Like the others have said - unless you have $300 pans, t's not worth it. Also, for pans, once the ware gets excessive (maybe 10% exposure) you should replace them. Your counter top cooker *might* be an exception - often the inserts are thick cast alloys and are non-reactive.
Here's some advice from a person who doesn't get to cook as often as he wants...
Never use metal utensils on a nonstick pan/surface. There is wood, silicon, hightemp plastic, etc.... You follow that one rule and you will get a long life out of most non-stick cookware. Never put them in the dishwasher. Hand wash only.
Non-stick pans have their place, but even the best ones wear out and you don't really need (or want) nonstick for most things. In fact, you can't de-glaze on non-stick - it's worthless effort.
END OF ADVICE...
Here's what I use not that you asked.
All Clad Stainless Steel copper core (you can actually get Emerilware - It's All Clad rebadged but far less expensive and works great) 10" frying pan 10" saute pan 6 and 4 qt Stainless Steel copper core stock pots 2x 2qt pots long handle oven safe (so I can bake in them)
Cast Iron Weller 10" skillet Lodge 8" skillet Large dutch oven with french lid spikes and double sided lid loops. (Overkill)
Non-stick 8" emerilware (all clad) frypan (10 would be better)
Cleaning them? Well, the non-stick you can generally wipe out with a bit of water and a cloth - maybe soap. Cast iron I clean with salt (just dry scour with it) and occasionally with water and a scotch bright (never soap). Stainless I use Barkeepers Friend. It's like fricken magic on stainless steel.
A nonstick pan certainly has a place in the kitchen... ever try to do crêpes or omelets in something else?
But ultimately, they're not like that cast iron skillet your grandmother used 100 years ago... you only really get to use then for a few years. Then the nonstick coating comes off, and you have to replace them or they don't work so well anymore. Some of the more expensive nonstick pans are designed in such a way that the coating is less likely to wear off... but that also results in them being less slick to begin with.
So really, find a restaurant supply store, buy the cheapest slickest nonstick pans you can find, and repeat every time the coating wears off. You'll end up spending like $7 every 1-2 years.
>>>> A nonstick pan certainly has a place in the kitchen... ever try to do crêpes or omelets in something else? <<<<
Omelets are easy in all kinds of pans. Crepes, well, yeah, they can be done in other kinds of pans, but too often the amature ends up essentially frying them. But you shouldn't need *any* utensils if you're doing a crepe in a non-stick pan with curved sides.
So I'd go even a little further than Prospero, and say that not only shouldn't you use any metal utensils on a non-stick surface, if you have to use any utensils at all, you've probably got the wrong pan for the job, or you're not cooking at the right temperature.
Same thing if you can't just wipe them out. If you have to use a scrubber, even one of the plastic ones they market for non-stick surfaces, either something is wrong with the non-stick surface, or you're not cooking right.
I have one small saute pan with a non-stick surface, and I seldom use it for anything.
My favorite saute pan happens to be a stainless pan with a copper bottom for more even heat distribution. Cleans beautifully, too. I was a late convert to cast iron, but my 12" cast iron skillet is used for a lot of things -- but never tomato-based sauces. Those always get done in either a stainless sauce pan, or in the oven (or occasionally the microwave) in Corningware, and then combined with anything done in the cast iron in the serving vessel.
BTW... I don't avoid non-stick surfaces because of the health claims. I'm only sort of aware of them. I haven't checked into how much is myth, and how much is real because it doesn't matter. I just know there are better ways to cook than with non-stick pans, and, even without any health issues, a scratched-up non-stick pan is illogical because once it's scratched-up, it's no longer non-stick!
I suggest replacing them, but also, when you buy the new ones, take the time to register your purchase with the manufacturer. Most of them have warranties, and if your coating disappears before the warranty is up you might get a free replacement.
In the past, Lily has spoken of financial issues. I'm guessing that she doesn't have the money to just replace them. I'm also guessing that they are not expensive enough to have a good manufacturers warranty with them, but I could be mistaken on that.
I get that it's expensive...I was shocked and miserable when I discovered that my "good" nonsticks were only good until they started flaking. But, now I've read more on the safety aspects...and between that and learning how to use pans properly, it's cheaper in the long run (and even the short run) to just get good stainless steel pans. They don't even have to be great ones...just stainless. My pans look great after 6 or 7 years of daily use. The nonsticks looked bad after a few months and were unusable after 2 or 3 years. Cast Iron is expensive and heavy, but it lasts a lifetime, too.
We got the Calphalon One Infused Anodized Cookware Set for our wedding, and I'm starting to wonder if we choose poorly. I hope they work out okay and last a while. That is a lot of money to spend on pots, plus neither of us are really cooking people, so considering they are "training pots" I hope we don't ruin or regret them!
Anodized aluminum and Teflon coatings are two completely different breeds of cat - the anodized aluminum ones are great, and do not have a coating that peels like Teflon does. It can chip, so non-metal utensils are still recommended, and most are not recommended for the dishwasher, but mine are - I have Circulon 80580 Infinite Circulon 10-Piece Cookware Set which is dishwasher safe and wonderful, if a bit heavy. Got it for $179 late last year - definite steal...
That's a good price for two good "skillets". One is non-stick.
Then, like someone else said - hit a restaurant supply store and get cheap non-stick pans. For me that would be one 8" frypan.
For a pots, there's no needs for most folks to spend a lot of cash. Even and fast heating is great, but not needed for most of what we cook. So, I would go cheap here as long as they aren't aluminum on the inside. And, non-coated. With lids.
For the cast iron skillet - I would just keep looking around for a good deal.
DO this over a year or so and I could spread out ~$200. Also, I would get the pans I really use. Pretty? Well, the expensive skillet will be, not the rest. Of course, you don't have to show them off - just show off what gets cooked.
Warren, i always appreciate your insightful comments. but this is no myth. the non-stick coatings do contain toxic materials and they are especially dangerous to use when compromised with scratches etc. we only use cast iron and stainless steel cookware.