What's your choice for cooking? You may not have considered cast iron cookware since there are many different types and styles of pots and pans to choose from. You have aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron and various alloys layered together. Some have non-stick coatings. I'm not an expert on all of these, but I have used a lot of them.
One thing we did a while back was to throw away all of our teflon coated pans. We did this for two reasons. One was because we have heard of some studies that say there could be bad effects from the teflon on the human body, but no studies I know of that state any positive health benefits from it. The other reason was that the coating would always start coming off even if you always used plastic utensils in them and washed them carefully.
I have become a fan of cast iron cookware by using a skillet of this material, and have heard good things about it when used for other pots and pans too. Such as loaf pans for baking bread or meat loaf. We also have a set of stainless steel pots and pans that we use a lot, but my favorite is the cast iron. My Mom used to do a lot of cooking in these pans and now we have come back to it also.
I happened to find a 10 inch cast iron skillet that is actually made in the USA! It's by a company called Lodge Mfg.
I don't work for them or receive any money from them, so I can be honest in my evaluation. We have been very pleased with it. They make different types and sizes to fit your needs. A little tip for you though. I found out that in order to purchase the loaf pans, you need to contact one of their outlet stores. They are listed on their website along with phone numbers. Beware of poor quality pans that claim to be all cast iron but may not be. My opinion is that Lodge makes high quality products.
I recommend that you read the instructions for care and follow them. It says NOT to use soap to clean it, but hot water only with a stiff plastic bristled brush. After drying, put a light coat of oil on it to keep it from rusting. I use an olive oil cooking spray for this. Quick and easy. They say soap will ruin the coating (or seasoning) that gets developed through use. Cleaning it with hot water only, and no soap, seems to work fine, and actually develops a kind of natural non-stick coating.
I have also heard that you will increase your iron intake by using cast iron cookware. I don't know if that's true or not, but I guess it's possible.
I think for me, though, I just like the way bacon and eggs taste when cooked in a pan of this material. It could be all in my mind, but I think food tastes better in cast iron. I also like how the material holds and distributes heat evenly, and if you use a little oil in them the food doesn't stick too much. Give it a try! Once you get used to the proper care of it, cast iron cookware may just become your favorite too.
Mitch Ferguson, April 2009