No Regrets: Glad I bought it!
Many of us have owned up to buying a pot or pan that was a poor choice. What did you buy that exceeded expectations? I have two: a 3 quart Viking saute pan...and an AC 11 inch low casserole. The latter roasts a spatchcocked chicken almost weekly. (Think French skillet with two short handles.)
Just recently I bought the 2-qt All-Clad MC2 saucepan, mainly because it was on sale at my favorite outlet, and also because my 47-year old small saucepan, which is plain stainless steel, has a loose handle and a missing knob on the lid (I like to get my use out of things).
I'm completely satisfied. This pan has an unusual profile, taller in relation to its diameter than I expected. It cooks rice perfectly without the scorching effect that I sometimes get with the old pan. And it has the slightly improved version of the original A-C handle, which I happen to like.
My Staub 2.75 qt. enameled cast iron saute pan/braiser. It's a great size (usually cooking for 1 or 2), it's a dream to work with, cleans up beautifully, and, to boot, it's a gorgeous sapphire blue! I cook a lot of vegetable dishes in it (esp. in the cooler months), but I've also used this to braise smaller amounts of chicken or rabbit.
i'll second on the staub braiser: got it on sale, and knew I would use it, but the surprise is that it's become my husband's favorite! I think the width and depth are "just right", it's got a lid unlike our cast iron skillets, and the color (deep green) is beautiful. It fits everything!
My other surprising purchase is a Debuyer mineral B carbon steel 12.5" pan with very high sides - I think it's called a french country style? It's great for so much - use it as a grill pan and a wok because it can take the heat and the sides are great for stir fry. Easy to handle as well because it's CS so not as heavy as CI. I got it on a close out... so happy I did!
That’s an easy one.
Sitram copper disc bottom chef’s pan. Think fry pan with higher sides, or sauté pan with higher curved sides, or a smaller flat-bottomed wok (sans wok hay); shaped like a classic saucier. Light and easy to handle, with thick copper conductive layer on bottom. Ideal for tossing or constant stirring, like sautéing vegetables/stir frys. Not ideal when a spacious flat bottom is important.
‘Exceeded expectations’ because I didn’t know such a thing existed and only got it because I saw Jacques Pepin use it on one of his PBS shows and then hearing him declare that it was his favorite type of pan. Still one of my most used pans.
Of all the cookware (pots and pans) that I bought, I would say that my hand hammered carbon steel wok is the one really performed far better than my expectation. In term of knives, I would say the Tojiro DP Chef knife is the one which surprised me in a good. This is not to say that the Tojiro DP knife is the best knife I have. It is just that its performance was much better than I had expected at the time.
It's not a pot or a pan but I think it fits the theme... An immersion blender! I thought it was unnecessary, since I have a normal blender, a vitamix even. I thought maybe I'd occasionally use it for a soup.
How wrong I was! I use that thing daily! And it was like $30 maybe, the cuisinart one. Yesterday put three giant tomatoes in a jar, no liquid or anything, and whizz whizz twenty seconds to a perfectly smooth tomato juice. It also gets a lot of use for whipping cream, for large pots of soup, for remixing previously frozen and separated liquids, for individual portions of salad dressing, and more. Love it. Probably won't be a surprise to many hounds, but I think it is invaluable. Doesn't dirty any dishes, and can be cleaned in a second by whizz ing under water, or if I'm particularly lazy and let something dry on it, the dishwasher safe pop off head is invaluable. Wow I sound like a commercial... I've given probably five of them as gifts now, haha!