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Best purchase you made last year - who knew

George foreman grill. Hands down the best thing I bought last year. Didn't turn my barbeque on all summer. Asparagus to die for, marinated meat of any kind. I couldn't believe how good a pork chop tasted. And hamburgers wow. I keep it outside on the padio table and used it all winter, and november - lots of minus celcius days.

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  1. Easily my All Clad LTD purchase early in the year. Several pieces were purchased at Bloomingdales Home in Chicago (all 1st quality in their original boxes) on close out--a 3Q saucier, a 1.5Q Windsor pan, a 1Q sauce pan, the 4Q paella/braiser pan and the double burner grand grille pan. When the dust settled, I paid 40% of list price.

    Second (also at Bloomingdale's Home in Chicago) would be my Emile Henry purchase late in the year (also at 60% off list) which included a 5L soup terrine, 6 1Q bowls, 4 French made kitchen towels, 8 6oz ramekins, 2 x 1/2Q individual lasagna bakers, a 2.5Q lasagana baker, a 5.4Q lasagna baker and a 2Q oval gratin baker, plus a Salt Pig--all in my kitchen's primary color of red.

    1. Wow, but how often do you use them?

      1. A portable gas burner, under $30 at a commercial cooking store, gass is $1.99 a can, and they last a long time, 2 hours each.

        We use it to make latkes in our kids classes. We used to suffer through and electric pan, but it took to long to get hot, and it was never hot enough.


        our SILPAT

        1. microplane nutmeg grater

          zojirushi coffee thermos

          not a year for large purchases!

          1. Really didn't make any big purchases last year, but I really like when a small purchase makes my life a little easier. I am very happy with a new timer I bought. I didn't pay attention to the features when I bought it because I was primarily interested in the feature of keeping two times. As it turns out it has all the features I wanted - even ones I didn't know I wanted: keeps two times, it is easy to read and to set because it has bigger buttons. It has a five minute warning, and a recall button that recalls the last time inputted. I used it today when I was cooking lasagna noodles. I know it is not a big deal resetting a timer but it did make things go easier. So far it has been the best timer I have ever purchased.

            2 Replies
            1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

              I need one of these. I usually use the timer on the stove, then the micro. And then someone usually puts something into it and screws up my time. What's the brand name?

            2. An old flat and round cast iron stove top griddle. It's an old Sidney and is the perfect tortilla warmer-upper!

              1 Reply
              1. re: jbyoga

                My best purchase as well, but mine is a Griswold. I also got one for my parents and I think it is their favorite gift I ever gave them.

              2. A wooden citrus reamer. It is great and gets the job done perfectly.

                1. During our annual xmas gift exchange (where we get to steal grom each other instead of picking from under the tree). The person before me unwrapped a pizza stone. I was humming and hawing, but she was a quest that was new to our xmas grab so I didn't want to steal from her. I got a dart board, although really nice and ornate I'll be regifted that for an upcoming house warming. But ever since I've been looking at pizza stones in the store. Almost bought one. I should just buy it and get it over with.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chezlamere

                    Yes. You should. We use ours ($14) all the time for anything needing crustiness.

                  2. I bought a stainless steel coffee mug from Starbucks and I LOVE it! It keeps my drinks hot for hours! It was a great buy.

                    1. Hmmm. I find a lot of great stuff at HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Hard to narrow down. But if I had to choose, I'd say it was probably the stainless steel ice cream scoops. The ones that you squeeze to release the ice cream? I use them for cookies, muffins, cupcakes etc. They can be very expensive and I scored about 7 of them in different sizes at TJ Maxx for a fraction of the price that they usually retail for.

                      1. Two-in-One Citrus Juicer from William and Sonoma. (for lemons and limes)
                        Pasta drying rack that has been very useful.
                        Le Creuset Grill Pan, 10" I received this as a gift and after one use feel in love. Of course it doubles as a weapon.
                        Another gift that I use much more than I thought I could was the royalvkb garlic crusher.

                        1. Cookie dough scoop (the ice-cream scoop style) -- besides making it super easy to make cookies of consistent size, it has the unexpected side benefit of discouraging me from eating so much cookie dough ;-)

                          And an offset spatula and a couple non-standard cake pans (larger than usual round layer pan, plus dome-shaped). Can you tell I've been throwing some kids' birthday parties?

                          1. Foodsaver. Nothing goes into the freezer without the vacuum treatment. Cheese lasts longer (I know, it doesn't "age" right, but better that than mold), nuts don't go rancid. Baba Ganouj (homemade) lasts a week vacuumed in a mason jar.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: sbp

                              Second the Foodsaver, it's been worth every cent. I wish the bags were cheaper, but the cost is probably offset by what I'm not throwing out anymore.

