HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


your best kitchen related purchase of 2010

Big or small! lets hear it!

Mine was the introduction to carbon steel cookware and my modestly priced $9 (on sale w/ coupon) carbon steel crepe pan has become a workhorse in my kitchen and changed the way on how I approach cooking meat proteins.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. - a nice tri-ply sauté pan, and a stainless steel braising pan (both wegmans brand)
    - an oven thermometer (you'd be surprised how inaccurate the oven temp on any given stove is)

    3 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      I just had to recalibrate my oven - it was off by over 25 degrees!!!

      1. re: flourgirl

        How d'you do that, if you don't mind me asking? Mine's about 20 degrees off, too..... (it's a ceramic top electrical).

        1. re: linguafood

          Mines all gas, but it's digital. I was able to google how to recalibrate a GE Cafe Gas Range and the directions came right up. Try to search by the model etc. It worked perfectly and I'm really happy I didn't have to pay a repairman to come in & do it..

    2. 9" carbon steel pan. period.

      wish I knew about it 10 years ago!

      1. this is fun- i'll say:
        an all clad saute simmer whatever 4 qt pan, i haven't used it bc there's no space in my jitchen but we got a great deal and i forsee it being a workhorse for many years to come.

        toast tongs, i have burnt my fingers too many times- and i use it for many other small tong related things.

          1. i'm *hoping* it's the Cuisinart Die-Cast Elite 16-cup food processor i just snagged on sale from Williams Sonoma...picking it up tomorrow.

            last year's best purchase - my Aeropress - was a teeny bit less costly ;)

            2 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              How messy is the Aeropress? I am looking for something to take when visiting family/traveling to get my espresso fix.

              1. re: lulou23

                i don't travel without mine :)

                don't want to go too off-topic here & get scolded by the mods, so check out some of the threads about it:

            2. This:
              Solved my problem of dish soap that left an unpleasant lingering odor on my dishses

              Lets me brew a large hot cup of coffee in the morning and keep it piping hot so I could enjoy it all day long.


              Lets me make everything from roasted nuts to meatballs that slide out of the pan without using extra oil or special non-stick pans.

              1. The meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid. Cost about $40 and has more than repaid us. We have ground sirloin when it has been on sale, and had leaner and tastier ground beef than what we ever could have gotten at the supermarket, where they were selling 85% lean hamburg for $4.59/lb. My husband has also made some nice breakfast sausage, and we have used it to grind pork for pot stickers as well.

                3 Replies
                1. re: sunflwrsdh

                  I finally took my meat grinder attachment out of the box for the 1st time and chickened out...2 reasons: I was going to grind up the chicken to make Asian chicken patties, recipe calls for canned water chestnuts and I prefer the fresh ones and decided to wait until I could buy the fresh.

                  AND, I could not decide about the grinding things. Should I use the coarse one once (or twice?) or the coarse once and then change to the smaller one? What do you do when you make your ground beef?

                    1. re: walker

                      I grind once with the coarse one.

                  1. #1 Breville Toaster Oven - love it!
                    #2 SS variable temperature water kettle - so much better than microwaving or boiling water on the stove!
                    #3 My first 'real' knife (Shun) -- had no idea chopping raw carrots could be so easy!

                    All these purchases are thanks to your recommendations. So my favorite kitchen discovery of 2010 - Chowhound!

                    I'm hoping in 2011 to start contributing to the Home Cooking board. :-)

                    20 Replies
                    1. re: iyc_nyc

                      bought the Breville TO last week, got it home, unpacked it, put it on the counter...and immediately packed it back up and returned it the next day. i've never seen a toaster oven that took up so much counter space!

                      and though i said earlier that my #1 purchase from last year was my Aeropress, my Shun Santoku was definitely tops as well, so i'm declaring a tie :)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Re Breville, seems less big if you think of it as an oven as opposed to toaster substitute. :-)

                        I live in a small apt and it's been worth the real estate - but then, I use it often for convenience cooking/toasting/baking.

                        1. re: iyc_nyc

                          that's why i bought it - i live alone, and i hate heating up the whole oven (and apartment!) if i'm making something quick & simple just for myself...and i actually have the counter space for it, but that thing is so huge, i couldn't stand the way it looked sitting there.

                          i'm a little nuts :)

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            The Compact version is smaller, but it's not convection of course.

                            I'm planning on getting the Compact one to have on hand against the day when my old Cuisinart TO isn't usable anymore (the exterior coating is starting to peel away in spots, not a good sign). I compared the measurements of the Compact Breville against my Cuisinart and it 's no more than 1" larger in any one dimension.

                            1. re: dessert_diva

                              i know - i intended to just exchange it for the compact, but i wanted convection. looks like i need to shop around a little!

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              I bought the full-sized breville this year - and I LOVE that thing. I use it multiple times almost every single day. I will say that it's on a section of the counter that I would never use otherwise. But since I have a range, this comes in very handy as a second oven. (My range actually has 2 ovens, but the second one is so close to the ground I almost never use it.)

                              1. re: flourgirl

                                crap. i stood in line at Bed Bath & Beyond for *forty* minutes to return that thing, and now you're making me want to reorganize my counters and give it another shot!

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  I put mine on a separate kitchen organizer/cart., where it fits perfectly, and it doesn't look big that way. It did look monstrous on my kitchen counter, now that I tk about it. So might be worth going back to BBB! :-)

                                  1. re: iyc_nyc

                                    well, there's nowhere in my kitchen to put a cart, but i may have to figure something out. you guys are killing me!

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      This is my compact little cart, that has a small footprint - and is apparently on super sale now! (I've had it for a while..)


                                      It's not the most functional - more a design piece than a hardy robust bucherblock type thing - but does fit the oven perfectly. :-)

                                      1. re: iyc_nyc

                                        thanks - i've had a couple of different ones before, but there's honestly no place to put one with the way my current kitchen is laid out. anyway, i have plenty of counter space, i'm just a freak about keeping it uncluttered.

                                        the trick is going to be identifying the ideal spot where i don't have heat-sensitive ingredients stored in nearby cabinets, *and* it's close to an outlet, *and* it's in a position that makes it easily accessible so i don't have to reach in, open it or fiddle with the buttons at an awkward angle, *and* it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.

                                        yeah, i'm a pain in the ass :)

                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    ahaha, sorry! :) But I really do love this oven. I've owned several toaster ovens over the years and this one really shines. And I've been so happy with the toasting function that I relegated my other toaster to the basement. (The toasting isn't perfect - even at the highest setting I often have to toast things a couple of times to get it right - but the end product is WAY better than any toaster I've ever had and I was happy to be able to remove an appliance from my kitchen.)

                                    1. re: flourgirl

                                      well i haven't owned an actual toaster for at least 15 years, i always just made do with a TO (that counter-top minimalist thing again)...and i've never been happy with any TO i've owned. it's difficult enough as it is to make or find edible GF bread & bagels, so i really may revisit the Breville if it does such a good job of toasting as well.

                                      1. re: flourgirl

                                        I know others have reported the same toasting problem but mine toasts perfectly! I've put everything from pita bread to jumbo bagels to waffles and thick whole wheat slices - and they come out perfectly toasted and lightly browned (crispy on outside, moist and chewy on inside) at just a 5-6 setting.

