One Good Pan Winners! The Five Worst and Ugliest Pans

The title of this post is misleading; we actually saw dozens of really, really ugly pans in our spring clean giveaway with Staub. It was a difficult and heartbreaking task to sort through all the sob stories of flaking, rusting, warped and broken pans. In our ideal world everyone would have a perfect kit of kitchenware and impeccably seasoned cast iron skillets.

But alas, we only have five of these gorgeous Honeycomb pans from Staub, so here are our picks for the best stories and worst pans that we saw. Read on for the cheap pan of the year, a pan with a missing handle, and more...

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1. Best Sheer Ugliness We hesitated on rewarding Craig for what seemed like just a case of neglect and non-cleaning, but this was too ugly to pass up.
Tell us (briefly) why this pan is so terrible and why it needs to be replaced:
I made some beer batter halibut, but went on a vacation to New Zealand and came back to this! It's been another 2 months since and I can't face cleaning this putrid mess!

What would you like to cook with the new Staub pan?
I'm thinking some beer batter halibut!

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2. Most Outrageous Fate for a Copper Pan We already posted Cuz's outraged story here: The Trauma of a Busboy and a Pizza Oven
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3. Most Unsalvageable - From Yum Cha -
Tell us (briefly) why this pan is so terrible and why it needs to be replaced: Um...in case it isn't obvious, it's a little past its prime. My friend broke off the handle (???) eons ago, the non-stick coating has flaked off into a lovely decorative pattern, and I burn my hand every time I do a stir fry. I got it when I was limited to cooking on a hot plate, in the middle of an extensive remodel, and money was tight. I think it's time to move on.

What would you like to cook with the new Staub pan?
I would love to fry up some day-old rice with homemade kimchi, with a perfect sunny-side-up egg on top.

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4. Best Cheap Pan/Teflon Horror Story From Nathaniel -
Tell us (briefly) why this pan is so terrible and why it needs to be replaced: I bought this pan for a dollar at a Madison, Wisconsin thrift store six years ago, on a student's income with an English major's prospects. The "nonstick" coating wasn't as scratched as it is now, and sadly, I wasn't then knowledgeable enough to recognize that this pan was already past its usable years. Earlier this year, I made an earnest attempt to replace it with a $12 stainless steel number from Target, but somehow this one hasn't quite been thrown out yet. If I win one of the Staub pans, I promise to respectfully dispose of this old soldier and stop poisoning my girlfriend and my roommate one fleck of generic Teflon at a time.

What would you like to cook with the new Staub pan?
The first order of business would definitely be Mark Bittman's recipe for charred brussels sprouts, finished in the oven and tossed with good balsamic vinegar

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5. Most Heartbreaking Cast Iron Story We weren't sure whether to replace this pan, since the cast iron pan is very salvageable. But in honor of the very instructive lesson he taught us, we're giving James a new pan after all. A Sad Story of Cast Iron

Congratulations to the winners - your pans will be in the mail soon - and thank you again to Staub for these gorgeous pans. If you didn't win one but want to buy one (or ask for one for graduation!) here is the link to Chef's Resource:

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Staub 12" Fry Pan, $139.95 at Chef's Resource

Remember kids, cheap pans suck. If you can't spend a lot on a pan, get a good cheap ($10) cast iron pan and season it well. It'll do you good.

How To Season Cast Iron Pans

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