Friday, February 17, 2006

Needs and Wants

As the end of a cycle draws to a close (assumingly sometime this weekend) and a new one begins, I'm suddenly very happy that we decided to forego bothering with another IUI and just wait for the IVF in May.

This extra time on my hands means I get to direct my somewhat obsessive tendencies to the house... and in particular - the kitchen, and outfitting it. Michael and I eloped, so we didn't go the typical registry route when we got married. [He had FIVE coffee makers when we got married, so some things well, didn't need to be purchased]. The rest, we've managed to purchase here and there, or have been graciously gifted with over the years.

So, we've got the basics down. They're not all the most top of the line, or most expensive... but they're all items that do nicely for us.

Cookware - check. Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick (love this. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. We had a wonky stovetop that heated unevenly, and it miraculously cured it and made the food taste as if I was an expert chef. The stovetop to oven ability is also great.) I actually have the 12 piece set, which I think just this 10 piece set with an included steamer insert and a double boiler. I bought this little gem to go with it, and it is great for making pancakes.

Knives - check. Henckles Five Star. If you have small hands like me, you'll find that other brands, such as the Wustoff Classic (which I originally wanted) are too big to comfortably handle. I've bought a few more of the same line, but for some reason they're hard to find now.

Casual dishes - check. We've got I think 10 place settings of Fiestaware. I love the colors, and they're remarkably sturdy dishes. We have the peacock, plum, shamrock, cobalt, tangerine, sunflower, cinnabar, periwinkle, turquoise, scarlet and I can't remember if we have another set.

China - check. O.k. so this really belongs in "dining room" but whatever. Lenox Serpentine Platinum, 12 place settings and other assorted serving pieces. We're not overly formal people, so we don't have really formal china. I like the clean lines that don't take away from the food.

Crystal - working on slowly filling out 12 place settings of each of the Waterford Aurora. It's a bit large - and thus only fits on certain shelves of the china cabinet, but again, I like the clean lines. It's HEAVY too, a problem I found when I put too much of it onto a glass shelf in the cabinet and it collapsed under the weight.

We just got this blender for Christmas, and it ROCKS. I love it, although it's one heavy mo fo.

And of course, my most prized possession in the kitchen is just the plain, white Kitchen Aid mixer.

I love to cook... and am stoked that I now have the room to do more entertaining (although. sigh. my house does not have the warming oven that I covet so deeply right now). I also have an affinity for random kitchen gadgets (garlic crusher, little pans that make star shaped bread loaves, tartlet pans, vintage copper cookie cutters galore), etc. And these little custard cups? I use them so often that it amazes me. I also use a set of old cast iron skillets, and my great grandmother's dinged up biscuit cutter every time I make biscuits and gravy.

So share - what items do you have in your kitchen that you adore, and could not live without? I'm talking about everything from small appliances to the quirky little gadget that you find yourself reaching for time and time again...

And what are the items you wish you hadn't bothered to have spent the money on or been gifted with? Michael's mom bought us a quesadilla maker, and I think we've used it once. It's bulky and takes up a lot of room in the cabinet. And this griddle? Please. Unless you're feeding an army, it's a pain in the ass to use and store.


updated to add -

Those of you looking for new knives - well, you could always use this little addition to the household.


At 6:33 PM, Blogger sirwilliam said...

As a Texan, I could not go a week without grilling, even in the winter time. However with all the red flag days and burn bans all around, I have come to cherish my George Foreman. Not to mention, it is a really quick way to grill anything at all. And if you like grilled veggies, you don't have to worry about them falling onto the coals.

At 7:44 PM, Blogger daysgoby said...

Not a gadget, but I have carted two wooden spoons - one owned by my grandmother and one from my mom through all the kitchens I've owned - it gives me a terrific feeling of home and family to see my son stirring something with one of them.

I have LeCrueset casserole dishes and wouldn't trade them.

Fiestaware! How pretty.

At 8:41 PM, Blogger DD said...

My favorite item in the kitchen? My husband, who without, we would forever be doomed to fast-food, delivery and dining out.

The only time I have a desire to do anything in the kitchen is when I bake/decorate X's birthday cakes.

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Jennie said...

oooh I love your fiestaware plates,the periwinkle (sp?) i need need need that set.

our George Foreman grill and the GF roaster, I love them with a passion. but my greatest love this year belongs to my voodooman knife block I admit I grin each time I slide a knife in or out of his belly it amuses me!

I'm a closet pan addict, I adore spring form pans, cake pans, roasting pans, you name it pans I either want it have it or am on my way out to get it. I'm not a brand person with pans I just hunt out the ones that make me want to buy them teflon/cast iron/stainless/copper it's all hidden in those pan draws.

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Jenn said...

