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You can get your waffles on Sunday morning imprinted with Emeril's signature “BAM!,” but when the Good Housekeeping Institute tested 25 different brands of cookware, they found that many celebrity brands were not up to par, although some were excellent.
The Good Housekeeping Institute tested both celebrity and non-celebrity cookware for ease of use, heat distribution, cleanability, browning and simmering and found that many did not make the cut! What's important in evaluating cookware is not the celebrity name on it, but five important elements:
Cookware needs a heavy-gauge base for even heat distribution. Words like “clad” or “ply” tell you additional metals bonded together form a heavy base. This allows for even heat distribution with less chance of hot spots and burning food.
High quality materials: Look for words like "heavy stainless steel" in All-Clad stainless and Farberware cookware, "hard-anodized aluminum" which Calphalon One offers, "copper core" available from All-Clad and "copper base" in Belgique Cookware.
New specialties added to cookware that the Good Housekeeping testers found useful: pots with spouts, measuring markings, see-through lids, stay-cool handles, heat indicators in the base and lids that drain.
Price. The cheapest are not the best and usually the flaws are in the heat distribution of a low-quality cooking base and surface.
Exteriors: High quality, enameled cast iron cookware, such as Le Creuset, comes in fun colors. You can also find colorful enamel exteriors in less expensive stainless steel cookware, like T-Fal and Rachael Ray. Enameled coatings are not care-free because they can chip and scratch. Hard-anodized aluminum is known for its durability and cool black style, but it cannot go in the dishwasher. Non-stick coatings are always delicate and need to be hand-washed.