Hello! I got sucked into reading *a lot* of posts here in the past few days and I think I'm ready to ask help in my sort of weird situation. My wife and I have recently downsized our possessions to the point of everything being able to fit in 7x or so 50cm^3 boxes. We have sold our much larger home and now live in tiny apartments or chalets or huttes (currently we are in a little apt. in Switzerland). I also want to tour in a Sprinter van when we get back to the States. So we are living small and would like to keep it that way. Anyways, I had to get rid of all of our cookware. I had way too many and the pieces I used most were worn and not really that great - it was going to cost a lot to ship that stuff around and simply figured I'd buy some really nice pans for the first time in my life - but as few as possible.
Here's the cooktop situation: we have a ceramic cooktop now that is *really bad.* . Normally I can deal with bad hobs but my lord this one is brutal. I have to slide pans halfway off the burners to control heat even... I get 5 discrete temperature steps and man these things take forever to heat and cool. It's a problem I've fixed by buying a high power portable induction top which I'm going to take with us where ever we go.. And if we go to an apt with gas, we'd use that. So I'm just going to stick with induction and gas. For non temp-critical stuff we can use poorly performing hobs (boiling water, etc.).
So pans! I'd like to have 3 pans tops. 1 is just an 'average' nonstick that will degrade after a year or 2 as they all seem to do and we will replace. I'm not concerned with having anything special there. We need this for low-fat meals mainly for the wife - eggs and things like that. The other 2 pans I'm thinking would need to handle two things: Large amounts of liquid (6-7qt or higher) for boiling pasta or making soups and the other for searing meats/ browning veggies and creating sauces from those pan remains. I would also like it if this pan could do things like curries which have a lot more volume by the time they're done. I do not think an 11" fry pan (I've looked at the Demeyere 11" proline) has high enough sides for that task. And the 12.x" really doesn't give me much more volume but it does give me more weight on an already heavy pan. I do like to flip/jump food around and can manage a pretty heavy pan but only if the handle is stable enough. My prior most commonly used pan was a 13 or 14" skillet (think it was a Fabreware(?) copper disk bottom) but the handle was very narrow/thin and it was not stable once you had the weight of the pan + a larger meal inside. Flipping was more difficult but still possible. It heated OK but the sides were pretty cold relative to the blazing hot base so I couldn't use any of the sloped sides for searing. That being said, it did have enough flat area for browning enough stuff for a sizeable meal for 2 or 3 folks. I could also make some curries in that pan. A pour-able edge would be nice.
I looked at getting a 'chefs pan' (something new to me) but then realise that the flat area is very small. And then maybe replacing the fry pan with a saute pan, but then I loose my ability to flip food around by the handle. You also loose ability to get a whisk in the corners. So I think the shorter pan is the one I need most help with. I think I'd like a bigger fry pan that has just a bit higher sides with a really nice handle that I could still flip things around on such a heavy assembly (food + pan) :D . But most 'fry pans' of the quality I'm looking for don't seem to have that high of sides. And I'm guessing (?) if you go too high or steep, the moisture release needed for things like crisping/searing starts to diminish.. but that I can only attest to when using a very tall *pot* - I've never owned a proper saute pan where I could gauge whether this was an issue or not.
For the larger one, I'm looking at something like the 7 quart or higher capacity Paderno Rondeau or Fissler. I've never had any *really good* pans/pots so I'm sure I am already going to see a big jump there. For that one a lid would be nice but a sheet of foil works too!
What do y'all think? Any ideas for us? Thanks so much in advance. I know it's quite a read and appreciate your time.