So, I need to obtain some very cheap cookware, mainly a chef's knife, a paring knife, pot for pasta, small saucepan, and a frying pan. (My roommate is somewhat baking obsessed, so that's covered). I live in a dorm with very lovely people who have a talent for destroying or wandering off with anything found in a kitchen. The kitchens have a large selection of non-stick cookware, which I'm not a big fan of because I like cooking at high heat.
So, I need cheap, relatively idiot-proof cookware, because while I'm going to try to keep everything in my room, I need it to be hard to destroy (in the dishwasher, or from high heat, etc) and cheap enough that if someone walks off with it I won't be really sad. I'd like it to work well for three or four years, and certainly wouldn't complain if it kept on doing so.
I was thinking some Kiwi knives. For a big pot for pasta or soup and a smaller saucepan I'm debating between some stainless from Ikea and some aluminum from a restaurant supply store. They are both very cheap (under $15 per piece). I suspect that the aluminum would be nicer to work with, but the Ikea ones will survive the dishwasher better and therefore is more likely to not induce my dormmates to toss them. The big Ikea pot (5 quarts) is oven safe, which is important to me. I don't know where to get the frying pan. I like to cook on high heat, but the cheapest stainless fry pan I can find is still pricier around $20. Is there anything cheaper? Would carbon steel or blue steel be salvageable if someone mistreats it?
So, my choice is mainly restaurant supply store aluminum cookware (it's very, very cheap) or Ikea stainless. The aluminum is cheaper, but I don't know how that'll work if someone else decides to use it, and I don't know how the fry pans fare under high heat. I don't want any non-stick, because that's quite plentiful around here. Would I be able to use a paella pan as a general skillet? Given that it's nice carbon steel and much cheaper than non-paella carbon steel pans of the same size. Any recommendations? I don't need this stuff to last, although I'd love it if it did.