Good Question: Investing in New Cookware

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Dear Kitchen,

It's finally time for me to replace my mix-matched set of cookware with a shiny, new set. I've been using various hand-me-downs that have served me well, but a new apartment with a brand new kitchen means I'm also ready to get a new set of cookware.

Is there a set you recommend, whether it be a specific brand or specific pieces? I've been considering a 10 piece All-Clad set that seems quite adequate, but I'm relying on word of mouth from self proclaimed non-cooks.

I'm willing to make an investment, as I intend not to replace them for quite a while.

Thanks,
Stephen
Stephen,

I love my All-Clad MC2 pans, and I buy them from Cookware & More - they sell "seconds" although there's nothing wrong with the pans; they often just have a little scratch, which you'll get the second you start using them anyway. Their prices are discounted at least 33% off retail, and in some cases, more. (See our full review of them here.)

The All-Clad stainless line is dishwasher-safe, if that's a concern. They're a bit more pricey than the MC2, but worth it if you don't want to hand-wash. That said, I know people put MC2 in the dishwasher and don't have any problems. Not having a dishwasher myself, it isn't a concern.

As for specific pieces, a good starter set, if you are to assemble it yourself, is a 7" or 8" fry pan (AKA sauté pan or skillet), a 10" or 12" fry pan, a 3-quart (or thereabouts) saucepan with lid, and finally a larger casserole or stockpot (5 quart or more). Once you have those pieces, the way you cook will dictate what else you need.

I'm sure some of our readers have opinions on this topic... take it away, folks...

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.

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