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Consumer Reports on Cookware. Is this credible?

 
 
roger
 
Reply Thu 16 Mar, 2006 10:23 pm
Okay, I'm shopping for a wedding gift, and decide something for the kitchen would be pretty safe. Now, I checked over my Chef's catalog and make a decision. It's close to the top of the budget, but it looks darn good. Digging out back issues of Consumer Reports, I discover that sure enough, they've rate cookware. Here's how it looks, in the non-stick catagory.

#13 Calphalon Kitchen essentials - 8pc @ $150.00

#12 Cusinart Chef's Classic Non-Stick - 7pc @ $100.00

#11 Calphalon Infused Anodized - 8pc # 480.00

#4 Emerilware - 10pc @ 250.00

AND #1 IS:

Kirtland Signature (Costco) - 14pc @ 200.00

Okay, I cherry picked a little, but top rating is almost the cheapest per piece (which includes each lid as a piece, of course) and I never even heard of the stuff. Anyway, I'm going shopping this weekend. Heck, I might even get myself a set, and about all I ever do is fry up a hamburger once in awhile. Might as well do it in style.

Anyway, is it at all plausible that one of the very least expensive is going to be better than the widely advertised, name brand pots.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Mar, 2006 10:25 pm
I think Consumer Reports does an excellent job of rating things -- I would trust what they say.

I typically buy my pans from a restaurant supply store though - professional quality for really good prices.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Mar, 2006 10:26 pm
I don't think that a 200 dollar pan set is one of the very cheapest - even on your list is near the middle.
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boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Thu 16 Mar, 2006 10:29 pm
Oh -- and I think that anything from Costco that says Kirkland is manufactured by other companies and labeled as Kirkland.

I'll bet if you look into how many companies actually manufacture pans there will only be a few and those few manufacture pans under several different labels.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Mar, 2006 10:33 pm
They do weigh price pretty heavily in their ratings. They are after all, a Consumer group, so while quality is important they usually rate on bang-for-the-buck.

The Kirkland stuff does look pretty good. I haven't bought any of their cookware yet but I give it an eyeing every time I'm in Costco.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Mar, 2006 10:37 pm
I have a Q for youse. How does one read the stainless steel alloy ratio?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Mar, 2006 10:39 pm
littlek wrote:
I have a Q for youse. How does one read the stainless steel alloy ratio?


http://bosunsupplies.com/StainlessInfo2.cfm

Wikipedia has good info on this too.:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stainless_steel#Types_of_stainless_steel
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Mar, 2006 10:44 pm
No, really littlek. Look at the number of pieces. Now, I'm pretty sure there's going to be some little metal doohickey, useful to about 1 in 100 people that jacks up the piece count, but thats typical of most sets that are more than 2 pots, 2 pans, and 2 lids.

I'm pretty sure these warehouse stores and discount stores don't manufactor anything that sells under their own brand. In anycase, nothing has higher ratings in the two areas that would be important if I were buying for myself - Nonstick durability and ease of cleaning. I've had so much teflon coated stuff that was great for a month, after which, it was about as nonstick as stainless, but you couldn't trot out the scouring pads.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Mar, 2006 10:57 pm
Ah! I didn't look at the numbers of pieces.

Thanks for the link, fishin!
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Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Mar, 2006 02:32 pm
I know you're not supposed to use scouring pads on teflon, but I've been Brillo and/or SOS (gently) for nearly 30 years and never noticed any problem with things sticking.
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Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Mar, 2006 02:34 pm
That post sounded self-contradictory, but once in a while something leaves a sticky residue; PAM will do this if the food you're cooking doesn't cover the whole Teflon area. Then a gentle wipe-around with Brillo clears everything up nicely.
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Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Mar, 2006 02:55 pm
Personally, I don't see a need for non-stick saucepans. Before Christmas, I bought a set of Cooking with Calphalon stainless at Kohl's. I got a great deal, paid 1/2 price. the set has two non-stick skillets and a non stick saute pan (with straight sides), along with non-non-stick (huh? you know what I mean) saucepans. This stuff is tripple clad just like All-Clad but costs a boatload less. I love em.
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Tomkitten
 
  2  
Reply Sat 18 Mar, 2006 05:27 pm
The trouble with most of the really good stuff, expensive or not, is weight. Some of those pots and pans are so heavy that they can hardly be lifted empty - the thought of lifting them with food in is appalling.

I have some real el-cheapos that we got nearly 30 years ago as premiums from a bank (remember those?) and they're still perfectly usable. AND they don't weigh a ton.
Swimpy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Mar, 2006 07:02 pm
I know what you mean, TK. Heavy pans go with the territory, though. They conduct heat better and you don't get hot spots.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Mar, 2006 07:27 pm
my wife bought some separate pans and pots from a company called "The Pampered Chef" we like the designs, Theymade a huge wok-like pan with a long handle on one side and a loop handle on the other. Weve had the about 4 years and they are as stick-free today as when they were new. The niotable exception was one pot where my boy kid cooked an egg till it exploded. He tried to make things right by cleaning up the ceiling and the stove and pot, but he used a SS knife on the non-stick coating and now stuff only sticks in the scratched areas for that pot.
I think its clad Aluminum with a sintered steel coating on the outside, the inside is some kind of xchloroflourocarbon.

We had one calphalon pot and the handle wobbled . We still have it and I use it for catch pan for one of my orchids
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Mar, 2006 01:15 am
That's interesting, tomkitten. I should have noted, though, that every brand reviewed by CR was without teflon. The Kirtland Sig brand is titanium/aluminum, which I presume is anodized aluminum

Right, Swimpy, only the skillet is exposed to enough heat to make cleaning a real chore. Anyway, I hope this stuff is good. I got a set for the wedding gift, and a set for self. All I really wanted was a good 9" skillet and a sauce pan around 1 to 2 qt capacity, but bought separately, that could run more than the set.

Oh, if anyone is melting lead, like for cast bullets, don't get the lyman cast iron pot. Get on down to the feed store. Lodge makes one as good, only bigger and at about 1/3 the price. That's the chef's tip of the day.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Mar, 2006 01:37 am
I have a mix of pots, some from the grocery store, of questionable quality, I trust, and a batch of many years owned cast iron wear from the army surplus place on 9th, and several pieces of Le Creuset enamelled cast iron, which I like a lot, bought new by me or as gifts to me. Plus, some thrift shop Le Cruset or equals, battered but stallwart. Have one old gold pot from Belgium of the enamelled cast iron type. Oh, and a cheap stainless spaghetti boiling type pot.

I stand in a sort of wonder that everyone needs pots to match, but I am not so much in wonder that I mock. We all have individual cooking needs.
And while I question all this matching thing, as a concept, frowning to myself alone, I can get behind the efficiency of an excellent variety of good pots in one package at a good price.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Mar, 2006 11:30 pm
Well, that's it. Two sauce pans, a skillet, and a lid come to a little more that the price of the set. So, today I recycled a couple of the larger, and flaking, teflon pieces to landfill mass.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Mar, 2006 11:36 pm
Let your old teflon be free...








which of course brings up the question of teflon breakdown time...



(I dunno, and I have some teflon pans too.)
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Mar, 2006 11:41 pm
I think time is less important that mechanical abuse and overheating. I tossed a small pan that sat on the burner for a few minutes after boiling dry. It didn't look good at all
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