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Judge Vista 5-piece saucepan set. This lovely pan set was a gamble I took when I finally decided I had grown out of my grotty student pots and pans. I'm still studying, and still broke, but since I adore cooking, I think there are a few essential things in the kitchen you need to spend a certain amount of money on. (The first is a good knife.) I went into the store thinking I'd buy two or three good pans, and was seduced into buying a set of five. They're worth every penny, and even beat my mother's copper-bottomed pans that were a wedding present to her thirty years ago (she's threatening to leave them to me in her will, but I didn't really want to have to either wait that long, or, alternatively, murder my mother, just to get a good set of pans). There are four saucepans (14, 16, 18, and 20 cm) and one saute pan (24 cm). I use the saute pan for sauteing, unsurprisingly, sauces when I haven't washed up the smaller pans, and you can do a modest stir-fry in it at a pinch. The 14 cm pan is a good size for up to two portions of pasta, smallish quantities of sauce (e.g. 1 tin of tomatoes, an onion, a couple of vegetables), boiling potatoes for two. The 16 cm is probably the pan I use the most, and will take a sauce that involves, say, two (possibly three) tins of tomatoes and quite a few vegetables. The 18 cm is good for small to medium amounts of soup (since I live alone, this means almost every soup I make), spaghetti, and large sauces. The 20 cm pan is only trotted out when I am making a monster soup; of course, if you're cooking for a family you'd probably use it far more frequently. I would say that I use all of the pans regularly enough to justify buying them; add a non-stick wok and you have a good set that will take you almost anywhere. Judge do make quite a large range, by the way, that also includes non-stick pans if you fancy. One of the most important factors influencing my choice w
as that I am disabled (I have M.E.), which means that I have trouble with anything heavy or difficult to grip, and since I have trouble with clumsiness and slow reactions, the sort of pan which specialises in whooshing steam in your face doesn't help. Washing up isn't my favourite activity either. Le Creuset was definitely out! These pans were an excellent choice, but even if you're not disabled you'll appreciate the reasons why. To begin with, they are all stainless steel with glass lids. Each pan has a (plastic?) handle that does not transmit heat, and the four saucepans also have a little "helper handle" on the other side, making lifting them far easier; the helper handle does not get in the way the rest of the time. The steel transmits heat beautifully, faster than my old non-stick pans, which means you can cook on a slightly lower heat. They are very light-weight but still sturdy enough to survive being dropped on the floor and so on. The quality of the steel means that you can actually see and taste the difference in the food: flavours and colours are clearer and purer, and texture seems to be improved as well. The lids have small steam vents, which vastly reduces the chance of scalding yourself when you take them off, or of steaming up your kitchen. To begin with, I was concerned that this would mean that there wasn't enough steam for rice to cook perfectly, but the amount of steam let out is so slight that it's fine; I think I'm adding a touch more water to compensate. The vents do a very good job of preventing the lid from steaming up, so that you can see what is happening inside the pan without bothering to take the lid off. They also catch the steam that condenses when you take the lid off round the bottom of the lid, so that you can just tip the resulting water back into the pan without spilling it. They're not a 100% tight fit, but it doesn't seem to make any difference. Agai
n, I'm using rice as a judge, and I'm very picky about cooking rice. The pans are deeper than usual, which I have found to be most convenient. For starters, they take up less surface area on the hob. For seconds, whatever you are cooking is more likely to stay in the pan, instead of jumping out of it (preferably all over you, the hob, and, if you're really talented, the floor), which makes stirring easier, and in fact they're generally easier to manoeuvre in. It also solves the time-honoured problem of half of the spaghetti sticking out of the water, since the water level will be higher without having to use two kettles full. I was a little apprehensive about food sticking, after years of using non-stick pans. On the other hand, non-stick pans do drive you mad: you can't use metal anywhere near them, and the non-stick has a habit of coming off. Stainless steel is not, of course, non-stick, and while I did try to follow the instructions for seasoning the pan with oil (actually, I got the instructions from a cookbook, the leaflet just told me to do it without explaining how), it was a bit of a disaster, and the pans seem to be perfectly happy in their natural state. I have surprisingly few problems with things sticking, mostly caused when I forget how quickly the steel conducts heat and put the hob on too high or forget to stir often enough, and I just add a little water when this happens. The problem only really occurs in the saute pan, probably because I tend to cook with that one at a higher heat with the lid off. Since these pans are very easy to clean (apparently dishwasher and oven safe as well), it's not a problem; very rarely have I had any serious scouring to do. As for non-stick, I've compromised and kept a non-stick wok for stir-frying, and use these for everything else. In fact, after a week of so of reverence, occasioned by the lingering shock of having spent £ 80, I have to confess tha
t I neglect, even maltreat my pans. I don't bother soaking them, I dump the lids wherever there's space, I don't always move them out of the way in time when a hob ring is on, I heat them when they are empty; in fact, I do all the things the leaflet tells you not to. They are completely impervious to this abuse, and are still looking beautiful and a dream to cook with. I think these pans and I will be together for a very long time.
I've been using my set of Judge stainless steel saucepans for 18 months and think they are brilliant. I don't know the name of my set bu they are the ones with the transparent,glass lids. The set came as three saucepans with lids, one milkpan without lid, and a large frying pan with lid. The lids have a hole to let the steam out so things rarely boil over unless the gas is too high. They have been dropped and haven't bent and have had a very wide variety of foods cooked in them. They clean up very well and being stainless steel you can clean them quite harshly. The outside of the pans are as sparkly as if they were new. The insides have dulled with use but then I don't use a special stainless steel cleaner for them. I really like the see through lids so you can see what is going on inside without having to lift the lid. The handles are black plasticy stuff and do not get hot. The pans have a curved shape to them and the frying pan is large enough for a good fry-up! I got these pans as a 5 piece set but there are other items available to increase your set if you want to. They are of reasonable weight without being too heavy to lift unlike some pans. I like evrything about them and would thouroughly recommend them to everyone.
Judge professional cookware is made from mirror finish 18/10 stainless steel