HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


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.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618

      What a great thread! Thanks for starting the conversation. My favorite purchases are my Vitamix (it gets used several times a day), Fagor pressure cooker, and Le Creuset enamel 6 qt.

    2. 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.

      2 Replies
      1. re: nofunlatte

        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!

        1. re: rmarisco

          Hi Marisco,

          I just got a Staub braiser (4 qt.) in Grenadine, and I love it. There are two up for bid on EBAY right now at about $115.


      2. 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.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jimonyc

          Jimonyc, that would be a great pan for risotto. Arborio rice is traditional, but you can use barley or even small diced potatoes to make a non-traditional version. I do a version with Yukon Gold potatoes and veal stock which is delicious. Congrats on your purchase.

          1. 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.

            1. 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!

              1 Reply
              1. re: mariathewholefoodie

                I am glad that my mom introduce me to microwave oven. :)

              2. I must admit that I got this Sarpaneva pot mainly due to the fact that it's a beautiful piece of design. It does however retain heat very well and the handle is very practical getting the lid off when it's hot. It's also a great size for two people.

                6 Replies
                  1. re: Paprikaboy

                    That is beautiful. Is it enameled inside or "raw" cast iron?

                    1. re: tcamp

                      Yes it's enamel inside the pot. It's a Finnish design and my Finnish friend had one. As soon as I saw it I had to get one.

                    2. re: Paprikaboy


                      I'd have to leave that out so I could admire it.

                      1. re: pedalfaster

                        We have it out in our kitchen. We even bought a trivet specially to put it on.

                      2. re: Paprikaboy

                        This is a thing of beauty, indeed. SOOO pretty.

                      3. Not a pot or pan, but...

                        In what might be considered a moment of insanity, I bought the smallest (about 4.5 inches) Wusthof chef's knife. I already had a full complement of knives (from various makers) including some chef's knives. Other than a sharply reduced price and a good brand, there was no reason to buy this baby. But I'm glad I did. When I'm fixing small meals and/or using leftovers, this knife can handle the chopping duties of the chef's knife as well as the more delicate duties of the paring knife. When I'm throwing together a small meal in a hurry and I just want to wash one knife, it's great.

                        And I will add that I often use this knife when I'm cooking in my old-model All-Clad "cassoulet" pan. 10 inches in diameter, 3 inches deep, two loop handles, also bought on a whim at a "special" price. Sadly, it's nothing like the current pan with this name, but still my favorite pan for cooking one-dish meals for two.

                        3 Replies
                          1. re: texanfrench

                            I'm short/light and have small hands. Love good sharp smaller knives!

                          2. I bought a glass juicer like this one at an antique show. I use it all the time.


                            I also bought a skeleton knife from Vermont Country Store years ago. With it being tomato season, I use it A LOT right now, but it's useful all year long for any kind of squishy sticky food.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jmckee

                              We bought a cabin a couple of years ago and I found one of those juicers in the cabinet, I love it!

                              My 4qt AC sauté pan changed my cooking life. I will have that pan forever.

                            2. I'm happy to say that I have No regrets on every piece of cooking gear, pots, pans, knives, electronics etc. I've ever bought. It has all at least met expectations, and nearly all of it has exceeded them.
                              Actually I do have one Calphalon turner that I absolutely hate, but it was like $4 so it's basically disposable anyway.

                              The 3 things that have blown my mind and most exceeded expectations would be my Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker, VP215C chamber sealer, and Waring MX1200XTX blender. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd use the blender or PC as much as I do. The chamber sealer is far more versatile than I ever imagined too, but I knew I'd be using it a ton when I bought it.

                              1. Just like brooktroutchaser, I too bought the 3 qt Viking sauté pan and was extremely impressed. I guess it exceeded expectations because I dodn't really know what to expect, it was the first new pan to enter the house in over 40 years. That lead to three more Viking pieces and a Demeyere saucier, all of which are great.

                                I also bought on a whim an 8.75 qt Staub cocote mainly because it was on close out at a rediculous low price. I figured if it saw use twice a year it would still be a bargan. It gets used way more often than I initally thought, probably more like twice a month. With two of us working it's great to make oversize amounts and then freeze the leftovers for another meal. Mrs. mikie made a roast in it on Sunday, a big honking roast, we'll get six meals out of that, and it wouldn't have been possible without that oversized french oven.

