Most kitchen conundrums get us itching to fire up a burner, but others—like sorting through the endless options for tools and appliances—can be a bit more daunting.
Today: In anticipation of the Food52 Registry launch (and a new collection of cookware and kitchen tools to support it), our Shop team demystifies the best of the best skillets, saucepans, pots, roasters, and pans.
"I always thought I had nice pots and pans until we received the Demeyere line in our office," Christina says, "It's not a brand commonly known in the U.S., but it's used in nearly all the top Michelin Star restaurants in Belgium and the Netherlands. Besides being stunning to look at, the 7-layer base with aluminum core distributes heat incredibly evenly (read: no more burned rice on the bottom of your pot) and also makes them easier to clean (hooray!). Plus, the handles stay cool so I don't have to fumble with an oven mitt."
2. Mauviel: To Kristina Wasserman, a Food52 Account Manager, this heritage brand has it all: crazy good looks, precision, and an impressive reputation.
Kristina is adamant that "copper transforms your kitchen and the way you cook." Ever since testing a Mauviel saucepan, she's dreamed of owning a whole kitchen's worth of copper cookware: "Beyond being incredibly sturdy (it really will last a lifetime), it conducts heat like nothing else can: Copper can reach incredibly precise temperatures and cools evenly, making hot spots virtually nonexistent."
"Mauviel has been around for nearly 200 years, and has a well-earned reputation for being the most trusted brand of copper cookware. It's made in France and used by some of the best chefs in the world, like Paul Bocuse and Thomas Keller. It's also beautiful! A single copper pot hanging above your stove is enough to make anyone want to get in the kitchen every day and cook—even if it is just to boil eggs."
More: Looking for a reliable non-stick skillet? Besides sounding as tough as Valyrian steel, our Turk Extra High Edge Criss-Cross Forged Iron Fry Pan has an incredibly helpful long handle and "heats up hella fast" according to Managing Editor Kenzi Wilbur.
"I'm obsessed with my grenadine Staub dutch oven," Lucy shares unabashadley. "The cast iron interior gets a perfect sear on everything and is really great for non-stick cooking. Plus, after a year with five roommates of varying cooking abilities, it shows practically no signs of wear! (Sadly, the same can't be said for my other pots with enamel-coated interiors.) I like that I can use it to for different things, too: all soups and stews, braising, steaming. Endless possibilities!"
Hillary agrees: "I'm known for loving tiny kitchen tools, so it's no surprise that I'm obsessed with the Staub Mini Cocottes. They are perfect for individual cakes, pies, and very small servings of stew and are also cute enough to be used on the table to hold salt or condiments. Who said mini isn't practical? I'd use these every day."
"I loved lab glass in high school chemistry and I know I'm not alone," Lauren says, and we agree. "The fact that it could hold steaming, boiling chemicals and then be simply wiped clean is amazing, and Simax, a company with a long history in the glass world, took notice. While beakers and test tubes aren't really practical in the kitchen, they found a way to make lab glass (called borosilicate) useful for home cooks.
Simax took the most practical parts about borosilicate's sturdiness and made it kitchen-appropriate (and beautiful to boot). I'm especially fond of the glass measuring cup set for its ability to stand up to hot liquids. And tea from thin, minimalist glass mugs? Yes please."
More: Want the best cookware for induction burners? The Zwilling Aurora line of pots and pans—with its 5-ply construction and a magnetic base—will work (hard) on any range.
"I love just about everything Le Creuset makes," he admits, "but an enamel-coated roaster is particularly nice to have. A lot of stainless steel roasting pans can be a real pain to clean when grease spatters and burns onto the sides, but this one is so easy to wipe down. It's also sturdy enough to heat over a flame in order to sear the roast before putting it into the oven, meaning there's one less pan to clean."
What are your favorite cookware lines? Let us know in the comments!