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William Sonoma-what to buy?

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jenniegirl Sep 29, 2008 10:45 PM

WE got a gift card for our wedding for a hundred dollars at William Sonoma-I'm not sure what to get! Both of us have been cooking from pretty tired out everything-most of our stuff was bought at Target when we were getting our first apartments, or were found at Goodwill. What would you get first? I like to cook, but space is kind of limited. Not a lot of room for gagets. I do know that a Kitchen Aid mixer and a food processor is going to be in our future. Thanks for the help!

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  1. t
    ThreeGigs RE: jenniegirl Sep 29, 2008 11:29 PM

    Sadly, most of what Williams Sonoma carries can be had cheaper elsewhere. And if not, it's quite pricey because they generally only carry top quality items. $100 won't even get you a single pot or pan, except maybe an 8 inch All-Clad stainless saute pan.

    That said, they do carry some things that are hard to find elsewhere, like their line of silicone and stainless cooking utensils by Tovolo, or their WS brand measuring spoons. Yes, still somewhat pricey, but worth the money since you can't really get them cheaper, or at all, somewhere else.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ThreeGigs
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      Leepa RE: ThreeGigs Oct 1, 2008 07:16 PM

      I agree about WS being overpriced. They do have nice things though. '

      The last time I had a WS gift certificate I was able to use it at their outlet store. You might want to check and see if there is one near where you live.

      1. re: ThreeGigs
        r
        RGC1982 RE: ThreeGigs Oct 2, 2008 04:07 PM

        In WS's defense, they discount their Le Creuset, All Clad and cutlery to be competive with most stores. Not discount stores, but most full line stores. If you bargain hunt, you can pick off many items on Amazon etc., but if you are looking for a particular size or color of something, WS is in business for a reason. Ditto for Sur Le Table.

        I would recommend doing one of several things: 1) put it toward an appliance that you must have. I use the mixer more than the food processor, but it depends on what you like to cook; 2) Buy a great chef's knife if you don't have one, or a slicer for carving roasts. (the holidays are coming). You will have to add some money, but it will last a lifetime; 3) Consider your very first high end Dutch oven. Again, you need to add more money, but it will last a lifetime. 5 quart round is a great first piece for most people.

        1. re: RGC1982
          Carole RE: RGC1982 Oct 3, 2008 06:19 AM

          All three are excellent recommendations. I have a 30-year old Le Creuset 5-quart Dutch oven that truly looks like it is new and is invaluable.

          The only problem at WS regarding the All-Clad selection is that they dropped the bottom line, my personal favorite, Master Chef . They now only carry the higher-priced lines.

      2. stricken RE: jenniegirl Sep 30, 2008 02:47 AM

        I was going to suggest an ice cream maker attachment for your KitchenAid, but I guess you have to get the mixer first.. Perhaps a nice roasting pan with rack or a piece of AllClad.

        1. g
          Grillncook RE: jenniegirl Sep 30, 2008 04:15 AM

          I would look for things that you can only get from WS. Like most have said WS prices are from ridiculous to stupid but they do have items that can't be easily found elsewhere. We purchased a tart pan from there over the weekend because we couldn't find it anywhere else. Their Rosle kitchen gadget selection is nice. If you want a food processor put some money with the card and purchase one. We have a KA 12 cup that is rapidly becoming our most used appliance. It does great for mixing biscuit and pie dough (dry ingredients and butter or lard) and slices very well and both of us agree it's the easiest FP to clean that we have ever used.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Grillncook
            MMRuth RE: Grillncook Sep 30, 2008 04:36 AM

            I'm a big fan of Rosle. Another option - wait until they have a sale, to get more for your money - I often find good cookbooks on sale there.

