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Cooking Gear-Fi

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
We have some wonderful threads about cooking and food.

So let's have one about the gear!

I've been getting by with some cheap pots and pans, as well as an inexpensive set of knives. I'm making do with an average (though decent) gas range, too.

I had been thinking about upgrading to better pots and pans and knives.

Then, today, I found that I might be buying a house (smily_headphones1.gif and might put down earnest money today or Monday) that needs a kitchen refurb.

So, what's good? What works for you?

In storage, I have a nice set of Calphalon pro cookware. This is the anodized aluminum stuff without the non-stick coating. I'm not a fan of non-stick coatings.

I'm wondering about a lot of stuff.

Should I go with an induction cooktop? Stay with gas?

Maybe sell off the Calphalon and pick up copper/stainless pieces?

Advice would be welcome, but let's have a conversation about cooking methods and the gear. Cooking outside over an open flame is a possibility, too, as is building an oven for bread and pizza.

Let's have at it! What do you use and what do you recommend? Everything is on the table! smily_headphones1.gif
post #2 of 30

Congratulations on the house.

 

For the cooktop, stick with gas.  Still has the best temperature control.  I have an older 36" 6-burner Viking that has been very good except for the standard ignition issues which I have learned to ignore.

 

For knives, there are two schools, Japanese and German.  I choose German.  They can't be sharpened as much as the Japanese knives but they will hold an edge longer and are more robust knives.  For German knives, there are two major brands, Henckles and Wusthof.  Generally Wusthof is more highly regarded.  I have about 10 kitchen knives in various sizes/shapes from their Grand Prix II line.  I would stick to either their Classic Line or the Grand Prix II line.  Pick the handle design that feels better to you.

 

All-Clad is the top of the top for cookware but it is very expensive.  It just kills me to pay $100 for a stainless frying pan and the copper stuff is just ludicrous.  There's nothing wrong with Calphalon.  If you are happy with the pans that you have stick with them.  I have a few Calphalon pans, some Staub cast iron and the rest are Henckels Classic Clad whcih are a really good value.  Nicely made, great handle design, and they heat very evenly.

 

To be honest, Amazon is really your friend.  If you don't have one, buy a Prime subscription.  You can buy everything you need for your kitchen from Amazon.  When I bought my house last year, I bet I placed three Amazon orders a week for three months, a lot of them for kitchen goods.

post #3 of 30
Congrats on the house, I remember you've been looking for a while.

I'd keep the Caphalon. They're perfectly serviceable and easy to clean. I think copper is a pain in the a** and not all that worth it, unless you've got the time or the ADD to keep it clean.

For knives, I think your best bet is to go to a good cooking gear store, if there's one nearby, and try out different knives. What matters, once you've hit a minimum of quality, is the balance in your hand. Remember, you don't need a ton of knives. You can do a lot with a good-sized chef knife, a serrated, and a paring knife.

I'd also get a good food processor, a Kitchen Aid Mixer, and a counter top blender. I love my immersion blender, but it's not an essential by any means.
post #4 of 30

Congrats on the new house!

 

I'm 19, and when I'm not at my university dorm-room, I live at home.

 

My mom and I both love to cook, and just recently she bought a few of the Calphalon (non-stick) pans. I love em, except for the fact that you obviously can't use metal utensils in them, but it's something that can be gotten used to.

 

The previous set of pots and pans (Mine when I move out biggrin.gif ) is a set of 1970's Copper-core stainless-steel pans. They really are great, they're pretty much bulletproof, proved pretty resistant to warping, heat evenly, and retain heat well enough that they don't turn to ice the second they're off the burner (essential if you have an electric stove like we do, and the heat is generated by cycling through an on/off cycle). They might not conduct heat quite as perfectly as copper pans, but they're as solid as regular Stainless pans and aren't finicky like copper.

post #5 of 30

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

Maybe sell off the Calphalon and pick up copper/stainless pieces?

-That really depends on how often you cook. Good copperwares are quite expensive (Mauviel & Falk), but they'll last a long time (decades, if you take care of them). I switched from stainless to copper a couple of years ago, and the difference is not unnoticeable.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

Should I go with an induction cooktop? Stay with gas?

-Gas is more flexible than induction

-Induction require good stainless/copper cookwares to get the most out of them

-Operating cost; gas is usually cheaper than electricity

-The initial investment for gas is lower than induction

-Induction is easier to clean


Edited by jenneth - 10/28/11 at 7:24pm
post #6 of 30

I love cooking but I feel as though I don't have the knives suitable for such a hobby. I always find myself wanting something sharper. 

What's the best option? Get a knife set or get one really good one? I heard MAC Knives are pretty good. I was thinking something all purpose like the MBK-85?

post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mralexosborn View Post

I love cooking but I feel as though I don't have the knives suitable for such a hobby. I always find myself wanting something sharper. 

What's the best option? Get a knife set or get one really good one? I heard MAC Knives are pretty good. I was thinking something all purpose like the MBK-85?



Like buying cookwares, it's usually better to get knives individually (this way you get to decide exactly what you need; chef, utility, boning, bread, etc). MAC knives are very good; they're very soild, have good profiles, & have great warranty.

 

The MBK-85 is a great chef's knife, although I'd recommend you getting the MBK-95. You might be intimided by the extra length in the beginning, but you'll get used to it very quickly. That extra 1" give you more 'belly' area and so when you're cutting vegetables, it's almost like using a nakiri. There are a few other brand that I can recommend at that price range, but you really can't go wrong with a MAC Pro.


