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  • Writer's pictureChef Kelly Unger

Shippable Holiday Gifts for the Cook - Part 2 of 4

Pans! Another question I am frequently asked - what are my favorite pans to use. First, let me start with materials. Stainless steel, cast iron, enamel coated cast iron and copper. I never use non-stick -too many chemicals. If you want to buy stainless steel, get tri-ply, whatever the brand. Tri-ply will be the quality you want. I love All-Clad, of course. But I also have Lagostina, which is much less expensive and just as nice. I love Lodge cast iron. It's made in America and very affordable. I also love Le Creuset and Staub for enamel coated cast iron. Both brands are high quality and gorgeous. You can't go wrong. Just make sure they are made in France. There are some discounted Le Creuset not made in France. I was fooled once!

If you're looking for an extravagant gift, copper is the ticket. Anything from Mauviel will do. It's gorgeous, drool worthy and the gift of a lifetime. Lagostina also makes very affordable copper cookware and All-Clad makes copper items as well. But Mauviel cookware is just the height of luxury and something you will want to display, as well as use. Mauviel is old world French cooking - a shape of pot for every conceivable use. No multi-tasking pots in this impressive collection. Well, they do multitask but they are not marketed that way. These are heirloom pieces that will outlive all of us.

As far as shape of pan is concerned, I love my Everyday pan. I have the Le Creuset version and the Calphalon version in stainless steel. They are both very versatile. You can sauté, make stew, curries, and just about anything else you need to cook. If storage is an issue, get this pan, a Lodge 12" cast iron skillet and a 6 quart soup pot and you won't need anything else. But, if you have more room, there's a lot of pans to love. The Lodge or Le Creuset Dutch oven for making bread and stews, a 12 quart stock pot from All-Clad with a perforated insert for making vegetable broth, a 5 quart enamel coated cast iron pot for lots of versatility. I could go on for a long time. All of these brands can be found on Amazon.

Part 3 is all about local food gifts! Stay tuned!

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