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Dec 4, 2013 06:41 AM

So...what is on your holiday list?

Just handed off my list to my wife the other day.

Food stuff:

1. Chef's coat (don't like aprons)
2.Spices from Penzey's (English Roast beef, Singapore, Berbere). The latter two look to be perfect to use with cocunut milk and make chicken curries
3. Soup pot. I loved my old enamel Chantal pan, but the screws rusted and finally snapped. So disappointed they do not make the older enamelware anymore
4. A choice of 2 knives:a. 8”
or 10” chefs knife


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  1. I self-gifted my biggest equipment wish - the 5 quart glass, handled, Kitchenaid mixing bowl. I found it on sale Friday, after almost a year of seeking one sold separately and already in a store (to avoid shipping costs).

    In the "dreams" category - 1) new kitchen countertops to replace the 35-year-old formica ones, and 2) a real (i.e., external exhaust) vent fan over the stove - which we've researched and found would take a major construction effort due to positioning of the stove and vaulted ceilings in the kitchen. Combine the two and we're talking a kitchen remodelling project that's just not in the budget.

    I'll settle for our planned replacement driveway next spring, so bringing home groceries is smoother. Grin.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MidwesternerTT

      LOL! we just added a parking pad this year (my wife could park in our driveway and I fended for myself on getting on street space), and our kitchen re-do next year involves....external exhaust fan and replacing the cheap plastic stuff we have now.

      1. re: MidwesternerTT

        Loved your post, since I just got a new driveway apron (and sidewalks and all steps in and out of the house). Darn, concrete is $$$. I joke that this will be my present for the next 3-5 years. Also food related: the new entrances will allow me access to my grill, outdoor dining and to my herb garden.

        Good luck with the eventual) kitchen remodel. We went down that path a few years ago. Still loving my soapstone counters and my externally vented Broan. Totally agree that I would rather have this house/cooking stuff over jewelry or a new sweater!

        1. re: pedalfaster

          Heck, yes. I'd take home reno any day over that stuff. I don't even wear jewelry I already have and if I need a sweater, I buy it. Soapstone counters sound pretty wonderful.

          I need a kitchen reno but overall, it's fine the way it is. We have a huge fireplace in the kitchen and the room is 15 x 30 with lots of work stations so many people can cook at the same time. I have a four-oven Aga plus a large sun filled pantry just off the kitchen that people gravitate to. I've had cocktail parties when the people would all glom up in there and just ooh and aah.

          But a re-do is not in the cards right now as we are renovating our casita--maybe in a few years. I was wondering about the soapstone tho. What are the pros and cons, if any?

          1. re: sandiasingh

            Soapstone "wears" it might not be so good if you care deeply about visual aesthetics and want "perfection".

            Overall I love mine. They nick, but are easily "fixed" with the touch of a Sharpie and a slathering of dry wax (which we do about 1X every year or so--bonus this is good for the hands!).

            If building new, I would pick soapstone again...and add a marble baking station.

            Jealous of your Aga and the kitchen FP!
            Love and enjoy those!

            1. re: pedalfaster

              we have soapstone them. we don't dry way - we mineral oil (food grade). we found that a simple edge is best and, yes, they nick a bit.
              my regret is not having a marble baking station space also.

        2. re: MidwesternerTT

          Whoa - which of you CH's gave my list to my husband? I got a construction project for Christmas -- the new EXTERNAL EXHAUST vent fan installation is in progress as I type. Cosmetic finishing details will happen next week, but the stainless steel range-hood is up and the ducting work is next.

        3. I honestly can't think of a thing I need. I have the best equipped kitchen of anyone I know so it's kind of hard to buy anything for my kitchen.

          I have my workhorse Kitchenaid, my trusty old Cuisinart, a set of LeCruset (that I bought with S&H greenstamps in the 1970's), some great knives from Bridge, a beautiful cutting board, a large collection of beautiful antique bowls, another of antique pitchers, a set of Armetale, nice Rogers flatware, every gadget you can think of and on and on. My husband is bugging me for some ideas, but I don't want him to buy something just to buy something.

          I am a very lucky cook. Maybe I'll make a donation to a food-related charity.

          6 Replies
          1. re: sandiasingh

            What a wonderful idea. If you don't yet have a toaster oven, and can find a place for one, that might be a gift idea to mention. I didn't think I needed one until I got a Cuisinart countertop oven w/ convection feature as a surprise gift a few years ago. Now, especially in the summer, I bake meals /sides for two in that almost as often as in the large oven.

            1. re: MidwesternerTT

              Yes, but specify a countertop convection oven. You can even bake flatbreads or a quiche in a good one - in an old-fashioned toaster oven, baking is very uneven.

              I do need a new sweater or two (I live in Montréal) but always buy my own, and no damned "Christmas sweaters".