                                        1. re: iyc_nyc

                                          I have no trouble toasting bagels and whole wheat bread. But I always have to toast rye bread twice to get it right. Once at the 7 setting and again at the 3 or 4 setting.

                                    2. re: flourgirl

                                      Does the outside get hot? That's what I've always worried about with these things.

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Yes, unfortunately it does get hot. I've never tested it to see just how hot it gets, but I can feel that it's getting pretty warm.

                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  I LOVE my Breville TO. I've always wanted a second oven, and this fills the bill. We also use it as a toaster and plate warmer.

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    pika, you're costing me a lot of money this year. first you raved about the Cuisinart 16-cup FP, which i just picked up yesterday, now you're telling me i have to go back & get the Breville TO again? oy.

                              2. Two inexpensive purchases made a world of difference in my kitchen this year.

                                First, I finally bought an immersion blender. I blitz things right in the pan or in the glass; it saves time, effort, and tons of unneccesary cleanup time. The little Oster stick cost $25 and has replaced my venerable countertop Osterizer for virtually everything except pitchers of Margaritas.

                                Second, I bought a Wusthof two-stage knife sharpener. My knives and I are all so much happier!

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                  Yes yes yes to the immersion blender! Especially since it made making baby food super easy. I use it at least once a week.

                                  1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                    I'm going to agree with you on the immersion blender. Didn't buy it though, found it in my mother's kitchen still in the box, so she gave it to me.

                                    Other favorites:
                                    silicone tipped tongs (no worries when I toss things in a nonstick pan)
                                    new kitchen faucet.

                                    For next year.. looking for good oven mitts that will fit my small hands. Everything I look at slides right off my hands!

                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                      I have the opposite problem...I use the oven mitts we have as double-thick potholders because my hands won't fit inside them.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        Try the Williams Sonoma oven mitts- they seem huge to me. They may work for you

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          I too have always had problems fitting into Oven Mitts, but the W-S ones fit me great. And if they are still too small for you try BBQ brands like Weber. My Weber mits are huge. And I am an XXL guy.

                                      2. re: eclecticsynergy

                                        Also got an immersion blender this year after resisting for a long time over concerns that it would never get used.

                                        Boy was I wrong. I, too, use it at least once a week whether it's a puree, soup, vinaigrette, marinade, baby food....

                                        1. re: jzerocsk

                                          I love my immersion blender. I love making soup and for that alone it's a real life saver.

                                          1. re: flourgirl

                                            I miss my immersion blender, I've been holding out for a particular one that I want but it's lower on the priority list. soon hopefully!

                                      3. Tough to say, either the DeBuyer Force Blue frying pan or the Steelex sharpening stone holder.

                                        Debuyer pan because it is a high quality carbon steel pan
                                        Steelex stone holder because it makes sharpening knives much easier and less messy -- compare to using wet towels.

                                        My Naniwa super sharpening stones, Tojiro gyuto, Tanaka nakiri come close.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Hey, Chem. I've been lazy posting for a while (baby on the way and too busy). Anyhow, I actually like my wet towels more than my stone holder. You like the rubber huh?

                                          1. re: smkit


                                            I love babies. They are so funny. Congratulation.

                                            Yeah, my rubber stone holder provides better knuckle clearance, grab the kitchen countertop more securely, and make less of a mess. When I used to use the wet towels, I would always get a puddle of water on the countertop as well as on the kitchen floor.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Yeah, that does happen, but I find I am too lazy switching the stones with the rubber. I need to get one of those 2x4 set ups.

                                              1. re: smkit

                                                +1 on the 2x4. i put screwed in rubber feet on the bottom of mine the exact width of my sink so it doesn't slide around when I use it over the sink, plus I can use it on the counter with good results.

                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            I almost listed the suehiro rika as #2 :)

                                            1. re: cannibal

                                              I assume you are talking this particular Suehiro Rika 5000 stone:


                                              Is it really good? I have never used it, but Dave Martell praised this stone. Can you tell me why this stone is better than other stones? Is it because it grinds fast? Is it because it gives a better finish than other stones? Thanks.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                the feedback on the stone is quite good and it sits perfectly between my king 1k and 6k. the Rika doesn't leave the finish of a typical 5k but also cuts faster so it seems like the grit might be higher. After the Rika I'll only strop on the king 6k and I get excellent results. sometimes i'll finish on the rika depending on my mood/knife. I try to keep my setup down to 3 stones or less and then strop on loaded balsa to finish, at my level of skill I found that introducing more stones leaves more room for error. The Rika is at a good price point and feels like a much more expensive stone. I feel like I improved my sharpening because the Rika was able to effectively communicate to me what I was doing on the stone, which is why I would place it at #2 :)

                                                1. re: cannibal

                                                  Thanks. You have suddenly revived my interesting in this stone. I had always wanted to get the Suehiro Rika 5000 stone, but by the time I wanted to buy a 5000 stone, it was out of stock, so I bought the Naniwa Super 5000 stone which is very nice. Of course I cannot compare the two stones since I only have experience with Naniwa. Not sure if I would buy one right now since I have a 5000 stone already, but I will surely think of it when the opportunity comes. Thanks for your input.

                                                  Edited: I wonder what some people (non-knife people) think when you said "Rika was able to effectively communicate to me " :D

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Haha, they would probably think I'm crazy because the stones "talk" to me :P but that's probably not far from the truth

                                                    I've been trying really hard not to buy any more stuff until the end of December and having a few knife nuts on this site really isn't helping! I've heard really good things about the Naniwa 5k and sounds like it's probably better than the Rika, if you're ever in San Diego you're welcome to take it for a test drive :P

                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              I'll second the tanaka nakiri, and add my Takeda 270mm Gyuto. Aogami steel is amazing. I also scored some great le creuset french ovens, 5 qt and 9qt at the factory outlet store for 40% off. All told I've spent too much in the kitchen lately, but it's been worth it.

                                            3. Best--New set of Williams Sonoma Brasserie plates. They are terrific everyday dishes.
                                              2nd best--new Calphalon bread knife, got it for $8 at Tuesday Morning.

                                              Worst--that scraper/beater for the Kitchen Aid. I just don't like it and prefer to scrape the sides myself.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: iluvcookies

                                                iluvcookies, do you mean the BeaterBlade? I gave it to SO last Christmas and he doesn't care for it . . .

                                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                  I'm glad I saw these comments - I've been considering one of those, but it sounds like something I could do with out - which is just as well. My wallet needs a break.

                                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                                    Yes, the BeaterBlade. I really don't get it--it is shorter than the paddle that came with the KA and although it does scrape, much of whatever you are making ends up above the blade. The package had my model# on it so theoretically it should have fit.

                                                    Also, if you have even a modicum of pastry bag skills, don't get the Kuhn Rikon frosting pen. It is the messiest "mess free" gadget I've ever used. Spend the $30 on disposable decorating bags instead, and use the cleanup time you save to enjoy your cupcakes.

