Quite honestly, I never knew just how many different types of kitchen cookware sets were available out there until I needed a new set for my own kitchen. I thought for sure that Teflon was on all pans and all I knew about copper-clad cookware was that it's pretty. So do not be afraid if you feel like you're in the dark about cookware essentials because I did too. But I did a little research about the pros and cons of the different kinds of cookware so we can all get a clear idea on the subject. First off, the one universal truth when it comes to cookware essentials is that you must follow the included instructions for proper care and keeping of your new pots and pans. Yes, it's a pain but the better care you take with these new residents in your kitchen, the longer and better they will work for you.
Aluminum cookware is an older technology, best suited for searing and deglazing foods; it is both oven and broiler safe. It is a good option for people with wrist or hand weakness as aluminum is a very lightweight option. On the down side though, old-school aluminum cookware should not be kept at a very high heat and it does react with acidic foods, so it's best to have another type of cookware. However, there is also anodized and infused anodized aluminum cookware available which is a safer option than plain aluminum. Anodizing is the process of coating the aluminum surface by either chemical or electrolytic means therefore resulting in a cooking surface safe for tomatoes with no heat restrictions.
Cast-iron cookware offers even but slow heat conduction and when it is cared for appropriately, it offers an almost entirely non-stick cooking surface. However, it is not recommended for use by individuals who suffer from any kind of hand or wrist pain, as it is one of the heaviest options available. Now, the biggest rule about copper cookware is that you have to be absolutely sure nothing has compromised the interior coating. Copper-clad cookware features a copper exterior and stainless steel interior; in my opinion, it's the most visually attractive option available. Both types of copper cookware offer better heat conduction than stainless steel cookware, but do require slightly more in-depth care requirements to keep the copper bright and shiny.
Enamel cast-iron cookware is ideal for stovetop and oven use and is also scratch resistant, which makes it a safer option out of what's available on the market today. A black enamel interior is featured on grilling and frying pans thus resulting in easier cleanup. Stainless steel cookware is also wonderful for searing and deglazing and heats up especially quickly when it features an aluminum-coated bottom. It is also the only option available that I've come across that is broiler, oven, stovetop, and dishwasher safe but on the flipside, you do have to be extremely careful never to scratch the cooking surface.
Silverstone and Teflon cookware are non-stick options that make both cooking and cleanup easy as can be. However, it is not recommended for bird owners because the fumes emitted from heated Teflon can be harmful to their health. Traditional non-stick cookware is best suited for low or non-fat cooking endeavors, and is safe for oven use as well as stovetop but it is not dishwasher safe.
In short, all kitchen cookware sets have their own positive and negative factors. I personally went with the copper-clad cookware-not just because I find it aesthetically attractive, but also because I found it to be the best option for me, as I do not mind the extra sink time. But it all comes down to what is right for you and your family. At the end of the day, you want the peace of mind in knowing that you've purchased cookware essentials that you can properly care for to insure you're getting the most out of your purchase.