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.

Waste reduction

July 10, 2009

greens in paperAlthough I should be thinking about ‘waist’ reduction as well as ‘waste’ reduction, I’m going to leave the topic of my burgeoning girth for another day and instead focus on reducing grocery waste.

I technically live in the suburbs of Toronto where we still have weekly garbage collection, but it’s difficult not to be affected by the garbage strike that’s been dragging on just a few miles from my front door. In fact, the strike has made me very aware of how much Styrofoam packaging and plastic comes with my groceries – especially the produce.

I took the picture of this paper-bagged lettuce at the Brickworks Farmers’ Market last Saturday because it’s such a great example of how retailers can make simple changes to help all of us reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste we produce each week.

I’m heartened to see that some of the bigger food companies are making their packaging more earth-friendly, too. For instance, Frito Lay Sun Chips in the US and Canada’s Natrel bagged milk now come in bags made from biodegradable materials. I like it!

What smart packaging have you seen recently? Or, better yet, what great ideas do you have for reducing cooking and grocery-related waste?

Frozen assets

May 28, 2009


Do you buy some things as ‘just in case’ items? You know, like just in case you have unexpected visitors and you need a wheel of cheese. Or, just in case your kids have friends in and you need chips and dip?

If you do shop with these kinds of thoughts in mind, are you being honest or are you are buying them because you want to eat them?

For me, it’s about wanting to eat them. Seriously. In the grocery store I can be a big fat liar to myself. Case in point: the Dufflet chocolate cake pictured above that I bought for the freezer just in case someone drops by sometime and demands a dessert.

When did I defrost it? On a Saturday afternoon when I had a chocolate craving. We actually did have a house guest staying with us that weekend, but he was out.

So there. Now you know my deep, dark, chocolate secret.

Mystery in my cold room

February 19, 2009

img_32791People often wonder aloud to me about what it’s like having two professional chefs under one roof. To be honest, it feels pretty normal to me to be one half of our domestic culinary team so I find the question a little difficult to answer.

While I reign supreme 75% of the time in our home kitchen (I’m around more often at meal time), Martin does contribute often by bringing home great ingredients I wouldn’t be able to get in a retail store. Our foodie interests are evident in other parts of our house, too. For instance, these sausages are currently hanging in our cold room; they hang next to two full sized proscuittos Martin’s dry aging. I have no idea how a family of three is going to eat this much cured pork, but I’m sure Martin has something in mind. I’m just going to wait and see!

If you’re in a couple, how do you and your other half divide up the culinary duties? Does one of you cook while the other eats or do you share in the shopping and cooking?

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