                                1. I recently made a big leap into the 20th century with a kitchenaid stand mixer and a Cuisinart food processor - they are totally worth the lost counter space - wonderful tools and make some things just more feasible - I never really realized how I edited what I was cooking based on the difficulty of some tasks these make easy

                                  another small appliance - a Champion Juicer - was not a cheap purchase for a thrift store item it was 40 or 50 bucks - with the coarse screen in it is an amazing processor of tomatoes eliminating all the blanching and skinning and the horrid food mill. I love it.

                                  1. I didn't buy it - I got it as a wedding gift - it's a multi-tool. Hand mixer, just ok, doesn't make great whipped cream. Dough hooks barely do the job - food processer works way better. But the stick hand blender as mentioned by a previous poster - WOW! I use it all the time - soups, drinks, a number of things, and just rinse under water or put in the dishwasher. It also surprisingly came with a little mini chopper attachment that I use all the time. One little blade that does a very decent job on small items. Couple heads of garlic and shallots can save time and it cuts them up just fine enough without obliterating them!

                                    It probably cost about $80 or $100 14 years ago when we got married, one of the best gifts we got - and one of the few we still have/use! I bought a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer to replace the hand mixer function of this one - it just doesn't do decent whipped cream, etc.

                                    1. The pressure cooker set (4- and 6-quart Fagor Futuro) that I got after reading a lot about PCs on this board.

                                      I didn't have any previous experience with pressure cooking, and my expectations were fairly modest. But it's transformed my cooking in several ways:
                                      I make stock and cook dried beans much more regularly (because it takes so much less time).
                                      It pushed me off the fence on getting an induction cookplate, which has been a boon in and of itself.
                                      It's returned stews and braises to the menu in summer, when I'd be unwilling to have the oven on for several hours.
                                      And it gave me the confidence to snag a used pressure canner (Fagor Chef 10 qt) that was half price on ebay, giving me the ability to put up jars of stock for cupboard storage and not be limited by my tiny fridge freezer.

                                      1. Thermapen instant read thermometer.

                                        1/2 sheet pans from a restaurant supply store. Heavy duty, never warp when high-heat roasting vegetables. And cheap!

                                        1. 2 quart Vollrath Tribute saucier. 3 ply, rough handle that's covered with a silicone sleeve, none-too-pretty heavy brushed finish. It has been a boon to my sauces, giving me so much more control than my old Calphalon saucier.

                                          The kicker is that it's almost 4mm thick. That's 33% thicker than Demeyere's 7-ply Atlantis saucier, but it costs $200 less. I was shocked when I got my hands on it to see just how heavy it is. No regrets, and my next frypan will be a Tribute, no doubt about it.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                            Hi Duffy,

                                            I can't believe the wonderful folks at Vollrath paid you $50 to take that saucier off their hands. I say this because I only paid about $150 for my Demeyere Atlantis 2 qt saucier, so to be $200 cheaper, well do the math ;)

                                            1. re: mikie

                                              Hi mikie,

                                              I checked cutleryandmore.com to get the current Demeyere price, $264.99. Checking Google Shopping to survey the inter webs, it doesn't show up at all.

                                              Again with Google, the 2.6 qt model is $284 and up, the Industry/Sensation 5-ply version (2qt) is $199.

                                              My tribute pan is new-ish, about 4 months old, so I thought current pricing was a fair way to go. I'm glad you got yours for a song.


                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                Hi Duffy,
                                                Picked it up about a month ago at an outlet mall. If it hadn't been such a good deal I would have never bought it, I'm with you, there is no way I'm paying $265 for a 2 qt saucier. I had jsut read someone's post about shopping around for good deals and I couldn't help myself, I had to do it. I need to learn to type with toung in cheek.

