There’s always a deal on somewhere, depending on the time of year. In May, according to Working Mother, cookware sets are a good buy because “kitchen supply stores are marketing for weddings and graduation.” If you are buying your first cookware set, or setting up a college grad or newlyweds with their first cupboard full of pots and pans, you may want to take a peek at what sort of cookware ShopAdvisor users have on their collective watchlists. Here are the most-watched cookware sets, along with some advice from around the web.
First, some of the advice. I was almost stopped in my tracks with this selection of products when I ran across this piece of wisdom among the culinariati: “We’ve never liked cookware sets,” says Cooks Illustrated. They cite a generous variety of reasons, in fact: the sets include “pans we don’t need and not enough of the ones we do;” pans in “impractical sizes that clog your cabinets.” And they have a pet peeve about “manufacturers who count each lid and anything else that isn’t riveted on as a separate piece” in an otherwise seemingly vast 14- or 20-piece set. Clearly, these kitchen-savvy reviewers take the oven mitts off when they offer an opinion.
Cuisinart tops the list with its 10-pc Chef’s Classic in the greatest demand, along with the heavier duty Multiclad Pro. I liked the review of the Multiclad from Tammy’s Recipes, which is as rich in imagery as a Paula Deen Bacon Dressing. Tammy notes that the inside of the Cuisinart Multiclad is shiny, but for a mirror-shine take a glance at the lids!
Chef’s Classic Multiclad
The next item near the top of the ShopAdvisor watchlist is Calphalon’s Kitchen Essentials. Now, I also have a couple of Calphalon’s at home, and I do like them, but the real fans can be found among mom bloggers like Courtney of Courtney’s Sweets. “When I was asked if I’d like to do a review of a cookware set from Calphalon I was as giddy as a child getting an ice cream cone.” Personally, Courtney, I say hold the ice cream, and instead pass the meatballs. Not ready to buy?
Another ShopAdvisor watchlist favorite is the Anolon Nouvelle Copper and Advanced Bronze sets. You can read a colorful review of the Anolon line (and many other cookware sets) by Paula & Wanda over at the highly specialized Only Cookware review site, where the authors spare nothing — including husbands! — to offer a compelte assessment.
One of the things that is important to remember is that you should only use low to medium heat and if at any time you overcook your piece severely to the stage where the non stick coating begins to peel, throw the piece out and get a new one…. Now we all know that you and I won’t do this to your beautiful cookware, but this happened to one of my pieces just recently when my husband decided to cook himself some sausages while I was out. He put the pan on high heat, added the sausages and then performed the cardinal sin of walking away and not attending to the cooking process. Result:- the sausages were burnt so badly that their shape was indelibly etched into the pan.
Note: – one frypan damaged beyond repair, one rather upset wife and one husband very much out of favor.
The pots and pans come out unscathed in the review. Family members, a little scorched.
“Ever wonder if that celebrity cookware is all that it’s cracked up to be?” asks Kristi Maloney, editor of Mom’s Own Words. Two celebrity sets are also on ShopAdvisor watchlists: the Rachael Ray Hard Anodized 10 piece set and the Wolfgang Puck 20-pc set (there must be a lot of lids!) Kristi posts a Today Show video that takes a look at the quality of celebrity cookware as reviewed by real moms. Worth a look (note: a 30-second commercial precedes the video).
Another celebrity-branded item, Meyer Cookware’s Giada De Laurentiis For Target Pasta Lovers Gift Set also had a couple ticks on the ShopAdvisor watchlist. Mom reviewer Amanda, of Mommy of Two Little Monkeys, took a look at the full Giada De Laurentiis food, cookware and bakeware, and she’s a believer: “I received a few samples from Giada’s new line and really wanted to tell you about my favorite piece. However during the use of Giada’s new products I quickly fell in love with everything!” Not ready to buy?
Rounding out the ShopAdvisor watch list is the JC Penney Cooks set, which earns praise from the savvy shoppers over at Cheapism. “A good starter set for the price is the consensus view” of the JC Penney set. “Consumers say the five pots and pans cook well and don’t burn food, although a few decry poor workmanship and the hollow-tube handles that don’t seem sturdy enough.” Ouch! That’s a good honest review, but if I’m the marketing guy over at Penney’s, I’m not sure I show that one to my boss. Maybe just watch this one for now
As graduations and weddings get into full swing now that May Day has come and gone, a quick glance at trusted kitchen maven sites, such as Delish, which has a slide show of the winning models of The Good Housekeeping Research Institute, “whose testers evaluated 25 lines of nonstick cookware and 10 lines of traditional cookware with stainless steel interiors.”
And, if the new husband or the recent grad burn the sausages, just throw the pans out and get new ones.
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