My head is so full of contradictory posts right now, I'm more confused after reading several threads then when I began. I'm not interested at all in the cheap thin cast iron many people rave about. Bad ovens and ranges really require a HEAVY piece of cookware for heat retention and even cooking. Nothing ruins a good steak like putting it into a pan and loosing all the heat, having the anemic range sputter back up to temperature, leaving me with a subpar poorly cooked steak. What a kill joy!
I want to add some enameled cookware for acidic cooking and for when I don't want the addition of iron to affect flavors. Staub and Le Crueset are easy but spendy choices. If I need to spend that much to get great (not good enough) cooking performance, I will need to save up and go there. I want a tight fitting lid that will retain moisture too!
I have looked at various brands like Paula Deen, Emerilware, and similar and have been under whelmed by their lightweight and lids that don't seem to fit properly. I'm also leary of porceilen finishes from China and other dubious parts of the world leaching lead.
Does Lodge enameled cookware compare favorably to the French competition? I know its made in China but, I'm thinking the Lodge name will ensure a good safe enamel finish. Are they nice heavy durable pans? What other brands compare favorably with the French? Or, do I need to give up and save longer for the Le Crueset or Staub options?
Above all, I want performance within in reasonable price constraints. Specifically, I'm not looking to pay 10 times the price for a 2% gain in performance. However, I can pay $200 for a pan if it really is worth the money.