Edited by jenneth - 10/29/11 at 1:26pm
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenneth View Post



Like cookwares, it's usually better to get knives individually (this way you get to decide exactly what you need; chef, utility, boning, bread, etc). MAC knives are very good; they're very soild, have good profiles, & have great warranty.

 

The MBK-85 is a great chef's knife, although I'd recommend you getting the MBK-95. You might be intimided by the extra length in the beginning, but you'll get used to it very quickly. That extra 1" give you more 'belly' area and so when you're cutting vegetables, it's almost like using a nakiri. There are a few other brand that I can recommend at that price range, but you really can't go wrong with a MAC Pro.


What would be the few other brands? I want to read a little more into this rather than just picking one. 

 

post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mralexosborn View Post


What would be the few other brands? I want to read a little more into this rather than just picking one. 

 

~$150


Shun Classic - Good blade, some people don't like the handle.

Kasumi - Same blade as the Shun Classic, but with better handle.

Hattori HD - similar to its FH series, but with a softer blade and a different handle.

 

 

$200 to $270

 

Shun Ken Onion - Used it before, don't really care much for its 'innovations.' But some people really love these.

Blazen - Uses SG2 powdered steel, very hard. Heavier than its Shun/Hattori counterparts.

Hattori FH - The weight is very balanced, it's a very fast and agile knife (note: I have the 240mm Chef's knife, so I'm biased)

Misono UX10 - I heard many good things about it, but the price seem to have went up a lot over the past couple of years.

 

 

If you want to know more about kitchen knives, here are a couple of good place to start- Knifeforums and ChefTalk.


Edited by jenneth - 10/29/11 at 1:59pm
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mralexosborn View Post


What would be the few other brands? I want to read a little more into this rather than just picking one. 

 



Wusthof, Henckels, Shun, Global, to name a few.  jenneth is right that yo will get what you want by buying individual knives but buying sets is more economical.  As I recall, I bought an 8 piece set and added two individual knives to it.  This was cheaper than buying the 5 or so knives that I use regularly on their own.

post #11 of 30

Would I be better off with the MAC MTH or MBK series? They both seem to be all purpose but the MTH is a bit cheaper and shorter. 

 

Also how do MAC knives compare to the Shun Premier line?


Edited by mralexosborn - 10/29/11 at 3:50pm
post #12 of 30

Gas hob. Electric oven. I've got to have a gas hob. One can immediately relate to the flame. Tilt the pan and it still has contact with the heat.

 

Re, non-stick. I bought a Green Pan for general pan-frying. Very good.

 

Pan+features-Vienna-01.jpg

post #13 of 30
Another vote for gas.

I moved into a house here with induction and I miss my gas everyday. Gas gives you more fine control and responds faster to temperature changes. Also our cooking surface is actually a pain in the @$$ to clean. Looks nice for people who eat out a lot. For cooking, not so great.

If you can set up an outside flame based (gas for preference) cook top close to the kitchen it is excellent for some cuisine. A majority of the stuff I enjoy cooking is Asian and when we lived in KL for a few years we had a propane element right outside the kitchen door in a pseudo 'wet kitchen'. Awesome - instant, inferno heat, and the gases given off by tamarind, chilis, and Sichaun peppercorns goes out into the open air rather than into your wife's sinuses. They don't seem to bother me, but she suffers for a few minutes whenever I make lazi ji or similar in the kitchen.

I miss having that little cooking option. I'd get another one here, but the Nov-Mar weather is not so conducive to cooking outside - though I guess we do grill year round.

Also: non-stick for omelettes, but not much else. You don't have to spend gobs on expensive pans to get good results. If you take care of a decent pan when you get it, it becomes seasoned, adds flavour to the food and becomes easier and easier to use and keep clean.
Edited by Pudu - 10/29/11 at 4:09pm
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mralexosborn View Post

Would I be better off with the MAC MTH or MBK series? They both seem to be all purpose but the MTH is a bit cheaper and shorter. 

 

Also how do MAC knives compare to the Shun Premier line?



As far as I can tell, the MAC MTH-80 is the same as MBK-85, except it's a little shorter and has dimples.

 

I've never used Shun in my kitchen before, so I can't really say how they compare to the MAC knives. But since the Shun Premier & Classic blade is made of the same technology (VG-10 and cladded with stainless steel), you should be able to find some threads comparing these two knives on the net.

post #15 of 30

Stick with gas - induction limits your pot/pan choices too much, and is still not as reactive as a flame

 

 

as for knives, forget all sets - you pay for having 3x as many knives as youll ever use, instead of putting the cash into quality.  check out sites such as chefknivestogo.com or other site that stock the true high quality product.  spend the most on your chefs knife. spend less than $20 on paring and bread knives.  even when working as a professional, I only had 5 knives in my kit:  chefs, slicer, bread, utility, and paring.  literally all youll need for 99% of tasks.  if youre really serious about butchery, pick up a cleaver and a boning knife.  the most important thing you can buy is a very large end-grain cutting board.  whatever you do, make sure theyre all stainless. 

 

 

with regard to pans, having at least 1 non-stick skillet is almost a necessity for fried eggs - no amount of oil on even the most well polished steel will prevent an egg from sticking.  for the rest, ignore the marketing hype of "moar layerz!!!!," and just grab whatever is aluminum, has an aluminum bottom, or has an aluminum core.  the difference between aluminum and steel is night and day with regard to evenness of heat, and how quickly it responds to changes in the gas level.  copper is even better, but costs too much, requires constant polishing, and weighs too much for serious cookery (if it doesnt weigh a ton, it means the layer of copper is too thin, and is thus useless). ALWAYS have 1 good cast iron skillet - i literally use it for 60% of kitchen duty


Edited by El_Doug - 10/29/11 at 7:37pm
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