I think that there may be one type of cookware that has prompted more "What is that?" questions from readers over the years than anything else, and that is Dansk Kobenstyle.
1. The history
Dansk Kobenstyle cookware (and tableware) were created as a collaboration between Americans Martha and Ted Nierenberg, who discovered the work of designer Jens Quistgaard in Copenhagen and convinced him that his stylish designs could be mass-produced. Quistgaard became one of the most recognizable influences in mid-century modern design; you've probably seen his work over and over in tableware and kitchen tools like the distinctive pepper mills seen on the top shelf here, and their collaboration perfectly illustrated the marriage of Scandinavian design and American mass-production that was at the heart of mid-century modern.
Dansk is now a part of the same company as Lenox, known for their fine china. But when you have a Dansk piece in your kitchen it's a little slice of that iconic mid-century modern design history.
2. The advantages of enamel
Kobenstyle cookware is made from enameled steel. This is lighter weight than clad steel or cast iron, which is nice for those of us who don't want all our cookware to be super heavy. The enamel allows for a range of colors and it is easily cleanable and washable. Enameled steel feels like an old-fashioned choice in cookware, but it's making a comeback and for good reason — it's beautiful and practical.
3. The retro yet practical styling
One of the most distinctive and identifiable aspects of this cookware is, of course, its unique handles. But these aren't just fancy styling. I find them so practical and easy to grab when moving pots or baking dishes. They're unique and cool-looking; they're also practical.
4. The colors!
And of course we can't forget the colors. Classic Dansk Kobenstyle came in many colors, from rich yolky yellow to crimson to brown. The reissued cookware has many of the same colors. Personally I love the white, and I know the turquoise is also a big fan favorite.
5. The warmth of wood
One last note — I love saucepans with a wooden handle, and many of the Kobenstyle pieces sport that retro touch. Sure, it means you can't run them through the dishwasher, but it's a small price to pay for something that looks so warm (and stays so cool) on the stove.
Do you have any Dansk Kobenstyle pieces? Do you have vintage ones, or new? Mine are all vintage, carefully hunted down before the reissue, but I'm eyeing a new little butter warmer!