottom from black bean soup. Again, a bit of oven cleaner polished the outside off perfectly, and I live with the interior stain.
You don’t need non-stick for everything, and while aluminum does distribute heat very well, is it really worth the premium?
I’ve got two of those regular cast iron skillets (one I bought new, the smaller I bought at a flea market). The enameled portion of the dutch oven makes for superior braises and stews though (Lodge 5 quart, $60, but the enamel bubbled and flaked after a six months, I bitched and they just sent me a new one). I basically use a cast iron skillet and the dutch oven for just about everything. I have a non-stick skillet I use for eggs, fish, and quickly cooking something. And as an added bonus, CI easily goes from cooktop to oven (and is perfect for the new wave of induction cooktops).
The rest of the gear, meh, buy a couple of SS sauciers and a stockpot for pasta and you’re set. Add all that up and you’re at like $200 instead of $400 for a “set”.
No steel utensils in teflon.
I live with the interior stain.
Don’t we all, one way or another?
Cheryl from Maryland
Please, please, please order your knives and pots from here:
They give top service, advise on types depending on your oven and style, and carry the best pots ever:
Demeyre — http://www.knifemerchant.com/products.asp?manufacturerID=239&mtype=2
Not only are Demeyre pots wonderful, they can be cleaned in a dishwasher !(even the teflon coated fry pans). Their teflon coated pans can be used with metal utensils. The handles are designed so you can pick up a pot without burning yourself. Mine are over 10 years old and still look perfect.
There are a few things… like omelets… that are a lot easier on a non-stick surface. I suppose a really well seasoned cast iron pan would work in those situations, but cast iron requires a little extra maintenance and doesn’t seem perfectly suited to my dual omnivore/vegetarian household… since you’re not supposed to wash it with soap if you want to build up that seasoning.
I wouldn’t buy a set of non-stick personally, but a smaller omelet pan and a larger skillet for stir fries makes a fair bit of sense to me. You just have to know they’re not one of those “for life” type pans like enameled cast iron.
We had better experience with the Calphalon Commercial pans. The we had a couple of non-stick calphalons — the coating was good for a few years, but eventually got scratched. Meanwhile, I have Calph commercial anodized pots on their second decade. In fact, we recently gave away the last couple Calphalon non-sticks that we had and filled out our pot rack with more Commercial.
The commercial stuff is solid, heats well, and cleans up well with a nylon scrubber and some bon ami. It can also be found relatively cheaply (you can get a full set of commercial for the price of a couple of non-stick pans). Note that Calphalon anodized isn’t dishwasher safe, so if you have dreams of avoiding the scrubby, keep looking.
I have had Calphalon and Le Creuset, but my favorite is AllClad. A little expensive, but it will last a lifetime. Easy to clean and the more you use it, the better it gets.
@Jager: Ah! Another lapsed Catholic!
::offers sekrit handshake::
Is that Alan’s greenpan?
Bob in Sheboygan
I’ll second the recommendation of singfoom on Scanpan. I have three Scanpan fry pans- different sizes- and use them daily. They have a titanium coating and keep their nonstick qualities over the years. Just use Dawn or Joy to clean them. Made in Denmark and available at Sur La Table at a discount. Singfoom is also correct about a Le Creuset dutch oven- one 5.5 qt sized oven should do the trick and will last a lifetime. Also, don’t feel you must buy an entire set of pots and pans. You will have a matching set of things that do not do anything perfectly. Mix and match for best results.
I seriously <3 my Calphalon Commercial. Buying individual pieces can be steep, but Amazon frequently has reasonably priced sets.
I find the anodized stuff is harder to keep clean, but that is purely esthetic.
I have the Tramontina cookware (I actually got it when it was still called “American Gourmet Standard) and it is cheaper and great. Cook’s Illustrated best buy. You should also get a couple enamaled pieces from Lodge. For non-stick, go the the “professional” section of your Bed, Bath & Beyond, and buy something for $25. Nonstick has a limited lifetime, and there is no reason to spend more than that.
On the Lodge stuff, replace the plastic pot lid handle with a stainless steel drawer handle from your local hardware store. Then you can use it up to 500 degrees and higher.