                                                    1. re: iluvcookies

                                                      I think you may have gotten the wrong one. A while back I did some research and found reviews thar said the Sideswipe was better than the BeaterBlade. I ended up not buying it because we don't make many cookies and cakes any longer. The SideSwipe is made a little differently than the BeaterBlade

                                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                                          I have an old Kitchenaid Professional 6qt. Since I got my Sideswipe I haven't used the original paddle. I've been very pleased with it. I'm sure I'd feel differently if I missed scraping down the bowl half a dozen times when mixing anything....

                                                2. re: iluvcookies

                                                  Oh I'm with you!

                                                  I got that scraper beater thingy too, used it once and put it away. Haven't touched it since and I've been baking like a madwoman all season.

                                                  It does not live up to it's hype. I may sell mine on eBay.

                                                  1. re: Jennalynn

                                                    I stared at my beater blade for about 30 seconds yesterday before putting it back in the drawer. There's something about scraping the sides myself that lets me "feel" what is going on with my frosting, batter etc.
                                                    I did get one of those Wilton stand mixer spatulas that you can use while the mixer is running. It actually works pretty well, but out of habit I keep reaching for my tried and true red silicone spatula.

                                                3. Although they weren't purchased at the same time, I'd say the best acquisitions this year are the 5 quart straight-sided saute pan and a 12 inch standard saute pan, both Tramontina stainless try-ply. I got the first one in new condition for $20 at Goodwill and the second for $40 at Walmart. If I would have known how good these pans were, we would have purchased them years ago.

                                                  1. #1 One of my three good Japanese knives.
                                                    #2 My end-grain cutting board
                                                    #3 That Whirlypop popcorn popper is great.
                                                    #4 Thermapen

                                                    19 Replies
                                                    1. re: smkit

                                                      What is an end-grain cutting board?


                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        The grain you see in wood (like in wood floors) is the result of cutting planks in the long direction across the growth rings - in other words slicing the tree from top to bottom. When you take those long slices and cut them into smaller pieces (like cutting slices from a loaf of bread) the result is an end-grain. End-grain cutting boards typically look like checkerboards and are less prone to warping.

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          It is when they glue the wood pieces so you are cutting perpendicular to the wood fiber grain-- essentially the end or cross section of the wood. They are preferred by many because the end grain wood fibers absorb the impact of the knife blade by allowing it to go between the fibers. The boards are very durable because the fibers 'heal' and close up after cutting and they are easy on knives so they don't go dull as quickly.

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            They can also be referred to as butcher block.

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              Think butcher block with the squares of wood. Those squares are the ends of pieces of wood glued together. The ends of the pieces of wood (end grain) are more durable than the sides of the pieces of wood (long-grain).

                                                              1. re: smkit

                                                                We bought one of the whirlypop popcorn makers years ago. It was such a PITA to keep clean that we stopped using it. We now use a heavy bottom 5 quart stockpot. The popcorn doesn't burn, it's easy to wash and isn't a uni-tasker.

                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                  I'm shocked. I use my whirleypop now but not often because it IS a PITA to clean. I have had huge problems in the past with popcorn burning in a pot. How heavy a bottom is your pot? Do you shake it to get stirring action as it pops? How hot is the burner under it? Thanks for any details...

                                                                  1. re: rheostaticsfan

                                                                    We use an Ikea kettle http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/pro...

                                                                    It has a pretty thick disc bottom. I got it for $5 at Goodwill but it is worth the retail price of $15 just as a popcorn popper. (They don't sell it online). We haven't had any scorched popcorn yet. There also is no need to shake it. We have a ceramic/glass top stove and it is on high when making popcorn. I suppose gas or a coil electric stove would be a little different.

                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                      I will try it later this week for sure. I have several stock pots...one of which is disc bottom. My pot is rather large at 8 qt though. My range is a Thermador dual fuel...I don't know the BTUs of the burners. I imagine I'll use the smaller burner turned up to maximum? I also have an induction burner (1500W stand alone burner)...I could use the disc bottom stock pot on there and select a temperature. What temp would you suggest?

                                                                      1. re: rheostaticsfan

                                                                        I don't know how hot our glass/ceramic top gets, certainly not as hot as gas, but we do it on high or medium-high. I'd just try it and see what works best. (I didn't really mean to start a whole anti-whirly pop thing here, I just found something that works better for us).

                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                    I guess cleaning it has never bothered me and I have yet to burn a batch. What I like about it is that the oil heats up so quickly because the pan is aluminum. The whole batch is done in pretty much one minute. Much quicker than heating a bag in a microwave. Plus my daughter likes to turn the wheel. I also use gourmet kernels with grapeseed oil. I know good kernels also helps. A lot of store brands are drier, which inhibits popping.

                                                                    Anyhow, I like it a lot and eat much more popcorn now because of it.

                                                                    1. re: smkit

                                                                      Yea, they are kind of fun to use. I gave ours to my niece that has young girls of her own.

                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                      Whirly pop is a waste of money. Popcorn in a stockpot, a little peanut oil, butter and salt( or flavacol) in the pot and tinfoil over the top and poke some holes in it for steam to escape. I use a chopstick to poke holes. Its easy, never burns and taste amazing. The handle to turn to me is a gimmick.

                                                                      1. re: mlukan

                                                                        Well, 'waste of money' is relative to each person I guess. I'll tell my daughter it is a waste of money and give it away then ; ) Anyhow everyone's input here intrigued me.

                                                                        I just did a little experiment with my all-clad stock pot versus the whirly-pop. the same amount and type of oil, heat setting, and amount of kernels. I tried mlukan's method above. Here are the results.

                                                                        Time: from turning the burner on to finished popcorn 2:15 for whirly-pop and 4:30 for stock pot.
                                                                        Test Kernels: the first test kernel popped at 55 seconds in the whrily-pop but at 2 minutes a kernel still hadn't popped in my stock pot. At that point I just threw the kernels in.
                                                                        Handle: While the handle may be a gimmick, it did seem that stirring the kernels helped promote popping. A lot of recipes call for shaking the kernels, so it probably serves this purpose. Also the wood handle made it easier to handle without worrying about hot handles. My stock pot handles got too hot to handle by hand.
                                                                        Popping: I had about the same amount of unpopped kernels in each batch, but it was a bit more difficult to determine when the stock-pot was done. The popping bursts were more uneven. Maybe because there was no stirring of kernels.
                                                                        Clean-up: The stock pot is harder to clean than the whirly-pop bottom because it is bigger and heavier, but the whirly top is a bit of a pain. Using tin foil called for an extra step and material. I could have used a regular top off center to let the steam escape, but that would have been another oily piece to clean.

                                                                        Overall: They both popped good popcorn. The whirly-pop was quicker by half the time. Thin aluminum simply heats up faster. With that said, I think the whirly-pop is more susceptible to burning. My grapeseed oil smoked a bit in the whirly-pop and it didn't in the stock pot. And because the cooking process is so fast, a little too long can turn into a lot too long very quickly. Speed can be good and bad. The stock pot heated more slowly and evenly, and I think there is less of a chance of burning. As for handling, the whirly pop was easier. No mitts were needed or tin foil. And for kids I think it is more fun and safer because of the handle. My daughter couldn't handle the heavier hot stock pot but can handle the light-weight whirly-pop with wooden handle.

