Celebrity pans are ubiquitous, expensive, and unnecessary. Nameless, heavy bottom stainless steel pans populate both professional and civilian kitchens. As do anodized aluminum. Long ago I worked retail and managed to buy most of my Calphalon pots & pans on sale, plus an additional 40% off employee discount. At the time Calphalon was made in Ohio, and one of the very few pots & pans that were oven & stove-top safe. Which in my mind meant less stuff in my tiny kitchen, less to clean up after a meal, and with the warranty something I would buy once in my life. They’re decades old now, and only a couple have ever merited shipping back for replacement. Lifetime Warranties are a beautiful thing, but perhaps not a necessary thing.
If I had to restock a kitchen now, without working-in-retail-discounts and sales, I’d head straight for Ikea.
Ikea can be a hit or miss. For me their 365+ white dishes are a hit. After spending a winter cooking on a set I can’t rave enough about their 365+ plain, stainless cookware. The sauce pans even have measurements engraved onto the interior pan wall, removing the guess work when gauging reductions, making adding fluids a snap. A 15 year warranty isn’t a slouch either. The wide, hollow handles are solidly attached, comfortable, and oven safe. The plain stainless is also incredibly easy to clean and maintain.
Even better, for Black Friday Weekend (Saturday November 24th) Ikea has their 7 piece starter set on sale for $19.99, usually $49.99. Only the sauté pan is Teflon coated, which is convenient for making pancakes, crepes, and other delicate foods or caramelizing pineapple. The 5qt pot & lid works well as a small dutch oven; the 3qt pot and lid makes risottos, soups; the 1qt is perfect for reductions, water baths, soup for one, rice for two. One set provides all the basic pots, pans and lids to stock a kitchen capable of cooking all the recipes here. Two sets will accommodate cooking for a crowd, like during the holidays, and still cost less than a regular price single set.
Add in the 11qt dutch oven/stock pot on sale for $29.99 for big batches of pasta sauce, large roasts, canning, mulled wine, etc.
As much as I loath crowds, this is one time it is worth braving the madness. $50-$70 to completely stock a kitchen in good, versatile pans…Sold.