To return or not to return, that is the question.

At the risk of sounding greedy, I have to say that one of the most fun parts of getting married (besides the cake and honeymoon and, well, you know) is the gifts.  Because of the wedding-in-Indiana-living-in-Texas conundrum, Kevin and I haven’t received most of our gifts yet (shipping them was prohibitively expensive, so we opted to wait until my mommy made a trip down–like she is next week!). We may or may not have peeked at the “purchased” sections of our registries, however, and may or may not have a decent idea of what is coming down here next week with my Mommy (can’t wait to see you and Mamaw!!), including some Emerilware pots and pans (like these). We registered for these at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and have been super excited for them. Being the nerdy engineers that we are, though, the hubs and I started to do a little research into stainless steel cookware. Ok, I completely nerded out on grades of aluminum and thermal conductivity. Sometimes my engineer-y nerdiness surprises me. I try so hard to not let it show, but start talking k-values and BAM. I’m a nerd again. Anyway, what we found was this:

  1. We definitely wanted  stainless steel cookware. Stainless is more durable and easier to clean up than aluminum or copper. Since I might be ever-so-slightly inclined to make messes and the hubs has a penchant for burning rice and popcorn is sometimes inattentive, this is a necessity.
  2. We definitely wanted multi-ply cookware.  [Hold on a minute. I’ve got to restrain myself from going toonerdy on you. Ok. I think I’m good.] Basically, multi-ply cookware comes down to how well different kinds of metal transfer heat. Stainless steel is a cruddy conductor of heat- when you heat a piece of it with, say, a match, the part directly over a match will get very hot, while the rest of the piece will stay relatively cool. Aluminum and copper, on the other hand, are good conductors. Heat a piece of either of them with a match and the heat will gradually transfer to the entire piece of metal, not just the spot directly over the flame. This is good for cooking because it makes your pans an even temperature, but like I said in #1, aluminum and copper aren’t very durable. This is where multi-ply comes in. This basically means that the pans are made with layers of metal (think metal grilled cheese sandwich) to get the good properties of the different metals. The two most common kinds are stainless steel-copper-stainless steel and steel-aluminum-stainless.

    image from

  3. Copper-core stainless steel cookware is a little expensive for our tastes. A twelve piece starter set of All-Clad copper-core will set you back… $1999.99. Yowsa. Yes, it will last a lifetime. Yes, copper has  slightly better thermal conductivity than aluminum. But, considering I’m just a wanna be chef the aluminum core will do just fine.

All things considered we decided to go with stainless steel tri-ply cookware with an aluminum core. Only one problem: the Emerilware we have coming isn’t multi-ply. It isn’t even aluminum core. Oops. We should have done our homework before registering. So after some discussion, we decided that the (uber-generous) family and friends who bought us the Emerilware wouldn’t be offended with us taking back the Emerilware we have coming and making a better educated purchase. Right now, we’re looking at this set from Cuisinart.

Have you ever felt guilt over taking a gift back to get what you want? Has your significat other ever burned popcorn/rice in one of your pans and thrown it away in horror and fear of the black scorch marks on the sides? Do you ever have issues with nerding out?


11 thoughts on “To return or not to return, that is the question.

  1. We wanted stainless steel, too! Teflon freaks me out a little bit.

    Anyway, we registered for these pans from Macy’s and can’t wait to get them. I love that the tops are glass so I can see how the food looks and apparently (according to the website), the bottom core is made from heavy-gauge, high conductive aluminum. I’m sure they’ll be wonderful to cook with!

  2. Good cookware is essential. My husband sells CUTCO, and I finally have CUTCO cookware. It’s amazing! Can you believe that he made me go for so long without having it in my own kitchen when he’s selling it to everyone else in the world?

  3. I have taken many’a’gift back to the store to get what I wanted. I typically only do this when the gift was given by someone close to me. For instance, my mom seems to have this obsession with buying me coats. Every year for Christmas, I know I’m going to get a jacket from her. Even though I’ve told her SO MANY times not to buy me anymore coats, she still does. I grew up in Wyoming but I live on the East Coast now. It just doesn’t get that cold here! So, I return those. My ex also used to buy me bath stuff every year for Christmas. Not just one set. . .like SIX sets! It’s almost like he didn’t know what else to buy so he would buy half of Bath & Body Works. Every year, I’d return most of it. In fact, I still have a gift card with a pretty decent balance on it just from returning last year’s haul!

  4. *Waves wand* Guiltiness Evaporatus! There, I’ve nerded out, not that I do that on a regular basis. You are correct, your friends would rather you have the stuff you really want, and they aren’t at all offended 🙂 I’ve had to take a few things back, too, and although I feel bad initially, I realize most people would rather you get something you would use/enjoy more, since that’s why they gave you the initial gift in the first place. Besides, when I took the baking set back to Williams-Sonoma (I already had all those pans), I was able to get the Star Wars cookie cutters and pancake molds …. I haven’t told my husband about THOSE yet …

  5. I don’t think they would be offended:) I’ve returned gifts before, and while I do feel guilty at the time it would just be a waste to have something I’m not going to use…HOWEVER, I lived in Los Angeles for 5 years where registries where normal, but I’m from new Zealand and back here now. Over here a registry is a pretty new concept and some people are so offended by being “asked” for a gift or “told” what to buy that they wouldn’t get anything from the registry, just on the principal of it!:) just thought I’d share that incase other people from overseas read your blog and think a registry is rude in the first place, let alone returning a gift from it. (but I think they are a great idea!!:)). Awesome blog! Your wedding photos look great!!:)

    Sarah from nz. Xx

    • Some of my older family members were resistant to the idea of a registry (they also don’t trust those new fangled computer thingys), but for the most part, our guests liked the registry.

      I’m glad you like our little blog!

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