                                                                        Anyhow, a whirly-pop definitely isn't necessary but I still like. When a kid is waiting for popcorn 2 minutes is a long time ; )

                                                                        Now I have a lot of popcorn to eat.

                                                                        1. re: smkit

                                                                          I use my microwave to pop regular popcorn. I do about 1/4 to 1/3 cup at a time, I place the kernels into a double bagged brown paper bag, fold the edge shut and microwave for about 2 minutes on high (until the most vigorous popping stops.) Works great, no oil and I just add a little butter, salt, cheese or whatever.

                                                                          1. re: flourgirl

                                                                            You need to make sur your paper bags aren't treated with BPDE flame retardants, very bad stuff along the lines of PCBs.


                                                                            1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                              Thanks for your concern, but I can't find any evidence whatsoever that these paper lunch bags are treated with anything in the way of flame retardants. In fact, I know that you have to go out of your way to find retardant treated bags to use as luminaries, etc.

                                                                          2. re: smkit

                                                                            If you have the space for it, there i absolutely nothing wrong with it:)
                                                                            You have a points with kids using it. Well done.

                                                                    3. My KR pressure cooker which turned up right at the very tail end of last year. Has revolutionised my cooking
                                                                      A second cast iron skillet. It's a Lodge Logic preseasoned which I think the purists turn their nose up at but it's so useful and cooks so evenly.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: serah

                                                                        +1 on the pressure cooker plus an additional point for Lorna Sass's "Pressure Perfect" cookbook to push me along. Got mine for Christmas last year but didn't start using it until this year. It's amazing! Will be pressure canning all kinds of stuff now that I've got cooking in it down pat!

                                                                        I love having a well equipped kitchen.

                                                                        1. re: Dee S

                                                                          Dee, what brand is your cooker - KR too?

                                                                          1. re: iyc_nyc

                                                                            Fagor. It's a 10-qt with a non-stick interior. Way bigger than needed for the two of us but I'd rather it be bigger than smaller (although I've got my eye on a little 4-qt!!). Came with all the canning stuff (a bonus, even though I water bath can) and a nice little recipe book.

                                                                            My fall favorite dish was kale with crawfish sausage and potatos. A total of 4 (yes, four) minutes cooking time.

                                                                            1. re: Dee S

                                                                              wow! will have to look at that recipe.

                                                                          2. re: Dee S

                                                                            Our Bragetti electric pressure cooker lay in the box all year but have just dug it out - its fabulous for soups, pork ribs, chicken caggatore and is very very quick. Gave newly wed granddaughter the same thing, different brand (from QVC) and she is totally in love with it.
                                                                            Need some hearty food in this Southern California storming downpour going on right now.

                                                                          3. re: serah

                                                                            I agree with the pressure cooker. I purchased a Fissler 10 qt. While I have not cooked many meals with it, I routinely cook chicken and beef stock with it and freeze the stock in glass containers. Having the stock on hand has improved everything I cook with stock, plus when I get sick having the chicken stock with some rice just makes me feel worlds better. I usually make a brown stock by browning some chicken in a 450 degree oven for about 40 mins, add to cooker with veggies, it takes 10 mins to build up pressure and 30 mins to cook. Same process for beef stock but it takes 1 hour to cook. This is one of those items I wish I would have purchased a long time ago.

                                                                          4. Hands down it's the new triple pot TRU (squiggly line over the U) slowcooker I bought recently. It has become the workhorse in my kitchen during the week. And it's going to be working hard over the holidays! I can cook one meal for myself in one, and something else for the family in the other two, all at the same time!

                                                                            1. An All Clad d5 4 quart saucepan with helper handle. Unfortunately I paid list price after waiting several months for a "sale". Love the saucepan, though. It's a size I needed when I have guests.

                                                                              1. A 5.5 qt Le creuset dutch oven. It's so versatile!

                                                                                1. I'm obviously online too much.. I keep looking for the "Like" button on several of these posts!

                                                                                  I've re-built my kitchen ware supplies this past year and half.. I'd have to say the All Clad and Le Creuset items I've added are my favorites.

                                                                                  1. A kitchen???? We bought our own home this year (an apartment), and I finally live somewhere with a decent sized kitchen! Full-size fridge, gas range, granite countertops, plenty of storage. I actually like being in the space, so I've done a lot more cooking this year, including trying new recipes that I just had no initiative to try in some of my old cramped or poorly designed rental kitchens. It felt great this morning - I busted out a batch of Christmas cookies (Russian teacakes) while the laundry (in the kitchen also) was tumbling away. Felt like home.

                                                                                    1. #1 Shun Bob Kramer knife

                                                                                      #2 Rosle Stainless-Steel dual-speed handheld milk frother. I don't make lattes but I constantly make vinaigrette dressing, and since it's for no more than one or at most two people, I make them in small portions: Not enough to be worth dirtying a blender or food processor, and if my wrist is acting up, whisking is a (literal) pain. This gadget emulsifies a dressing in about 3 seconds, I kid you not.
                                                                                      I'd first bought the AeroGarden gadget but hated it because it's impossible to clean and the plastic holds odors.

                                                                                      #3 Kuhn-Rikon pressure cooker. I'd never used one before, having grown up on horror stories of exploding ones. I do a lot with beans, and I make all my soups from scratch, and this lets me prepare them in 15-20 minutes instead of hours.

                                                                                      1. Bought an old surplus immersion circulator off ebay for cheap. Took it apart, cleaned out all the dust and corrosion from the electronics and now it works like a champ. Been having a lot of fun playing around with sous vide cooking.

                                                                                        1. I'm really liking my electric pasta rolling attachment for my KA mixer. I'm making much more pasta than I used to with my Atlas.

                                                                                          1. A counter-top halogen oven has been a revelation. I've not roasted meat any other way since it appeared. A superior product, producing the best roasted meat I've ever cooked. Best £40 I've spent this year, no question.

                                                                                            1. Got a birthday gift of a Sous-Vide Professional and am loving the experiments in cooking that are now in my kitchen! I want to don a lab coat and start cackling maniacally during meal prep. :o)

                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: stomsf

                                                                                                haha - I feel the same way. Picked up a Sous-Vide Supreme this year and have been going hog wild on vacuum sealed cooking.

                                                                                                1. re: Whoiswen

                                                                                                  Love, love, love my vacuum sealer. I know you are referring to vacuum sealed cooking, which is something else entirely, but I thought this was the appropriate place to post this.

                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                    I just started researching vacuum sealers (NOT for cooking) for a gift . . . what brand?

                                                                                                    The FoodSaver posts are getting me excited :)

                                                                                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                                                                      costco has a great price on a package deal.

                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                        I have one of those. It works great, but I do have an issue with the automatic sealing feature. With this model you just stick the end of the bag in to a slot and depending on how you have it set it will either remove the air from the bag and seal or just seal the end if you're making bags from a roll. What I don't like is that it leaves about an inch of bag above each heat seal, so for each pouch you cut from a role you're wasting about two inches of bag material. I hope there is a reason for them designing the unit like this other than to make you burn through consumables faster.

