If the food is on the inside of the pot? or you have a utensil that needs cleaning...just add some automatic dishwashing detergent to a pot with several inches of water.
Place it on the stove? on high until it comes to a boil....the burnt food will cook off as the water boils down.
No dishwashing detergent?? Fill the bottom of the pan with white vinegar, heat to a boil and then let it simmer until the burnt parts flake off.
A generous amount of baking soda and a few cups of water will also do the trick..simmer on the stove?and it will get your pans back to normal.
For the outside of your pots and pans? find another pan that a stained one will fit into easily?fill the bottom of the bigger pan with hot water and a few tablespoons of that automatic dishwashing detergent.
Put the stained pan into the concoction and heat to boiling. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for about a half hour?.depending upon the condition of the pot.
Once you see it working.. Just wash it as you normally would and rinse it clean.
Getting those pots and pans in good condition doesn't take that much effort or that much scrubbing! Try it! I'm Mrs. Fixit and it's just that simple!