            1. re: MMRuth
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              ThreeGigs RE: MMRuth Sep 30, 2008 06:49 AM

              Sorry, but I feel compelled to comment. I dislike Rosle and avoid it like the plague.Why? Because their handle design is absolutely horrible. You cannot wash Rosle utensils in the dishwasher, because the dishwasher water will get inside the handle. And will come out and get all over your food, usually at the worst possible time. Meaning you get to throw away your food or risk poisoning someone with dish detergent. Plus, their handles are not all that durable over time. My criteria for picking a decent utensil follow NSF approval, and then some, and any Rosle with that hollow unsealed handle design will always fail NSF certification tests.

              That said, their Intelligent Series line of utensils is nice and innovative, although still not sturdy enough to pass my 'it's gotta be able to support a whole turkey without bending' test.

              1. re: ThreeGigs
                MMRuth RE: ThreeGigs Sep 30, 2008 06:51 AM

                What is NSF? I've never noticed that problem with the handles - I do usually hand wash them, but even when they've been in the dishwasher, I don't recall water spewing out later.

                1. re: MMRuth
                  t
                  ThreeGigs RE: MMRuth Sep 30, 2008 02:46 PM

                  http://www.nsf.org - National Sanitation Foundation

                  They have established ANSI specs and guidelines for many things involving food and sanitation, among them design and manufacturing standards for cookware and kitchen implements. In most restaurants' kitchens, nearly everything you see will have an NSF approved logo. If it's NSF certified, it'll be safe and easy to clean, with no hard to reach places where food can build up and bacteria grow. The Rosle handles, with their sharp inside corners, make them hard to clean, and the hollow handles allow liquids to remain inside after washing. Something like the difference between a cake pan with seamless rounded corners, versus the 'folded metal' ones with the impossible-to-get-clean corners.

                  1. re: ThreeGigs
                    MMRuth RE: ThreeGigs Sep 30, 2008 02:50 PM

                    Thanks for the information. I'll take a closer look at my Rosle!

                2. re: ThreeGigs
                  m
                  mpalmer6c RE: ThreeGigs Oct 1, 2008 08:14 PM

                  Have never seen anything with an NSF seal of approval. Does this mean all cooking euipmqnt I have is unsafe? What is "then some"?

                  1. re: mpalmer6c
                    yayadave RE: mpalmer6c Oct 1, 2008 08:47 PM

                    Most of the equipment sold for home use doesn't bother with it because it's unnecessary. That doesn't say they couldn't qualify; they just don't need to for home use. If you go to a restaurant supply house, they have the NSF stickers and markings.

                    1. re: mpalmer6c
                      t
                      ThreeGigs RE: mpalmer6c Oct 1, 2008 09:31 PM

                      Check out any restaurant supply store, you'll see plenty of NSF seals. And as Dave said, no it doesn't mean your stuff isn't safe, it means either the manufacturer didn't bother, or that your stuff has nooks and crannies where food residue can hide or be difficult to get to.

                      For example, an NF rated whisk would have silicone sealing the handle where the wires enter. Spoons are one seamless piece of stainless, or have a handle molded around the stainless. The 'business end' won't be riveted to the handle, it'd be one piece.

                      My "and then some" criteria are mostly about sturdiness and usability. Plastic grip riveted onto a plated steel bar, onto which is riveted a spoon or ladle end? No... no way. A single piece of solid stainless forged into a spoon or ladle, ala All-Clad, is the kind of thing I'm looking for. I hate kitchen gadgets and utensils that aren't sturdy, that have 'quirks', need special handling or attention to get clean, etc. There's another thread on this board asking about can-openers, because someone is fed up with the umpteenth can-opener they've bought that has the same "missed cutting that part of the lid" behavior. That's the kind of thing that's part of my "and then some" criteria.

                    2. re: ThreeGigs
                      MMRuth RE: ThreeGigs Oct 5, 2008 04:28 PM

                      I was just using some of their utensils today and looked at them closely, and I can't for the life of me see how water would get into the handle. Two kinds of peelers, cheese knife, grapefruit knife and zester - could you elaborate?