Buy copper. They last 3 lifetimes and you can get the interiors resurface.
Yes, I love it. A friend of mine who had attended culinary school told me about it. Good advice.
The set of anodized cookware that Costco sells
does what theirs does for a fraction of the price, as they say.
Yeah, Serious Eats compared the Tramontina skillet to All Clad and basically had them even… except on price of course.
And Another Thing...
I have a couple of skillets and a saucepan. They brown food better than other non-sticks, but not as well as stick. I use them for things that I HATE to to scrub out of a pan, like scrambled eggs, cream of wheat, oatmeal, etc. I would never buy a whole set. I like my stainless main set because you can put them through the dishwasher, they brown better, etc..
Calphalon regular has individual items or duos on sale. Bed Bath & Beyond frequently has specials on items.
As for utensils, buy bamboo implements. They last forever, never have the oily sensation you can get from nylon, etc, and you can put them through the dishwasher. They’re great.
My prize pan is a beautifully seasoned cast iron. The bamboo works fine with that too.
Addendum to previous comment:
I have a large Calph One Anodized skillet and a Calph Omelet pan that is their non-stick. The non-stick has a few nicks in it no matter how careful I am. The anodized skillet is my favorite go-to.
I haz that. I don’t have the newer ones that supposedly let you sear food, and that’s one thing I hate about them, but the do cook evenly and the durability is great. My mother in law has some allclad pots, and those are the shiz. I think they are pretty expensive, though.
My cast iron wok is my favorite pan. Getting a good seasoning on it was a pain though.
Anybody got an online source for Vollrath pans? I love my 10″ non-stick skillet, but after 6 or 7 years of unsuccessful attempts, the Spousal Unit’s managed to damage the interior surface. Bought it at a local home show, but those retailers haven’t showed up for the last couple years…
OK I checked. The set I have is the Calphalon hard anodized commercial set and I also have 2 Calphalon One infused anodized pans (10 inch fry pan and an omelet pan.)
Oh, another hint that someone gave me, and has worked out for me. If you buy the non-stick stuff separately, bring one of your lids from home, and find a pan that it fits. Most non-stick don’t have lids, and sometimes they are useful. The lid from my one All-Clad roasting pan fits my nonstick frying pan perfectly.
I’ll say, I love my induction range- it has the control of gas, better heating power, and doesn’t heat up the kitchen- but I’m not sure I’d make induction capability an absolute requirement. For one thing, ISTR that Mr. Cole has a gas stove, so he’s unlikely to be upgrading to an electric any time soon. For another, there’s currently a strong research program to develop induction cooktops that will work with any metal cookware, not just magnetic ones. This is technically possible and may well be the standard by the time John is buying his next range.
There is Catholic Guilt, Irish Catholic Guilt and the pinnacle is German Catholic Guilt administered with Nazi-like efficiency. I was ordered to leave Catholic school in the 7th grade for laughing and encouraging my best friend John during his life and death struggle with Sister Octavia for control of her metal edged ruler…he won! Two days later we were in public school! When we were in High School, John and I delivered flowers for a local flower shop, we were setting up a funeral at St Mary’s one morning, when the Priest walked in and spotted the two of us right next to the altar and screamed, “Out of my church, out of my church, you terrible boys, get out, get out and never return”!
I didn’t, nor did John. We are going to Ireland with our wives next summer and plan to confess almost 50 years of sin to some unexpecting and unprepared Irish Priest! Guilty, not so much.
So for those who have the Le Creuset Dutch Oven, is it really worth it? I really want one, but cringe at spending 250 dollars on a pot.
Also, since we’re on the subject, can anyone recommend a set of knives that doesn’t cost more than say, 200 bucks?
i got the lodge dutch oven instead. probably won’t last as long, but way cheaper and made in the us. works fine for me, and i kick the crap out of those things.
I’ve got a couple Calph nonstick pieces, and I really like both of them. They’re still pretty new, though — only about four or five months old — so I can’t speak to any longevity issues.
I also have a Calph stainless steel pan that I love, and I recently inherited an All Clad pan that is my favorite thing in my kitchen aside from my Wusthof Santoku knife.
