Think About Giving Cookware

It may not be the most glamorous or extravagant gift idea, but a set of pots and pans could turn out to be one of the most utilized gifts you’ll ever give…or receive.

Granted, cookware is a tad bit on the practical side, but look at any bridal registry and you’ll undoubtedly find requests for either a full set of cookware or individual pieces the bride and groom hope to receive. Of course, newly married couples aren’t the only ones who benefit from such a gift. Anyone setting up a home, whether it’s their first apartment or relocating, would appreciate the generosity of being gifted the necessary kitchen supplies.

Also, the foodie movement has turned average home cooks into serious kitchen gurus who want specific pans for specific actions. Purchasing cookware for this population probably will very appreciated. However, pots and pans don’t necessarily fall into the one-size-fits-all category. What works for you in the kitchen may not meet everyone else’s needs. Before you buy, conduct cookware reviews so you end up choosing what will make the best gift for your son or daughter, relative, or friend.

Distinguishing Characteristics

You don’t have to be a trained chef to figure out what makes an effective and durable pot or pan; however, base on  Good Housekeeping – see post, the following elements are key:

1. Materials

Copper cookware, which tends to be costly, is considered the best heat-conducting material, so it’s a great fit for super- serious cooks. The next best heat conductor is aluminum, but on its own, the metal can discolor food. That’s why many manufacturers encase it between stainless steel. Stainless steel isn’t very effective in conveying heat, but as an exterior shell, it endures a lot of use. For everyday cooking, cookware with an aluminum-stainless steel combination should be more than sufficient. Also, some models offer an aluminum core with non-stick interior surfaces or an enamel outer layer. Another material to consider is cast iron, like the ones your grandmother used. These frying pans and Dutch ovens last years, even decades. They retain an even heat throughout the cooking process and can withstand hot temperatures, which is why they’re ideal for pan-frying meat or fish.

2. Types and sizes

For someone just settling into his or her first apartment or house, a full cookware set might be a more practical gift. These tend to include all the basic pots and pans—different sized skillets and saucepans, and a stockpot—with accompanying lids. If you’re buying a gift for a foodie, it could be something to supplement their existing collection. Consider a single high-end piece or two, like a 0.3-quart saucepan for melting clarified butter or an extra large stockpot to create enough servings to entertain large gatherings. Or you could choose a specialty pan they might not buy themselves, such as a stove top smoker or tagine.

3. Handles

This part of cookware often gets overlooked, but it is a critical piece because it’s where you come in contact with a pot. The best designs stay cool. A lot of models feature silicone coatings, but read the manufacturer’s manual for heat limitations. Also, handles should be ready to do some heavy lifting. Remember, a full saucepan of any size will be much heavier than an empty one. Handles that are riveted into the metal sides tend to be stronger.

Making It Personal

Finally, add a personal touch to your gift by including a favorite casserole or soup recipe (for example, a beer-cheese soup) so the recipient can try out the new cookware right away.

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