                      1. re: MMRuth
                        t
                        ThreeGigs RE: MMRuth Oct 5, 2008 10:20 PM

                        Look at the ends of the handles. On most Rosle it's a tube with endcaps pushed into the ends. There are slots cut into those endcaps and the business bits and a hanger hole are attached via those slots.

                        None of the gaps between the handle components are sealed, allowing water to get in. Picture attached for those not familiar with Rosle.

                         
                  2. re: Grillncook
                    southernitalian RE: Grillncook Sep 30, 2008 07:05 AM

                    Agree w/Grillncook. You can find comparable (or pretty damned close) products elsewhere and not pay the WS premium but what you can only find at WS is their beautiful linens. They actually get more beautiful as they fade.

                  3. yayadave RE: jenniegirl Sep 30, 2008 07:31 AM

                    You could think about a specialized item, if it fits what you like to do. For example, an ice cream maker and book make sense if you're ice cream eaters. Or some really nice wine glasses if that fits. Specialized.

                    Or something that has a lot of general cooking/kitchen uses like a pressure cooker.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: yayadave
                      yayadave RE: yayadave Oct 1, 2008 07:45 AM

                      You might just buy one good knife. It would be a joy for everyone in your kitchen.

                      For example:
                      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...
                      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...
                      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                      1. re: yayadave
                        w
                        walker RE: yayadave Oct 1, 2008 10:57 AM

                        I agree; I love my Santoku. A friend says the only knife in his mother's home is a serrated knife; he must bring his own along when he cooks there.

                        1. re: walker
                          MMRuth RE: walker Oct 1, 2008 11:16 AM

                          I have a Henckles (sp?) one and love it as well. I pretty much use it for everything these days, even though I have a couple of good chef knives.

                          1. re: walker
                            r
                            RGC1982 RE: walker Oct 2, 2008 04:09 PM

                            Sounds like my mother's house.

                      2. Carole RE: jenniegirl Sep 30, 2008 08:00 AM

                        If you are in no rush, I'd definitely wait for a sale. The very best sale is after Christmas but there are others as well. I worked there for a while and they really push merchandise that they want to stop storing out in sales and at excellent prices. As said earlier, the linens are very good quality, last for years, change styles and some usually go on sale. I've seen KA mixers on sale when the colors change. Cookware will go on sale when the W-S exclusivity ends and the version becomes available to other stores (this happens with especially with bakeware and electrics). You just really have to keep an eye on it and find out when to expect the sale to hit the store near you.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Carole
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                          beachmouse RE: Carole Oct 3, 2008 08:49 AM

                          Their clearance sales are wonderful, especially if you can suss out where the lower turnover stores are and hit them come 70-80% off time. If you aren't picky about the color of your LC pot or kitchen towels, you can find very good quality stuff for cheaper than Target prices.

                        2. w
                          walker RE: jenniegirl Sep 30, 2008 10:22 AM

                          I have a 9 inch square pan (GOLD) that I use for brownies and crisps -- it's so easy to clean. It'll last forever.

                          1. j
                            jzerocsk RE: jenniegirl Oct 1, 2008 08:40 AM

                            The one I shop at often has a clearance table at the back of the store. I basically watch that space patiently until I find something I like. They often have returns and unwanted special order items, so if you keep an eye out you can get some nice stuff at a decent price that way, too.

                            1. n
                              NE_Elaine RE: jenniegirl Oct 1, 2008 11:13 AM

                              I love their everyday line of white dishware. It is very heavy and lasts forever. You order it in sets of six. I think it is the best deal in the store and there is a good variety of dishes, bowls and mugs.

                              1. l
                                llinza RE: jenniegirl Oct 2, 2008 12:25 PM

                                Agree with all who have noted WS is expensive but in terms of upgrading some of your tired cookware here are my favorites:

                                A really good heavy stainless pan (I have a Sitram I adore!)
                                A big Le Creuset
                                Good Knife
                                Immersion blender (this gets more use than I expected and is great for my tiny apartment kitchen where there is no room for a food processor or blender.)
                                A rice cooker or slow cooker could come in handy as well.

