best cookware; chic cookware; pretty cookware; good looking cookware; pretty pots and pans

When we got married seven years ago, we had already been living together for several years (sorry mom and dad, but at least I made an honest man of Fred Baby), so we didn’t register for a lot of the typical household essentials. 

red pots and pans; affordable cookware that's cute

That said, we did get a set of basic pots and pans, which we chose based solely on the same criteria I use when deciding which football team to root for — color of the uniforms — and have used these red pots and pans, along with a hodgepodge of hand-me-down pots and pans we’d had from college, to cook for the last seven years.

But the time has come for new pots and pans. And not because they’re no longer good, but because now that we split our time between Beverly Hills and Palm Springs, we need cookware in both places. We split up our red set and have been living in what I’ve deemed temporary insanity ever since.  How long will we be in this apartment? Maybe we should wait until we decide if we’re staying or moving to buy that pot/upholstered headboard/car, etc. But since that is a recipe for disaster — and unnecessary mental breakdowns ( I just want to make veggie chili, where is our big pot?!) — we’re finally biting the bullet and getting around to things like buying cookware so we have the basics in both places. From plates to pillows, lately it feels like we’re getting married again and registering, minus the wedding (and the part where people buy you things).

So, after trying to figure it out online and browsing in person at Crate and Barrel and Williams-Sonoma and Target, we headed over to Sur La Table last week to get some professional advice.

It went something like this:

Me: We need to buy pots and pans. What do you recommend?

Salesgirl: It depends on what you want. Do you cook a lot of meat or seafood?

Me: I don’t cook a lot of anything.

Salesgirl: Oh okay I see… Well these {pointing to the pretty but expensive enameled cast iron pots} are good for stews and things that take many hours to cook.

Me: Uh huh. Uh huh. I love the look of that yellow pot, but I’d need a bodyguard to help me lift it, so that probably won’t work.

yellow pot; yellow pots and pans

Salesgirl: I see… Well, if you like to really sear a steak, these are good for that.

Me:  Ummm…I like shiny objects, so I don’t think those will work. Too masculine… To be honest, these are the only ones I like the look of. Do they cost $1000?

Salesgirl: Those are great too and are $300 for a set.

Me: Done.

The cookware that sealed the deal: the Sur La Table try-ply stainless steel cookware which comes in a 9-pc set or a 13-pc set.

pretty pots and pans

However, we wanted a non-stick skillet too, not the one it came with, and we knew we’d never really use the smallest pot either. Which is a very long way of saying we mixed and matched. And ended up spending about the same amount ($275) as the 9-pc set ($300) in the end.

Did you know you could break up a set and do that?

I didn’t.

Also, the customer service at Sur la Table was so friendly, I didn’t want to leave. (In fact, I had ordered this white marble pastry board online, but instead of being white like pictured, it arrived very dark grey (it’s a natural stone, so each one varies). We all know I’m mostly making my purchasing decisions in the kitchen based on color, so that wasn’t going to work. The salesgirl very nicely went through opening several boxes — and these suckers weigh like 50 lbs. each — until we found the whitest one and I was happy). It’s so hard to find amazing customer service these days, so major props and thanks to Sur la Table Santa Monica.

And if you read this to the end, you deserve a drink because it probably means you’re in the market for new cookware too and goodness knows it’s not easy deciding.

After a lot of research and deliberation and really thinking about how we cook, we decided we needed the following:

Try-Ply Non-Stick Skillet 10″ (for eggs; it’s stainless steel on the outside so still matches the other pieces, which is nice)

Try-Ply Stainless Steel 5-qt Saute Pan with a lid (for making salmon & chicken) that could also be put in the oven to finish things off

Try-Ply Stainless Steel 6-qt Dutch Oven (otherwise known as a big pot for boiling pasta or making soups like this chili or tortilla soup) with a lid that could also be put in the oven

Try-Ply Stainless Steel 3.5-qt Saucepan with a lid (for pasta sauce and the like) — bonus: the lid also fits on the 10″ nonstick skillet

Hope that was somewhat helpful and didn’t cause you temporary insanity of your own!

Everything’s on major sale right now (up to 60% off), so if you’re in the market for new pots and pans, you might as well go for it.


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