                                                When it comes right down to it, I'm like my mother, I have to have a deal. I paid list for one Staub (it was an emergency purchase), bought the other 3 we have so cheap that if I average all 4 out they were still "such a deal". They were close outs that were 50% off and then another 40% off. A $300 cocote was less than $100. Same for the Viking and the Demeyere, one at near list, but the others were all heavily discounted. My 2 qt Viking sauce pan was the last piece in the store and out of the box with a slight ding on the edge of the lid (that I knew I could fix), it was discounted way less than half the MSRP. The 2 qt Demeyere saucier was just the outlet price, but still over $100 off list. I picked up a set of Wusthof Classics at a similar close out.

                                                I wouldn't say I'm cheap, I'm just a prudent and patient shopper. Oh, look at what time it is, just checked my $600 bleow list watch, gotta go! ;)

                                                1. re: mikie

                                                  Hey mikie,

                                                  < Oh, look at what time it is, just checked my $600 bleow list watch, gotta go! ;)>

                                                  Well, for that I break my rule and say ROFL to thee. But I shouldn't, because it reminds me that the idiot (whatsisname) paid retail for my Tag, when if he'd bought it on a cruise, as I suggested, I'd have the diamond bezel version for less than he paid. >:-( <-- this is me, still pouting, five years later. I like shiny objects.

                                                  I so agree about bargains. I love the hunt, and lacking an outlet mall (but we're getting one, might even be the largest in FL) and decent thrift stores, I do scour the interwebs for cheap alternatives to the big dogs. You 'Hounds pointed me to commercial stuff and Boom! Good times ensued.

                                                  A few weeks ago, after eavesdropping on a knife discussion here, I took delivery of a pair of Kiwi knives from The Wok Shop. So cheap ($19 to my door), the sharpest I've ever used and so easy to keep razor sharp with a ceramic rod. A little board cream on the handles for good measure. Yeah, they'll do. I'm perverse, but I love how cheap they look next to my vintage Henckels 4 Star.

                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                    Duffy, what part of Florida? After last winter I am considering retiring there. If I were rich, it would be Sanibel. Unfortunately, rich I am not.

                                                    1. re: brooktroutchaser

                                                      Hi btc,

                                                      I'm in Tampa Bay. Well, not *in* TB, but, you know. We chose this area, specifically Wesley Chapel to retire in, because it's

                                                      far enough south so I can live here (winter avg. 65º-70º) enough people (~3mil) for our son to make a living
                                                      good schools for our 4 grandsons
                                                      lots of good hospitals for DIL nursing student
                                                      and lastly, plenty of marinas nearby for the dude to park the boat.

                                                      Part of my deal was living close to our son's family. Prior to this we'd always been on opposite coasts. Not acceptable.

                                                      All we're missing is good Tex-Mex and northern Mexican food, but we keep visiting every new place that opens. Hope springs!

                                                      If I were rich it would be La Jolla, or maybe Miami or Belize. Sanibel looks lovely, too, and it's farther south, which is wonderful. Yeah, I could live there. If they've got good Mexican, Italian and Chinese.


                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                        I managed a very brief visit to Dunedin last winter. That is on the radar.

                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                          When you don't have access to decent Mexican food, you just have to make it yourself! One of my favorite things in the kitchen is my molcajete. My Mexican godmother gave it to my mother when I was a baby. It had been her mother's (her parents owned and operated a tortilla factory in their home) before she got it. Now it's about 100 years old and smooth as silk! I use it for everything, not just Mexican food.

                                                          1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                            KailuaGirl, what a treasure with a rich history!

                                                            1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                              Hi KailuaGirl,

                                                              How fortunate you are to have a showpiece item so rich in family history. Things like that are treasures, for sure.

                                                              Funny thing about learning to make it yourself. Growing up in SoCal, when I wanted Mexican anything, I went to my favorite Taqueria and bought it. Tortillas, salsa fresca, tamales, it was all so cheap and fresh it just wasn't worth making at home. I recall buying a 24-oz soda cup of their best salsa for about $2. I'd spend that much on the ingredients alone. Then I moved to Virginia in '92. They barely had any Mexican food at all. I quickly learned to make everything from scratch, except tamales. Too much effort to feed two people.

                                                              Still no molcajete.

