Cooks Illustrated Best Kitchen Equipment: Pots and Pans

December 5, 2012 · 5 comments

HER: They say our love won’t pay the rent
Before it’s earned, our money’s all been spent

HIM: I guess that’s so, we don’t have a pot
But at least I’m sure of all the things we got*

Lovely. But I’ve got news for you, Sonny… You need to get that girl a pot! And maybe a Dutch oven and a decent skillet, too.

And lucky for you that Cook’s Illustrated has published a great list of essential kitchen equipment in their fabulous kitchen bible, The Science of Good Cooking. (See here for the previous installment on sharp stuff: knives, boards, and sharpeners.)


Cuisinart MultiClad 4-Quart Saucepan with Cover

I never understood why the best pots are “Clad.” Do they perform better than the naked ones?

There are many mysteries in life. (Here’s some enlightenment on that particular one.)


Tramontina 6-1/2-Quart Cast-Iron Covered Casserole

Here’s another mystery: why are these commonly referred to as “Dutch ovens“? In our home, we use this all the time on the stovetop to cook soups and stews or whenever there is a need for a big heavy pot that can be trusted to keep a consistent heat, like when you’re working with hot oil.

Got a Dutch oven? You also got a deep fryer.


All-Clad Stainless 12-Inch Fry Pan



A single great skillet is like a good friend who becomes more precious as the years roll by, with even the wrinkles and weathering embraced as the authentication that there is only one like this.


T-fal Nonstick Oven Safe 12.5-Inch Saute Pan

Here’s one thing on their list that we don’t have in our kitchen. I’m not sure why, except that maybe it’s tied to my disdain for crappy plastic spatulas that don’t stay stiff enough to get underneath stuff you want to lift from a pan, and when you do, they’re so dang slippery that food (usually a fragile egg) often slides off and lands in an unhappy mess back in the skillet.

My solution in the past has been to habitually reach for my favorite metal spatula (to be listed in an upcoming installment on “handy things in the kitchen”) which scratches the schmidt out of bottom of the non-stick skillet, releasing toxins or the bubonic plague or something nasty like that.

So, we don’t have one of these.

[Update: And… now we do! Click here to find out why.]


Calphalon Stainless Roaster with Nonstick Roasting Rack

Rick makes the worlds finest oven-roasted rosemary potatoes on the planet in this. Somehow food sticks less readily to it’s heavy bottom than other oven-related containers we own, so it’s the go-container for most stuff.

Stay tuned… the bakeware list is on deck!

* In a rare 1965 clip of Cher wearing her original nose and what appears to be a super-sized pair of prison pajamas in broad horizontal stripes, maybe just a little strung out, crooning “I Got You, Babe” with the fine Mr. Bono, click here. Just be warned: your curiosity has the potential to be rewarded with a particularly vile earworm.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

kathy p. December 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Thanks for the fun S&C clip. She was so young!

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