                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                          They did nearly all summer and fall, but not any longer I don't think. At least, they're not advertising it on their Web site or in their catalog. The combo pack of bags and rolls are on sales right now, but not the unit itself.

                                                                                                        2. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                                                                          I got the version that was on "sale" at Williams Sonoma -- the Caso.

                                                                                                          I'm very happy with it and I find it pulls a very good vacuum -- I don't have any experience with a foodsaver though.

                                                                                                  2. I've been wanting a juicer...folks at work kept saying "eesh...they are a PITA, expensive, the veggies are expensive and cleaning the thing is a bear so you should either borrow one or find a used one to see if you'll really stay with it." Tripped into a resale shop on Saturday and found a barely used Mr. Juiceman Jr. sitting on the shelf for $8!!! Works beautifully and if I don't stay with juicing, no big deal.

                                                                                                    1. 3 best improvements:

                                                                                                      - Immersion blender
                                                                                                      - 60" stainless steel commercial work table
                                                                                                      - Not purchased, but built from scratch, an outdoor wood-fired oven.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: roadfix

                                                                                                        Not purchased, but built from scratch, an outdoor wood-fired oven.
                                                                                                        ooh, i like the sound of that one! if i ever buy a house, will you come build one for me? ;)

                                                                                                          1. re: roadfix

                                                                                                            well i certainly wouldn't wish that on you, but if it happens, you know where to find me ;)

                                                                                                      2. Titan vegetable peeler, hands down, the best I've ever used.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                                                                            Have you ever done brownie batter in it? Takes about 4 minutes but is delicious (especially with ice cream on top!!)...

                                                                                                            1. re: jessicav

                                                                                                              man, that sounds crazy good. thanks for the tip....i will definitely give it a try.

                                                                                                          2. All Clad 9 piece set for $149 at a local retail discounter/remainder shop. Only a few minor scratches and some annoying adhesive residue, but these appear to be department store orphans, not seconds. Begone Revereware! Get thee to Goodwill...

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                Yeah, and on the 22nd, I found a Staub oval oven for $49 there. I just can't believe my luck. I'll be braising lamb in it this evening...

                                                                                                                1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                  LOL! That is so great. And I LOVE braised lamb. :)

                                                                                                            1. Today (12/21) I found a little 10-GALLON stockpot. 3mm tinned copper (lining perfect), 16" diameter x 12" tall, the heaviest, most sexy white brass handles. 25 pounds of "Never need a bigger stocker." Unbelievable deal at $185, and from an antique dealer (usually clip joints)!

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                16" diameter?! Wow!

                                                                                                                And how large is your biggest burner...?

                                                                                                                I can't even imagine hefting a pot that weighs 25 lbs EMPTY. You must have upper body muscles to rival Ahnold back in his Conan the Barbarian days! ;-)

                                                                                                                1. re: dessert_diva

                                                                                                                  DD: Alas, my largest indoor burner is a paltry 8-incher, 2400W. Considering the conductivity of copper is 5x cast iron and 28x SS, I hope this will be enough to (eventually) heat to a boil. But I do have a large, triple ring gas burner for outside use that is available.

                                                                                                                  Heavy? LOL, yes, heavier even than I thought. This pot, being Victorian English, is 10 IMPERIAL gallons. That means the full pot will weigh 125 pounds (US would have been only 108). I can lift that weight--cold--to stovetop height, but not without spilling. I guess I'll have to follow Tom Keller's admonition to ladle stock into the Chinoise, not pour...

                                                                                                              2. Range Hood! When we moved in here 3 years ago, there was an over-the-stove microwave which died.....well instead of replacing that with a new, fancy one I went for a range hood. Got a Broan 440CFM stainless steel hood and I LOVE it!! We have an open floor plan and before, the rest of the house smelled of cooking. Now, we smell barely anything!

                                                                                                                1. Cuisinart Ice cream freezer with its own compressor. No ice or salt, no containers to freeze. Make batch after batch without stopping.

                                                                                                                  Some Wusthof Ikon knives and a 7" Shun Ken Onion santoku knife.

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                    That would be nice to have. I have a ice cream canister taking up freezer space all the time.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                      Which model Cuisinart is that? I have the one with the canister that needs to be frozen. So every time I want to use the thing, I have to reorganize my freezer compartment (side-by-side fridge) -- which often results in me deciding "oh, never mind". Not enough available space for me to keep the canister in there 24/7.

                                                                                                                      1. re: dessert_diva

                                                                                                                        as far as i know, they only make one with a built-in compressor-freezer:

                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                          That is the one. It weighs a ton and must be kept upright. It lives in my laundry room downstairs. When I am going to make ice cream, really cold soups, frozen drinks etc. I bring the freezer insert bucket up, fill it and in 20-25 minutes have ice cream etc. As long as you have the ice cream (or whatever) base chilled and ready, there is no limit to the amount you can make. $299 and worth every penny.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                            OMG that IS huge. Too big and heavy for my limited space: I'm in a bit of a dilemma right now over whether I have space enough for a second knife block. :/

                                                                                                                            Now if there was an electrical outlet in the pantry.... nah, there's really no room in there either, LOL. It's already stuffed.

                                                                                                                    2. I WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got an new range with an induction cooktop AND I got a HUGE MW/convection oven. I love induction cooking more than words can say. And I'd buy it again just for the ease in cleanup. My praise could go on and on. Andd the MW/convection is a real winner too. I'd wanted a wall oven but it would have required some real reconstruction in the kitchen. Thanks to Alan Barnes for this suggestion. I've been very happy in the kitchen in 2010 :)

                                                                                                                      1. I think I made my best kitchen related purchase of the year tonight on my way home. I occasionally stop at a thrift store (a really big one) and as I have posted earlier, I've gotten some good deals. The 8" Wusthof chef's knife that I got a while back ($2.40) is the stamped one from their Gourmet line, a good knife, but not their best. Today I got a Wusthof Classic 8" chef's knife (forged) for $3.60. The knife is in great shape. It retails for $150, currently on sale for $120

                                                                                                                        1. My Professional Milestone Gift to Me was a Weber Kettle Grill (charcoal purist here). Splurged for the blue color, too. Did more grilling this summer, including the Beer Can Chicken, which I never did in my old, cheaper grill. Definitely a top (outdoor!) kitchen-related purchase. My other best purchase was a water bath canner. I'd never canned before, but between it and a bunch of chowhounds, I canned an array of things.

                                                                                                                          1. Here's a pic of the hood along with the GE Cafe gas range - got both in December! Merry Christmas to me!

                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                                                              I have the same range. :) Which hood did you get and does it vent to the outside? (I still have the same ugly POC hood I had over the old range, but I want to upgrade in the next couple of months.)

                                                                                                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                I know you have the same range - your review helped me pick it!

                                                                                                                                The hood we did vent to the outside.....we had an OTR microwave before, so we had to cut the hole for the new vent, but it was already on an outside wall, so we didn't need much ducting. The hood is a Broan 440CFM....

