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 Post subject: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:26 pm 
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My 4-year-old non-stick pots are finally at the point where they're shedding, so I need to replace them. I can't really afford this, so whatever I get has to be cheap (like $50 or less for at least 2 pots, one of which must be 5qt or larger). I'm wondering if I should get another set of non-stick pots, which will be cheapest and is what I'm used to cooking with, but will obviously have only a limited lifespan, or if I should go stainless steel. I figure the PPK could give me some advice, and maybe tell me whether the stories about non-stick pots being evil and dangerous are true or bunkum.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Stainless steel! I have the same two cheapo stainless steel pots I got off my mum ~10 years ago (and crivens knows how long she had them afore that) and they have never failed me. I bought a non-stick fancy-pan around Xmas time last year and that nonsense stuff is already peeling off hither an' thither.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:43 pm 
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i have my grandmother's old aluminum pots. they're probably giving me alzheimer's as we speak, but nothing sticks to them, and they're good and heavy. i have two nonstick skillets that i keep around exclusively for pancakes and omelettes, along with a "nonstick" wok that is the stickiest pan i've ever owned (i got stuck with these when i moved out of an apartment i had been sharing with a girl and her parrot; she hid all my cast iron because she never bought any of her own when she got the bird, and because she was a really bad roommate). i think that in general, i would always look for a non-nonstick option. do you cook things in your pots that make a nonstick surface necessary in some way?

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:55 pm 
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Since your budget is low, I would forgo the non-stick. Inexpensive non-stick pans tend not to last too long. Stainless steel will last longer (but do look for ones with nice thick bottoms so that heat spreads evenly).

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:03 pm 
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They kill pet birds, so they are definitely evil. However, since you probably aren't a pet bird, this may or may not be a concern.

I use stainless or anodized aluminum. I have a large anodized Calphalon skillet/sauté pan that I use for almost everything. It's an expensive pan, but does brilliantly. I've had it for about 5 years now. Every so often, those go on sale at places like bed, bath and beyond.

What I would do: spend the $50 on an anodized sauté pan. Buy a cheap metal 5qt pot at a thrift store or someplace, then replace with a nice stainless steel when you can afford. For about $100-150, you can end up with the two most serviceable pots that will work for most anything, not take up half the kitchen, and last for eons.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:18 pm 
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Stainless steel all the way, for me. I've had both and the only thing I ever found nonstick better for was cooking eggs, which obviously is no longer a concerrn.

And agreed, avoid cheap nonstick like the plague. Evilness aside, you don't want that coating flaking off in your food. Yuck.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:18 pm 
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My saute pans are fine. I just need pots.
I appreciate your optimism that I would be able to afford nice things someday. :)

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:29 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
They kill pet birds, so they are definitely


I am so glad I have always used stainless because my bird was a frequent shoulder sous chef in the kitchen.

Anyways, stainless with a spritzer bottle is the way to go. Cooking at the proper heat is more important or you will get some stickage but used properly, they rock and last for ever.

Salvation Army frequently has really nice stainless stuff that some numbskull has donated when they "upgraded" to non-stick. It is cheap cheap cheap and well worth the odd trip to check out whats there.


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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:37 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
For about $100-150, you can end up with the two most serviceable pots that will work for most anything, not take up half the kitchen, and last for eons.

Woah. I'm not totally sure what that is in real money, but $100 seems an effing lot to spend on a couple of pans! I was thinking around a tenner!

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Really? It always seems to me that nice quality pans are around $50 each. You can spend much, much more, but most pans below that tend to feel flimsy. For that price, I expect to not be replacing them, which is sort of the idea. I expect to still be happy with my small collection of cookware in another 5 years.

My mom has a few excellent quality stainless pots that she got 30 years ago!

Birdie sous chefs! I wish Moll would be my sous chef, but she is more likely to jump into a boiling pot and try to take a bath.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:14 pm 
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you can sometimes find nice cookware in great condition at a local salvation army or some such place; that's usually the first place i look when i'm on the market for kitcheny things.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:20 pm 
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Yeah, I would hit up some thrift stores. You may be able to find a couple of good non-stick pots for a low price. I love my stainless steel, it's been in the family for about 20 years.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:29 pm 
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SS! Look for Macys coupons or Khols. Or Ikea!

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:37 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
Birdie sous chefs! I wish Moll would be my sous chef, but she is more likely to jump into a boiling pot and try to take a bath.


Back when she was really young, we had a couple of near catastrophes involving going after penne in pots of boiling water (she did love her penne) but luckily she never quite made it into the pot and seemed to learn from my reaction that it was BAD. She was a rim rider on any plate I was eating from so it seemed natural for her to ride the rim of the hot pot too. She would only bathe in the bathroom sink...fussy.