                                              2. A de Buyer ultra mandoline. I know many people hate them and I was repeatedly warned that I'd just end up bleeding. I've had no safety problems and I love that it gives a professional looking touch to my food. And it's fun! Squash carpaccio anyone?

                                                A Paderno vegetable spiralizer. This was a gift and I scoffed when I first received it. I looked at the cheap plastic parts and decided it belonged in the back of my closet. One day, just to prove how worthless it was, I tried it out...and fell in love. It's my go-to tool during the summer.

                                                A $9.99 electric tea kettle for boiling water. I've had the same one for 12 years. It's so fast. Until I get an in-sink-erator I'm content with my little kettle.

                                                1. A few decades ago, a friend was selling KITCHEN KRAFT COOKWARE. They're stainless, I have the two quart saucepan that has a steamer insert on top, along with a whistling lid and a flat metal pusher to rice the steamed potatoes through the steamer basket.

                                                  1. A couple relative bargains to add to the list: Vollrath Optio 2 3/4 quart sauce pan and a Messermiester made in Japan Asian cleaver. The former was about 25 bucks and the latter under a hundred.

                                                    1. The Kuhn Rikon 4th burner stainless pot, 3 qt. I bought it for our RV for the small stovetop, but it's never in the RV because it's used at home constantly. It's a fantastic steamer for broccoli, broccolini, asparagus, corn, etc.
                                                      The pour spout is the best I've ever encountered. It heats broth for paella or risotto, or boiling water to fill a water bath for crème brulee, no water in the custard! I make my ice cream mixes in it (with a very long handled wooden spoon) to pour into the ice cream machine and pancake batter too.
                                                      It has measurement markings on the inside, so it's perfect for making brewed iced tea. The lid has strainer holes and can drain smaller amounts of boiled potatoes or pasta. Yep, glad I bought it.

                                                      1. My Vitamix Pro 300 from W/S. I will never, ever, regret it. That thing is a monster and I am it's master.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: breadchick

                                                          My Vitamix is a given, use it everyday, often multiple times.
                                                          What a workhorse.

                                                          1. re: breadchick

                                                            I think someone had her spinach smoothie this morning and is feeling very powerful. You go, bc! ;-)

                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                              Hahaha! Can't you see my Popeye arms from here, D?

                                                          2. I had no idea I would like my Vitamix nearly as much as I do. I didn't have a blender for 10 years but this is a different kind of machine.

                                                            1. When I switched to induction, I no longer could use my non magnetic saucepans. So, I decided to temporarily purchase and rely on a three qt. Tramontina saucier with an exotic Windsor like shape: small at the bottom, wide at the top. If used half full, it was like a 1 1/2 qt. for puddings, and warming up soup. Filled to the top, it boiled and swirled gnocci, noodles, pirogues, and pasta. And yes, it reduced most anything faster than I imagined possible.

                                                              Of course, when I ordered it, I somehow didn't fully realize that it weighed 9 pounds! Before I fully realized my lunacy, I went out and purchased a Le Creuset 1 1/2 qt. Not 9 lbs., but it was the least dainty 1 1/2 qt. anyone could imagine.

                                                              I wisely gave away my LC, and switched to cladded saucepans, but I kept my 3 qt. Tramontina as a great saucier (only). I don't use it so often any more, but it almost stirs itself as it reduces down my sauces.

                                                              1. My 18cm "Try Me" Falk saucier. I was worried it would be a bit too small to be of real use, and maybe that copper would be a bit overhyped. But I love it. Bought it from Falk UK (which has excellent customer service by the way, unlike what I hear of Falk USA). I use it not quite daily, but several times a week, it heats up much faster and much more evenly than my other cookware, so allows me to save a bit on gas. Definitely no regrets there, and would recommend it to anyone looking into their first copper pan.

                                                                1. I have the 3 qt Viking saute, as well :-). Love it, and it is what I reach for when I want to use stainless steel. I would say I'm glad I bought everything that is not identified in my response to the "mistakes, I've made a few" thread.

                                                                  1. My 10 inch de Buyer Mineral grill pan. Some people are down on grill pans, but this one suits me. I use it mostly for hamburgers, which I prefer to cook one at a time.