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The right set of kitchen cookware can help stir up some inspiring creations in the kitchen, but with all the selections out there from names like Calphalon, All-Clad, Anolon and Le Creuset, it’s hard to know where to begin when gathering a basic collection of pots.

Maybe a starter set is the answer; one that offers useful pieces like saucepans, a stockpot and skillets—all with lids. These pots will work for almost any meal, especially if care is taken to choose pans that are made with heat-resistant handles that can go from the burner to the oven without damage.

Sets are available in most of the popular materials including nonstick, stainless steel, hard anodized aluminum, cast iron and copper core and are a good way for a new chef to start with a collection that can be added to over time. For a real kitchen-in-a-box selection, pick a kitchen cookware set that also comes with items like measuring cups and spoons and various utensils like a spatula and pasta fork.

If the kitchen is already outfitted with some of the needed pots, there are several types and sizes that can be added to make life a little easier and expand the types of foods that can be prepared. One kind of container that’s considered pretty basic is a casserole dish—and one with a cover is even more versatile.

Stockpots are always handy and for people who know they’ll be preparing food for a crowd, a collection of large pans in various sizes is even better. Look for pots in various quart sizes and anything in between for a lot of flexibility.

Many companies are now offering cookware that’s designed to look as good as it gives, such as the colorful selection of enamel coated cast iron pans that are too pretty to hide away in a cabinet. Choose from colors like bright blue, yellow, orange, red and purple. Cast iron has long been a favorite because the material is so durable and heats evenly.

There are a lot of other pieces that can be added to the basic set like stove top griddles, baking pans, pizza pans and muffin tins. Start a set of kitchen cookware today at Macy’s.

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