I second Chopper (except the suggestion that LeCreuset will last longer). I have both a LeCreuset and two Lodges. They are indistinguishable in performance, and the LeCreuset was far, far more expensive.
You can catch a seven-piece set of Wusthof Classic knives for $200. Totally worth it.
No they don’t. You can make scrambled eggs very nicely in a cast iron skillet, provided it’s well seasoned. My personal preference is to cook a slice of bacon in the skillet and then whatever other breakfast food I’m going to prepare, e.g. pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, etc. Cooking the bacon both preheats and greases the pan for whatever comes next.
My personal experience tells me that Calphalon is crap. Possibly even toxic crap. Stick with All-Clad and good clad copper.
Or you get one of those Gin-Su knives, when you finish slicing tomatos thin enough to read a paper through you can go out and cut the top off your car. They are about 19.95 for 2 on QVC.
I am with the cast iron brigade here. You can get a variety of sizes at flea markets. A little elbow grease, proper seasoning, and you are off and running. I have a big skillet that must be 60 years old (from the look of the outside, which reminds me of an archaeological dig). The inside is as smooth as silk, and neatly does omelets, eggs of all kinds, fries chicken, and works great as a roasting pan. Get a couple of smaller frying pans and a dutch oven, clean well and season, and be on your way at the cost of one fancy-schmancy la-di-dah foofoo LeCreuset or Calaphon.
yeah, truth is you only need a few pans. i have way too many.
Yes, excellent stuff.
Don’t buy the Calphalon. Especially not a set.
I love mine. Cleans up easily, cooks beautifully.
Mostly all metal (not non-stick) All-Clad where I hang. We have a couple of truly awesome French copper pans bought when I was dot-comming, but though they are the best pots I ever hope to own, the price-performance equation does not work out.
The All – Clad work great, have heat stopping handles (love folks who take conduction seriously) and are easy to clean. We’re onto 15 years with ours and very satisfied. (And my spouse is a former pro chef, so she has judgment I lack.)
Good stuff, but don’t let your dogs help you clean it. It doesn’t stand up to dog teeth (when they get really serious and start gnawing on the cooked-on bits).
Actually, nothing does except really good stainless steel. But for other reasons, we’ve gone back to plain old cast iron. Keep it seasoned and it’s good for almost everything we care to cook.
Ozymandias, King of Ants
Calphalon’s quality has gone way down in the last ten years. I think this has something to do with them now being by Rubbermaid.
I purchased a set in the mid-90s and it was great, easy to clean, and durable. (They were also heavy as hell.) When I started looking into replacing them recently, I ordered some samples of Calphalon One and Unison. They were nothing more than expensive crap, so I sent them back.
Since your almost to All-Clad prices, splurge and buy the All-Clad. The basic stainless and the LTD2 you can put in the dishwasher.
You also can’t beat French copper cookware lined with either tin or stainless steel. And that’s not nearly as expensive as it used to be, compared to the prices for All-Clad, Calphalon, etc.
Bialetti is also good, and you can put it in the dishwasher.
@John Cole: The only non-stick you should consider is something with a nano surface (like the new fangled green pans).
My personal experience with anodized is that it’s a bitch to clean and can’t go in the dishwasher. A non-starter for me.
I mostly cook with stainless steel (I have a set of Cuisinart Pro Stainless that I’ve had for almost 30 years) – I’ve added to my cuisinart stainless over the years, but I’ve never given a piece up. Heats evenly, easy to clean (any stains come off with a light scouring of Bartender’s Friend) – does in the dishwasher and comes out beautiful. Goes oven to stovetop. LOVE IT. Also, it lasts forver.
The few pieces of Calphalon I’ve owned have ended up discolored – and the non-stick is crap.
Stainless I tells ya!! it’s the only way to go. There’s a reason commercial chefs cook on stainless.
Ozymandias, King of Ants
I’ve heard that All-Clad has a factory store somewhere in PA. (I think it’s near Pittsburgh, but don’t quote me.) Apparently they have a big sale once a year, during which they offer great bargains.
Don’t know where you are in WV, but that could be a possibility.
