In addition to china, crystal, fine linens and other traditional gift items, your bridal registry is the ideal time to fully stock your kitchen. Here are our recommendations for what to include on your list—the actual cooking is up to you.
Cookware (primarily used on top of the stove) and bakeware (usually for use in the oven) can be divided into categories according to the materials they’re made of. The choice of material is important, because each conducts heat differently.
Aluminum: Used in 52% of all cookware made, this is the second-best heat conductor. Make certain to choose cookware that is either coated on the inside with a nonstick surface or hard-anodized.
Stainless steel: Known for its shiny finish and durability, it can usually go into the dishwasher or be cleaned by hand without scratching. It’s not a fast heat conductor, but makers have compensated for this by layering the bottoms with heat-dispersing aluminum and copper.
Copper: While this is the best heat conductor for cookware, it’s also the most expensive and takes a lot of care to keep shiny and in tip-top shape. If you’re considering copper, make sure the pans are lined properly (usually with stainless steel) in order to protect the copper from reacting with the food.
Cast iron: Old-fashioned black cast-iron pans retain heat well, thereby ensuring evenly cooked foods. Newer lines, with nonstick enamel coating in a rainbow of colors, are quite easy to maintain.
Glass: Extremely versatile, you can use it in both conventional and microwave ovens and then put it in the dishwasher. Glass pots are also treasured for their see-through visibility, especially when cooking foods that burn easily or that need to be steamed without taking the lid off. The downside, however, is that food sticks to glass, making it tough to clean and prone to discolor.
Nonstick: This sleek material (Teflon was one of the first) is used to coat the inside of cookware and bakeware, keeping food from sticking and scorching. With it, you’ll use less butter and oil to cook your foods, and cleanup is virtually effortless.