Building a cookware set can be expensive and take time. If you don’t care if your cookware matches, buying pieces at thrift stores can take the sting out of filling your cupboard with good quality pots and pans.
There are a lot of conflicting opinions about the relative safety of using various forms of cookware. Before you shop for pots and pans, you may want to research and have an opinion about the dangers of cooking with:
- Aluminum cookware
- Non-stick coated cookware. There is a useful article in Psychology Today on whether – pans are dangerous.
- Glass cookware
Snopes is a great source to do your research for some of these items. They provide objective and factual information about rumors, urban legends, etc.
Once you know what you want and don’t want, you are ready to shop. Here are just a few tips:
- Check the condition. No matter what type of cookware you buy, make sure it isn’t dented, chipped, cracked, or burned on the bottom.
- Grab it by the handle. Make sure the handles are in good shape, not burned or cracked. If the handles are loose, make sure there is a screw you can tighten. If the handle was welded or glued to the pan and has come loose, give it up.
- Put a lid on it. If you find a pot you like and the lid is missing, find one before you leave the store. It can be very difficult to find a lid that matches without the pot or pan.
- Get the good stuff. Since your thrift store pot costs so little, look for name brands such as Farberware or better. I like a pan with a heavy bottom since I am a forgetful and scatterbrained cook. A heavy bottom (on the pan) gives me a little more time to get to the stove before the house burns down!