Anolon Professional: graduating to the cookware big leagues
Jan 30, 2000 (Updated Jan 30, 2000)
Review by tanster
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:glass lids, excellent heat conductivity, oven-safe to 500 degrees
Cons:lids are not snug-fitting, heavy, no metal tools allowed, not dishwasher safe
I've used my set of Wearever cookware for about ten years now. They're beat up, the handles are starting to get wobbly, and the inside cooking surface is a bit scratched. They've served me well through the years, but now I was ready to graduate to something better.
Recommend this product?
I was set on Calphalon, not Anolon
I had been researching upscale cookware for about a month now, and was all set to buy Calphalon Professional Nonstick II. This brand was named a "Best Buy" by Consumer Digest in their November/December 1999 issue, and lots of stores (Macys, chefscatalog.com, cookwareonsale.com) carry the brand, which would make it easy to purchase additional pieces.
An encounter with the Anolon lady
I went to Macys to take a look at the Calphalon up close. While I stood there looking at the saucepans, I noticed the Anolon display right next to me. I wandered over to it, at which point a young woman came up to me and asked, "can I help you?" She was the Anolon/Circulon rep, available for questions during Macy's home sale. I replied, "Well, I'm wondering what the difference is between Anolon Professional and Calphalon Professional Nonstick." She confided, "You know, I'm not even supposed to talk about Calphalon, but to be honest with you, the brands are comparable."
The defining moment: why I picked Anolon over Calphalon
The rep was right: both brands are hard-anodized aluminum, both have nonstick surfaces, both have glass lids, both have stainless steel handles that can withstand high oven temperatures (Calphalon, up to 450 degrees; Anolon, up to 500 degrees).
What would the tiebreaker be? I thought about how I was going to store these pots -- stacked inside the drawer below my oven. So I compared stacking Calphalon pots with Anolon pots. And then the decision became clear: the Anolon handles are attached to a higher part of the pot than the Calphalon pots. This made it much easier to stack the Anolon pots. I was sold! (Isn't it amazing how some buying decisions come down to the most seemingly trivial detail?)
Never buy Anolon unless it's on sale!
- I ended up purchasing the Anolon Professional 9-pc set: 1-qt. and 3-qt. saucepans, 7-qt. stockpot, 10.5"/4-qt. saute pan (stockpot lid also fits 4-qt saute pan), 2-qt. stainless steel steamer insert (fits inside 3-qt saucepan) and 10" omelette pan. The open stock value is $558; I bought the set for $299.99 at Macys.
- Included was a "bonus" piece -- an Anolon hard-anodized 12" round grill pan, probably a $40 value. I couldn't find the exact price for this particular piece in any catalog, so I suspect this is a discontinued item that Anolon is trying to get rid of.
- In addition, if you bring an old pot or pan to the store, you get $10 off the 9-pc set price. This means that, with the pot trade-in, you could buy almost $600 worth of cookware for only $289, more than half off!
- I believe the Macys sale continues until mid-February.
Observations of Anolon at home
- Storage: The first thing I did when I got home was to see if all the cookware would fit in the drawer beneath my oven. And it did! (All nine pieces, not the bonus grill.)
- Lids: The glass lids are guaranteed for life against breakage. And according to Anolon's web site FAQ page, the lids only fog up during first few minutes of cooking, and then clear up. I boiled some water in the saucepan to test this, and sure enough, they're correct! Unfortunately, I was expecting the lids to be snug-fitting; they are not.
- Handles: Stay-cool handles?--yes, that claim is true, too. Not only do the pot handles stay cool, but the lid handle stays relatively cool during cooking as well.
- Smooth cooktops: Anolon works just fine on smooth surface ranges (see my separate Epinion). Just make sure the bottom of the cookware is dry; otherwise, it will make an alarming popping sound as the water is burned off the bottom of the pot.
- Weight: Yes, Anolon is definitely heavier. My old Wearever 1-qt. saucepan weighs about 13 oz.; the Anolon 1-qt saucepan weighs about 20 oz. With a full pot of water, I can barely lift the 3-qt. saucepan with one hand. (I think this is more of an indication that I'm a weakling than anything else.)
- Heat conductivity: Heat conductivity is excellent. In my old Wearever pot, I had to turn the stove all the way up to "9" (the highest setting) to cook spaghetti noodles at a steady boil. With the Anolon, I only have to set the stove to a "7" to achieve the same boil. I don't know how many cents you'll save by cooking at a lower heat, but you'll definitely save time!
All in all
I'm very happy with the Anolon, and look forward to many years of cooking with it! To be safe, though, I think I should probably start lifting weights.... :)
For more info:
- Anolon web site: www.anolon.com
- Consumer Digest web site: www.consumerdigest.com
- Places to purchase Anolon: Macys, www.tavolo.com, www.cooking.com
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