I turn to those who would know best for this. I need to buy myself a smallish skillet or omelet pan for my little student apartment. I have a great big beast of a covered frying pan that I use for preparing large dishes like curries. What I want, though, is a smaller pan handy for the little jobs like omelets and frying onions and garlic, and other kinds of prep cooking for more complex dishes. Space is at a premium in my apartment, so I thought perhaps I'd just get an 8-inch pan, rather than a 10-inch that might be impractical for the smaller jobs. Am I miscalculating here?
Also, I hate nonstick stuff, so I assumed that I should go for a nice, mid-range stainless steel pan. Several knowledgeable friends, though, expressed a preference for cast iron. I've never cooked on cast iron in my life, and I only have a vague impression of its proper care and maintenance. OTOH, I notice that good-quality cast iron seems much cheaper than even a lot of so-so stainless steel, which attracts me. Assuming that I would have been content to take my chances with a $20 Cuisinart stainless steel 8-inch, should I re-orient toward that size (or larger) in cast iron?
Here are the details that seem worth mentioning:
The apartment is small, and I already have a bunch of pots and saucepans.
I'm cheap (ah, the life of a grad student!).
I move around a good bit, so I'm more interested in something mid-grade and relatively convenient than, say, some awfully heavy Le Creuset thing that will survive the apocalypse.
My stove is electric.
I have no dishwasher, so I wash everything by hand in any case.
Please help me, o 'hounds!
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