Pros: Grippy handles, surprisingly not heavy, heats up fast
Cons: I’m paranoid about scratching up the nonstick surface
In truth the last thing I needed a cookware set (I have nowhere to put it), but that doesn't mean I'm going to turn down a 10 piece expensive Rachel Ray set when I don't have to pay for it (ya know?). Besides, I've realized that once I move out of here, I'll have a fantastic cookware set all my own. Hooray!
Naturally, as the name of the cook set implies, there are 10 pieces involved, they are porcelain enamel cookware, and yes indeed they are as orange as orange can be. I guess that's because Rachel Ray likes orange. The orange thing is kind of weird, but it's very bright and perky so I'm willing to go with it. Not like I have a choice anyway, right? Hah. But I could see how that might turn some people off. At least it looks cool during October since we have a black electric stove.
What you get:
1.5 quart covered saucepan (with glass lid)
3 quart covered saucepan (with glass lid)
6 quart covered stockpot (with glass lid)
2.75 quart covered sauté (with glass lid)
The insides of these pots and pans are nonstick, so yes, that means Teflon. People not fans of Teflon will be turned off by this. However, the other choice is stainless steel when it comes to Rachel Ray (at least, that I've seen) and I think I'd rather go with the nonstick version rather than wrestling with stainless steel. Let's face it - I'm not that skilled, so I'm sure I'd find junk sticking to my pans all the time if they were stainless steel.
The lids are all glass, something I've honestly never seen the benefit of because it's just going to fog up with condensation and you won't be able to see your food cooking anyway. But for whatever reason the glass lid fad came around, at the very least these aren't heavy.
That brings me to the first good thing about this cookware set. The pieces aren't heavy. I've picked up others in stores and am always astonished at just how weighty a single pan can be. I honestly don't need to lug around a 5lb. pot with noodles in it. These, however, are pretty normal in terms of pot/pan weight, which I thought was nice. Likewise with the lids. Even better, these pieces give you extra gripping power by providing you with a silicone (orange of course) grippy handle area. That also means no worries about too-hot-to-handle handles. The handles do have a hole in the end in case you have a fancy pan/pot hanging rack (we don't, but that would be awesome).
My other very favorite thing about this set? How fast the pieces heat up. Normally I'd have to heat a pan on the hottest setting possible on a burner (a 10), but with these I don't. Instead I can set the heat lower (on 8) which is actually better for the pan, and it still heats up faster than the old pieces. Yay. The heat is nice and evenly distributed too - which it should anyway seeing as the bottom of the pan actually has "perfect even heating" written on it. It's fun to see a pot of boiling water happily bubbling away and waiting for whatever you're going to chuck into it.
My favorite pieces are the 8" skillet and the 1.5 quart saucepan. That's because the saucepan is perfect for boiling up a package of ramen noodles and I'm not stuck using a bigger pot say, if my sister is making herself some ramen. It's small and cute and it makes me happy. It's my little pot. The 8" skillet is the same, basically. It's perfect if I just want an egg or two and a sausage patty. Cooking for one, as it were.
I haven't yet used the 6 quart stockpot or the 2.75 quart sauté. Don't really know what to use the sauté for, but I do look forward to using the stockpot this fall and winter when I break out my soup recipe book. Soup time!
The one thing that has me absolutely paranoid about these pieces is that because they have the nonstick coating, you can't use sharp utensils on them. Just steer clear of metal entirely. Except I don't have any wooden spoons - and what about if I want steam some broccoli or something? The steamer is metal. Hmmm... Truth be told, though, I think I'm more paranoid about this set because A.) they're mine and I'm worried someone else in this house will be stupid with one of them and B.) they're expensive as opposed to the relatively cheap nonstick skillets we buy where you kind of think, "Whatever" about them since, well, they're not as expensive.
And when it comes to the nonstick part, I waffled over whether or not to do the whole seasoning with oil thing. I mean, they're already nonstick, right? So what's the point of seasoning? Eventually I decided to start using them without seasoning and then just season every now and then to help reinforce the nonsticking power. My very first thing to be tossed into a pan: a sausage patty. It was slip-sliding all over the pan without any stickage whatsoever. Awesome. Next was an egg. I tossed in a bit of butter, then the scrambled eggs, and once again had a super slidey experience. Nice. I've boiled noodles and broccoli together - if noodles do try to stick, they don't stick for very long. A quick swipe with a plastic spoon and they're out.
I did experiment with some egg substitute sans butter though. Whooboy, that decided it wanted to stick. I started to panic a little. Then I realized that the more it cooked, the more it wanted to just flake off anyway, so that was a relief. Next time I'll use butter. It adds more flavor anyway.
I always wait before washing these out - I don't want them to warp. And when I do, I use as little soap as possible and the soft side of the sponge like you're supposed to. No harsh scrubbing necessary. Stuff slides out no problem every time - even that fake egg stuff that wanted to hang out in my skillet. Cleaning them is a breeze, you're done in moments, then it's just a matter of drying them and setting them aside. No dishwasher!
I kind of wish there was a little brochure or something specific to this cookware set included, but instead what you get is the typical generic warranty (something breaks and it's their fault, they fix it. If not, too bad, you're screwed) and general information about pots and pans - including pieces that aren't nonstick. Big deal, I could look up that junk on the internet. These are oven safe, but I honestly don't ever see myself chucking a pan into the oven, so whether or not they are awesome in tandem with the oven is something I will never know.
But overall, I'm pleased. My only worry is that in the future the Teflon will get tired or worn out and start flaking off, but hopefully that won't happen for a long time yet. With love and care (and no metal utensils) these nifty orange Rachel Ray goodies should keep me cooking for a nice long time!