Gidgets, Gadgets, and Garland

My sister works for Macy’s. Every year before Halloween she starts to ask me the same question. “What do you want for Christmas”. Really, at Halloween? I haven’t even decided what candy to give out to the Trick or Treaters. Christmas seems so far away.

I realize that for the folks working in retail that early shopping is necessary and early shopping is popular with many people. Get it done and you enjoy the holiday season. So I start to think about what I really would like to open on Christmas morning. It’s not easy because since I am a little above retirement age (just a little) and I really don’t need anything. I like pretty scarves, and a new pair of hoop earrings always makes me happy, but if you really want me to have a joyous holiday buy me something for my kitchen.

Some people like to have a “man cave”, or a “she shed”; me, I have my kitchen. It is the center of my home and where I am the happiest. It is where my family sits and eats together. Sometimes there are only three of us, and sometimes my sons and their friends join us and we have ten or more around the table. We talk and solve all of our problems, make plans for the future, and remember the past.

The first cold weekend of fall makes me bring out the big soup pot to make a comforting soup or stew. I love cast iron pots (even though they are heavy), beautiful knives, or an innovative vegetable peeler. My Kitchen Aid mixer sits proudly on my counter waiting for the next accessory I order for it.

A question came up on Facebook from a former co-worker. He wanted opinions about what type of cookware he should buy. It was fun to see the answers. Some people felt non-stick pot and pans were the best, some only cast iron. My response was some of each! It all depends on what you are cooking. I love my stainless cookware. My All-Clad and Cuisinart pans are really wonderful to cook in. Yes, sometimes I have to use a little elbow grease to clean them, but not much more than my cast iron or non-stick pans.

But how do you know what is the best pot, pan, peeler, or knife? Is there a difference between Le Creuset, Lodge, and Martha Stewart cast iron? Is All-Clad better than Cuisinart? Do I need a name brand crockpot or can I be happy with an unknown brand?

Where can I go to find the answers? Look it up in a book! There are many books in the library that review kitchen gadgets and gadgets as well as pots, pans, and knives, etc.

My favorite books are the ones by America’s Test Kitchen. The books not only have excellent recipes, but they review all types of small appliances, pots, pans, stockpot, etc. The Test Kitchen books even review kitchen staples like mayonnaise, ketchup, different types of rice, pasta, pasta sauces, and soft drinks. So if you need a new crockpot, a toaster oven, or an air fryer? Look up the reviews in a book. Not sure if you should buy Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Dukes or Kraft. The reviews done by the staff of America’s Test Kitchen will help you find the right mixing bowl, and tell you what the best ingredients are to use in your recipe.

America’s Test Kitchen has more than 15 seasons worth of books and DVDs.

Each book includes recipes and reviews to help you not only purchase the best mixing bowl but to help you decide what the best ingredient is to put in the bowl.

Check them out from MCLS today!

- Pat, Lawrence Headquarters Branch