I have decided that time has come that I buy my first pieces of solid cookware in terms of pans and related cookware. I have always used very cheap sets of pans that I got from Costco or IKEA because as a college student, I had neither the money nor inclination to buy the good stuff (you don't want your roommates getting their hands on and destroying your LC dutch oven).
I have many questions so I figured I'd put a post up here as there are some very well informed people on this board. I know that I would like an enameled cast iron dutch oven (either staub or LC), I know I'd like a nice saucepan for making a broad range of things (tomato sauce, Persian stews, chili, curry, etc.). In addition I'll need something for making fish/eggs (something non-stick or non-stick like), and lastly something to sear with.
I have never really owned anything that I have had to season so I don't really know how to do it. I don't really know the best metals to get for each item. I am somewhat of a health food guy but I have read so many conflicting things about which pans are or are not healthy so I really am confused. Some say the various non-stick surfaces break down, some say seasoning can be unhealthy, some say various metals are reactive and get into your food, so I just don't really know what to sort through. I don't know much about the proper care for the various types so I'm afraid I'll buy something and ruin it.
I am expecting the dutch oven to cost approx. 250, and for the other 3 pans, I'd like to spend no more than 500 total. Anyone able to guide me? I'd love for the pans/pots that I buy in my 20's to last me many many years. Also, is there another pan/pot that I have left out that I really will need a high quality version?