help me: BEST frying & sauce pans???


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help me: BEST frying & sauce pans???

UltimateWingman | | Feb 10, 2008 05:26 AM

I am a newbie to the chowhound and just bought my first cast iron pan this week (a vintage Wagner #8 on Craigslist, $20) and cooked my first steak - Wow! I am definitely going to buy more cast iron skillets!

Me: Cooking for family of four weekdays and 8+ on Saturday nights. Big on meats, vege's, rice, stir fry, curry. Looking to up my cooking skills and would like to learn to cook sauces and experiment with new fun foods.
Have a nice Viking gas (propane) 6 burner stovetop.

So I am ready to plunge into buying new pots and pans (my price range is preferably no higher than All-Clad - but I can spend more. I have spent about 14 hours this week reading about all the different brands and have compiled a list would like some input and advice to help clear up a little remaining confusion. Cheers in advance.

What I have: iron skillet, stock, 3 non stick frying pans, wok.
What I want to invest in this week:

2 Qt Saucepan -
4 Qt Saucepan -
8 inch Frying Pan -
11 and/or 14 inch Frying Pan -

Possible large Saute or Casserole???
Possibly butter warmer?

All-Clad versus Sitram. I have bird-dogged around and found that
has the best prices for Sitram and
has the best price for All-Clad (irregulars). Also notice I listed 4+ items so I can get the 20% discount if I opt for All-Clad.

My question and where I need help is deciding on the different lines of each:
It appears that in both Sitram and All-Cald, the copper is not all clad and is only a disc. The exception is the Copper Core. Plus, some of the feedback is that the copper is so thin - it is not worth it on the ALL-Clad. Chowhounds say the All-Clad LTD & MC2 appears to have a thicker Aluminum base than the SS and thus would be a bit better conducting heat.

I am almost sold on the Sitram SS, but I am not sure I understand the entire copper disc (licking the side of the pan) concept enough to buy it and not worry about it. For example - if I buy either SS set with copper disc - isn't this a negative for both fying pans and sauce pans as the temperature and heating/cooling speed be different above the disc on the sides?Also, I am confused on the different lines of Sitram and All-Clad now after reading so many opinions! I am open for any line - but would prefer the line that is most forgiving in the kitchen if and when I decide to get exotic!
I am a 6'5" 250 lb county bunkin so the heavy versus light doesn't really apply to me.

Last, but not least, I am OK buying different pans from different manufactures and looks mean nothing - only ease and performance in the kitchen. I need all the help I can get!!!!

I also read up on Vollrath Tribute and Falk. I can't really justifythe $$$ for Falk, however, they have a "try me" special for a saucier for $125 w/o lid. What is and why do I need a saucier? Can I use this for sauces too?
Open to Vollrath, Sitram, All-Clad.
Thanks in advance.
Lafayette, California