Shopping as a form of expression

July 30, 2009

conranOops! I did it again. I’ve fallen in love with another online store. This deep and burning love is to be unrequited for two reasons:
1. I don’t need anything new.
2. I don’t have any extra money sitting around so I can’t even show this site how much I love it by purchasing something. Sigh. This will just have to be an a la distance crush, I suppose.

If I do win the lottery and find myself with money to burn, one of the first things I’m going to do is buy these three fun and fabulous items from Conran’s US Online store to add some fresh personality to my kitchen:

1. Double timer

2. Taxi cab yellow trash can

3. Pepper grinder

Those will be my first purchases. Then, I think I’ll branch out and see what interesting things they have at their Japanese, British and French shops. For instance, I might really, really need this picnic cutlery one day, right? And this light bulb candle is likely to bring me great happiness, too.

Voodoo knife block

February 17, 2009

voodooLooking for a gift for a foodie with a sense of humour? This cartoony knife block would look great in a sleek modern kitchen. I love the red and black version and the silver one sort of reminds me of those little kinetic motion desk toys that were popular in the eighties. Does anyone else remember them?

I already have a knife block that I quite like and, while I do think this voodoo man is pretty cool, he really wouldn’t match my kitchen so this dude won’t be making an appearance chez moi. That said, I’d love to give it to someone as a gift and I’m scanning wedding invitations accordingly!

Where do you store your knives? Do they clink around in a drawer or stand at the ready in a block or on a magnetic wall strip?

Gadget love

January 22, 2009


There are literally thousands of kitchen gadgets available on the market. While some (such as vegetable peelers and timers) are ubiquitous in every home kitchen, there are tools that appeal to cooks who share certain enthusiasms (such as specialty ice cream scoops) and others that are not very popular today but will be soon.

Here’s my prediction for items that you may not have in your kitchen now but may consider during 2009.

1. Salt cellars to hold artisan salts
2. Smoker boxes and smoking apparatus for conventional grills
3. Cedar grill wrapping sheets
4. Ipod/Nintendo DS/iphone to use as timers, for recipe storage and for making shopping lists
5. Mortar and pestle or an electric spice grinder for grinding specialty pepper

What gadgets or kitchen tools do you think will become more popular? Likewise, what underrated kitchen gadget do you recommend?

No rest for gourmands

August 13, 2008

This article about what chefs take with them on holidays got me thinking. I’ve been known to travel with my knives and a good set of stainless steel claw tongs but I usually only tote equipment if I’m expected to cook something at my destination. Most of the time I figure that being on vacation means that I’ll also be on vacation from being both a cook and a foodie.

Perhaps my attitude would be different if I had a cottage and, since no one ever invites me to theirs (maybe I should enroll in charm school?), I can’t really imagine packing up all my kit and kaboodle and laying in serious gourmet supplies for my holiday.

What about you? Are you a Judy Rogers or a Thomas Keller? Or, do you fall somewhere in between?

Regardless of what kind of pack horse you are, I bet you laughed at Sang Yoon’s entry and that deep inside you wish you were that cool, too.

Worth replacing: Tuscan salt cellar

August 11, 2008

Hey there! I’m baaaack! Although I’ve returned from holidays I have done nothing at all to get caught up yet (in fact my plane got in just last night). So, if you had a question or sent me an email, please be patient. I hope to be back on top of things in a few days.

In the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to a new blog section I’m adding. For the next few months — likely every Monday — I’m going to showcase cooking equipment and convenient food products that I think are Worth Replacing. Although I spend a lot of my time telling the world what’s new and next on the food scene, people also often ask me to recommend good basic and classic kitchen items. That’s what “Worth Replacing” is all about. In this forum I’ll recommend the items that I would replace without hesitation if mine were suddenly missing.

First up: My Salt Cellar.

It doesn’t look like much. In fact, it’s chipped and sort of dodgy looking but I adore this basin with its hinged wood lid. I use it many times a day to measure salt for recipe testing or to grab a few grains to sprinkle over my meal. Besides providing much easier access to measured salt than a shaker, this particular salt cellar has sentimental value. I bought it in Tuscany in the village of Artimino on my honeymoon over 12 years ago. It’s the only souvenir I brought back and having it in my kitchen has a certain corny sentimentality for me.

Do you have an emotional attachment to any cooking tools or equipment in your kitchen? If so, dish it out!

Great design, great gadgets

May 29, 2008

I’m not a huge gadget fan. I’d rather have a few versatile tools than a bunch of single-use items that clutter up my kitchen. That said, I’m the first to applaud good design and champion a great new innovation. For instance, I had one of the first seats on the microplane band wagon.

This summer I’m excited to have this smart juicing device in my drawer. You get so much juice out of lemons and limes with so little effort and mess using this press that homemade lemonade and caipirinhas will be flowing like water! While the design of this juicer is admirable for it’s functional prowess, there are a slew of tools that are also notable for their beauty available from MoMA’s store (did I mention that my birthday is approaching?):

Measuring Tape Timer
Cutting Board Organizer
Folding Bread Board
Party Sporks
Splash Bowls

My favourite kitchen gadgets

February 8, 2008


I’m very loyal to my favourite things. I committed long ago to my brands of laundry detergent and toothpaste and never consider changing. My bias for the tried-and-true follows me, of course, into the kitchen, too. I have favourite pots and pans, and I even have a favourite knife and tongs that I pack when I travel so that I always have them at the ready and ingredient preferences that would puzzle most normal people.

Given these predilections for the familiar, it’s not every day that a new gadget or kitchen do-dad wins me over. However, that’s just what happened the first time I picked up this wooden handled whisk from Browne & Company. Although I can’t put it in the dishwasher, the feel of this tool in my hand is so wonderful that my laziness is secondary to my desire to whisk up a cyclone!

What’s your favourite kitchen gadget?