              Funny, at first I thought this was a list of what we were going to make or serve over the holidays. Me, definitely a couple of tourtières. And some fish or seafood dish. I saw some duck (cured) sausages at Jean-Talon Market and will treat friends and self to one...

              I do want a small dutch oven for braising. Of course I wouldn't mind a new knife or two, but am not planning any other investments. Oh, perhaps a better, more ergonomic granny cart...

              1. re: lagatta

                We have a great little convection oven we picked up in Taiwan (they sue same current we do in the US). Like a much bigger, better "turbo fan" you see on TV. Very handy around the holidays.
                And...watching a chicken go from raw to roasted is kind of hypnotic on a rainy day.

                1. re: lagatta

                  Our latest toaster oven is a good-sized DeLonghi that has a "Fan Bake" setting that works pretty much as a convection oven.

                  What I'm wishing for is a total kitchen remodel, swapping the cooking and pantry sides. The kitchen is unavoidably a passageway, and right now the cooktop and wall ovens are right in the traffic corridor. I also want to get rid of the overpriced and underperforming Bosch cooktop and install the beautiful, like-new 42" Wedgewood gas range that is waiting patiently in the garage. I just hope I live long enough to use it!

              2. re: sandiasingh

                What is your beautiful cutting board made out of?

                1. re: sandiasingh

                  That's what I did. I live in a very small house and used to be a compulsive shopper of kitchen bargins. I recently donated boxes of never-used Cuisinart cookware to an assisted living private home (through a friend who volunteers there) where the family cooks for the elderly and mentally handicapped women who live there. She told me they cried when they opened the boxes. I only wish I had realized sooner that my duplicates would have meant so much to others.

                  This is in reply to Sandiasingh.

                2. I need a new axe for the barrel smoker, and some seasoned, hard, cherry wood. Tell Santa I've been relatively "good". That thing with Mrs. Claus . . . She was drunk and I was lonely . .. . That's all!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: MGZ

                    I'm fairly sure Santa can excuse the drunk and lonely Mrs. Claus incident, it's the one with you Blitzen and Rudolph, behind the wood shed, that would have me concerned.

                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      That one just literally made me 'LOL.'

                  2. I have a sausage stuffer and a sous vide circulator on the list, plus another 10" wide Wusthof chef's knife. My husband likens buying me kitchen gadgets to buying me a vacuum cleaner, but what can I say? I like what I like!

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: biondanonima

                      My boyfriend was asking me a lot of gift-related questions the other day, and I asked him if I'd sent him my Amazon list yet. He said, "Yeah, but it's all kitchen stuff!"

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          I know. I just have to remember that I don't understand why he needs so much stuff for his boat, and he doesn't understand why I need so much for the kitchen....

                          Once he started into my list, he was looking at sets that contained some of the things I wanted and some things I didn't want. I had to have the "why I don't want a cookware set, I want to buy it piecemeal" discussion for about half an hour. :p
                          "But it's cheaper that way!" "It's not cheaper if half of it is stuff I don't want/will never use...."

                          He means well. :) I think he just hates shopping from a list. He wants to be spontaneous in his gift-giving. I, however, loathe having things I don't need. Christmas is always interesting.

                          1. re: Kontxesi

                            I love lists. My SO was "creative" last year, and got me a remote start system for my car. While it was nice to have... it wasn't real romantic at all and wasn't something I used too often. He was pretty proud of it though so I just smiled and kept my thoughts to myself :)

                            1. re: Kontxesi

                              I have some of that here. I have a list that I'm giving to my husband and I told him that he wouldn't have to run out and shop on Christmas Eve if he just ordered now from the list. "Where's the sport in that?" he asked. That's why I keep on winding up with dishes he wants for Christmas, lol!

                              1. re: roxlet

                                Last minute Christmas shopping has always been a mystery to me, and I do think that it's dominated by men! Although this could be a vast generalization on my part..

                                1. re: rstuart

                                  I often get "Daddy dollars" as a gift. That isn't even last minute shopping.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    Ha! Daddy dollars.. sounds classic. My father was actually quite good at planning ahead and sticking to the list (after some unfortunate incidents when I was a teenager), as is my brother.. but I've had some boyfriends who did not!

                      1. Anyone have one of those "wellness mats" like they sell at WS to put in front of the sink. They seem great, but not sure I want to make the investment.

                        28 Replies
                        1. re: geminigirl

                          I got a GelPro for a birthday gift several years ago and I love it!

                          1. re: geminigirl

                            We love our mat. They are MUCH cheaper at Sam's Club - don't pay the stupid full price....

                            1. re: sandylc

                              Thanks for tip, I haven't looked anywhere else for it, this thread just got me thinking:). Thanks

                              1. re: geminigirl

                                They really are great - my mother has a couple in her kitchen and I"m considering getting one now that I've stood on hers for a while. Costco and Sams carry them for MUCH less than regular retailers.

