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Friday, March 24, 2006 

What's in a Pan?

For two people setting up a household, the choice of pans might not be high on the list of priorities to be settled. Judith Weinraub in the Washington Post looks at a young couple getting married later in the year and deciding on a strategy for selecting what cooking equipment they're going to register for and need in their Kitchen. Some excerpts:

Russell Shultz, a bridal registry consultant at Bed, Bath and Beyond, where the couple has registered, asks his clients questions before they select a single pot. The first: "Do you like to cook?" is quickly followed by "What do you like to cook?"

For example, if he's helping customers who like to cook traditional dishes, he guides them to stainless pots and pans or infused anodized aluminum cookware. "They do a better job of searing meats and caramelizing" sauces, he says. When clients are more inclined to low-fat cooking, he often steers them to nonstick cookware, "because very little fat is needed."

Shultz asks lifestyle questions, too, such as whether people are willing to wash pots and pans by hand (as Vincent and Saputo are). "Some people don't want anything they can't put in the dishwasher," Shultz says.

Some more advice from another shop owner:

Nancy Pollard, owner of La Cuisine, a specialty cookware store in Alexandria, counsels customers to choose only equipment that suits their cooking style. Cookware is often sold in beguiling sets that cost less than buying the pots and pans individually, but the sets "aren't designed with individual cooking needs in mind," she says. "You might be the kind of cook that needs three saucepans the same size, but never the tiresome casserole in the wrong size that seems to be included in almost every set."