                              1. re: ns538bmk

                                Food Saver, I love my Food Saver. Also that single burner my DH mentions below and I am continuing to cook on until my cooktop is repaired and that cannot be soon enough. The Food Saver is going to get a work out. No more freezer burn,, no more stale herbs, my chilies will not get all dried out and the list goes on.

                            2. "Aroma Portable Electric Range", aka single electric burner. Our 16-year-old Monogram glass cooktop shattered a la Vonnegut's Ice Nine on New Year's Eve, and since the glass supports the burners, we aren't using them until the glass is replaced. You don't know how much you use your cooktop until you can't ... the standalone burner from Target has turned out to be invaluable, and we expect we'll be using it after the repair, as well.

                              1. I got rid of all my teflon pans and replaced with cast iron. So much better, I love cooking on cast iron now.

                                1. I finally got a microplane zester, and I can't believe the improvement. I'd already tried about 4 graters that were cheaper, and wound up just fiddling with a paring knife. So much citrus, so little time.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: thinks too much

                                    I have 3 Microplanes. I love them all but I really like the relittlle curved one for nutmeg.

                                    1. re: Candy

                                      Microplanes definitely changed my life for the better, and I too love the little curved spice grater - it's the best thing I've ever used for nutmeg.

                                      I don't think I bought anything for the kitchen this past year (that has to be a record!), so my best purchases have been some really good cookbooks.

                                  2. I'm pretty sure I bought my Le Creuset Dutch oven last year ...

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: foiegras

                                      A bamix.... replaced an old Cuisinart immersion blender and a piece of trash Thunderstick which was heavily advertised some years back on TV. Bamix is extremely powerful and has all metal parts.

                                      A single induction hob from Overstock.com. It was a fun purchase and justified my purchase of a set of Sitram pans (which I'm starting to love). Fun to watch water boil almost instantaneously and cooking in a kitchen not heated by the radiated heat from a cooktop.

                                      1. re: doctorandchef

                                        I'm considering buying an induction hob. How powerful is yours, and does it run on 110 or 220?

                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                          It's 1600watts. while it won't compare to at 30,000 btu gas range, a 12 inch stainless pan will heat up enough to put a good sear on a steak. the huge difference is your cooking area feels so much cooler. it runs on 110watt, it's a berghoff. got it on overstock for 99$

                                    2. I finally got a digital scale and it has been so helpful, I don't even know if I can count the ways: figuring out how much veggies I got from my CSA (so I can use them in recipes), measuring ingredients for baking, dividing stuff up equally. I use it all the time!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Produce Addict

                                        I hope you got one that will measure both in grams and ozs. One use which you might find odd is I weigh my silver for my insurance silver schedule. I have some very old stuff which will be irreplaceable also in another pattern of flatware some of which are antique pieces and some are more recently made there is a difference in weight.

                                        Being able to weigh in grams is also helpful in baking and when using some European recipes.

                                        1. re: Candy

                                          Grams are also helpful for weighing portions. I don't use my scale all that regularly, but it's still something I wouldn't be without. I think I originally bought it for baking cookies from a German cookbook ...

                                      2. My Microplane zester was my favorite purchase last year. I can't believe I waited so long to get one!

                                        1. I bought 2 Kyocera ceramic knives. WOW! They are so amazing. 2nd in hardness only to diamonds. Stay sharper longer than carbon steel. I was most impressed with the way they cut through a tomato like a hot knife going through butter - no serrated knife needed! They're good for lots of other things too, of course. I love cutting and chopping with knives anyways (my trusty Wusthofs) but these give me a whole new reason to love stir fry!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: jennywinker

                                            What a strong recommendation. Thanks for the description!

                                            1. re: jennywinker

                                              My Kyocera chef's knife is also my newest favorite thing from last year. It's been four months and it's still razor sharp. What a joy!

                                              1. I paid $2 USD for a big plastic grab bag at the thrift store. Came with a stainless steel ricer, stainless steel turner, apple slicer, tongs, ice cream scoop, measuring spoons, and a new unwrapped Culinique cake pan, which I've been jonezing to buy for the longest time. Such a deal!

                                                1. My Lodge cast iron grill pan. It was only about $20, and is a fantastic tool.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Produce Addict

                                                      I got the second one (and bought it on Amazon). I'm very happy with it, and I'm glad that it doesn't have sides.