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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:37 pm 
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I am actually using my Grandma's Farberware and Rivereware that I aquired during the cleaning out of her condo. I grabbed two sauce pans and one dutch oven. I can pretty much cook everything in those pots. If something calls for the saute pan, I use the dutch oven, without the lid of coarse. I do have two Bialetti Aeternum pans, the two smallest ones I got with gift cards and 20% off coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond. They are pretty nice and seem nonstick. Can't really cook at too high of temps though. They are not perfect, but I do like them for occassional use.

Anyways, I had the Wolfgang Puck stainless steel set, but I noticed the rivets on the inside of the pan were like discoloring, and then some reviews made me worried. So I went from a huge set to an old few pieces. I like cooking in the old stuff better. Says Made in Usa on the bottom too.


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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:10 pm 
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Another vote for stainless steel here. Ours have copper bottoms and are fantastic. We were lucky to receive someone's old set when they upgraded but I think even once we have a better income I will still use these pots. I've also seen lots of pots similar to ours at thrift stores. The nice thing about stainless steel is that you can scrub them if they get stained or if they get burned and they're no worse for the wear. Also, you can use wooden spoons. I had a non-stick wok that we completely destroyed using wooden spoons.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:15 pm 
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Definitely scout thrift stores and even yard sales. I got an awesome 1970s cookware set, never used for $6.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:36 pm 
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Stainless steel, all the way. And like Gracia said, check places like Macy's/Kohl's for sales/coupons, if you have one near you. Of course, thrift stores are also a good option, but there's no guarantee, and if you need pans now, you may not be willing/able to shop around a ton until you find what you want.

LW, are non-stick toxic to birds only when they start flaking or is it the fumes from cooking? Either way, it can't be good for people to constantly be breathing in that crepe.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:38 pm 
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gaia13 wrote:
Stainless steel, all the way. And like Gracia said, check places like Macy's/Kohl's for sales/coupons, if you have one near you. Of course, thrift stores are also a good option, but there's no guarantee, and if you need pans now, you may not be willing/able to shop around a ton until you find what you want.

LW, are non-stick toxic to birds only when they start flaking or is it the fumes from cooking? Either way, it can't be good for people to constantly be breathing in that crepe.


it's the fumes! my friend lost a bird to an empty pan left on a lit burner (not her fault! crappy houseguest). :(

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:42 pm 
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gaia13 wrote:
Stainless steel, all the way. And like Gracia said, check places like Macy's/Kohl's for sales/coupons, if you have one near you. Of course, thrift stores are also a good option, but there's no guarantee, and if you need pans now, you may not be willing/able to shop around a ton until you find what you want.

LW, are non-stick toxic to birds only when they start flaking or is it the fumes from cooking? Either way, it can't be good for people to constantly be breathing in that crepe.


All it takes is the pan to overheat and start to breakdown. By the time it flakes, the pan has already been toast for quite a while.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:50 am 
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If you have one near, check out IKEA. I've gotten loads of pans there. Even the super cheap sets (i.e., the ones that cost about a tenner for 3 pots) have lasted me multiple years, and things tend to stick only if they burn. I've moved on to the more expensive pans they offer, but even those are cheap for what you get. You can probably get a big-ass pot and a smaller pot/saucepan for about $50 (well, you could get it for £50, but I don't know how much they cost in dollars).

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:32 am 
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Another kind to look for at thrift stores would be cast iron. They can be very nonstick if you're willing to put in the effort to season them and care for them properly.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:40 am 
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I'm saying stainless. It generally heats more evenly and lasts longer. I have three Wearever sauce pans I've had forever, like 10 years or more and they still look great. I also have a huge Oneida stock pot I got when I was 17 (I'm 30) and it is also in fantastic shape. Shop TJMaxx and Ross type stores, they often have high end cookware for very reasonable prices.

If you can hold out another month or two, there should be major sales for Christmas, though using flaking gross non-stick is not an ideal situation to be in.


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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:51 am 
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i also got rid of the aluminum in my house, not sure if there is anything to the fears or not, but why take a chance (lots of alzheimers in my family already)? got a set of cheap stainless, and i feel a lot better.
i did also replace the nonstick because of our birdie babies, and after months of using lecithin and oil, my cast iron is as good as my nonstick ever was.

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 Post subject: Re: To nonstick or not to nonstick?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:59 am 
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interrobang?! wrote:
lavawitch wrote:
For about $100-150, you can end up with the two most serviceable pots that will work for most anything, not take up half the kitchen, and last for eons.

Woah. I'm not totally sure what that is in real money, but $100 seems an effing lot to spend on a couple of pans! I was thinking around a tenner!


10 pounds = 16 U.S dollars.

lavawitch wrote:
Really? It always seems to me that nice quality pans are around $50 each. You can spend much, much more, but most pans below that tend to feel flimsy. For that price, I expect to not be replacing them, which is sort of the idea. I expect to still be happy with my small collection of cookware in another 5 years.

My mom has a few excellent quality stainless pots that she got 30 years ago!


Quality can go a long way. My mum once bought an expensive set of pans, but they were still fine 30 year later when she went to a nursing home.

So I would also go for (good quality) stainless steel pans.


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