                                                                                                                                1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                                                                  LOL, sorry, now I remember seeing your handle on that other thread. I hope you're happy with it! :)

                                                                                                                                  My range is against an inside wall, but our home is a ranch. I guess they could duct through the cabinet located over the range and out through the roof. I have to get on that. I can't take another minute of the worthless hood we have now.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                    I will say that choosing the hood over an OTR microwave was a great choice! Our house is open floor plan, so all the cooking smells permeated the bedrooms....not so now. If you go to the Broan website, you can download the spec sheets & instructions for installation to see what kind of ductwork, etc you need....

                                                                                                                                    As for the Range, so far so good! I've never had convection before, so I'm still getting used to it...only had it so far for about 2 weeks.....

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                                                                      Thank you for the tip about the broan website, I'm going to check it out.

                                                                                                                                      We have an open floor plan too, and most of the house is on one level, so we have the same problem with the bedrooms. There are some things I just won't cook (or not often anyway), because of that.

                                                                                                                            2. My worktop.
                                                                                                                              I make things out of glass - and for the worktop I cut thousands of glass rods up into zillions of bits and had them embedded in epoxy resin. It took 2 weeks to cut the glass and it darn near crippled me but I adore the worktop - I fondle it regularly.
                                                                                                                              (I'm in the UK and the casting, polishing, ftting etc was done by http://www.resilica.com - highly recommended!)
                                                                                                                              The photo is of a glass plate on the worktop.

                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                Gorgeous! Definitely fondle-worthy.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                  That is incredible! I'm envious - of the countertop and your skill. Bravo.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                    That's beautiful!!

                                                                                                                                    How does it stand up to daily use? Pots banging, knife dropping...etc?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: pabboy

                                                                                                                                      I try not to bash it - the glass can chip, but the one chip I've had so far was easily and invisibly filled with epoxy adhesive. Scratches are pretty much invisible.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                        Your glass work is absolutely beautiful!!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                                                                          I agree, that counter is gorgeous!

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                          I've seen glass & epoxy counter tops before but your selection of rods is what makes it the nicest one.

                                                                                                                                      2. my old rice cooker died so I finally got a Zojirushi "fuzzy logic" 5.5 cup cooker and am amazed at how good the rice is. Just got this a week ago and have made brown rice several times, looking forward to using it for oatmeal, polenta, farro and other grains.

                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: poptart

                                                                                                                                          I wish my rice cooker would die so I could get a Zojirushi. :).


                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                            It is just wonderful! I set it up before work and when I get home, no matter what time, the rice is waiting. Also have used it to have brown rice for breakfast (with scrambled eggs and greens on top!). If you'd like a "practical" argument for getting one, I'd say it is so valuable for making it incredibly easy to incorporate healthy whole grains in meals every day.

                                                                                                                                            And beautifully designed: retractable cord, easy to clean, etc. ...
                                                                                                                                            You might enjoy having one for January's cookbook of the month :-)!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                              I wish my rice cooker would die so I could get a Zojirushi. :).
                                                                                                                                              LOL! i said the same thing about my FP so i could get the new Cuisinart. the FP bowl started leaking on Thanksgiving, so i decided that was good enough ;)

                                                                                                                                            2. re: poptart

                                                                                                                                              I bought one over a year ago. I'm actually not impressed. It's consistent rice...but consistently overcooked. A little hard and browned. I've tried selecting the Softer setting, I've tried adding a little extra water...nothing seems to help.

                                                                                                                                              I consider it one of my worst kitchen purchases. I do as well with a saucepan on the stovetop. The keep warm feature can be handy on occasion, though.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: rheostaticsfan

                                                                                                                                                That's a drag. I've only used mine so far with brown rice and with the timer feature, which means my rice usually has been soaking for hours before cooking. This is something I started doing before getting the Zoji and it made a huge difference in the rice texture.
                                                                                                                                                Maybe worth a try?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: rheostaticsfan

                                                                                                                                                  How about trying the Harder setting? In my Zo manual, the Softer setting is associated with longer cooking time - maybe on the softer setting you're overcooking it even more?

                                                                                                                                              2. I bought a Shun bread knife at an estate sale for $3. Every time I use it, it makes me happy. It slices through the crustiest bread with ease. And it's beautiful,

                                                                                                                                                1. A FoodSaver. I first bought it when I was living at my mother’s house settling her estate and had access to Costco and a standalone freezer. I thought it might turn out to be borderline useless once I got it back to my tiny New York City apartment kitchen with no counter space where I’m usually cooking for one. But if anything, I use it even more here. In fact, I got rid of my toaster oven so the FoodSaver could live permanently on the countertop.

                                                                                                                                                  I no longer throw out three-quarters of the bunch of fresh thyme; into the freezer it goes. Chopped parsley, fresh rosemary--even minced shallots—I’m not wasting anywhere near as many herbs as I once did. Soups, broths, stocks, sauces, citrus juices are frozen in one- or two-cup oblong glass containers before being vacuumed so that they stack on top of one another and are labeled on the side of the package so I can see every time I open the freezer door exactly what I’ve got; and now that I know what I have, I tend to use it. A big chunk of Parmesan lasts for almost ever without getting moldy. I seal my baking supplies—nuts, chocolate, raisins—in canning jars since I bake only when company’s coming and the ingredients used to get stale. And no more freezer burn on leftovers. What I thought might be a limited-use indulgence has turned out to be a beloved money-saver. Who’d a thunk?

                                                                                                                                                  25 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                    I've been thinking about getting a FoodSaver! You're virtually twisting my arm.


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                        How does it work with baked goods (slices of cake, breads, etc)? I've been leery because I assume it would put too much pressure on such things, and 'squish' them.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dessert_diva

                                                                                                                                                          I've wondered about that, too, DD! Thanks for asking!


                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dessert_diva

                                                                                                                                                            The unit I have has a setting called "gentle." It vacuums more slowly and stops before softer things get squished. You can also just turn off the unit manually at whatever stage you want. That said, more often than not I'll put baked goods in the freezer for a few hours before vacuuming and then I don't have to worry about it at all.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                              That's what I do too. I also put the bag in the freezer open with stock or stews, allow them to harden, and then seal the bag.

                                                                                                                                                              My sister has a tiny kitchen with virtually no storage space and that is who first turned me on to the vacuum sealer. I thought she was crazy for giving up some of her valuable real estate for this gadget, but since I don not have a storage space issue, I decided to splurge and get one for myself. It is the best!!!!!!! Buy...one...today!

                                                                                                                                                              Re my best purchases of 2010:

                                                                                                                                                              1. A new spring form pan - wore my last two out.

                                                                                                                                                              2. A new salad spinner - I use it every day.

                                                                                                                                                              2. A gorgeous root work salad bowl - just got this one - I have been coveting it since using one at a house we stayed at in Berkeley. It makes serving yourself a salad feel like you are eating at Chez Panisse.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                What's a root work salad bowl? Where did you get it?

                                                                                                                                                                Re: Food Saver: Check out a blog called Salad a Day...I found it on Tastespotting. She bought a wide mouth vacuum adapter for the Ball Jars (I ordered mine from BB & Beyond) and once a week she chops up lettuce and puts it in these jars (she uses the quart size), vacuum seal the lid (you put on the screw ring AFTER) and her lettuce stays really fresh that way. (So far, so good in my house.)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                  Root Works uses tree roots salvaged from trees felled to build houses to make gorgeous salad bowls.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                    As often as not, when I'm making salad that's the meal so even a one-quart Ball jar is too small for the amount of lettuce I'm going to want. Or does she use gallon jars? Those are really too big for me to store when not in use, so the largest I have are quart-sized.

