Cook's Essentials Stainless Steel Non-Stick 12 qt. Stock Pot Reviews

Cook's Essentials Stainless Steel Non-Stick 12 qt. Stock Pot

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Essentially, This Cook's Best Friend

Nov 9, 2000 (Updated Nov 29, 2001)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Attractive; Even Heating; Oven Safe to 350 degrees

Cons:Non-stick Finish Discolors at Very High Temperatures

The Bottom Line: Cook's Essentials Stainless Steel cookware rivals many of the mid to high end lines with solidly constructed, attractive and reasonably priced pots and pans.

Imagine owning a husband-proof pan; a pan that even the most flamboyantly violent weekend chef cannot destroy. Ever dream about a non-stick surface that withstands the abuse only a big burly male can dish out with a metal spatula and steak knife? Throw in the desire for a shiny surface that keeps its gleaming finish even after years of mistreatment, for good measure. Why not crave even-heating capabilities, too; after all this is simply a fantasy, right? No, dear reader, I am not having a flashback, all these wishes and dreams can come true for you, too! This attractive, practically indestructible cookware is none other than Cook’s Essentials® Stainless Steel line of pots and pans.

Our kitchen cabinets hide a wide array of pots, pans, casseroles, griddles, skillets and specialty items. Aside from the one complete set of T-Fal Classic Plus®, most of our cookware belongs to no prepackaged assortment. My Lodge® Three Piece Skillet Set is the closest thing to a second complete set in this household. The remaining cabinet denizens come from a variety of manufacturers and each has its own individual purpose, or so I tell my husband.

Those readers that are familiar with my particular quirks know that I cannot pass up a deal. Make that a deal touted by over-enthusiastic hosts on a televised shopping channel at 3:00 AM and I become one of those suckers Phineas T. Barnum felt was born everyday!

I no longer suffer the need to apologize to anyone within earshot when admitting my penchant for purchasing items sold on QVC and The Home Shopping Network. (I draw the line at Infomercials, a girl has to have her pride!) While no support group for TV Shopaholics meets in my living room, I will say that some of my best friends possess Q-Cards. Being a Club member no longer carries the distinction of being one of the brain dead. I bear no shame when punching in my Q-number while making that urgent midnight purchase. I may not be cured but I no longer demand my bounty be shipped in plain brown wrappers. That is a step forward, right?

That said, my introduction to QVC’s Cook’s Essentials® occurred one midnight when a glossy Stainless Steel Everyday Pan became the TSV. (TSV is the acronym for Today’s Special Value – an item specially priced for that day only.) While I never really knew I needed an ‘Everyday Pan,’ it looked like something that would get some use. Skillet shaped with oversized twin c-shaped, earlike handles instead of the single long handle on most frying pans, when covered this pan resembled a 1950s era cinemascope version of a flying saucer. The tempered glass lid mocked the shape of the pan in reverse making it more attractive than any of my dozen or so skillets, sauté pans, chicken fryers and other frying pans.

Did I need this particular piece of cookware? No! Did I want this UFO clone? Yes! At $17.95, this “Try Me” deal was just too good to pass up. The fact that it came with a full lifetime replacement warranty made it a steal!

As usual, Keith (our loyal UPS man) delivered the Everyday Pan less than one week after my midnight order. Heavier than expected, this solid feeling pan did truly resemble something viewed by farmers in the rural Alabama skies. It has a retro feel to it and turned out to be a very good buy.

The non-stick interior feels and looks more like a black ceramic finish than Teflon®. During the first thirty days of ownership, I used this pan exclusively, trying to cause damage to the finish by using metal utensils. While a few surface lines appeared, there was no damage to the finish and no flaking or peeling. Oven safe to 350ş, perfect oven omelets, cornbread and chicken cordon bleu made this the pan of choice when catering for two.

Cooking with the pan takes anyone with any level of skills one step up the scale in proficiency. Encapsulated within two layers of stainless steel, the aluminum disk base provides a perfect cooking surface with no hot spots. Foods placed around the edges of the pan cook as quickly as those placed in the center. No more musical eggplant games in this house! My thirty days of purposeful abuse culminated in a one-day free for all with Equal Half permitted within the boundaries known as “My Kitchen” without supervision.

Nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, he took his role as test chef as seriously as anything I have witnessed in our fifteen years of marriage. The breakfast eggs slid onto plates without prodding. Gargantuan cheese sandwiches grilled to perfection even after he decided to slice them in half while they browned in the pan. Searing frozen hamburgers, a normally simple task, turned ugly when Equal Half chose to answer the phone instead of monitoring the pan while it preheated. The pan all but glowed in a deep crimson hue, telling any normal being that the pan had reached and surpassed the ideal temperature. With nothing to burn, the non-stick finish turned a strange shade of gray from the prolonged exposure to intense heat. Nonplussed, for only a split second, our chef-in-training plopped four hamburgers onto the smoking surface and had our dinner ready in scant seconds.

I might never have been the wiser but the Cook’s Essentials® Everyday Pan retained that grayish color long after our indigestion abated. Many minutes of pre-heating the dry, empty pan discolored the non-stick coating but did not hamper its non-stick capability. Still, the damaged finish bothered me – cosmetics or not, I wanted my month-old pan to look its age.

I phoned QVC and explained what, why, how and who cremated my cookware. The nice representative (they are nice when they do what you want them to) gave me a return number to add to the address label and punched the exchange code into her computer. Two weeks later, as I waved bye-bye to Keith, I became the proud owner of a brand spanking new Cook’s Essentials® Everyday Pan which to this day remains untouched by male human hands.

I could very well have kept the damaged pan as the discoloring in no way hampered its utility. In truth, I doubt if I would have used a pan with a non-stick coating to sear meats. Had I chosen to perform that feat, I would have kept an eye on the pan, testing the surface with a drop of water and watching for that droplet to dance before throwing on the burgers. No pan, with the exception of cast iron, could withstand such extreme heat for an extended period without sustaining some damage. Still, the warranty was tested by yours truly and the manufacturer came through with flying colors.

Off Topic! What About the 12-Quart Stock Pot? Huh?

After two years of faithful service, I determined that Cook’s Essentials® lives up to the claims made by QVC’s chef in residence, Bob Bowersox. Several months ago, the Today’s Special Value, again, was from the Cook’s Essentials® line. This time, the choices were six, eight, ten or twelve quart-covered stockpots. My former favorite stockpot, a ten-quart Revere® Copper-bottomed Stainless Steel wonder was one of many my stove manufacturer advised against using on their smooth glass cook top range. Being of sound mind and questionable body, I decided to purchase not one, but two stockpots. I opted for the six-quart and twelve-quart pots.

The Out of Box Experience

• Cook’s Essentials® Stainless Steel Non-stick Stock Pot
• Tempered Glass Lid with Stainless Steel Rim
• Full Replacement Lifetime Warranty
• One-page Use and Care Card

No assembly required, the pots come cradled in heavy-duty cardboard.

Features, Features, Features:

• The 18/10 Stainless Steel exterior stays new looking for the life of the pan. The rounded bulging bowl-like shape of all Cook’s Essentials® pots and pans allows the cook to easily get into the corners or edges at the base of the pan with a spoon or scraper. The shape also gives the pots a retro look that I find attractive.

Riveted Handles never need tightening. Since the rivets are also stainless steel, clean up is never a problem. The cool touch handles are oven safe up to 350ş.

• The heavy aluminum disk base extends to the edge of the pan’s base. Encased within layers of stainless steel, the base promotes true even heating with no hot spots. Disc separation due to overheating is virtually eliminated thanks to the patented “Impact Bonded Base.”

• The non-stick interior coating is DuPont's® "latest arc sprayed "Scratch Guard™." Proven by this test kitchen to be truly metal utensil resistant, the surface provides excellent food release capabilities.

Tempered Glass Lids are reinforced with a rolled rim of stainless steel. The steel edges protect the lid against chips or cracks. The oversized knob is made of the same cool touch composite as the riveted handles.

My Final Answer?

Regis, I knew you could make it without Kathy Lee! Oh, the pan, you want my final thoughts on the cookware. I found the three pieces of the Cook’s Essentials line that I own are everything that the manufacturer and those overzealous guest hosts say they are and more. Common sense and conscientious care will help make these pots last a lifetime. Mid-priced and well engineered, these attractive pieces will serve their purpose for years without worry of peeling of non-stick surfaces and pitting of the exterior finish. For those with smooth top ranges, Cook’s Essentials is ideal. For the novice to the expert chef, I cannot imagine any disappointment with QVC’s premier line of cookware. I say, buy it, try it and get a feel for this innovative line. You may just become a fan, like me!

For the curious among you, I finally broke down and purchased a single burner propane cooker and a set of Lodge® Cast Iron pans for Equal Half. Since then, our homeowner’s insurance premium dropped by half and it may have saved our marriage! :o)

Recommend this product? Yes

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