I have this problem when it comes to products I love. It's actually quite perfect in this manner, but I simply can't stop talking about things I think are great that other people should own. For months my poor family and circle of friends have heard my rave about this simple set of cookware produced by the folks at Natural Home Magazine.
There's good reason for my excitement as I'm the person who can put any product to the test. I'm great at breaking stuff, testing limits and using things for other than their intended purpose. I test the limits and I'm ok with that. Finally I've found a set of cookware that I can't say a single bad thing about, and I tried my hardest to find something to counter my excitement with.
The pans are made from 50% recycled stainless steel and aluminum which give you the best of both worlds. These pans are solid, conduct heat beautifully — but not too quickly and are even great at tricky things like candy making. They're a workhorse in the kitchen as they're scratch resistant and dishwasher safe. As proof, I've been using this set since April and there's only a few mentions of the hard usage I've put them through.
The set comes with the following pieces: 1 quart sauce pan with lid, 2 quart sauce pan with lid, 4 quart dutch oven (that uses the lid from the 8" saute pan), 8" saute pan with lid, 10" saute pan with lid, and a new wooden spoon. Over the last several months I've made everything from candy and fudge (which can be finicky), to sauces, soups, pasta, risotto and more.
The bottoms of each pan are made from multiple layers allowing them to conduct heat evenly and giving a little heft to the pan. That said, they aren't heavy (Baby bear — the Goldilocks one, not the Sesame Street one — would tell you they were just right), and won't leave you with any wrist strain after vigorous sauteing or pan flipping. They feel like cookware that would run you double the price, but are easier to manage.
As an added bonus, the folks at Natural Home are big on being environmentally friendly (hence the recycled content mentioned above). Their factories run on less energy, utilize natural light, and waste water recycling systems. Plus, their shipping and packaging methods require 50% less energy than regular consumer goods. So they're feel good pans, which make feel good food, and take up less space in your cabinets, which in turn makes you feel good. I think there's a trend here.
I was all set to tell you that these were a decent set that would be good for your first apartment, or maybe kids heading off to college, but truth be told, I just love them to pieces. The room they save me is invaluable and aside from a few cast iron pieces, this is the only cookware in my kitchen currently!
(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)