                                Happy shopping!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: llinza
                                  MMRuth RE: llinza Oct 2, 2008 12:33 PM

                                  I love Sitram too - but do they sell it at WS?

                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    r
                                    RGC1982 RE: MMRuth Oct 2, 2008 04:10 PM

                                    I have never seen it there.

                                2. c
                                  crimcard RE: jenniegirl Oct 2, 2008 12:37 PM

                                  I have been on a WS spending spree due to wedding registry and gift cards. My favorites (best value for WS, in my opinion) are:

                                  * everyday restaurant tableware (made in China, in case you care. I got over it because I believed that WS would have higher standards than most)
                                  * commercial quality half sheet pans (Chicago Metallic made in the US - I believe the ones made in US are exclusive to WS)
                                  * medium maple reversible carving board (Cooks Illustrated choice for best carving board, but I use it as my daily cutting board)
                                  * microplane box grater
                                  * hotel cocktail napkins (we use these as our daily napkins)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: crimcard
                                    m
                                    Mother of four RE: crimcard Oct 12, 2008 05:17 PM

                                    I have looked at that Microplane box grater at WS and also online. How do you like it? I have the single ones and am wondering if I really need the box!

                                    1. re: Mother of four
                                      c
                                      crimcard RE: Mother of four Oct 12, 2008 11:26 PM

                                      I already have the original Microplane and the extra-coarse (not the paddle one -- I compared them side by side at W-S and liked the long skinny one better). I still pull out the box grater on a regular basis for larger quantities of carrot, zucchini, cheese, etc. Haven't used the slicer side much, but the medium ribbon grater is *great* (it is bi-directional -- such fluffy piles of parmesan I have never seen!). The extra coarse grater on the box is coarser than the single one. In short, I pull out the single ones for small things (grating nutmeg, parmesan at the table, garlic straight into the pot) but I really like the box grater for anything bigger. So, yes, you NEED it!!! Cheers.

                                      1. re: crimcard
                                        m
                                        Mother of four RE: crimcard Oct 21, 2008 05:51 PM

                                        THANKS A LOT!!! JUST WHAT I NEED, ANOTHER THING TO STORE IN THE KITCHEN!!! THESE WEB SITES WILL KILL ME YET!!!!

                                  2. a
                                    adventuresinbaking RE: jenniegirl Oct 2, 2008 12:53 PM

                                    I can't afford Le Crueset pots and pans yet, but I have fallen in love with their items like rubber spatulas and the such. I went in my local kitchen store to admire the cookware and happened to pick up one of them. Once I had it I didn't want to put it down. They have great shape for the stem and the scraper part is heat proof till 400"F. Plus they come in great colors.

                                    1. n
                                      NVJims RE: jenniegirl Oct 11, 2008 08:26 AM

                                      They have a line of silicone spatulas/scrapers that have stainless steel handles that I use daily. They can go in the dishwasher unlike the usual ones with wood handles you find everywhere else. There are other gadgets in their tool section that may tip your fancy.

                                      1. Delucacheesemonger RE: jenniegirl Oct 13, 2008 12:17 AM

                                        They have wonderful pot racks, metal that sit flush against a ceiling or wall with great hooks.

                                        1. Candy RE: jenniegirl Oct 13, 2008 03:29 AM

                                          Fagor has just introduced a 3 in 1 electronic appliance. It retails for $119.99. It is programmable to be a 6 qt. pressure cooker ( I'd buy one but I have 2 Fagor stove top pressure cookers), a slow cooker or a rice cooker. Sleek and lovely to look at...Rachel if you are reading this you now know what your Christmas present is,,,It doesn't take up a lot of space and you have one appliance that multi-tasks.

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