From affordable budget packages to high-end luxury products, a cookware set helps to complete a kitchen with its numerous functional pieces and consistent style. Available in a wide selection of metal and porcelain enamel varieties, cookware sets feature anywhere from 2 to 30 pieces. With everything the gastronome needs to use, from saute pans to stockpots, purchasing cookware in sets can not only save money, but there won't be any discordant styles since all of the components will match. Produced in copper, enamel, cast iron, anodized aluminum and stainless steel, cookware sets are made to suit all tastes.
The hallmarks of good cookware are superior heat conductivity, even distribution, a stylish and durable design and non-sticking interior surfaces. Each metal or combination used to make cookware has its own advantages. Copper is elegant and reliable. Cast iron is durable and ideal for outdoor use. Anodized aluminum cookware is extremely hard, rustproof and even-heating. Stainless steel offers a stylish, mirror-like finish and warp-resistant design, while enamel provides a nice, effective alternative to bare metal.
The best cookware features a multiply design whereby a layer of metal, usually aluminum, is placed between outer and inner layers of the main material. The aluminum improves heat conductivity. Anodized cookware goes through an electrolytic process to create a controlled oxidized finish, while cast iron cooking implements are seasoned with vegetable oil and then baked to treat the metal. Expensive copper cookware is often hand hammered, while enamel cookware features a porcelain coating over a cast iron, steel or aluminum foundation.
A basic cookware set typically includes one or more 1- to 2-quart saucepans, a 3- to 4-quart saute pan and a 6- to 9-quart stockpot plus lids. One or more 8- to 11-inch skillets may be included. Select cast iron sets feature a hefty Dutch oven, while some more comprehensive cookware sets may feature a chef's pan, pasta insert, universal steamer or frying rack.