Right now I'm coveting a Kitchen Aid mixer and some LeCrueset dutch ovens. I couldn't live without my big thick antique cutting board, my wooden spoon, and a few pair of tongs.

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Larisa said...

Fun post!

I love my board scraper, my silicone spatulas, my plain white KitchenAid, and my Wusthof knives.

Most useless would have to be the specialty "filled" cake pan my sister gave me.

At 11:07 PM, Blogger deanna said...

Can I say YUM about good knives? I just bought my first official really good knife to do some hard-core vegetable-chopping with, and I'm pretty much swooning. How nice to chop and have things actually be....chopped without repeat blows and swearing? Amazing. =)

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Mary Scarlet said...

Beautiful china ... I picked something similar for my pattern (Waterford Lismore platinum). Your kitchen sounds amazing. Dude, 5 coffee makers?!? I could never get in to the clay oven thing -- we got one for our wedding and it takes up so much space and I never use it. Can't live without the standing mixer or the food processor tho.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Cricket said...

I love my Pampered Chef stoneware. It cooks stuff so evenly, browns nicely, and doesn't stick. I have the pizza round, square, rectangular, pie, bundt. Things take a little bit longer to cook, but it is well worth it.

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Lori said...

I love my LeCrueset red tea kettle. I smile everytime I fire it up. Which is a lot. My Wusthof knives also make cooking much more fun. J's answer would without a doubt be the Kitchen Aid mixer. He never misses an opportunity to use that bad boy.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Vacant Uterus said...

I have small hands, too, and I've found that the Wusthoff Grand Prix series fits pretty well. Williams-Sonoma carries Henckels so amybe you can find the rest of the knives you're looking for over there. If not, my brother and SIL live in Germany...I'm sure they'd be happy to send you whatever you want!

Kitchen things I cannot live without: Kitchen-Aid standing mixer, Wusthoff knives (I have three; paring knife, chef's knife and bread knife) my grandmother's big yellow mixing bowl.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Just another Jenny said...

Thanks for the advice on the knives, I have small hands and I am in the market for a good set of knives.
I can't live without my pampered chef food choper and stonewear bar pan. I had a pampered chef wedding shower so I have just about the entire colletion but the stonewear and food choper are #1. I use them almost every day.

At 9:19 PM, Blogger chris said...

What a great idea for a post.

I keep a gift registry going at Williams-Sonoma so my husband never has to wrack his brain too much for gifts.

A few years back my husband bought me a metal cookie spatula that I wouldn't have bought for myself and wouldn't you know, it's useful for everything.

The kitchenaid mixer is a must.

Good knives and Allclad pots.

My big Allclad roasting pan for roasting veggies.

Microplane grater.

La Crueset 7 qt. dutch oven.

A good splatter guard.

Perfect pink ramekins because they're so cute even though the white ones go with more.

And even though I don't use it that often, I love love love my blowtorch. There's something about carmelizing sugar with it.

I could go on, but I'll stop.

At 3:37 AM, Blogger Twisted Ovaries said...

I love of the Fiesta ware. LOVE. I am so envious of you for having it, I wish I'd kept mine but I'm an idiot and I gave mine away when I moved from the States.

Daysgoby can't live without LeCrueset and I can't live without mine, either, but the number one item I think I might potentially perish without (hey, it can happen) is my Bodum coffee press down. We're both coffee snobs and feel that ground coffee in a press down is the equivalent to needing a private moment.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger N said...

Couldn't live without:
Cuicina (Cucina Food Processor HR 7633/80)

Use it for everything, it's an everyday utensile but great. I call "her" lovingly Ninas Cuicina :-D

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Krups Panini maker: makes awesome panini, bruschetta, and quesadillas. We use it at least a couple times a week.

At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Jen said...

Ooh, gotta love the KitchenAid and the shiny blender!

I love love love these things:

Mexican citrus juicer (

Silicone spatulas (in pretty colors from W/S!)

Offset spatulas--short & long--for icing cakes, cookies, cupcakes, etc.

I too covet a Le Crueset, but find them to be terribly pricey.

At 1:44 PM, Blogger julia said...

Bwahahahahahahahaha! I love that knife holder.

I am a huge fan of the Five Star knives, too. I couldn't live without my 8" chef's knife.

I'm a kitchen-gear junkie. I have some All Clad pots and pans - the Emeril kind and even though I loathe him, the pans rock. I want more but my budget won't stretch that far right now. I also swear by cast iron skillets. Can't live without them.

I'm lusting after one of those Kitchen Aid mixers. I love those things.

We just bought our first house and I'm sure I will go into serious debt outfitting the kitchen.

At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the Calphalon Katana series. Beautiful knives. If I didn't already have a Henkels set I'd get one of those.

Jenny T.


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