What should I register for?
Registering is a lot of fun. The feeling is similar to what you’d feel on a shopping spree — when you finish, you almost feel as if you had just bought all that stuff. What a great feeling! That brings up another point about shopping and its effect on your brain. But that’s a topic for another day.
I regularly receive wedding announcements from friends and relatives. It’s always interesting to go through a wedding registry. I’d like to say something pithy like “you can tell a lot about a person from the things on his or her registry,” but I don’t really know if that’s true…it seems more like people all register for the same stuff, probably because many of the people getting married (at least the ones I know) fit into a relatively restricted demographic. Anyway, as I peruse said registries, I recall going to Bed Bath and Beyond and going crazy with the little scanner, registering for this and that. We thought we knew what we needed. In hindsight, there are a few things we didn’t quite understand at that point in our lives…
Now that I’m several years further down the road, I thought I’d look back and write some advice for those just embarking on the wedding-registry trip. In this first post, I’ll include 10 suggestions for what you should register for. I’ll follow it up with a post on 10 things NOT to register for. I’m restricting this list to kitchen items because that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. Kitchen stuff seems to be the most common stuff on wedding registries anyway.
You’ll find a theme below: get stuff that will last a long time. This means it won’t break or wear out. Generally I want to avoid plastic stuff if I can find metal, and I want nice things even if they cost more money up front, because I believe they will be less expensive in the long run. If you’d like more such general advice, check out my philosophy of consumerism. But the topic for today is specific items for your registry. So, without further ado…(drum roll please)…
Top 10 kitchen items for your wedding registry
- High-quality stainless steel cookware. There are lots of options to choose from here. I like the Farberware Classic line for value, but if you really want the best, I really like All-clad. All-clad does it right! These pots are expensive, but they will last you the rest of your life (and then some!) They use 18/10 steel on the inside (where quality matters the most), 18/0 steel on the outside (so you can use the pot with an induction stovetop), and aluminum in the center (for conductivity). There are some other brands that do a similar thing — the most important thing is to avoid non-stick coatings that wear out.
- Corelle-ware dishware. These are inexpensive, thin, light, and classy. If you break one, it’s easy to find replacements or expand as you gain space. No need to start out with service for 12. For a new couple, shouldn’t 2 dishes be enough? Ok, maybe 4.
- Metal measuring cups and spoons. I finally found the perfect set on Amazon (it’s made by Amco). Get this set and I believe you will never again need to replace a broken set of measuring cups. The key here isn’t just that they’re metal, it’s that they are a single piece of metal. There is no welding to come loose. There is a similar set in the Martha Stewart collection at Macy’s (I think It’s made by the same manufacturer). The same goes for a nice, high-quality measuring spoon set.
- Nice knives. Do yourself a favor and skip the cheapo knives. You don’t need a lot of knives, but get good ones. How do you choose a good knife? Look for heft! Is the blade just a flat piece of metal attached to the handle, or is there a solid hilt? Look at the difference between this knife with substantial steel hilt vs. this knife which is just a flat blade. Both nice brands, both get rave reviews — but to me, one is higher quality than the other. The most useful knife is the 6″ chefs knife. I wouldn’t mind having a couple of those.
- Pyrex storage, and glass mixing bowls. I’ve had lots of glass and plastic storage containers, and from now on I think I’ll only be buying Pyrex. First of all, I don’t like to put plastic in the microwave or dishwasher for two reasons: 1) health concerns with high-temperatures, and 2) they melt. Plastic also gets discolored and old quickly (I’m speaking from experience here). Glass solves all these problems. The downside to glass is that it can break, but I’m willing to accept that. I try to be careful with it, and acknowledge that I’ll have to replace it if I drop it. This is where the Pyrex comes in — other glass storage bowls seem to break so much more easily. Pyrex isn’t unbreakable (we have broken it before), but it’s clearly more durable than most of the other cheapo brands we’ve owned. Finally, glass just seems more natural to me.
- High-quality silverware. Personally I’ve been impressed with our Oneida flatware, but just look for is something that won’t bend. Also, you don’t need to start with service for 12…
- Stainless steel prep/condiment bowls I cannot find a set that has these two important qualities: 1) it must nest perfectly (to save storage space); 2) it must include plastic lids. If you can find this, let me know. So, I suppose you can’t really register for this, since it doesn’t exist…but this fills the spot so that if I ever find this, it can go on the list.
- All-metal cheese grater. So many graters, so much plastic! And so many broken graters. I had to go through a few graters before I realized if I just spent a little more to buy one that wouldn’t break, I’d never have to buy another! Get a solid cheese grater. Your descendants will thank you.
- Knife magnet. So much better than the ubiquitous knife-block, which not only takes up space on your counter, but doubles to dull your knives as well! If you do go with the knife block, do yourself a favor and get one that won’t dull your knives (like a Kapoosh). If you rent, you may not have the option of installing a knife magnet.
- Braun multimix handheld mixer/processor/blender combo. Wow, an appliance! No other appliance has made my list because I think they depend on the person — you should restrict yourself to the ones you actually use frequently. But I think this appliance is more universal. Most multi-use items are bad at everything they do, but this is an exception! It’s actually great at all 3 of its functions. An item that actually excels at multiple uses! Even more impressive, this multimix is a kitchen item, where counter and cabinet space are always in demand. Kitchen appliances don’t last forever, and that’s OK — you’ll get several great years of 3 different functions out of this single appliance.