What to Buy?

Every kitchen needs at least the Basic 5 types of cookware vessels – each performs vital cooking duties, based on its function, design and shape.


The saucepan is the most used pan in the kitchen. High straight sides and narrow opening reduce liquid evaporation to create a moist cooking environment, perfect for cooking sauces, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, or warming leftovers. Saucepan capacities range from 1 pint to 4 quarts; you should have 2 or 3 sizes.

With a wide, flat bottom and short sides, the omelet-fry pan heats fast, and flawlessly cooks bacon, burgers and chops. Non-slip grip handle provides control for flipping eggs and delicate omelets. Food slides right out of non-stick fry pans. Sizes range from 7 to 14 inches. Every kitchen needs 2 to 3 sizes.

Great for sautéing vegetables or meats, preparing quick pan-sauces or brown & braise recipes, plus low fat frying. A broad flat bottom and deep straight sides allow rapid evaporation of liquids, ensuring a crisp, delicate crust on sautéed foods. Long handle and assist handle make lifting and transporting easier. Sizes range from 10 to 14 inches. A kitchen must.

Also called a stockpot, this tall, wide bottom pot with tight-fitting lid and inserts is essential to every kitchen. Perfect for cooking stocks, soups, stews and pasta, steaming vegetables or boiling water. Tall sides in proportion to the diameter minimize evaporation and preserve flavors. Also suitable for canning and preserving foods. Capacity ranges from 8 to 24 quarts.

Known as THE ALL AMERICAN PAN because of our love for a hearty breakfast and toasted cheese sandwiches. Large cooking surface is ideal for bacon, eggs, sausages, pancakes, French toast or quesadillas.
Square griddle, 10-12 inch, is used on a single burner.
Oblong griddle, 12-20 inch, is used on two burners.

Going beyond the BASIC 5 cooking vessels gives you an opportunity to explore your culinary creativity, grow as a cook, and wow guests with these proven cookware classics.


For quick stovetop grilling of meats and vegetable dishes that you can serve right off the grill. This heavy shallow pan has ridges cast into the cooking surface, which make restaurant quality grill marks on burgers, steaks and chops, while allowing the fat to drain off the meat. It is ideal for indoor grilling. Sizes range from 9 to 12 inches.

Combines the benefits of a stir-fry pan, saucepan and braisier in one outstanding pan. The flat bottom and medium-high sloping walls produce rapid evaporation of liquids, plus crisp results. Perfect for the versatile cook. Best used with ingredients that have similar cooking times. Ranges in capacity from 4 to 8 quarts.

A retro favorite! Remember Mom’s great baked, one pan meals? Macaroni and cheese. Tuna casserole. Yum! The flat bottom and straight sides retain moisture while the broad top promotes browning and crisping. Most casseroles can go from freezer to oven to table. They range from 3 to 12 quarts in capacity.

Two pans in one. The saucepan holds water, and the insert food. The steam creates a gentle, indirect heat essential for making delicate sauces (bernaise, hollandaise, mornay) and melting chocolate. The lower vessel can be used alone as a saucepan. Ranges in capacity from 2 to 4 quarts.

A must for roasting everything from a standing rib roast to your holiday turkey. Rectangular shape and shallow design allow heat to circulate around the food for even roasting. U-Rack holds food above the moist cooking surface, while fats and juices drain off, producing a healthier and crispier roast. Removable U-Rack promotes versatility in cooking styles.

If you are passionate about preparing food, the GOURMET 5 vessels will complete your culinary ware collection, offering unlimited opportunities for creativity in the kitchen and kudos from your guests.


Used to prepare paella, the saffron seasoned Spanish rice dish, this large skillet-like pan is made of cast iron, enameled metal or brushed aluminum. Shallow, wide cooking surface and flared sides promote rapid liquid evaporation and formation of the prized paella rice crust.
Sizes range from 14 to 16 inches. Two handles make carrying easy.

A round, short to medium height pan with outward sloping sides and curved handles used to sauté or braise foods. Popular in European kitchens, this versatile pan is great for cooking casseroles, stews and pasta dishes, plus meat and poultry one-pot dishes. Tight-fitting lid captures and retains moisture and flavors. Capacity ranges from 2.5 to 7 quarts.

