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Choosing cookware

 No one metal is ideal for all kinds of cooking.  Slow cooking is best
 done in enameled cast iron (such as Le Creuset).  Delicate sauces are
 best done in stainless-lined copper (such as Bourgeat).  Boiling in
 large quantities of water (corn, lobster, ...) can be in just about
 anything; cheap light aluminum in particular will work fine, although
 it won't last very long.  Heavy aluminum is better, although stainless
 looks nicer.
 If your goal is aesthetic, you might look into Alessi's cookware set.
 Each piece is made in a different, and appropriate, metal.  They were
 designed by leading chefs in collaboration with Richard Sapper,
 Alessi's top designer.  They should cook very well, and they look
 great, but they are very expensive.
 If your goal is strictly culinary, I would go down to a commercial
 kitchen supply place, and get some copper-bottomed stainless
 saucepans, some extra-heavy aluminum skillets lined with Silverstone,
 a couple of aluminum stockpots, and so on.