You know I have never had a dishwasher that was good at cleaning pans. I’ve always hand washed ’em. It’s what I’m used to so it isn’t a bother to me. Yes, I have a stainless set and honestly don’t use it much. I have a couple Le Creuset’s Dutch ovens and love them but find I use various sized fry pans most often.
yea….the non-stick doesn’t last forever, hence replace them once in a while. It is much better than the old teflon days though. I originally had cheap pots & pans and little by little got better and better ones. It’s funny, when I went to Bed,Bath & Beyond to replace a couple of my Anolon Advanced frypans, the guy turned up his nose and pointed to the Calphalon Unison. Well, it is more expensive but it is a tad nicer. And no, if you use nylon or wood utensils it doesn’t scratch. My other half constantly wants me to toss stuff I haven’t used lately and while she may be right, that Cuisinart stainless/copper set I bought at Costco years ago will last my lifetime, whether I use it or not and spousal unit be damned….
Victornox (spelling?) knives are recommended by the Cooks Illustrated folks and run about $25-30 each.
Thirding the scanpan recommendation for nonstick. My 10 inch cast iron skillet’s not quite well seasoned enough for eggs but great for other stuff.
@andrew: Just had a new induction freestanding range installed and love it to pieces. In addition to my cast iron, I’ve found the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro saucier, saucepan and stockpot to be perfect. To my knowledge, the MCP line is the only Cusinart one that’s induction ready. So far, so great, they are a good weight, nice shiny interior (all other ones in my price range were brushed finish inside, shiny out, what a pain to clean). Handles are sturdy, covers fit perfectly, great distribution of heat.
I’ve had the stove for just a few days, last night sauteed some sausages for calzones and just soaked the pan in water and dish liquid for a few minutes before cleanup with my usual scrubby sponge thing. No issues or cussing occurred :-)
They come in giant sets or open stock, be sure to go to Cuisinart’s official site first to see their MSRP, most stores like Kohl’s and even online lie about the “original” price, with their “sale” prices being MSRP. Assholes.
@Hal: I see Le Creuset dutch ovens all the time at discount in places like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. Still pricey, but less so.
I have a Lodge enameled dutch oven that I bought this August and it already has one giant chip in the inside bottom, and multiple tiny exploded pinpoint holes there too. I’m not amused, and will return to ye olde timey non-enameled cast iron for my new dutch oven. I use it to bake that 5 minute artisan bread stuff (the gluten free one, I’m allergic to wheat), it seems the enamel couldn’t handle the temps.
For cast iron afficionados, I have an old round griddle that needs a new home – it works well on a gas burner, and but as I now have a smooth top induction, the base of the griddle doesn’t touch the stovetop because the edge raises it a bit. I’d love to find it a good home, happy to send it out gratis – you can email me at gina DOT martin AT gmail DOT com.
@Gina: Try Ebay for the Le Creuset. It’s a little cheaper than Bloomingdales or Sur la Table.
Yes on Revere. Mine’s almost 35 years old and still going strong. I used to cook for my brother’s kids when they were little. It was Calphalon and boy, it was heavy! I hope they’ve lightened it up since.
I’ve owned Calphalon pans for years, and love them; though I’ll second the negativity on the (coated) non-stick models. I like the plain old black aluminum: harder to clean, sure: but worth the trouble (and the absence of Teflon in one’s diet). And likely to last near-forever
And for really good stewpots, dutch ovens, etc.; Le Creuset is the way to go. Sometimes you can find it discounted online – just be sure it’s the French-made stuff: they also have a cheaper “second line” made in (surprise!) China
I have a Calphalon wok and 5qt pan. They’re ok, but they’re not entirely non-stick, and the pan has pitted a bit since I cooked acidic food (chili) in it frequently. I’ve since switched to a bog-standard Faberware pot for the chili and that works just as well. I plan to buy only pans with plain steel or iron interiors from now on.
@Just Dale: I have a Calph set that is (year of marriage, carry the one, erm) soon to be 29 years old. Great stuff. Heats evenly, even on my stupid stove – house is no longer level, so stove is not either. Indestructible.
I just shipped a Calphalon One chef’s pan back for a replacement. We were absolutely scrupulous about care and maintenance, but the non-stick coating shredded off in way less time than it should have given the $$$ we spent on it. Ugh. That stuff ended up in our food.