A tall, narrow steamer designed for steaming and balancing asparagus and other long, thin vegetables such as whole carrots and corn-on-the-cob. Asparagus turns out perfectly: bright green and tender, yet a little crisp.

With a removable rack and long deep body, a fish poacher is designed to fit and perfectly poach whole fish or large fillets that are difficult to contain in standard pans. The long body and rack ensure that moist hot air circulates around the fish or shrimp as they cook to perfection without breaking up. A tight-fitting lid helps retain moisture and flavor while heat circulates. Excellent for preparing low or no fat fish and seafood.

15. WOK
The wok is the primary cooking vessel used in all Asian cuisines. This multi-purpose cooking vessel is ideal for stir-frying, steaming, deep frying, braising, smoking and more. The bowl shaped pan cooks food quickly over high heat. A flat bottom wok can be used on conventional Western stovetops. Woks are available in various materials, including carbon steel, non-stick carbon steel, cast iron and stainless steel. Ranges in size from 4 inches deep to 12 to 16 inches round. American woks may have a flat bottom.

Which Material?

Know your material!
Not every material is suited to every task.

Cookware comes in different materials, each which has specific benefits for cooking. In addition, they come equipped with various features such as handles and lids, and are available in a variety of interior and exterior finishes.

The most important of these factors is the material. Today there are seven types of materials used to manufacture 90% of the cookware used worldwide:

Stainless Steel

ECOLOGICAL.  Manufactured from recycled scrap and consumer materials. Stainless steel is comprised of iron alloys and a minimum of 10.5% chromium. It is graded according to its composition, which is stamped on every stainless steel product.

18/8 stainless steel – Very hard, durable, corrosion resistant, non-magnetic, non-reactive to food; 18% chrome, 8% nickel.

18/10 stainless steel – Same qualities as 18/8 but heavier and appropriate for restaurant and commercial use. 18% chrome, 10% nickel.

18/0 stainless steel – Corrosion resistant but less durable as it contains no nickel. 18% chrome, 0% nickel.

To ensure even distribution of heat, the base and lower sides of stainless steel cookware are often covered in aluminum or copper.

Stainless steel cookware is easy to maintain. Any dullness or residue can be removed with stainless steel cleaner or a warm water and vinegar solution.


COMMON NATURAL ELEMENT.  Aluminum is the most abundant metal on Earth, the third most common element, and comprises 8% of Earth’s total surface.

Aluminum conducts heat rapidly and evenly, which is important when you want “perfect results” every time you cook. It is very lightweight and resistant to corrosion in its natural state. Aluminum is a softer metal and prone to denting and damage if misused. Hand washing is recommended.

Adding non-stick coatings or high temperature resistant exterior enamel finishes to aluminum products improves ease of use and cleaning.

Hard-anodized Aluminum

IMPROVING ON A NATURAL STATE.  By electro-chemically hardening the surface of aluminum, it retains all the natural attributes of aluminum, while adding a scratch resistant, high quality non-stick cooking surface and becomes twice as hard as stainless steel. Extremely durable, it is dishwasher and oven safe. Excellent product for tough jobs.

  • Conducts heat evenly
  • Lightweight
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Does not react with food
  • Safe for metal kitchen utensil use
  • Most durable of aluminum products

Carbon Steel

MADE TOUGH!  Carbon steel is sheet steel strengthened with added carbon or other elements. The thin, strong, warp-resistant cookware and bakeware produces rapid, even heating, making it ideal for a variety of pans used in cooking Asian and French cuisines.

  • Uncoated carbon steel ware must be pre-seasoned before use.
  • Products are wiped after use and washed with light soapy water only when necessary.
  • Proper care is essential to preventing corrosion.
  • The darkening of products with age reduces sticking and makes them more rust resistant.

PREPARATION FOR USE.  All uncoated carbon steel cookware and bakeware MUST be seasoned before using. Scrub the interior surface with steel wool, then wash with soapy water, rinse thoroughly, and dry. Heat the pan on medium heat, then coat with cooking oil. Remove from heat and let stand for 2-3 hours. Coat treated surface with salt and rub clean with a paper towel. After each use, wipe clean with paper towels and oil. NEVER PUT CARBON STEEL IN THE DISHWASHER.

