Pros: Easy to handle, lightweight, non-stick, oven safe.
Cons: Not for glass top/ceramic cook tops. Orange!
I recently received a carton in the mail from Epinions. Inside it was a gift of the Rachael Ray Porcelain Enamel Cookware Set which they sent to me for free in return for my honest review of the product.
I enjoy watching the Rachel Ray Show and often I try to duplicate the recipes that she creates and shares with her viewers. However, if I needed a new set of pots and pans, I highly doubt that I would choose ones that were orange. My kitchen is rather bland, with beige and wood tones, and most of my appliances are black, so the orange color of this set does not clash, however orange is just not an appealing color to me. Of course, the color of a cooking vessel has no affect on how useful or its ease of use, so after opening the box, I washed all of the pieces, put my old pots and pans in the box and put these in my cabinet so that they were ready when it was time to cook.
Enclosed was a small piece of paper explained the Lifetime Limited Warranty and a brochure entitled "Important Safety, Use & Care Information." In the warranty, the company "promise[s]" the original purchaser that they will replace any defective part or piece, and that if the item is no longer available, a pan of similar value will be substituted. Damages caused by accident, misuse, abuse or commercial use are not covered, nor are scratches, stains, discoloration, damage from overheating or damage from use in the dishwasher.
Some items listed in the instructional pamphlet seemed rather obvious to me, such as keeping small children away from the stove while cooking and that you should never let the cookware to boil dry and never leave an empty pan on a hot burner. However, a tip that I did not know was that boiling a mixture of vinegar and water will help loosen food that is stuck to a pan. Since Rachael Ray is a chef and creator of many innovative recipes, I would have thought that they might have included one or two to get you started with this cookware, but there was not.
This is a ten piece set, and, of course, that includes the lids. This set includes:
1.5 quart covered saucepan
3 quart covered saucepan
6 quart covered stockpot
2.75 quart covered saute
The outside of each pot and pan is orange and on the bottom is Rachael Ray's signature along with the numerical size of the cookware and the words "perfect even heating." A portion of each metal handle has an orange silicone coating, which also has Ray's name imprinted on it, and which stays cool while cooking so that you do not need a potholder to pick up the hot pan. The rubber area is large enough that I can just grab it and have my entire hand protected. The lids are clear glass so that you may be able to see your food while you are cooking, and their handles also have the orange silicone safety covering on them.
All of this cookware is oven safe, but since the instructions brochure is universal for a number of different sets, I am not sure to what temperature. However, it states that all of this brand's cookware is oven safe to 350 degrees, while the glass covers are safe to 500 degrees. I rarely, if ever, place cookware such as this in the oven, so this really would not be an issue for me.
Since these pots and pans have a non-stick coating on them, metal or sharp utensils should not be used. Additionally, cooking sprays should not be used to grease these pans as they can impair the coating, and olive oil is suggested as a substitute. These pieces are not recommended for use on ceramic or glass top stoves since the outer coating could fuse to the cook top.
My first use of this set was to use the 8" skillet to make scrambled eggs. After melting a little bit of butter in the pan, I was easily able to move the egg mixture around while cooking and it came out of the pan an onto the plate with not problem. The 1.5 quart saucepan with the cover has been used for heating up a can of soup as well as for gravies and sauces.
I have used the largest pot, the 6-quart covered stockpot, to make meatballs in tomato sauce. The food cooked nicely, but due to too much condensation on the inside of the cover, I was not able to simply look through the top to see if the sauce was boiling.
The biggest difference between these pots and pans and the ones I had been using is their weight. These are extremely light, even when filled with food. I am right-handed, so often, I will take a pan off the stove with my left hand then use a spoon or spatula to get to help get the food into a serving platter. I was easily able to accomplish this with the 2.75" saute pan, while it was a bit of a struggle with my heavier, similar sized pan.
While I usually do not need a cover for a frying pan, with this set I have one in case I want to keep something warm for a little while. The covers for the 6 quart pot and 2.75 quart saute are the same size and they also fit on the 10" skillet.
I have not had any problems with this set so far. The pans distribute the heat evenly, and I have not had any sticking issues. This cookware is not dishwasher safe and cleaning them with dishwashing liquid and warm water has been easy.
My only "complaint" about the Rachael Ray Porcelain Enamel Cookware Set is the color. I know that orange is Ray's favorite color, but I do not know how many other people that holds true for. I have seen this set in stores in a variety of colors, including a very pretty blue, priced at anywhere from about $150 to $200. For the price, it is a well made, practical set that will definitely bring color to your kitchen.