When I got my own place, I inherited a lot of kitchen equipment from my dad’s old bachelor pad. Silverware, plates, glasses, spatulas and other utensils, pots and pans, and a blender he purchased in 1967 all were passed along to me.

I’m still using most of this stuff (the blender’s starting to emit odd, smoky odors but is so far still working and non-combustible) but it was recently becoming increasingly obvious that the pots and pans needed replacing.

Teflon was flaking off into my food on a fairly regular basis. And while non-stick coating is highly desirable in cookware, it is apparently not terribly desirable in one’s digestive tract.

I consulted a couple of semi-knowledgable sources, who confirmed that this was really bad for you, so I decided to bite the bullet and just get a full new set of pots and pans.

So off to Target I went, expecting to spend about $100 on a set of cookware. I almost had a heart attack when I saw how much it was actually going to cost.

I also didn’t realize that a lid was considered a “piece” of a set. Really, a set with six pots and pans and four tops is not a 10 piece set. It is a 6 piece set. Only objects that actually cook things count.

There was one set that was trying to pass off wooden cooking spoons as pieces of the set (click that link and count the pieces if you don’t believe me). I avoided this brand like the plague for the rest of the portion of my day I spent staring at cookware.

I realized, however, that this stuff is basically an investment. My dad bought the pots and pans I had been using in 1992, and it held up very well until about 2 years ago, when the slow disintegration began.

So, doing the 10-year cost calculations, I sprung for the second most expensive set. I figured out that the most expensive set was basically the same except for the fact that it said “Everyday use” on the box, and cost $30 more.

Calphalon is supposed to be a really good brand, and it’s got a 10-year warranty, which I consider a sign of either quality or overconfidence (hopefully the former). It’s hard-anodized (which sounds so science-y it must be good), non-stick, and has spiffy clear tops.

And, after checking out the Calphalon website, I’m happy to note that although I paid about double what I expected to, I ended up paying half of the MSRP for the set I bought. That makes me feel a little better.

At the very least, I will no longer be ingesting large quantities of teflon along with my enchiladas and rice. And that, my friends, is worth dropping a disproportionately large amount of money on.

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