Always store in a dry place.

Cast Iron

AUTHENTICALLY AMERICAN.  Cast iron cookware and bakeware is the oldest form of cookware continuously produced in the United States. Because colonists found their “new land” especially rich in iron ore, foundries were developed as early as 1610. A myriad of cast iron household products were produced, but America is especially known for its cast iron cookware.

Cast iron is an alloy of iron with 2 to 4% carbon plus varying amounts of silicone, manganese and trace impurities of sulfur and phosphorus.

  • Serious chefs’ first choice
  • Excellent heat distribution and retention
  • Excellent control of cooking surface temperature
  • Even cooking
  • Slow to heat
  • Original, natural non-stick cooking surface when properly seasoned
  • Durable and lasting. Improves with age.


STYLE and FUNCTION.  Cookware manufactured from porcelain enameled steel has all the heat conducting attributes of cast iron or steel, yet eliminates the need for seasoning. By fusing a thin layer of glass to the surface of the product, (vitreous enameling) the cookware becomes:

  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Non-reactive to foods
  • Lighter in weight than enameled cast iron
  • An even conductor of heat
  • Strong and long lasting
  • A favorite of non-professional gourmet cooks

If not cared for properly, the enameled surface is susceptible to chipping or cracking.


COOKWARE PERFECTION!  Beautiful, expensive, high maintenance.
An essential for some gourmet uses.

Copper has traditionally been a favorite of the great chefs of Europe. The metal is readily available and its attributes are excellent for cooking. Copper is the best conductor of heat. It heats quickly, cools rapidly and is best used on lower heat, which makes it very energy efficient. Copper cookware is a copper exterior fused to a stainless steel interior. This eliminates the problem of copper reacting to the natural minerals found in many foods.

  • Copper pans will last for generations.
  • Copper cookware can be re-lined.
  • Copper pans should be from 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick.
  • Copper must be cleaned by hand with a non-abrasive product.

What Size?

Don't Just Grab Any Pan…
think before you pick.

To consistently get successful results, you need to select cookware that is the correct size and capacity for your cooking needs, and that matches the size of your stovetop burners.

What size are the pans’ cooking surfaces?
How big are the burners on your stove?
What size meals do you usually prepare?

Here are some ‘rules-of-thumb’ that you can apply when buying cookware. Depending on the brand and the shape of the side walls, an 8 inch fry pan will have a cooking surface of approximately 5-1/2 to 6 inches, a 10 inch fry pan will have a cooking surface of approximately 7-3/4 to 8-1/2 inches in diameter, a 12 inch fry pan will have a cooking surface of approximately 9-1/4 to 10-1/2 inches in diameter. A 1-1/2 quart saucepan will have a cooking surface of approximately 5-1/2 to 6 inches, a 2-½ quart saucepan will have a cooking surface of approximately 6-1/2 to 7 inches.

When you select your cookware you need to ask a few questions first. Does it fit your heating element? Not too big or too small? Is the capacity of the pot or pan right for your needs? If you’re cooking for a big group, you’ll need a larger cooking vessel. If you’re cooking for one, a smaller pan is all you need. Think efficiency.

The cookware should be no larger or smaller than the burner/heating element. Using over or under-sized cookware can result in uneven heating of the cooking surface and possible cookware damage. To determine the size of the burners on your stove, check the owner’s manual that came with the stove. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, get a tape measure or ruler and measure the widest part of the burner. This will tell you the maximum diameter of the cooking surface of the pan you want to buy.

Size your pans for the number of people you cook for.  If it’s just you and a friend, smaller sizes and capacities will suit you well. If your dinner parties are more like family meals, then one or two larger capacity items will be necessary and helpful.  If you’re cooking for a family, then size your cookware for the number of people in it.  You can start by figuring it this way: a 12 inch fry pan will cook 3 or 4 four to five inch diameter hamburgers at one time, and an 8 quart stockpot will boil enough pasta to serve 5.