                                                                                                                                                                    But my FoodSaver came with what they call a marinator. Put a few chops, or whatever, in there along with the marinade, set the machine to marinate, and you can achieve in 10 minutes what usually takes about 24 hours. The machine alternately sucks out the air and lets it back in about three or four times. Each time it sucks the air out, the marinade penetrates the meat. I was borderline flabbergasted at how well it worked. Only tried it once, with my usual pork chop marinade, but those chops tasted as though they had been sitting in the marinade overnight.

                                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, this is the container in which I usually vacuum my washed and spun dry salad greens. I'll use the smaller Ball jars for such things as parsley or basil.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                      JoanN--do you happen to know which model you got? There are two on Amazon that seem to be well-regarded.

                                                                                                                                                                      The FoodSaver V2240 Advanced Design Vacuum Food Sealer (about $85 and 4+ stars out of 57 reviews)
                                                                                                                                                                      Product Features
                                                                                                                                                                      Vacuum sealer with flat touchpad control panel keeps food fresh longer
                                                                                                                                                                      Hands-free operation; easy-lock latch
                                                                                                                                                                      2 speed settings; 2 sealing levels; canister mode; CrushFree Instant Seal
                                                                                                                                                                      Includes 11-inch-wide bag roll, 3 quart-size bags, 2 gallon-size bags, and accessory hose
                                                                                                                                                                      Measures approximately 12-3/5 by 18-2/7 by 6-1/2 inches; 1-year limited warranty

                                                                                                                                                                      And FoodSaver V2840 Advanced Design Vacuum Food Sealer (about $200 and 4+ stars out of 148 reviews.)
                                                                                                                                                                      Home vacuum-packaging system vacuums, seals, and shuts off automatically
                                                                                                                                                                      2 vacuum speeds; CrushFree Instant Seal; extra-wide nonstick sealing strip
                                                                                                                                                                      Flip-up space-saving design; stainless-steel lid; dishwasher-safe antibacterial drip tray
                                                                                                                                                                      Bag material, accessory hose, and instructions included
                                                                                                                                                                      Measures 16-3/4 by 9-3/4 by 14-1/2 inches

                                                                                                                                                                      I'd like to get away with the less than $100 one if I can, but I worry I might regret being cheap.


                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                        My model is the V3825, which must be the precursor to the V3835—and that is indeed the one mine looks most like.

                                                                                                                                                                        I’ll tell you, I’ve just spent about five minutes trying to figure out the differences among the various Tilia FoodSavers listed on Amazon.com and my mind is boggling. Between the two you mentioned, it seems one can be flipped upright when not in use and the other lies flat. I think I’m right about that; better double-check if that issue is anywhere near as important to you as it was to me. (Mine, by the way, stands upright and flips open to use.) I just would not have had anywhere to store a machine that didn’t stand upright.

                                                                                                                                                                        The copy for the less expensive machine says it’s more compact, but I can’t figure out how. And I’m not sure it actually means anything, anyway. If it has to lie flat on the counter, it’s going to take up more room than something that stands upright, compact or not.

                                                                                                                                                                        I wouldn’t give too much import to the reviews without reading carefully between the lines. One reviewer complained about the machine because her cut up cucumbers didn’t last any longer vacuumed than they did otherwise. Oy gevalt! Some people complain about the automatic feed detector being a bit touchy and there is truth to that. But I find it more of a problem when I’m trying to reuse bags than when I’m using a new one. And even though it can be a bit frustrating at times, I’ve never had a bag that in the end did not seal.

                                                                                                                                                                        The only other thing I’d mention is to make certain whichever model you buy has a canister hose. I think all of the new ones do now and it’s just some of the older ones that don’t. I find I’m using that feature at least as often as I’m using the bags.

                                                                                                                                                                        Not sure this helps, but for what it’s worth, if anything.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks JoanN. I laughed at that cucumber comment, too. Very funny.

                                                                                                                                                                          I was also trying to figure out the size/orientation differences. The more space efficient it is, the more likely it is I can leave it on the counter and will actually use it. I'd rather spend more on something I'll actually use, than $85 on something I'll never use. (No chance, though, that we'll put away our toaster oven. We use that all the time, too!) Plus, I liked the "dishwasher" safe feature of the tray on the more expensive one. Does yours have that? Also, that one seems like you have to spend more to get the marinade feature you were mentioning.

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm going to read up a little more.



                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                            I think this is one of those "it's time to leave the house" moments. I think I just have to see these things in person to pick one out.


                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                              Great idea in theory. Didn't do me much good when I tried to do the same since even stores such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond carried only a single model so there was no way to compare one with another. In the end, I just bit the bullet and bought what was on sale at Costco.

                                                                                                                                                                              I will say, though, that I do think the space issue is the most important. If it's not out on the counter, you're not going to use it, simple as that.

                                                                                                                                                                              Have you seen the "compare" feature on the FoodSaver site? Might just save you a trip.


                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, thank you, I fiddled around with that compare for a bit, but it's so hard to tell which of those on the foodsaver website are the ones on Amazon or my local dept store, etc. They give them all "exclusive" model numbers, which is annoying.

                                                                                                                                                                                I have to get out of the house anyway to do some errands, so, it's not a huge deal. I suspect I might end up doing the same as you, buying whatever is on sale, assuming it's one of those space saver kinds, or, just come home and buy one from Amazon if I don't like what I see at the store. What I want to see in person are the ones that say they "flip up" for storage. I can't visualize that at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'll let you know how it goes! Wish me luck!


                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                              OK, I got a 3440, which is not well-liked on Amazon. It is the space-saving upright kind. It has the hose attachment you mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm nervous about buying a version that got such lousy ratings on Amazon, but the store I bought it at has a pretty fantastic, no questions asked, return policy. If it doesn't work right or I'm unhappy for any reason, I'm just going to take it back. But, it was on sale and they offered me free shipping. (They were out of it, but are going to ship me one from the warehouse this week.) I felt like it was worth the risk, despite the negative reviews on this model. I hope I love it. And, if I don't, it's just another trip back to the department store to return it. Not deadly, I hope.


                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                That one seems very similar to mine. One of ours is probably precursor to the other.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm sure you noticed that nearly every single one of those negative reviews at Amazon was by someone who had owned a FoodSaver previously. And, I might add, there are nearly as many negative reviews for the model I have and nearly all for the same reason: how much bag is wasted. Since I never had an earlier version, that never bothered me. A bit of bag waste seems small price to pay for all the other benefits and conveniences. And the one person who said it didn't suck all the air out? I don't believe it.

