Buy a pot the whole is tempting. You can go from zero to fully equipped with just one click, everything on your stove will match, and maybe they’ll even stack neatly when you put them away. You can also put a whole expensive set on a wedding registry and hope some big spenders feel generous.
You know what, though? Do not do that. Just like knives, finding a universal solution that works for you is almost impossible. You probably already have a few pans, potentially creating unnecessary duplicates. You might also end up with more or less than you want. Also, a company’s fantastic pan does not guarantee the quality of its pan.
Here’s an alternative: just get what I have. My collection certainly has its quirks – I don’t own a pan, for example – but I make a living with this setup and have no problem getting around those limitations. These choices have all stood the test of time in my kitchen, but I encourage you to get only what you need, when you need it. I’ve broken things down from top to bottom starting with the absolute basics, offering a few alternatives, and ending with a few things I’m still experimenting with.