I love to cook. Love it. Cannot get enough. In fact, on an average day, I might even prefer cooking to getting takeout from time to time — and I’m lucky enough to have a kitchen I actually enjoy cooking in, too.
The one thing I’m, shall we say, less than thrilled about in the kitchen? My dingy set of pots and pans. Let me paint a picture for you: it’s sometime in the 2010s, and I’m a relatively fresh college graduate living in what some might refer to as an “apartment” and others might call “a dark and dingy collection of rooms that always smells like dumplings, good god, Sarah, get your life together.”
Although I similarly loved the culinary arts at the time, my budget limited me to the selection of pots and pans available at a discount store in a basement near my apartment where you could also buy open cans of paint, expired ramen, and clothing with not-quite-accurate branded phrases, like “Must Do It.” And while I’d love to say that I’ve spent the intervening decade or so meticulously purging my kitchen of those dented woks and loose-handled sauté pans, well… there have been a lot of seasons of Real Housewives to watch since then and I couldn’t be bothered.
Despite my best efforts (and my deep embarrassment about it), I desperately — and I mean desperately — want my kitchen to be more than a space I simply tolerate. I want it to be clean, functional, and (cringe) deeply aesthetically pleasing. I want people to walk in and say, “I didn’t realize your kitchen was a portal to Provence!” And while I can’t (or at least won’t) get rid of all of my appliances and other culinary necessities just to make my kitchen look better, I can commit to using better (and more attractive) cookware. Enter: My GreenPan era.
Thanks to social media, I had heard of GreenPan well before trying the cookware out and had been interested in the brand as a whole, largely due to its focus on sustainability — and, more recently, thanks to its stylish new colorways, namely the pretty purplish-blue hue I had the pleasure of receiving.
GreenPan’s products are made using recycled aluminum in a factory that’s 30 percent solar-powered, then packaged in recycled cardboard. The company will even recycle customers’ old cookware when they’re done with it. The brand also makes all of its products without cadmium, per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and lead, which, frankly, I didn’t realize you could even still put in products sold in the U.S. in *checks watch* 2023. To make its cookware nonstick, GreenPan uses Thermolon, a material derived from the naturally occurring compound silicon dioxide (aka silica) instead of Teflon or other once-popular coatings. While I can’t personally attest to whether or not this makes the pans safer from a health or environmental perspective, I can give you some insight into how it performs.
So, how are the pans, anyway?
First things first: Yes, these pans are gorgeous. Sure, they’re not going to turn me into a Martha-style (or hell, even Gwyneth-style) master of my culinary domain overnight, but damn, they sure looked a lot better than the scuffed-up silver-adjacent pans I’ve been using for the past decade. In fact, they look so good that if I were to see them in someone else’s kitchen, I’d probably comment on them and maybe seethe with envy over them until I purchased a set of my own.
The set I got included three pans in the lovely Wisteria hue (which comes with an off-white interior coating and gold handles): one 8-inch pan, a 10-inch model, and a 12-inch one. As someone who’s rarely cooking for more than four people at a time, this was more than enough cookware to prepare some pretty solid meals for myself and company.
To test the pans’ non-stick properties, I decided to make some of the most awful-to-clean foods: scrambled eggs and bacon. Despite being a person who loves breakfast foods, I almost never make eggs because scrubbing pans after cooking them is both difficult, and, if I’m being honest, deeply gross. Luckily, eggs were no match for the GreenPans’ coating. I followed the pans’ instructions to a T (namely preheating them for 90 seconds prior to cooking, keeping the heat to a moderate level, and cooking with butter or oil instead of opting for a cooking spray), and the remnants of the meal could be wiped from the pans with little more than a paper towel.
GreenPan also recommends using silicone utensils with the pans to avoid damaging the coating, a directive I heeded, and cleaning them with a soft sponge instead of a scrubber sponge, brush, or gritty cleaning powder. I used a bit of soap, a sponge, and some water, and left the pans to dry for the afternoon, after which they looked brand new once again.
The final verdict
Can I promise you that owning a set of gorgeous GreenPans will make you the star of your own Nancy Meyers movie, in which you’re always wearing linen pants and cooking whole branzino for an array of stylish guests you’re hosting at your villa in Tuscany? I cannot. Does owning a set of Wisteria-colored GreenPans mean Ina Garten will start dropping by your house unannounced with fresh bread and hot goss? That’s between you and the Contessa.
What I can tell you, however, is that if you want to host a brunch where everyone will be ooohing and aahing as much about the cookware as they are about your Eggs Benedict, you’ve come to the right place. And perhaps, more importantly, if your post-cooking laziness has ever led you to think, “Maybe I should just go to another country and start a new life,” the easy — and I mean easy — cleanup you’ll get with these pans cannot be overstated. Martha who?
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