I have been reading posts in this forum for a while, staying in the shadows. I think I am a bit lost choosing new pans for myself. I am an amateur cook and do work on getting better, cooking a variety of dishes in all kinds of styles, and so on.
At the moment I am in an urgent need for two kinds of pans: A steak frying pan and a large pan with tall edges that I can use to make sauces (mainly pasta sauces).
My problem is I live in Israel, so certain brands are not available there (the most important one being All Clad). Therefore, if possible, I would appreciate if you name several brands and order them from best to worst, in your opinion.
As for my needs and priorities regarding both pans:
1. Even heat distribution - if there is something I hate, is uneven heat distribution. It is unacceptable to me. Number one priority
2. Health issues - Needless to say, I don't want anything unhealthy coming off the pan and into my food. Sometimes I leave the pan to heat up on medium heat for 10 minutes and sometimes I like to put onions in oil in low heat for an hour or more before starting to cook. I want to be able to do anything I like with the pan, within reason (not going to put it in a microwave or cook with it on an open fire), without worrying about chemicals going out of the pan into my food.
3. Longlasting - I do not mind spending top $$ if it's a pan that will last me a good amount of years. I would like to stress that unlike some people, my interpretation is that a good pan should last at least 10 years, without the need to use the warranty. A pan that I have to replace every two years, even if its with warranty and doesn't cost me, is not a longlasting pan in my book.
4. Non stick & ease of cleaning - I don't care much about it, since in most of the things I do, I use a generous amount of oil. I cannot think of anything I ever cook without using oil at all. Of course, if a pan is so sticky that even with oil the food sticks, I don't want it. But I don't believe reasonable amounts of oil make you fat or are unhealthy (although that's a whole other discussion) and either way I don't care about it. I like oil and will use it.
5. Price - like said above, I'm willing to spend top $ for something that will last me a good while and even after 5 years will be just as good as it was the moment i bought it.
6. Dishwasher safe - don't care about it, I handwash all my pots and pans (and knives).
I would also like to stress that it is important to me the pans will be oven-safe as some of the things I do require moving things to the oven, and that I would prefer pans that will work on induction since I might move to that in the future.
After reading a lot, I have come to the conclusion that the popular opinion is that for steaks, the best is cast iron pan. i'd like to know if all of those pans are pretty much the same since all are made from Iron, or that there is a difference between brand and make. I've also come to the conclusion that the best pan for sauces (considering my priorities) is the tri-ply style (which to my understanding means three layers: stainless steel - aluminum - stainless steel). In that department I have checked out two companies in particular: Scanpan and Calphalon, both feel very comfortable to me, I like their weight, and they feel like something that will last a good amount of time. Sadly, in my country, there is no such thing as to return a used product, so I can't try them myself before buying or anything like that.
Again, since I always see people replying to these post with "All Clad." and nothing else, I will stress that this brand is not available here, at all.
I would appreciate any help and information you can spare!