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Jan 9, 2012 09:47 AM

Williams-Sonoma for my birthday - what to get?

Last weekend for my birthday, my boyfriend gave me a gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma, and we'll be going next weekend to pick something out. I was browsing their site and decided on a Chemex coffee maker, something I've been wanting for a while -- and then he admitted that he got that for my birthday too, and it's arriving in the mail today!

I'm pretty set for coffee accessories these days -- I use my Hario grinder and kettle along with a Melitta filter, and now I've got a Chemex on the way.

As for other kitchen stuff, I'm happy with my knives -- I alternate between Forschner/Victorinox chef and paring knives and a Wusthof chef's knife, depending on the job.

Things I'm interested in --

A medium-to-large-sized cutting board. Something big enough to be a comfortable workspace, but small enough to easily wash in my sink. My John Boos 18" round by 3" tall Chinese-style chopping block is ridiculously huge for my little kitchen. Any favorites?

As cookware goes, I've got a covered 12" nonstick pan I'm pretty happy with, an old 10" cast-iron pan with a stainless steel lid I bought at a restaurant supply place, an 8" uncovered nonstick pan, and my bf's decent-ish, SS, plastic-handled saucepans (1-qt, 2-qt, 3-qt, 5-qt). We've also got a smallish crock pot. I'm thinking I might do well with one of these:

And so, I'm basically trying to decide which thing will provide me with maximum improvement in cooking enjoyment -- a dutch oven, frying pan, or cutting board.

What would you do, chowhounds?

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  1. Dutch oven. Get a piece of quality cookware that will last you a while. Very versatile and holds heat very well. I made some dal last night and it sat there for an hour and it was still piping hot when I served it. Even though the heat was off. I used the Staub that you linked but I usually prefer the Le Creuset as it seems to stick less.

    1. "And so, I'm basically trying to decide which thing will provide me with maximum improvement in cooking enjoyment "

      Get the one which you don't have. I think a cutting board is important, but I also think you don't have to spend alot for it. So you can buy your cutting board elsewhere unless you spotted one you want.

      A carbon steel pan is great, but it seems you have a a few pans already. It sounds like you don't have a Dutch Oven, so maybe it will impact you the most. Of course, it also depends how you cook too. If you don't do/enjoy slow cooking, then maybe it is not the best item.

      1. "What would you do, chowhounds?"
        A couple of deBuyer carbon steel mineral pans or a good Dutch oven..

        1. Cool, 'hounds, thanks for your input! I think this pan will split the difference fantastically b/t a skillet and dutch oven -- looks really versatile.

          1 Reply
          1. re: operagirl

            you are one lucky girl!! :) Enjoy your new stuff..