The Shop

The Best Things We Registered for (and the Ones We'd Skip)

August 25, 2017

To me, someone who isn't getting married, setting up a wedding registry sounds like the most exciting part of the planning process (psst—have you heard? we've got a fantastic one.

After polling the Food52 team's affianced and wed, I found out it's not all fun and fancy flatware. To inspire all you engaged couples out there—and hold your hands a little bit—we've got the lowdown on the registry additions that you really don't need, and the six that will still be going strong 50 years later (that silver anniversary wouldn't be anything without that cast iron!).

First, let's get the registry items that the team identified as the least useful out of the way:

  • Unnecessarily specific glassware. You don't need a dedicated glass for Pilsner. You don't even drink Pilsner. A basic tall tumbler with ample room will work just as well.
  • Things you already don't use in the kitchen. If you haven't been using dumpling steaming baskets or a pasta maker, it's not likely that you'll start using them now. Seriously, when are you going to make linguine? You can do it by hand anyway.
  • Fine china. The queen (of England or Queen B) isn't coming over. And Beyoncé would be way more into these handmade beauties anyway.

Now for the good stuff. The useful stuff. Here are the six things that we all agreed are registry staples (and a few extras).

1. Individual Knives

The keyword here being "individual." Rather than register for a complete knife set, block included, opt for specific knives, each registered for separately. The price points will be more approachable for your guests, and you won't have to worry about where to put that big knife block. We recommend starting with a chef's knife, a bread knife, a paring knife, and a good set of kitchen shears—then build from there.

2. Extra-Large Cutting/Serving Board

A giant surface on which to prep a dinner's worth of vegetables will be one of your most frequently used kitchen tools. Top three, even. We'd put money on it. Better yet when the board is attractive enough that is can double down as a serving piece.

3. Dutch Oven/French Oven/Cocotte (a.k.a. Heavy Pot)

Skip the 10-piece cookware set and register for pots that can pretty much do it all. (For a fry pan or skillet see, number five.) Clear a spot on the stovetop because this will be the pot you never, ever put away. The home to many a curries, soups, one-pot pastas, ragus, tomato sauces, the list goes on. Pots with a lower profile can be used for frying and baking, too (may we suggest Staub's Perfect Pan or our exclusive Food52 x Staub Multi-Use Braiser.

4. Food Storage

This is perhaps the least sexy thing to register for (except maybe a toilet brush), but it's one often not considered, and really should be. When you've got taco leftovers or you've made a pledge to bring your lunch to work every day to save up for a vacation, you'll be glad your cabinets are stocked with sturdy sets of better-than-tupperware and lightweight, airtight containers.

5. Cast Iron Skillet

Get over the intimidation factor and welcome a cast iron skillet into your home. Once you start building a seasoning (which just means the layer of nonstick sheen as a result of cooking in it), this will be the only skillet you ever want to use. Cast iron skillets are a single piece of metal, so they're practically indestructible (you'd have to throw it pretty hard)—whereas a skillet with a riveted handle could become a bit rickety over time. This is the pan that your great-great-great grandkids will brag about inheriting.

6. Company-Worthy Cloth Napkins

This is one of those registry items that signifies, "Yes, I am an adult." Cloth napkins can be a forgotten detail when hosting guests, and paper towels end up subbing in. Wouldn't it be nice to avoid the slightly embarrassing scene of unfurling and ripping (and wasting)? A set of simple cloth napkins make a dinner party feel just slightly more sophisticated, even if dessert is ice cream straight from the container.

Bits & Bobs

A few little extras, that shouldn't be considered extras:

But don't take our word for it—only you know how you cook and live. Ready to get picking? Head to our Shop's registry to find all the essentials—and all the extra-special handmade heirlooms to personalize your home. Share with us what useless or useful things you're registering for below, and let us know if you need more suggestions!

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Olivia Bloom

Written by: Olivia Bloom

Has a soft spot for string cheese.