                                                                                                                                                                                Put it through it's paces when you get it home. Try sealing something, then cut open the bag, then reseal it. I find that maneuver to be the trickiest because the cut edges of the bag tend to curl outwards. Follow the directions and you should get the hang of it pretty quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                  I had been thinking the same thing, actually, that most of the Amazon people seemed dissatisfied compared to the Food Saver version they had before. As you mentioned before, the space saving design is an important consideration for some people (ie., us). My guess is Food Saver had to change the functionality a little to achieve the space saving design. My guess is people wanted it to work the exact same way as the space-hogging ones, but be more space efficient.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Of course I don't want to waste plastic, but I'd rather waste a little more plastic than waste food!

                                                                                                                                                                                  And, yes, my biggest worry is that it might be unreliable in terms of vacuuming and sealing. If I find it does those things reliably, I think I'll be fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the tips. I'll let you know how it works out once I can play around with it a little. I'm guessing I'll be happy with it.


                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                            So, I'm just watching the "egg" episode of Symon's "Cook Like an Iron Chef" and he's making a pasta using duck egg yolks, and instead of letting his dough rest for 45 minutes, he seals it in a foodsaver bag, saying heat and pressure helps the flour bloom, and skips the resting step altogether. I'm not sure where the source of the heat in this scenario is (he added a tiny bit of water; maybe it was hot water? he didn't say), but the foodsaver definitely adds pressure!


                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                              That's really interesting. I wonder if the heat is just the amount of heat needed to seal the bag. I'd bet it is.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                Could be! In fact, I just looked at the recipe and a) it doesn't mention the foodsaver at all (this part I know I saw because I rewound it several times), b) he doesn't mention adding any water, hot or otherwise, and c) he says it only needs to rest 10 to 30 minutes, not the 45 mins he was claiming on the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                It was the middle of the night and I wasn't paying that much attention, so maybe the adding water thing was for another recipe he was doing on the show (he usually does 3 or 4 on this show). Nevertheless, it would appear that the only "heat" is the heat used for the sealing of the foodsaver bag. The 45 minutes thing I know he said because, again, I rewound that several times.

                                                                                                                                                                                The ravoili looked amazing, by the way, Not diet-friendly, but wow.



                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                          I have the OXO spinner, was thinking of buying one for a gift...what's your brand?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                            OXO also. It is great for washing veggies, in then spinning.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: dessert_diva

                                                                                                                                                                        the gentle setting still has issues.

                                                                                                                                                                        The trick is it cuit the cake into pieces and freeze on a cookie sheet. Then when they are frozen you use the bag sucker. works fine

                                                                                                                                                                    2. An 8" skillet -- All-Clad d5. Much better price than the other pieces at W-S, and since I've been managing for 35 years without, treated myself to it. Boy, is it nice to have. The 7-inch cast iron skillet is now mostly for cornbread.

                                                                                                                                                                      Honorable mention for the big silicon spoonula (really cuts down on waste and cleaning) and the stainless steel spider.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Mrs J bought me a pressure canner.

                                                                                                                                                                        Made enough hazan bolognese for 13 pint jars that are happy in the storage room in the basement waiting to make me happy.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                          I am so jonesing for a pressure canner. Which one did you get? I've been watching Craigslist for one for awhile now.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. IKEA 365+ Stock pot with lid. Finally I can cook a decent amount of beans (for a single person with a freezer), without further freckling my walls. For years I used my Le Creuset 5 quart which is fine but too heavy and led to wall freckling in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                          I looked at all sorts and price ranges of stock pots but decided since the main objective was beans I’d just go with an inexpensive stainless pot. Works like a charm and cleans beautifully.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. A new tea infuser. The old tea ball got the heave-ho. The tea always swelled up into a tight ball but the tall infuser allows movement. Does it matter? I don't know, but it *seems* better to me so that's enough. :)

                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, and a cookie dough scoop. Honestly, what took me so long?

                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Georgia Sommers

                                                                                                                                                                              My daughter gave me a pair of cookie scoops for Mothers Day, the Oxo ones. Do you find that the sizes are odd though? You'd think, since so many recipes specify "drop by level TEASPOONfuls" or "level TABLESPOONfuls", they'd make the cookie scoops in those sizes. But no, the smaller one is 1 1/2 Teaspoons and the larger is 2 Tablespoons.


                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dessert_diva

                                                                                                                                                                                You know, I didn't even notice because I'm such a careless baker! :) I've always just eyeballed cookie dough so the scoop size didn't bother me. But you're right, why wouldn't they size them to standard?

                                                                                                                                                                                I only have the medium sized OXO one and would like to get the smaller one, too. Love it.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Georgia Sommers


                                                                                                                                                                                I have one of these that I never use for tea. It makes an EXCELLENT second-stage strainer for stocks!

                                                                                                                                                                              3. I finally found something online that had been on my short list. A one cup capacity ladle with pouring spouts on two sides. I knew it had to exist and was happy to find it for $12. I made beef stock shortly after getting it and it was much easier ladling out to freeze.

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                  That sounds like it needs to be in my kitchen as well. I am going to shop for one right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                    Here's the one I got and, wouldn't you know, it's half off now?!? :)


                                                                                                                                                                                2. Cutco knives. That ish cuts through leather, ok?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AndrewPF

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have several Cutco knives from the 70s that are still sharp, still among my most-used favorites.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. The best purchase I made this year was not for myself, but others. I read the Bittman/Lahey or Lahey/Bittman no-knead bread recipe soon after it was published. The first loaf I made was both close to the best bread I've ever had due to the awesome crust, and the worst due to the soggy crumb (I probably f-ed it up). I've been subscribing to Cook's Illustrated for several years and made their updated version of this recipe with fabulous results. I bought my dad and grandma (the only remaining relatives;-(((), a $50 Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven. I sent the recipe for the bread as well and they loved it!

                                                                                                                                                                                    Happy New Year!!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. My Cuisinox Liberta 10 cup stove top espresso maker and Breville Milk Frother make perfect cappuccinos to start my day! Can't live without them now. My introduction to the no-knead bread method also tops the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. While not exactly IN my kitchen, my Webber grill has made me a happy housecook.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Also my little Krups espresso pot, that sucker gets a workout..

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Lifetime subscription to Eat Your Books.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Now I have my library at my fingertips and am using/enjoying my plethora of cookbooks even MORE!

                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Monch

                                                                                                                                                                                            Seconds on the EYB lifetime subscription. I have used my cookbooks so much more and made better use of them since subscribing.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thought I recognized your handle, DK!


                                                                                                                                                                                            2. A couple of my favorites from last year:

                                                                                                                                                                                              LC 5.5 Dutch Oven - I call it "The Magical Pot of Destiny."

                                                                                                                                                                                              Tojiro DP 240mm Gyuto - OK... I guess this was actually earlier this year, but still...

                                                                                                                                                                                              Also - ok wait... this was 2 years ago... I made an "Ugly Drum Smoker" for BBQ - so nevermind. It was 2 years ago, it's used outside (not exactly kitchen)... But it's amazing for BBQ and I use it all summer long - I go out of my way to find things to smoke.

                                                                                                                                                                                              So the winner is... The LC for 2010! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Buying or rather Finally buying some decent inexpensive tryply stainless steel cookware. Cuisinart MCP! OH and for 2011 using my brand new Le creuset 9qt. (simmering Bolognese right now)