November 20, 2010 by Flora Dawn
I think most serious, home-cooks have a rather large wish list. An impractical, maybe someday, kind of wish list. Things that are expensive, but would making cooking so much easier or enjoyable.
For me, it’s nice, high-quality cookware. My husband hates going to the mall with me, and not because I drag him to expensive clothing stores. I prefer Sur la Table or William-Sonoma. The window displays alone are enough to entertain me. Typically they are filled with beautiful, shiny All-Clad pans (sporting not-so-pretty price tags, somewhere upwards of $200 each). Now those pans could cook some gourmet meals.
My husband on the other hand, rolls his eyes and sighs; I think he would much rather prefer to go clothing shopping. See, although he does enjoy eating, he could care less about how it gets to the table.
For years, he has told me I don’t need expensive pans, because, the food won’t taste any better. My 15-year-old $50 set, yes the entire set of pots and pans with lids for $50, turns out food just fine.
I try to explain that All-Clad is an American company and makes their cookware here, using American metals, that increases the cost. They are reputable, blah, blah, blah. But he wasn’t buying it…literally.
Finally, a few months ago, I think I made a breakthrough in the argument. I used an analogy he could understand, cars.
“You see, cookware is a lot like cars, ” I say. Husband nods, confused.
“You can drive Grandpa’s old farm truck and hopefully get to where you want to go, but it’s uncomfortable, a bit unreliable, and not really fun. It doesn’t have things like cruise control and power steering, and you gotta do that special clutch maneuver to get it out of third gear. It’s not really fun to drive.”
He suddenly understands what I am saying, as he has a major weakness for cars.
“I would really like high-quality, expensive pans; I think they would cook better. Maybe I could just get one a year,” I suggest.
“We could probably buy one a year, for your birthday or something. Will the food taste better?” He asks, with disbelief
Umm…I am not really sure about that.
So, this week I was out shopping and I happened to venture into a TJMaxx store. Well, there before me were shelves and shelves of shining, glistening, beautiful All-Clad pieces. Stockpots and saute pans, turkey roasters and lids. Ok, so they are still expensive at discount stores, but about 1/4 of their suggested retail cost. Even at these prices, they are a big investment, so I carefully considered which few I would use the most.
And now I am the proud owner of two, yes two, All-Clad pans. I am happy to say, so far they have lived up the their hype. And, yes, I do think the food tastes better.
I realize that high-end knives and cookware are really expensive, investment pieces. But they will last a very long time if cared for properly. If you are a serious home cook, it is nice to eventually invest in some serious equipment. Who knows, maybe you’ll even stumble upon a bargain.