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:
- 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 popcornis sometimes inattentive, this is a necessity.
- 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.
- 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?