                            2. re: geminigirl

                              They're amazing if you have feet problems. We have one and I'm sure it has helped me keep my feet in good order (after a bad couple of months).

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                What are these mats exactly? Where do you find them? My kitchen floor is linoleum on cement, very-very hard on my feet - I think I need one of these.

                                1. re: herby

                                  They're plastic mats that are filled with some sort of gel (or feel like they are). I have hard wood floors in my kitchen, and tend to spend a lot of time in one area (sink/where I chop) so when I was having foot problems my husband got one for me. It wasn't the only thing that helped (I went to a podiatrist) but it has definitely helped keep the problem from coming back. Definitely recommend them.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    Thank you, LLM! Nice that you were able to solve your feet problem! I do the same, stand in one spot since my kitchen is very small there is no space to walk around anyway. I'll look for a mat at Costco since a few people said that they are available there. Wonder if it applies to Canada but a good starting point.

                                    1. re: herby

                                      The ridiculous thing is that I have a nice size kitchen, but still like being right there next to the sink. Just easier for washing produce and then cutting and putting the peels and stuff all in one place. Anyway, I do hope it helps your feet. Takes a little getting used to but it is so comfy.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Thank you for good wishes LLM! Hopefully I'll get out to Costco next week.

                                        Large kitchen is great to have but we still tend to spend a lot of time in one spot :) I hope to remodel a bit soon which will replace the floor to floating wood and open the kitchen but won't make it any larger. I am OK with small as long as it is not enclosed which it is right now.

                                        1. re: herby

                                          I lived in a studio apartment when I was first dating my husband, and I managed to make some great meals in the tiny (really really tiny) kitchen there. What I've found is that more space equals more stuff sitting on counter tops. Erp.

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            I had a studio apartment when I met my husband, and he eventually moved in there. There was a half refrigerator and essentially no freezer, so the fire escape was the cooler. We made some great meals there too!

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              I'm not living in a studio apartment, but I quite happily live in a one-bedroom flat in a housing cooperative. And really striving not to accumulate more "stuff".

                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                I'm trying not to accumulate more stuff too! Unfortunately 7 year old Lulu won't part with a single thing that has ever come her way. It has become the punishment for bad behavior - "Lulu, one more _whatever_ and something of yours is going to a kid without toys." Unfortunately it works, so I have barely been able to get rid of anything.

                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                My Taiwanese mother in law uses a kitchen carved out of a closed in tile porch. She has two burners, one of which looks like a blowtorch under a steel tripod for a wok. She has two knives, one cleaver and can out cook anyone I know.

                                                1. re: Westy

                                                  I don't doubt that for a minute, Westy

                                          2. re: herby

                                            I'd love one of those things too (arthritis). But I wonder if a gel one would be better than those black rubber mats made from recycled tires, often used by workers who have to stand in place.

                                            No "Sam's Place" in Montréal. Just regular WalMart and Costco, not necessarily same products as in the US - or Mexico. As well as several restaurant supply places; they definitely sell the rubber mats, as does Canadian Tire.

                                            Though perhaps the rubber mats would stain vinyl or linoleum floors?

                                            1. re: lagatta

                                              Lagatta, do you have Target and Bed, Bath in Montreal? We have bot in Ottawa and I think if Costco doesn't have the mats that LLM described upthread, one of these other stores might. I am going to Costco on Tuesday and will post what I find there. Making a note not to forget where to post :)

                                              1. re: herby

                                                Yes, we have Target - as in Ottawa, it is new. We don't seem to have Bed, Bath and Beyond here - I googled to see whether there was a different name in French. It isn't the same chain as Déco découvertes, which is Home Outfitters. I didn't realize that you lived so close by - I have family in Gatineau and Ottawa, so I may be going there - want to go to T&T Asian supermarket!

                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                  I love T&T. It's a bit out of the way for me but worth a trip. BBB is in Train Yards shopping centre; I think there is only one in Ottawa. Let me know when you plan to be in Ottawa - maybe meet for coffee?

                                                  1. re: herby

                                                    I will if I do go there. I may be visiting a (very) sick friend who is hospitalised in Quebec City. That would not be a pleasure visit...

                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                      I know all about visiting a sick friend. My dear friend died two years ago and it was a tough year leading to her death... Stay strong and possitive; this visit will mean a lot to your friend and you will be happy that you did it.

                                                      Email me (in the profile) when you make plans to visit Ottawa.

                                                      1. re: herby

                                                        I don't want to depress anyone, but my friend died. :-( Acute leukemia... We chatted a lot about cooking online; he lived in a remote village of the Lower North Shore of the St-Lawrence, not very far from Labrador.

                                                        So it was more important to visit him.

                                                        1. re: lagatta

                                                          I'm so sorry to hear this lagatta. My thoughts go out to you - it is hard to lose a friend. I'm sure he appreciated all the chats you had.

                                                          1. re: lagatta

                                                            So sorry Lagatta... hope he didn't suffer too much.