All men hit an age where it’s just not worth ordering out all the time. Takeout might be delicious, but it’s absolute trash for your body. The same goes for fast food burgers, pizza, and all the other delicious things we clog our arteries with in our youth. When we get older and (hopefully) make the conscious decision that cooking real food is best, proper cookware isn’t just a tool, but an investment. And when you can find stuff that doesn’t just serve a purpose, but stands the test of time and looks good while it does it, it’s a win all around.
We can’t furnish your kitchen for you, but we can definitely provide you with some of the staples. Here are 8 beautiful pieces of cookware that’ll likely outlive you.
There’s something about hammered copper that gets us all hot and bothered, ya know? Aside from being absolutely gorgeous, copper is one of the best thermal conductors on the planet, meaing cooking with it ensures quick and even heating at all times. The only drawback to copper cookware is that it will react terribly with alkaline or highly acidic foods and they’ll pick up a metallic taste if cooked improperly. But that’s exactly why we love this 10-piece set by Fleischer and Wolf—it’s copper on the outside, but lined with stainless, which means you won’t have to worry about any funky discoloration or weird tastes. Sleek, durable, and more efficient than just about anything else you’ll find. What more could you ask for?$400
Every kitchen-savvy man should absolutely, positively own a solid cast iron skillet. Cast iron heats slowly and evenly, which makes it ideal for controlled cooking, pan searing, and even baking. Yes, you can take a good cast iron skillet from the stovetop directly to the oven and not have to worry about anything other than dropping it. It’s non-stick, low maintenance, and incredibly easy to clean. We love Lodge because they’re family owned, were founded in 1896, and make some of the best and most affordable pieces of cookware on the market, and their 13.25-inch cast iron skillet is no exception. If you don’t want this one, or want to explore your options, we’ve got you covered there too.$64
Stock pots are another must-have addition to your kitchen, because whether you’re experimenting with your grandmother’s old stew recipe, striving for the home-style pot roast, even going for some old-fashioned chicken stock, there’s no better place to do it than in a quality stock pot. If you’re a younger guy living on your own (or an older pup living that glorious, glorious bachelor life), we recommend the 4-quart stock post so that you’re not wasting half of whatever you cook.
Granite Ware is one of the subsidiaries of Columbia Home Products, a company that’s been manufacturing simple, quality home goods since 1871—from steamer pots to teacup sets. They’re inexpensive and incredibly well-made, especially seeing as they come with the classic-looking enamel coating, which is as attractive as it is functional.$21
Throughout your life, you’re going to accumulate quite a few frying pans, if you haven’t already. Generally, you’ll either buy them in sets yourself, or receive them as gifts. Nevertheless, it’s important for every person to have at least one high quality, go-to pan. This non-stick 8-inch pan made by Calphalon features multi-layer non-stick coating that’ll stand up to all the abuse you can throw it, anodized aluminum for even heating, and a beautiful modern design that’ll look just as good hanging up as it will with a Sunday-morning omelet cooking in it.$65
If you think this suggestion is a joke, you’re very wrong, junior. Woks are essential to every mankitchen because with them, not only can you make literal hundreds of different recipes (everything from a quick beef stir fry, to cashew chicken, or garlic sautéed green beans), but you can do it all with ease. This wok, from Sur La Table, is made using traditional high carbon steel and features a beautiful, sturdy maple handle that makes stirring and maneuvering easy as pie. Seasoning and keeping the pan free of debris will require some time and effort, but that’s typical of every traditional wok. Affordable, incredible quality, and damn does it look good.$35
If you’re into the set-it-and-forget it types of meals, a Dutch oven is an invaluable piece of cookware. Not only can it be used to sear and sauté, but it’s also where you’ll braise your stews, chilis, and soups. Very similar to the electric slow cooker or crock-pot, the Dutch oven is particularly valuable because it needs nothing other than a flame to work. That means you can technically bring it everywhere, from the kitchen to the campground. Le Creuset is a smaller French cookware company that is known by top chefs the world over for their beautiful, colorfully enameled cast-iron cookware (specifically, their Dutch ovens). They’ll cost you a pretty penny, but they’re also the kinds of things you’ll be able to pass on to your kids—if that’s something you’d ever be interested in doing.$320
While the differences between a saucepan and a frying pan might seem miniscule to the inexperienced cook, trust us when we tell you that they’re two entirely different things. Also trust us when we say that if you’re going to delve more into some real-deal DIY cooking, your sauce game is going to need some serious work. This 16CM copper saucier from Falk USA is ideal for creating the perfect sauces, but also works wonders on risottos, custards, and even things like braising and reducing. It’s a little wider and rounder than a typical sauce pan, which means there’s a lot more room and better flow for heavy whisking and stirring. Its depth is also a huge advantage that ensures nothing overcooks, and of course, its copper shell helps ensure a quick, even heat all around.$195
And finally, our favorite item on this list, the hard anodized aluminum scratch resistant nonstick grill/griddle combination from our friends at All-Clad. We were going to simply recommend a solid breakfast griddle for you and yours, but when we found the grill top/griddle combo, we immediately fell in love. Cook a perfect steak, or cook some delicious eggs or, goddamn it, cook both! A stovetop griddle is an invaluable piece of cookware, and this magnificent combo from All-Clad is ideal because not only is it practical, it’s incredibly well designed (and comes with a lifetime warranty), and very affordable. We can smell the bacon and pancakes just looking at it.$85