Christmas Wish List

We made a list, even checked it twice,
and then realized we didn't get ourselves anything nice. 

We that isn't entirely true - you can find our family amazon wish list at the bottom of my far right sidebar. However this Christmas does pose a challenge for us. Mark and I are planning to give each other a joint gift for our household. A bit of a splurge, something we need, but wouldn't just go out and buy on a whim. Over Thanksgiving we gleefully learned that the piece of furniture we were going to "get each other" will be generously coming from my parents. Wahoo! Thanks Mom and Dad.

So now we turn to option two, which was only option two because it required more decisiveness and research that we weren't able to invest. Hence why I am turning to you. We need cookware. Ours is woefully old, falling apart, and often not suitable for the recipes we want to make. But then this leads us to what kind of cookware...there are so many options. We want this to be an investment purchase. Something we can build upon.

I think we need either

 a great big 12 qt stockpot maybe with pasta/steamer insert
I am leaning toward all clad, remember I said investment. Thoughts?

 - OR -
a french oven/dutch oven/cocotte - why does this thing have so many names?

and which brand do I get -  Staub?  Le Creuset?
or another that I haven't heard of?

and what size? 5 qt? 7 qt?
We tend to cook for groups of 6-12 frequently, so I want to say the bigger the better,
but I don't want it to be so big, that it isn't practical for every day use.


What is your kitchen workhorse?
Any advice or recommendation would be greatly appreciated.

Also accepting recommendations for other fabulous kitchen items.
My french press cracked, and I need a new one. Do you have a favorite?
Two of my melamine mixing bowls have shattered in the past year, so those need replacing as well...


  1. oh my god, of course i have a ton to say on this subject ....

    first off, best thing ever, we have a few travel french press mugs, which are perfect, because you just make the coffee in the same thing you take it to work in, so there is less clean up.

    i love the bodum version ...

    we have these, and they rock:

  2. oh and for cookware ....

    i love love love my le creuset.

    i've actually found a few pieces a tjmaxx a over the years, but i find that i rarely use the smaller pieces. when i cook, i usually cook for the week with the intention for a lot of left overs, or for guests, and either way, my 2 most used pieces (probably in my whole kitchen) are my large 7quart dutch oven and my casserole piece (i think its 3 1/2 quarts).

    casserole piece found here:

    also, i tend to use them for the whole meal, which cuts down on cleaning because i will saute in it, cook on the stove top, and then either bake or keep warm in the oven. plus they never burn anything.

    plus for added fun, i have a variety of coordinating colors, so if you need to store them somewhere obvious, they look nice!

    so, obviously that is my vote!

  3. ps. last comment i swear (can you tell i have the week off???)

    we have an 8 cup Bodum Chambord french press for when company comes over and for the weekends, its great, and even works when adam buys the wrong coffee (finely ground).

    ps. we still need to catch up!

  4. i have a large stainless steal stock pot that i use all the time for soups. i also have a waterless cookware set that my mom and dad got for us for our wedding, and i use that large pot or a roaster pan anytime a recipe recommends using a le creuset type pot.

  5. We have a dutch oven from Crate and Barrel; it's Mario Batali. We love love love it, and use it seriously all the time. It's also cheaper than some of the others out there, though World Market (Cost Plus) has begun to sell ceramic-coated cast iron for much cheaper than anywhere else I've seen. Haven't tried that yet, though.

    World Market also sells the cheapo Bodum french press for $15. We break an average of three a year, so that's handy for us.

  6. love my dutch oven. love that it is stove and oven friendly. got it at tjmaxx. not a lot!

    also, i inherited (thank you steve and shannon!) lots of all clad stuff which i looove.

  7. We have both the giant all-clad steamer/stockpot and the Le Creuset large dutch oven, and the Dutch oven is used far more than the stock pot, which is giant, has to be stored above the fridge and I really only haul out about once every 8 months. Go with Le Creuset, and bigger is better. The stove to oven ability is also pretty great.

  8. we have a bodum french press (originally used for camping!) that works pretty much flawlessly after 4.5 years! (although i love the idea of a travel one built into a travel thermos too!)

    we have calphalon pots and pans and L-O-V-E them. 4.5 years of daily use and they still look brand new and wash incredibly easily which is huge for us!(although not NEARLY as fancy as All-Clad! we aren't that classy!)

    we don't have anything like a dutch oven but like bridget said I often see le creuset, etc. ones at TJ Maxx for screaming deals! I'd say the bigger the better if you're going for it!

  9. Okay, so I am not sure if you have a Marshalls/ Tjmaxx/ homegoods near you but I often see le cruset there for a good amount cheaper than other stores. In fact, I just saw their largest sized dutch oven there for about $150.

    I la la la love my microplane for lemon zesting, fine grating cheese, chocolate and ginger - you name it- and it is a good stocking stuffer and cheep.

    I also am a huge fan of my kitchenaid mixer and all of the fun attachments that you can buy for it.

    oooh and last but not least I love my Cuisinart Elite food processor. That shiz is no joke. I am kind of a kitchen gadget junkie :)

    Happy shopping!


  10. We got the Calphalon version of the stockpot you linked to, and LOVE it. It's UHmazing.

    We have a very large Le Creuset dutch oven and it's really only practical for large groups. I want to say it's 7qt? Don't hold me to that though. I'd go with 5qt. That seems like a great in-between amount for hosting and for everyday cooking too.

  11. I don't have a dutch oven, but I do have stainless steel pots and pans with copper bottoms and I love them. The copier bottom hearts evenly across the whole bottom. I have large put with 2 inserts, one large for pastas and such and another that sits higher to steam foods which I love for steaming my veggies. Good luck!

  12. I too adore my Le Creuset pieces. Go big with a 7 qt! I leave mine on my stove, since I find myself cooking with it nearly every day.

  13. I have the large La Crueset Dutch oven in white and I love it. It's plenty big enough and goes from stove to oven. Totally worth the money!

  14. Just a thought. Lodge makes dutch ovens very similar to the Le Crueset ones for a fraction of the cost. The only complaint is the knob on top isn't as oven safe to as high temp as Le Crueset--solution: buy a le crueset knob and put it on the Lodge. I have had this for a number of years now, and have had no problems with it. I am glad I didn't spend the $$$ for the namebrand. :) Oh, and mine is green...can't find that color online at the moment.



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