Our All Clad non-stick skillet has held up much better, with only a few nicks here and there.
Now that I have a Le Creuset dutch oven I cannot imagine what I did without one. I use it for a lot of things I might have have once used the Calphalon chef’s pan for. Yeah, stuff sticks sometimes, but it cleans easily. Le Creuset cookware is always on sale somewhere — no need to pay full price.
@Hal: So for those who have the Le Creuset Dutch Oven, is it really worth it? I really want one, but cringe at spending 250 dollars on a pot.
You can find them at TJ Max and a few other places at very good prices. Also they have factory stores that can be pretty good. I believe Cooks recommends the 7 1/4 qt size (but their best buy is Tremontina from Walmart. I have never seen this at the Walmarts around here, but you can find them online). A lot of the Dutch oven folks feel Le Creuset is the best and they may be right, but YMMV.
We’ve swapped out all the Calphalon (except for a stainless steel 12″ everyday pan) for All-Clad stainless steel. Bar Keepers Friend keeps it spotless. Le Creuset dutch oven also is great also Lodge Logic dutch oven.
Staying away from the non stick coatings.
(I’ve read that the Emeril set is made by All-Clad.)
John: simplify your life. Get rid of everything and start fresh with nothing but stainless steel and cast iron.
Staub enameled cast iron. I have several different sizes of Dutch Ovens, a skillet, and a grill pan. They are amazing! In the Dutch oven things are always gloriously caramelized and never burnt.
It is pricey; I have started to collect vintage enameled cast iron for this very reason. Go on to Etsy or Ebay and search for Dutch Oven and enameled cast iron pieces- I have found some really wonderful cookware that way.
I have a couple of cast iron skillets that I love dearly. Plus, the iron gets into your blood a bit and helps keep you healthy. Every time I donate blood they always tell me my iron is at a great level for a woman my age. I tell them about cast iron cookware.
I also have a Staub dutch oven that I bought on eBay…..OMG, is it the best thing ever! I love that for soups and beans and stews.
I have a stainless/copper bottom set that my husband bought me from Costco a few years ago. It is everything that all clad is at a fraction of the price. Problem is, they don’t sell that same stuff anymore. Mine is made in Italy and the latest variation of it is either from Thailand or China.
I like each kind of thing for what it does for me the best. The stainless is great for making jelly and cooking vegetables. The cast iron is just great. The Staub rocks everything.
John - A Motley Moose
I have to second the comments about buying cast iron pans at flea markets or estate sales. Most of them are decades old and are well-seasoned. Why buy a new, unseasoned one when you can get one that’s ready to use? Soap never touches mine. A good nylon scrapper takes care of most problems and hot water with a soap-free rag takes care of anything that can’t be wiped out with a paper towel. If I use hot water, I put it on the burner to dry and then wipe it with a little oil while it’s still hot. I have one large cast iron skillet and a large cast iron dutch oven. All of my other pots and pans are stainless steel, except for one small non-stick skillet that is used for foods like eggs or grilled sandwiches.
John - A Motley Moose
Forgot to add – the other nice thing about buying cast iron pans at an estate sale is that you might be lucky enough to stumble upon a collectible that is worth a bunch of money.
@Bucky R: What he said about All-Clad. It’s the best and most durable there is. Calphalon is good, but since you live only a few miles from Canonsburg, you have no excuse for not finding somebody who can get seconds from the All-Clad factory at about a third of retail.
@Hal: I think it was Target that used to sell a nice block with 5 or 6 forged knives for about 60 bucks. I’ve had Haenckels knives for 25 years, and these were actually comparable. Lamson knives are made in the USA and are as as good as any I have ever used, and while pricey, you can usually get them cheaper than Haenckels or Wusthof. As my Heanckels wear out, I’ve been replacing them with the lamsons and I like them better, especially the wood handles.
chiming in on the all-clad front. i’ve got the basic stainless pans, and they are a thing of beauty. the heat response is fantastic on gas, and i believe they are usable with induction as well (if you eventually go that way).
don’t have any non-stick pans; not a fan.
the calphalon we got hasn’t worn so well, gonna stick w/cast iron and all-clad