Monday, March 31, 2008

Another Kitchen Essential

Things have been busy here in AK and we've been dealing with spring fighting winter to boot. I wanted to further explain my essentials list so now its time to talk about pots and pans. There’s something to be said about good pots and pans. A good pan or pot will distribute heat more evenly, it will be more versatile (from stove top to oven), and will last longer overall.

I left a mish-mash of pans in Ohio. When we were packing, my husband looked at me and said “We’re going out to get new pans.” I was confused, but wasn’t going to argue – after all, what cook in their right mind would say “no” to someone providing a reason to buy more cooking stuff!

I realized what my husband wanted to do; he figured we’d spend the money on having a set of pots and pans that were already pre-packed. Considering my mish-mash ranged in shapes and sizes, his intent was appropriate. We headed off to shop around, since it had been several years since I had been in the market for cookware.

When shopping for pots & pans, price shouldn’t be the main factor, primarily because the cheaper the set, the chincier the stuff is. They are thinner, made of cheaper metals, coatings, etc. Often times the cheap sets can’t be transferred from stovetop to oven, which is a situation every cook eventually encounters. From what I could determine, my preferred cut off point is $129. For this price, you can get a set of pots and pans that will serve you faithfully for several years and you shouldn’t grow out of them until you decide to dedicate your life 100% to cooking!

What does $129 get you? Two sauce pots – usually 1 & 2 quart, a large pot of some sort, lids for all three, and 2 frying pans - a small and larger size one. What doesn’t $129 get you? Likely an additional pot or pan of some sort, a higher grade of materials, the ability to choose country of origin, etc.

Do you need to spend more? It depends on a number of factors. Though the sets at 199 had all the qualities I was looking for, I didn’t like the look. Hey, even cooks can be vain! The set I finally bought put me at $199. It was anodized aluminum on the exterior with a non-stick surface interior and stainless steel handles. It had the sizes of pots I used most. I purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond, 1. to get my Upromise rebate (I’ll blog about this someday) and 2. because they had the best price for the set I wanted at the time.

If you are just starting out on your own or just getting into cooking for the first time, spending the extra money to get into this price range is well worth it. Buying cheap pots and pans only means you’ll be spending more money again in the near future.

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