That aspiring chefs and wannabe home cooks would want an encyclopedic collection of pots and pans would seem obvious: It's similar to a mechanic having a chestful of tools. Only, as Colicchio advises, the way you get there is different. "Buy a piece at a time and buy the best you can afford – you don't have to go out and buy the 18-piece set," he says. That may mean occasionally having to make do with the wrong-size pot, but the strategy is sound. "If you buy cheap pots and pans, the handles are going to fall off in a few years, they'll start to warp from the heat or get banged up, and you'll end up having to buy them again and again," he warns. "Think of amortizing this over a lifetime. Buy good pots and pans, and they'll last forever – you'll never buy another."
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