Williams Sonoma GC - What to Buy?
i received a $250 (canadian) gift card for william sonoma recently. i popped into the store over the weekend and came out empty handed. i'm totally undecided on what to buy ...
here's what i have ALREADY:
- kitchen aid stand mixer
- selection of knives - chef, paring, boning, bread, etc. - mainly from nella cucina
- cuisinart food processor
- cuisinart bread maker
- rival slow cooker
- zorozushi (sp?) rice cooker
- coffee maker, toaster, toaster oven, electric kettle
- braun immersion blender
- various pots/pans (non-stick and stainless steel - lagostina, cuisinart)
- various bakeware (really don't need more here)
- cooking utensils (including WS silicone spatulas, microplanes, etc.)
- mixing bowls (WS melamine, staineless steel, pyrex, etc.)
- corningware casserole dishes (or whatever those big white things are called!)
i'm sure there is more but i just can't remember it all right now!
i love to cook and love to bake. i entertain probably 2/3 times per month.
i feel like i already have A LOT of stuff and storage space is starting to become premium real estate in my kitchen! all of the 'stuff' is under 10 years old ... not sure if replacing is something i need to do at this time ...
so, what would you buy???
I second WS pizza stones - in general they are a bit more expensive, but the cooking surface is much larger than others I've found on the market. Even if you don't bake a lot of pizza or bread in your oven, the stone adds something very dense to your oven and helps it maintain a constant temperature. I never take mine out of my oven and everything bakes a lot more evenly.
Your kitchen sounds a lot like mine. Now, when I get a GC to WS I upgrade on a lot of the smaller things. For instance, recently we switched out the wooden spatulas for a set of stainless steel ones. I like the heft of them better, and I find the edges are sharper so I can get under things more easily. Plus, they can go into the dishwasher without getting dried out or yucky under the plastic. Also, we've switched out our microplanes because they have dulled, we use them that much. I've also bought a set of their hotel linens because they are sturdy and easy to wash. My next GC purchase will be a large Le Creuset dutch oven (we have a round one, and will be purchasing a larger, oval one).
I'm guessing you already have a Kitchen aid mixer then. I couldn't go back to life without mine... I do tons of baking (Gluten Free) and the dough is tough. Nothing but a Kitchen Aid can handle it.
I would recommend purchasing some nice glassware if you entertain. As another post mentioned it may be overpriced but they have beautiful stemware, or as someone else mentioned look at their linens!
$250 at WS can vanish in a blink! Since you're already kitted out, go for something totally kitschy or self-indulgent. BTW, I didn't see a kitchen scale in the inventory...
I would get a really nice knife, something you ordinarily might not splurge on. Maybe a nice big Shun santoku, that was the first thing I listed on my wedding registry at the Bloor St. location and I use it every single day.
spice or coffee grinders? i love my press coffee so i can't imagine not being able to grind up beans at will. i personally do not have much space at all so a good heavy mortar and pestle are out of the question, therefore spice grinder makes things a breeze when i decide to put cardamom is everything i'm eating/drinking that day.......
the alpico zen dishes (something you probably already have a tonne of) are great and almost wish i saw them before i bit the bullet with rosenthal. they're light, thin and a nice clean palette for food.
i really love my japanese knives but i've never laid a hand on a shun so won't vouch for that brand specifically. i find they are lighter, fit my smaller hand better and allow me greater finesse than my wustofs. it also doesn't hurt that they're just so gorgeous as well. but one of them i did get for Y6000 which is pretty damn cheap for what i got... save the actual flight costs ;)
thanks for all of the input...
i forgot to mention that i also have:
- pizza stone (although, i like the idea of using it in the oven to maintain a constant temp)
- kitchen scale
- linens (just got back from provence)
- coffee grinder
- mortar and pestle
- riedel wine glasses
- more dishware than i need
so...i guess this leaves me with a LC dutch oven or a knife or two?
do you guys recommend the LC stuff? kinda turned off by how heavy it is (and not sure where i'd store it)...
In my opinion, the LC dutch ovens are great, but I wouldn't spend a lot of money on the other stuff. Whenever I make something that should be slow-cooked in the oven, I use my dutch oven. Think boeuf bourguignon, ropa vieja, braised lamb shanks, braised turkey legs. I think the density of the materials creates a softer heat overall and the heft of the lid doesn't allow moisture to leak out of the pot whilst in the oven. Plus, they are super easy to clean afterward. Plus they are great for deep frying (but I use grandma's old cast iron DO for that....)
Right now, we have a 3.5 quart DO, and it's just not large enough for certain types of roasts or a big roulade. Which is why I'm dreaming larger and oval.
I love the dish towels from WS as well as the table linens. I bought alot of white cotton cocktail napkins from WS once and I use them frequently when I entertain. Nice table linens are a favorite of mine and they seem to have a decent selection of formal and informal. They also carry a good selection of cookbooks.
Well some of the things that come to mind are attachments to the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer like the Pasta roller and cutters, Meat grinder and Ice Cream churner. all of these we have bought and have been worth it . The other thing you could do is use it to buy things on other peoples Williams-Sonoma Wedding registry which is how we got rid of most of a $350 GC we could not figure out how to use.
I'd buy a Fagor Multi-Cooker, programmable pressure cooker, slow cooker and rice cooker. $119.99 USD and a Fagor induction burner $199.99 USD. The multi-cooker is a 3 in on3 appliance, easy on prime real estate and the induction burner is so fast a nd cool you will wonder what you did without it.
I think I'd be afraid to use that thing, but it sure would look nice on my counter. All these years I've been telling people I don't need anything, don't worry what to buy me. Maybe I should just speak right up, "I'll have a Ken Onion, thank-you." I'll have to cut out some pictures from catalogs and leave them lying around. Excuse me while I Google up some Ken Onion.
Since I sell them I've had plenty of opportunity to handle them. They are quite ergonomic in design they have a good bolster, something that most Shun knives don't have. Shun gave me an Alton brown Shun paring knife. I keep nicking myself with it. I let my DH use that one. Can't get enough Wusthof Ikons either.