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Wedding Registry Dilemma: This or That?

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COOKWARE
So, after reading the current chowhound postings and done my share of googling... I am left without a clear idea of where I should go. All-clad is out of the guest's budget range. I know Emerilware is an all-clad product but, emeril is just annoying me lately. LaCrueset is just too heavy.

We're registered at one of the mega-chains and they have a few selections.

We're looking at the Anolon Advanced or the Calphalon One sets.

I was wondering if you are a current owner of either (or, I suppose both) of the sets, to let me know what you're experience is with these sets and if you'd go with this set again.

I'd like to know if you feel if the handles stay cool, because no matter how much I try, I'll never learn to use dish towels to handle pots and pans.

CUTLERY
We chose a Wusthof Classic set. We were looking at the Henckel 4 and 5 star sets and the Anolon Advanced set too (less expensive).

FOOD PROCESSORS
KitchenAid or Cuisinart?. We're leaning towards the KitchenAid model because of the minichop bowl and Cook's Illustrated gave one model the edge.

------- I'll definitely appreciate your 2 cents on any of these products. --------------

Eric

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  1. I have cooked with Calphalon One pans and enjoyed the experience. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the above. (Can't speak for the Anolon knives.)

    The handles stay cool unless you put them over direct heat or in the oven. They make silicone pot handle covers that you can put on when you pull the pan out of the oven as an alternative to dishtowels.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Romanmk

      Possibly a dumb question... when you say the handles stay cool unless you put them over direct heat... what do you mean by that? Would a burner under the pot/pan area be considered direct heat? I can imagine them getting hot in the oven.

      Have you had any problems with foods sticking with the calphalon one pans?

      1. re: DrBruin

        When I said direct heat I meant when the handle strays directly over, or too close to an adjacent burner. I was thinking of instances where you still might have to pull out the dishtowel or potholder. They stay cool under normal use.
        No problem with calpahlon one pans and food sticking.

    2. Cookware: Calphalon One is my pick on the non-stick, though I prefer open stock to a set. You might find that certain pieces are nicer to have in SS or cast iron, like a dutch oven and skillet to really heat up HOT and sauce pan that is merely get a patina from whisking and not be trashed. (nylon coated whisks are not as good as metal and only SS holds up against my whisking abuse). I pamper my Calphalon One a bit (handwash and no stacked storage) but it performs well. If the savings on set is too good to pass up I would suggest selling a few pieces on ebay and buying SS open stock. You'll be giving up the "matchy matchy" look but overall the performance will be optimized at minimum out of pocket cost. (I suppose you could register for some open stock SS and cast iron too...)

      Cutlery: I would have a hard time saying that I'd want I set of Wusthoff or Henkels at the $200+ price points they typically command. It is not that the quality is poor, it is just that I honestly feel an F. Dick Dickoron Steel is better than any other. Similarly I'd prefer ONE top quality forged knife with a sealed handle and a granton edge carver, and a whole handful of Mundial or Dexter Russell boning and utility knives, as well as some cheap cheap paring knives. I'm fairly sure that all would be less than the set, though I must admit that I've accumulated my stash over 20+ years...

      Food Processor: I have the big Cuisinart AND a little bitty one. Often I use BOTH -- probably costs more than the KA "combo" but more versatile too. Cuisinart has much nicer slicing discs too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: renov8r

        Thank you for the tips. We're sorta limited on my selections because, well, we have to register at places where people can easily shop for the wedding gifts. We're at Bed, Bath, and beyond and Crate and barrell... and I think the major brands are henckel, wusthoff, shun, anolon, rachel ray, etc. And, while I enjoy a 30 minute meal, something tells me that's about how long her knife products will last. (jk rach, if you're reading)

        1. re: DrBruin

          Even so, they all have open stock. I don't see where you said what you cook but I'd still stay away from sets. You sound like you've followed Cooks Illustrated a bit so you know that their last test of knife sets found none worthy. Are you really going to use all the knives in a set? Most people use only a chef''s knife, paring knife and bread knife. But again what do you cook?

          Get yourselves a nice 8" or 10" chefs knife, or 1 of each if your like my wife and I, you are going to probably use that knife the most. If you eat meat get yourself a nice slicer. I have a nice paring knife but use it less and less and find myself reaching for the cheap set of Henckels I picked up at Target for $15 (BB&B should have the same or similar). If you eat a lot of bread get a serrated bread knife.

          Same with pots and pans. If I had to choose a set I'd go with the Calphalon and get the infused-anodized, not the non-stick. It is almost as non-stick but will seer your meat and go in the oven.

          Of the food processors I got rid of the Cuisinart and Got the KA. I'm happy I did

          One note on the open stock vs sets.You'll have more items at different price points in your registry for quests to choose from

      2. I have a Kitchen Aid food processor with the mini bowl, which turned out to be kinda more trouble than it's worth (the minibowl...the not the whole thing). Every time I use the minibowl I end up getting the big bowl dirty too, so I have to clean extra parts. And it's bulky. I have been happy with the overall performance of the food processor itself though.

        I did recently get a stick blender with a mini chopper attachement which replaced any need to use the minibowl ever again. (yay!)

        5 Replies
        1. re: wawajb

          Do you have any problems when you're processing liquidy kinds of concoctions? I've been reading that this machine has a problem leaking when it's liquidy.

          1. re: DrBruin

            YES! Drives me nuts...leaks if it's got more than a couple of inches of liquid-ey stuff in it. But again, since my wonderful future in laws bought me a stick blender, anything liquid enough to make a mess with the F.P. gets hit with that.

            I'm suddenly realizing that since this christmas I don't think I've used my food processor once. Huh...it's def. still useful for processing solid things though (grinding nuts, etc). And making pie crust...I love how it makes pie crust a practically instant food.

            1. re: wawajb

              Have you made hummous or pesto in it and noticed if it leaks? I wonder if that leaks or is it thick enough?

              1. re: DrBruin

                No leaking with hummus. I haven't made pesto with it yet...my basil plant died a sad sad death early this summer. The biggest mess I've made so far was grinding up hot peppers with vinegar for the beginning mash to make my own hot sauce. Pepper infused vinegar streaming down the side of my F.P. Not fun.

                Only things with an actual majority of low viscosity liquid would be an issue. (eg.. I think you'd be fine with maple syrup) Thick pastes don't leak unless you've got it filled up to the tippy top.

                1. re: wawajb

                  thank you Wayajb. I think I'll stick with the KA, instead of switching to the Cuisinart then.

        2. Instead of the Wustof classic, seriously consider the Wustof Le Cordon Bleu line. It's very similar, but it doesn't have the bolster on the end of the blade all the way to the bottom (like on a Japanese blade). This makes them *far* easier to sharpen when the time comes.

          4 Replies
          1. re: sobriquet

            I actuall picked the Wusthoff GrandPrix 2 series. Once again, I'm limited by what these registeries have in stock.

            1. re: DrBruin

              : /

              was the classic ikon available??

              kinda sucks that u have only go with what is on those registries

              1. re: frank828

                Go for the KitchenAid standing mixer (lots of handy attachments available, including an ice cream maker) and ALSO the Cuisinart food processor. One is better than the other for certain things, but you'll use both and definitely enjoy them. Yes, they're a bit pricey, but the quality will last the length of the marriage (sometimes longer!)(just kidding)

              2. re: DrBruin

                You should check that, When we registered at BB&B we were able to register for things not in stock but available on the website. Guests can also purchase them that way too. If something isn't in the store and on the website and can buy it in the store (using your 20% off coupon (-8 and have it shipped for free.