Registry Redux: Cookware Essentials

Yay, you're engaged! Now what?

You're about to start a life with someone, and that life requires an immense amount of equipment — the tools of living! These can include things for the bedroom, the bathroom, and the living room, but most importantly, you'll need tools for the kitchen.

How do you go about choosing the right pots, the perfect pans, and the sharpest knives? We have you covered. All week long we'll be bringing you tips of the trade on what's hot in the kitchen (excuse the pun) and what the necessities are for making meals for your family, your friends, your spouse, and hosting parties that will be remembered for a long time to come.

Up first are cookware essentials. Jeffrey Elliot, author of the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills, knows a thing or two about how to choose wisely and has shared his advice with The Daily Meal:

What cookware do I need to register for?

You should register for a set of stainless steel cookware. It's going to be the most versatile and durable.

Make sure to also have a nonstick frying pan for eggs or other sticky foods (try Zwilling Spirit Thermolon-Coated fry pan).

It's nice to also have some cast-iron pieces like a Dutch oven or cocotte and a skillet. These are great for braising meats and making stews. For two people, I recommend a 4-quart Dutch oven, like this one by Staub.

How many pieces will I need?

Most 10-piece sets give you a basic set up. Remember that the lid counts as a piece, so in a 10-piece set you're probably getting six pans. You should get a 6-to 8-quart stockpot, a 4-quart and a 2-quart saucepan, a 3- to 5-quart covered sauté pan, and an 8-inch and 10-inch fry pan.

These are the basics and from there the possibilities are endless. You might not find all of these in a set, so pick out individual pieces. It's a good opportunity to try out different brands and features and get quality pieces.

What kind of quality?

Entry level is three-ply, the premium stainless steel pans are five-ply, and the best are seven-ply.
How do you tell quality? There are a few things to look for that are signs of quality in cook ware including even heat distribution and bottoms that stay flat (all metal warps when heated, the thicker five- and seven-ply pans are better at holding their shape).

Some other things to look for are stay cool handles (typically a V-shaped connection), welded instead of riveted handles for easy cleaning, and pouring rims for ease of transferring of foods. A great example of this is the Demeyere Industry line.