A Homecooking Chowhound's Registry [Moved from Not About Food board]
So I thought this question would have been asked a number of times already, but I cannot seem to find it by searching. Feel free to post links to a relevant thread if I'm just clueless.
So, My SO and I love to cook, are getting married soonish, love quality cookware and kitchen tools and hate paying too much for them. As we also hate suggesting our friends and family pay for overpriced items, I am very very reluctant to register at someplace like Bed Bath and Beyond for our gifts. But what is our alternative? If shopping for myself I tend to frequent restaurant supply stores for basic utilitarian necessities, but they do not offer neat little scanners and online registries for my out of town loved ones. So what is our alternative? I'd prefer someplace that has an actual brick and mortar store in the DC/Baltimore area, but an online only store is ok. Is Sur La Table what I'm looking for? I don't want fancy, I want quality...please help!
Brick & mortar stores can't compete with online only -- the overhead of rent, fixtures, catalogs, national staff have to be covered somehow.
Sur La Table is a nice chain but the "value" is no better than BB&B or WS for the items they have in common (which is A LOT).
I do think that some of the online places do run registries, but even these will never be as cheap as a seller with a no-frills site.
I think you are going to have to give up trying to be so considerate of your friends & families' pocketbooks -- register for what you want at the sellers that have them. You'd be surprised how many moderately high quality items can be found at fair prices all over -- even when you find a great "bargin" online sometimes the shipping costs bring the price to within a few dollars of the sale price at local stores. If your friends & family scan the ads and coupons they might find items on your registery are on sale...
Amazon.com has a bridal registry and you can find anything you want there... usually great prices and free shipping to boot! I got married almost 2 years ago and registered at Williams Sonoma (cooking stuff & serving pieces), Crate & Barrel (serving stuff) and Macy's (china). If I had to do it over again, I'd register at Amazon.com.
Sur La Table is also a nice store - but is no bargain either. Basically it comes down to who has the stuff you want. All things being equal, and you want the usual kitchenaid mixer, coffeepot, toaster oven, and Le Creuset I'd say Amazon.
I actually already have the kitchenaid mixer, toaster oven, food processor, good knives, and a bunch of cast iron of assorted brands.
Mostly I need serving items, basic kitchen tools, bakeware and cookware other than Le Creuset/Staub/Lodge. But after consult with the future-DH, he doesn't believe in his family's ability or willingness to navigate an online-only registry. So it pretty much MUST have a brick and mortar store in the Balto/DC area. I totally disagree with him, especially since he regularly emails with his grandmother, but hey, marriage is about comprimise right?
So Amazon is out. Oh...and forager, I've seen that site. Or one like it. And I think it's brilliant and if it wasn't for the online only ban I'd be all about it.
A friend of mine had a "registry" on some website. On it, she and her fiancee listed the items they wanted and a place or places (online or brick-and-mortar) you could get them, but the registry was independent of the stores. For example, if they registered for an All-Clad, they could list it as available at cookwarenmore.com, but if they listed something at SLT and I knew I could get it at BB&B cheaper, I could still get it there. It didn't matter: either way, I would post the gift as "bought" on the registry website, not on some store's registry.
It struck me as cool not just because it didn't limit the giver to buying at a particular store, but because it didn't limit the couple to stuff from just a store or two. I can't remember what the website was called, but I can find it if you're interested. And if everyone knows about this already, and I'm just totally out of the loop, forgive me and ignore this.
re: optimal forager
i'd love to know the site, if you can find it. i'm in the process of registering now and already have a lot of what we need, so am struggling with where to register for the rest - basically i'm upgrading or registering for stuff i've been coveting, and most of what i'm registering for is kitchen stuff. i was leaning toward amazon, but this is an appealing idea. thanks in advance!
Don't know if this is the site others were referring to, but I found this one:
which seems to be about right.
It looks very straightfoward and I would love to do this but my fiance insists that his family is web-retarded and won't be able to figure it out. :(
The one my friend used was www.findgift.com.
Personally, if I was registering now, I'd probably do two, non-overlapping registries, one online and one at a brick-and-mortar store with multiple locations. I'd put the more traditional wedding gift stuff on the brick-and-mortar store registry and the kookier, less traditional stuff on the online registry. Mmmm, kitchen stuff, best reason to get married...just kidding!!
re: optimal forager
For the past year (when I kinda knew an engagement was coming soon) every time I wished a had a "insert kitchen tool here" I'd ask my boyfriend when he was going to marry me so I could get the kitchen stuff I needed. His usual answer was never. While secretly ring shopping. Sneaky sneaky man.
So I've given up on trying to save our friends and family money. Apparently giving them the chance to bargain shop is more trouble for them than it's worth. (This is what I'm concluding between comments here and my fiance's input). So, on to the good stuff. What should I get?
I've already got a broad assortment of mix and match 'ok' cookware from TJ Maxx/Marshalls/Target etc. They work, but I'm getting tired of scorched spots and wiggly handles. So, if I'm getting new stuff I want it to be the GOOD stuff. No sense in replacing just ok cookware with more just ok cookware, right? We are looking at All Clad Copper Core at the moment. AllClad seems to be the only one of the high end brands that can actually be found by the average non-food obsessed human who might want to buy us a pricey gift. And the fiance thinks it looks cool, so he's on board. Any good reasons to go with something else (something readily available at a brick n' mortar store)?
Which pieces are your absolute favorites? I do lots of pretty much every kind of cooking...roasting, braising, sauteeing, stir fry (kinda...on a crap electric stove), all kinds of pasta sauce, stocks, candy making, jams and jellies, baking cookies/cakes/pies, etc etc. The only thing we don't do much of is deep frying. Also, if it makes a difference, right now we are renting and have a crappy electric stove. One of the absolute must haves when we start house hunting after the wedding is a gas stove, so that will change soonish.
Good thinking! Good cookware will last you a lifetome.
I've got some pieces of AllClad stainless - a 5 piece set I purchased years ago when I started catering out of my home, and I use it all. But my favorite is the 3 qt saucier (my hubby bought that for me a few years ago). I like the stainless, it performs almost as well as the copper core, is less expensive, and goes in the dishwasher.
I bought the AC stainless lasagna pan a few years ago to use as a roaster. Since's it's not clad, it was cheaper (about $99) but doesn't perform as well as my Calphalon (mostly for stovetop deglazing - the thing warps). I do use it pretty often for roasting vegetables (I make lasagna in a pyrex pan).
You already have the Kitchenaid mixer - how about registering for some groovy attachments - ice cream maker, pasta roller, and the new combi-whip (for lift-bowl models only).
Go shopping at Sur La Table (or whatever store you decide on) and have fun!
You should also use this opportunity to expand your Le Creuset collection... I recommend their enameled cast iron gratins and the 3.5 qt braiser. I think you'll get a lot of use out of those over the years.
Actually, Bed Bath & Beyond is pretty darned good. Register online rather than in the store itself. Their website carries Le Creuset, Wusthof, All-Clad and many other great brands that you cannot find in the store. PLUS your loved ones can bring a print-out of the item into a brick & mortar store and use the 20% off coupons we all get monthly.