So many new, high-end pots and pans come with instructions that tell you not to get the heat too high, that they'll cook just fine at a lower setting.
All well and good for most cooking, I agree. But there are some various dishes and procedures that NEED high heat, in at least their initial stages. Roasting spices, Softening corn tortillas in oil. Probably browning meats (I'm just guessing, as I'm a vegetarian.) That's just a start.
I've ruined at least two skillets from such activities. They were both non-stick. Well, I don't know if they're really ruined; their cooking surfaces have become ugly and off-putting. One stainless steel skillet looks slightly browned/singed, but I think it's OK.
I have had better luck with Calphalon and my cast iron. They seem unaffected.
What do you use for high heat? Do you buy a pan and "sacrifice" it for such uses? Or do you have a recommended material?